Social media and marketing are a huge part of growing your own business. This blog shares some tips to make the most out of your marketing strategy
Know your audience
The best way to market your business is to know your audience. Who are you trying to target? What are their interests, passions and hobbies? You can tackle this in two ways. One is creating what is called an "audience profile", a description of the type of person that you want to sell your product to. This includes details such as their age range, interests and more. For example, if you make products for children, your audience profile could be for a mum or dad living in London. What type of language, photos and videos would you use to demonstrate that your product is the best for their child?
Another way is to ask your audience what they like. Gather data on your audience. Asking your audience will give you a good picture as to who they are. This could involve sending out a survey to your mailing list or creating a poll on Instagram. Not only is a way to learn more about your customers but it helps them stay engaged with your brand. It demonstrates that you're interested in developing a product that meets their unique needs.
My background is in journalism and media so when I started City Inspired, I was most confident about the marketing aspect of the job. However I found that actually finding time to post online became a challenge. As a small business owner, you're juggling so many different things. That means that marketing often falls behind. To ease the stress of remembering to create social media posts, find a way to automate it.
There are platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer that make scheduling social media posts easier. You can create the post in advance - maybe during the weekend - and have them posted via the app on its own. It's a great way to ensure that you are regularly posting on social media with engaging content. The best part of these platforms is that you can connect them to any platform - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more - it's all there to be integrated. Just remember that accessing all these features, specifically posting on different platforms, might cost some $$$.
Build a brand
In order to sell your product, people need to recognise your brand. The best advice that I've gotten is to develop a brand that reflects you. In other words, build a brand that fits your personality. If you like making jokes, then do so via your product as well. If you like posting quotes on your personal Instagram, then find a way to incorporate that in your business.
Showing parts of yourself in your brand makes it feel more authentic. Bringing part of yourself into your brand can help you develop engaging content around your business. You know what you like and what speaks to you so use this to create connections with your audience.
Learn from others
Of course it's great to be creative but if you're stuck, then look to other brands and companies that you admire. How are they speaking to their audience? What type of content are they using? We are on social media constantly. We know what marketing works and what doesn't. So why not use that to inform how you sell your products to your audience? Tap into successful marketing careers and see how you can adapt them to fit your needs.
Additionally you can find templates for marketing content. My favourite website is Canva. It's free to use and they have a multitude of templates for Instagram posts, brochures, Twitter banners - basically anything you think you would need to market your business. You can use these templates as inspiration or transform them to fit your brand.
Market your product offline
Online marketing is a great and relatively free way to start reaching your target audience. However with City Inspired, I've found the most effective marketing tool is to be out in the streets! If you're selling a product, find ways to go to markets and pop up shops to begin selling. Meet up with other Black entrepreneurs to pursue different partnership opportunities. Attend your local boroughs entrepreneurship sessions (they are surprisingly everywhere) and meet up with other business that can help you get started. People are there to help you and if you have an unique product, people are ready to purchase your products. Finding a way to do so through personal connections and marketing can only help strengthen the brand you're building online.
The goal of marketing is to let people know about your business. And it's equally important to spread the word online and in person. Hopefully these tips will give you an idea of how to transform your marketing strategy and reach the community you want to find.