The Essentials of Micro Business Marketing (For the Non-Marketer!)
I get it.
Running a micro-business is incredibly tough.
When you’re the only one in charge, success isn’t about coming up with a great business idea, then commanding a highly efficient team to take care of all the details.
Instead, you’ve got to be your own salesperson, your own IT support, your own operations manager, your own accountant…
…and your own Marketer
While accountancy and IT skills may be seen as specialist, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of believing that micro business marketing is a simple process that everybody knows how to do.
After all, all you have to do is shout about what you do to everybody within hearing distance, right?
Let’s go back to basics.
What Exactly is Micro Business Marketing, Anyway?
The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements – profitably”.
What this means is that marketing isn’t advertising (that’s promotion) or selling (that’s sales!) It’s all about matching what you offer to the needs and expectations of your ideal customers.
In short, effective micro or side hustle business marketing means reaching the right people, in the right place and at the right time, with the right product, at the right price.
The Four Ps of Micro Business Marketing
Broadly speaking, we can narrow the process of effective micro business marketing down to four essential aspects – the Four Ps
(When you investigate marketing more depth, you will find that there are anything up to eight Ps, but I’m just concentrating on the four key elements in this blog.)
The Four Ps are:
A lot of micro and side hustle business owners – who aren’t professional marketers – mistakenly jump straight to the ‘Promotion’ assuming that is marketing; they devise catch-all social media posts and reduced-price offers that are bound to get the customers (and the profit!) rolling in.
Nope, that won’t do it.
As a micro business or side hustle owner if you haven’t taken the time to really understand the synergy between Product, Price, People and promotion and developed a strategy that encompasses all four you will always struggle.
How will you know if you’re talking to the right people, if you don’t know who they are?
Do you understand what specific problems your product or service is going to solve?
How much will people be willing to pay for that solution?
See What I mean?
I liken the Four Ps of Marketing to a shiny new four wheel-drive car. It may look great as you jump in and start the engine, but if one wheel is even slightly out of alignment, you’re going to have a very bumpy ride!
How to Devise Effective (and Profitable!) Micro Business Marketing Activities
Let’s assume you know your audience, understand your product or service, and have set the perfect price.
You now have two types of promotional activity to take account of. A profitable marketing plan will use both to their greatest effect.
1. Broadcast Marketing
Broadcast marketing is a term I have developed to describe the consistent and continuous, everyday, drip-drip-drip promotions and messaging you use to tell people about your business. This includes online and offline activities such as social media posting, your blog posts, networking, public speaking or your regular email newsletter.
You develop a plan of what methods to use and how often you use them – and you stick to it, no matter what!
You’ll use your broadcast promotions to build continuous awareness, develop your brand messaging, and create irresistible communications that both attracts and connects you with potential customers and builds their trust.
As consumers, we expect consistency from the businesses we deal with; our customers are the same. Posting something once in a blue moon, then disappearing will not build a loyal customer base.
Instead, you will need to devise a regular schedule for your broadcast promotions – one that takes full account of Price, Product and People – and then make sure you stick to it.
2. Campaign Marketing
Campaign Marketing is more specific; it is used to promote something ‘special’, such as a one-off event, a new course, a specific product or service.
For example, if you have designed a training course and are looking for people to sign up, you will plan promotional activities that encourage them to do just that.
(I like to call this activity “the process that gets people to want what you’ve got!”)
Your campaign plan will need to take account of specific activities well in advance of the actual event. Using our training course example as a guide, you will create a series of ‘extras’ that signpost the course to people who are most likely to sign up.
For instance, you could write a blog post about the course subject, schedule in some targeted social media ads, and organise a webinar or Facebook Live, in which people have the opportunity to ask questions about the course subject.
If you think about the campaign marketing activities used by well-known brands, you’ll see that they often begin whetting our appetites for particular products and services well before we actually need them! Retailers spend all year priming us for those times when we’re likely to want something specific, so that when that time comes, we act without even having to think about it.
As a micro or side hustle business marketer, the key is to ensure you’ve got those Four Ps in strong alignment, then plan out your marketing activity accordingly.