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The life of a solopreneur can be a bit overwhelming. You have this awesome product that’s going to make people much happier and efficient, but when it comes to sharing this product with the world, it seems you’ve hit a dead end.
When you read about marketing, all you see are these great examples from Coca Cola and Apple. Sure, that must have worked for them, but you don’t have the budget to sponsor football teams or ask Kendall Jenner to promote your product.
The truth is, you don’t need that. Most big brands create ads for brand exposure. Budweizer sponsors major NFL teams to make their fans go “Oh, I know these guys” when they see a Bud Light at the supermarket.
You probably don’t need that kind of reach and that kind of advertisement. What you need is marketing that works with a small audience of people who are very likely to buy your products.
Thousands of people instead of millions are going to see your products, but if ten good leads and one conversion is enough to grow your business, you win. Here are five marketing strategies that will grow your business for little to no money.
Before you start
This is the most crucial tip for a small business trying to grow with digital marketing. Before you start your marketing efforts, you need to create a plan.
You have to know what people are you targeting, why would they want to buy your product, and how many leads you need to keep growing. This will define both the quality and the quantity of your marketing.
Start with defining your audience. What if you’re just starting out and don’t have any leads or clients to base your assumptions on? Not a big deal, look at who your competitors serve and brainstorm with your team. Answer these questions:
- What are my audience’s demographics?
- What problems do they solve with my product?
- Where do they look for information?
- What social media are they using?
- How long does it take them to make a decision about the purchase?
If you are targeting customers from another country, you may have trouble seeing the web as they do. Get a VPN service and change your location to access foreign websites and see what your customers see.
When you have that figured out, think how many clients can your team handle at once, and how many leads do you need each month to make your business grow.
With these assumptions, you can choose one or more marketing strategies from this list and grow your business. Don’t forget that your understanding of the plan is just that, an assumption. Be ready to change it if you see that the clients you’re getting are different from what you expected.
The best thing you can do for your business is to establish yourself as an authority. Share your expertise on popular platforms, and people will notice you.
Sure, it may take years of hard work to get anywhere near the level of authority that Neil Patel has in the world of marketing. But if you write for his blog, it tells the potential customers you’re good enough. Guest blogging is also a great way to get huge exposure.
If you’re just starting out, your website probably has no more than 200 unique visitors a day. You may not be writing for Forbes any time soon, but if the blog where you share your expertise has stats akin to these, you’re on the right track.
Find blogs and websites in your industry that have a big enough following, and offer to contribute. Leave a link to your blog or website, and some readers will head over to you.
This will increase your website’s authority in the eyes of Google bots and potential customers.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Organic traffic has a much better ROI than PPC, even though the conversion rate may be lower due to the lack of precise targeting. But it would take years before your new website can rank well for highly competitive keywords like “website design agency” or “buy jewelry NYC,” but you may not need that.
Instead, focus on dominating the SERPs with low-competition long-tail keywords. For our example, these may be “ what does Bootstrap 4.3.0 change for a designer” or “what gems to buy instead of diamonds.”
A quick Google search of the last keyword shows that there are already good articles on the topic. However, the second article only has 4 backlinks. That’s something you can beat.
Now, one page like that won’t make the difference for your business. If you ramp this up and make dozens of pages like this appear high on the SERPs, you’ll get tons of traffic.
Look for topics you can cover and keywords you can rank for and create amazing content. Then, you have to promote it:
- Outreach to small blogs and offer to repost the content with a backlink
- Find resource pages and offer to post a link to useful, relevant content
- Ask top bloggers their opinion, mention them in the post, and ask for promotion on social media
- Find broken relevant links and offer to post your link instead
- Find posts on Quora or Reddit asking about the topic and give a meaningful answer with a backlink
Here’s a pro tip: as you’re growing website traffic with content, work on creating a newsletter and implementing an effective way of getting people to subscribe. This will be the source of most avid fans and big sales. The ROI of email marketing is also phenomenal. You can expect to get $32 for every dollar spent.
Is your product Instagram-worthy? If you’re selling make-up, clothes, or something that looks good on photos, you have to get on Instagram to sell it.
This doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars for a post. The latest Emarketer graph shows you can pay influencers at around $100 and still get conversions.
The truth is, you can just send them a free product for the review. Find influencers on Instagram or Youtube that work in your niche, and offer to collaborate. The key criteria for vetting them is having at least 5,000 subscribers, having a good engagement in the comments, and being respected for their expertise.
This strategy is not fit for everyone, this is why you should start with defining your audience and your goals first. If you’re selling jewelry, there’s no point in offering people to buy these great earrings you have by email.
However, if you’re a B2B company that only needs a couple of new clients a year to grow, outbound prospecting can be the perfect match. You don’t need to send emails to everyone, though. Remember, buying a mailing list on the web is a sure way to the spam folder.
Here’s what you need to do to make outbound marketing effective:
- Study the lead. If they’re hiring or seem like they need your help, they’re not cold.
- Find the right person to contact.
- Personalize the email to increase ROI by 122%.
- Start with engaging the lead in a conversation, not with a pitch.
- Follow up every week.
- Pro tip: always ask for referrals.
Whether you’re doing outbound or inbound marketing, you can’t keep track of every lead on your own. You need customer relationship management software to do that effectively.
A good CRM keeps all customer data and contacts history in one place. This allows you to keep track of all calls and conversations, and analyze your interactions. It’s especially handy if you’re interacting with your customers across multiple channels.
Get a CRM, and you can make your marketing efforts more organized and reduce the cost of business.
Doing marketing for a solopreneur or a small business may seem hard, but it isn’t. If you know your customers, know where you want to be in the future, know the right strategies, and apply yourself, you’ll succeed.
Build your brand’s authority, do SEO and outbound prospecting the right way, work with micro-influencers, and automate your marketing efforts. This will get you dozens of qualified leads for little to no money.