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  • Writer's pictureGrace Malinoski

General Marketing 101 for the Busy Professional

And How to Market Yourself Successfully

As a busy solo professional, bootstrapping entrepreneur, or small team lead, you may find that generally marketing yourself is one of the last things you want to deal with on a regular basis. It’s not much fun for more analytical mindsets, it can be a drag on a creative mind, and it’s just not as urgent as paying bills or meeting deadlines.

And then...your pipeline starts drying up. Your competitors look much better than you do. Your last social media post dates from six months ago. And you know that you need marketing. You just didn’t have the time before it got to this point.

I know how it goes. I’ve seen it play out in corporate and in the nonprofit world multiple times. And depending on who you are and what your goals are, you are here because I can help you solve that exact problem.

In an ideal world, you would have the time, budget, and energy to reach your marketing goals. But it’s not an ideal world. What can you do in 20 minutes a day to rejuvenate your online presence and guide new business to your virtual doorstep?

  • Make an investment

  • Find your audience

  • Test, test, test

  • Keep it consistent

  • And repeat what works

Let’s break these down and see how you can harness what time you have to get at least some of the results you need in order to stay competitive in today’s high-octane environment.

Make an Investment

As a marketer, the number one marketing mistake I see small companies and solo professionals make is not investing anything in their marketing. Most people don’t. It doesn’t bring in money directly, nor does it always work with people who are thinking about purchasing your product or services. And so it falls further and further down the chain of priorities.

This is the wrong way to think about marketing. Marketing is the means by which people know you have an answer to their problems.

If you don’t make that investment, no matter how small, how will people know you have an answer to their needs? It doesn’t have to be hiring a new employee or spending gobs of money. Here is a low-budget, three-step process to making that initial investment in your marketing.

  1. Take a hard look at what you have and what you need marketing for the short- and long-term

  2. Dedicate a specific amount of highly productive time (daily, weekly, or monthly) to working on what you need to do

  3. And outsource it if that makes sense. It’s not as expensive as you might think!

While that last item is slightly shameless, the point I’m making is that you need to deliberately invest in your marketing before you can see results. When you hire me, you will reach your marketing goals much more efficiently and quickly.

Find Your Audience (Again)

Next up: Where is your audience? Whether your pipeline has been fairly full before or you’ve never quite taken off, it’s worth taking another look at where your audience truly is.

Are you there? You may be surprised.

Just because a product or a service has sold well to a particular group in the past does not necessarily mean it will continue to sell to those same people over and over again.

Other people may need it who do not know about it yet. Your services may be used in ways you may not be expecting. Do you know who your audience is?

Once you find your audience, you can dramatically ramp up your marketing and sales effectiveness. If you have not found your audience, your marketing can be the biggest headache in your overall business operations. And that will burn you out.

Don’t let that happen.

Test, Test, Test

No one can or should expect to find what works by trying once and falling down. What works for your competitors may not work for you--they may have a handle in the blog, social media or email world of their customers that you can’t match.

But maybe you can text your customers! Texting is a viable, relatively inexpensive and fresh marketing approach. How about using bumper stickers? If you don’t have time for a weekly blog, have you considered creating a few highly specific and optimized for Google guides to lead people to your products or services? (That’s what I did here, by the way)

If you come into the marketing world with a “fail fast and hard to reach success” mentality, it will make the process much easier on everyone concerned.

That being said, make sure the marketers you choose to work with will be respectful of your budget and time. Some are, and others aren’t.

In a small business setting, it’s important that your marketing works with you in an organic, sustainable way. Traditional agencies may not be right for you. If you are interested in trying some new methods out, I would be more than happy to have a chat with you. Find me here today!

Keep It Consistent

Whatever you start in your marketing efforts, you need to keep it going if you want it to work. No exceptions!

This is where outsourcing your marketing makes the most sense for a small company or a solo professional. I am able to keep whatever we’ve agreed on going in ways that you may not have the capacity to do.

If you want to do it solo, I advise that you schedule two to five hours at the beginning of every work week to create and schedule quality content to go live on the Web. Whether that is a Facebook Page, a series of tweets, or a twice-a-month blog, or something else entirely, keep it going.

Yes, it will be a major headache for the first few weeks or months. Marketing takes time and not everyone realizes that. That’s why a lot of people ignore it.

When done correctly, your consistent efforts build a record that potential leads, customers, and clients will see, and they will be reassured that you are who you say you are and not just another voice shouting into a void.

Repeat What Works

Finally! There’s not much else to be said on this point. If you have followed the other checkpoints, this is where you can rest on your laurels and get back to what makes the money come directly into your business.

For solo professionals and entrepreneurs, this is the point where you are free to go back to why you started your own business or freelancing journey in the first place. For small teams, this is where you can all go back to what you are best at doing and what you signed on to do in the first place.

However, you can do that with the additional reassurance that you have covered your marketing needs. And that will make you stand out.

Happy marketing!

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