Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis are the Co-Creators of All You Need Method, a PR & Marketing resource that helps small business owners get the word out about their company and build a lasting brand. With 20+ years of experience working in PR & marketing for small brands, large corporations, and agencies, Kathryn and Carla are passionate about helping solopreneurs succeed. Check out their limited-time-only Brand Foundation Bootcamp for May 2021 (offer expires 4/30) and their digital course The PR & Social Media Starter Kit.
If you had big dreams to build your side hustle or small business that were derailed by all of the other challenges of the past year – like becoming a homeschool teacher on top of everything else! – don’t be discouraged. There has never been a better time to get back on track, think about what you stand for as a business owner, and take getting the word out about your business into your own hands.
Thanks to the power of digital media, there are many free tools at your disposal to help you reach your ideal customer. While it can seem overwhelming to take on your own marketing as a solopreneur/working mom, there are some simple strategic steps you can take that will get you moving in the right direction. We’re sharing 4 steps below that you can take now to make 2021 your most successful year yet!
1. Reflect on Your “Why”
Before you gear up to spread the word about your business, press pause and carefully consider your “why.” Why are you starting this business in the first place? What are you passionate about? What has your personal path and career journey been up to this point? What makes you uniquely qualified to service your ideal customer? What do you want people to feel when they buy your product or work with you?
Ever feel a little guilty about ordering non-stop from Amazon? People want to support other people – not just buy endlessly from big-box retailers. You have a very exciting opportunity as a small business owner to put a face and values behind your company from the beginning, so spend some time reflecting on this before diving into the next three steps.
2. Carefully Consider Who You’re Selling To
The world has changed significantly over the past year and so have the wants, needs, habits, and interests of consumers. As a small business owner, it’s very important to understand your target audience’s current problems or needs in order to relate to them, build trust, and deliver a product or service that is helpful and will keep them coming back for more.
First, think about who your ideal customer would be: if the person you created your product or service for walked through the door, who would they be and why? Once you have a clear visual of that person, think about how the past year has impacted their life. What do they most need or want that you can give to them – whether through your product or service, or areas of expertise?
This is a great opportunity to think outside of the box and to consider your “why” (step 1). For example, if you are a jewelry designer who is passionate about bringing joy to others, and your ideal customer is a mom in her 40s, think about where she could use the most encouragement right now and what life events she is currently celebrating that she might want to commemorate with jewelry.
3. Refresh Your Website and Social Channels
If your website and social media channels are already set up, now is a great time to refresh them. If you haven’t set them up yet, now is a great time to do so!
As you refresh or set up, consider if your ideal customer had a 30-second encounter with your website or Instagram page: what information would you want them to walk away with? This is what should be front and center on your homepage, Instagram bio, etc. – make it easy for your ideal customer to understand what you stand for, what you do, and why you’re the best option for them! Include important details like store hours, what you offer, who your product or service is for, as well as anything that makes your business special. If you’re stuck on what sets your business apart from others, think about step 1: your personal story, the “why” behind your company, your values, etc. Those are unique to you and no one else can claim them!
4. Prioritize Telling Your Own Story
Long gone are the days when a magazine, newspaper, or website would be one of the only ways to get the word out about your business. Through social media, your website, and newsletter (your “owned channels”), you are able to communicate directly with your customers and build relationships with them. You get to decide what to post and when which is incredibly valuable! While getting your business mentioned in a magazine or online outlet is exciting and beneficial for brand awareness, it’s largely outside of your control. We recommend focusing your time and resources on communicating with your audience directly. Posting to social media or a blog, or sending a newsletter consistently can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to make it manageable:
- Pick only a one to two owned channels to focus on, prioritizing platforms you are most familiar with using and where your audience is most active
- Quality and consistency are more important than quantity. If you’re only posting once a week due to bandwidth, that’s OK! Commit to that and continue to grow as you’re able
- To inspire ideas for what you’re posting, think about how you can serve your customers through your areas of expertise and what is relevant to both your brand and audience (events, holidays, partnerships, new product launches, etc.)
- Take advantage of easy design tools like Canva, as well as iPhone editing apps like VSCO
- Create a content calendar so that you can plan out posts a month in advance to avoid last-minute scrambling to decide what to post. You can set this up in a simple Google doc. We include a template with our digital course.
Remember, these challenging times will pass! There is a massive opportunity for small business owners who are proactively planning for a brighter future.
If you are looking for additional direction, we created The PR & Social Media Starter Kit digital course that guides you through each of the steps and more in detail with video lessons and worksheets. Check out their limited-time-only Brand Foundation Bootcamp for May 2021 (offer expires 4/30) and their digital course The PR & Social Media Starter Kit.
Carla & Kathryn