February 16, 2021

2 Marketing Strategies for an Entrepreneur

Marketing for entrepreneurs can be difficult, especially when the marketing budget is tight. But here are some strategies to keep in mind.

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, there are ways that you can build specific marketing strategies for your own company. There are a number of ways that you can make your small business successful using less expensive options, such as email marketing or digital marketing, for instance. When resources are limited, ensuring your marketing plan is aligned with your business plan is key if you don't want to waste money.

marketing strategies for entrepreneurs

An Entrepreneur Marketing Strategy Shouldn’t be “No Marketing”

small businesses and entrepreneurs need a marketing strategy

This is such a dangerous misconception. Small business owners and entrepreneurs often think that marketing strategies won’t work for them. But you actually just need to work differently. Your marketing efforts for your product or service can have a positive return. This first step requires that you define your target market and target audience through some bootstrapped market research.

At Entrepreneur magazine, Tiffany Delmore wrote about marketing strategy misconceptions to know about.

She speaks to the challenges entrepreneurs and small business owners face and why that makes them less confident in their own marketing tactics and strategies. You can certainly market your own business effectively, on your own. The purpose of this blog is to help you.

However, if that becomes too much, there are also affordable firms that are willing to help. Full disclosure, we are one of them. It does take skill to identify your potential customers and build a competitive marketing strategy for both the short term and the long term.

Creativity is More Important than Budget

a creative, motivating message beats budget every time

Joe Procopio from Built In wrote a really informative article about the failings of traditional marketing strategies for startups and businesses run by entrepreneurs. I would argue that Procopio might be a bit of an extremist in his article, but he does have one important point:

When startups think marketing, they usually think Coke, Nike, or Apple—companies that have spent decades developing brand strategy and brand messaging, and they spent millions, if not billions, to do it well.  

To win in marketing, you do not have to be a purveyor of aspirational products to multiple market segments. You have to start with just one target. Our brand strategy and brand message processes are straightforward.

To build a great brand strategy, you have to complete a solid market segmentation analysis. Then, you need to identify the segment where your product or service has the best competitive advantage. Next, you have to do a little market research. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it does require some time to build a clear picture of who your target is. We call that a persona.

The reason many small businesses and entrepreneurs struggle in building a marketing strategy is that they skip this step.  Defining your target is the single, most import, step in building a successful marketing strategy.

After you have developed the persona, now, we need to use our creativity to ensure that our Brand Message is creative enough to break through without a large marketing spend behind it. To do this, we need to understand the emotional needs of our target. Social media has leveled the market research playing field. Through social listening, you can learn a significant amount about your target.

Once you have a solid understanding of the target's needs, you can get creative with how you deliver a differentiated solution, which can motivate them to act.

Finally, there are low cost options such as guerrilla marketing, that can get the message to your target. You just need to be really creative to make it work.

In Summary:

If you’re worried about your small business marketing strategy as an entrepreneur, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Invest in Marketing: No one will buy your product or service if they don't know you exist. The marketing plan is the engine that drives the business plan. It will be difficult to go far without it. You do not need to invest heavily in marketing to be effective.  
  2. Have a Creative Brand Message: If you want to stand out from the crowd and bring attention to your business, you need a strong creative hook. Creativity delivery of meaningful and motivating brand messages beats a large budget every time. The Dollar Shave Club is a classic example.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile

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