Few of us are experts at marketing our own creative businesses. The good news is we don’t have to be experts; we just have to grasp the basics and put them into practice.
• Start with your business objective—what you want your marketing to accomplish. Make it concrete and achievable.
• Then, map out at least three ways in which you are going to reach your business objective. These are your strategies.
• Finally, get specific. Under each strategy, list the specific actions you will implement—your tactics.
• Now, block out some time to concentrate on marketing and “just do it!”
Marketing is a frequently misunderstood term because it has so many totally different interpretations. Here is my definition: Marketing is identifying a need in the market I serve and communicating to potential clients or customers how my products or services will meet that need. Four important questions to consider:
1. Who are your potential clients or customers?
Let’s face it, the world is a big place, and you can’t meet everyone’s needs. You have to narrow down your market to a manageable size and a group of people who actually want what you provide. For example, my potential clients are those who need some level of help in writing their books.
2. What need of theirs is not being met?
This is critical. You can’t assume you know what they need; assumptions are often incorrect. There are many ways to assess the needs of your market, ranging from personal interviews and surveys to formal market research. People who contact me are looking for someone to write their books for them, guide them through the process of writing them, or fix them after they are already written.
3. How will your products or services meet that need?
My main product is a book called How to Write a Nonfiction Book: From Concept to Completion in 6 Months, which will meet the needs of at least two of those groups. My services include ghostwriting, book marketing, and editing.
4. What methods will you use to communicate with them?
Think of marketing as a set of communication tools to help you get your message across to your audience. These tools can function alone or in combination; the key is for all of them to be sending the same message. If you are focusing on your online presence, your tools might include a Website, online articles, a blog, social networking sites, a store, a monthly newsletter, online forums and specialized groups, and webinars.
What does it really take to market?
Two things. The basics: a business objective, three strategies, and tactics under each strategy. The answers to the four important questions above.