Make a clear creative marketing strategy plan
My years spent as a magazine editor taught me bucket loads about the value of making a clear marketing strategy plan. Knowing who your customer is and how to connect with him or her really is key to a successful business. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to get it out to the right potential customers, you won’t succeed. It sounds obvious, but I think this is where so many small, creative businesses fall down.
Creative Marketing strategy – the importance of having one
I asked Sam Burgess, a social media and creative marketing coach at Small and Mighty Co, (she specialises in helping small businesses and creatives) to share her top tips for getting this right.
Sam’s 5 essential tips for successful creative marketing
1 Start with your ‘why’ and your ‘who’
Why are you selling what you sell? 2: Why would someone pay for it? 3:Why you over another similar business? Your who, is about, Who is this for? Who is your target customer?
2 Avoid the most common mistake: not knowing who your customer is
The most common pitfall I see is not knowing who your customer is, or going far too broad (such as age 25-55). You need to niche your target customer to a five year age range; you need to know everything from their gender and location to what keeps them awake at night… to where they buy their knickers! If you know your customer, you can relate and quickly build up ‘know, like, trust’ and be their brand of choice – and the brand and Instagram account they tell all their friends to buy from and follow. If you try to talk to everyone, you end up being heard by no one.
3 What successful businesses have in common
All successful businesses have nailed their ‘why’ and ‘who’, they have also built up ‘know like trust’. With larger well-known brands this is over many years and offering guarantees such as John Lewis’ “never knowingly undersold”. For small businesses, it’s about showing up, relating to their audience and listening to what they want and adapting accordingly. Putting the customer at the forefront of your business is imperative for its success. Without your customers you do not have a business and when I see businesses fail it’s because they have ploughed on ahead with their vision for the company, regardless of whether the customer agrees.
4 Be visible
Apart from defining your who and why it’s about being visible; this means as a small business owner, putting your face on Instagram Stories, attending events and building a network. No man is an island, and small businesses need each other. A more established small business may be the perfect brand partner for you to get your business up and running – as long as they are complementary and not a competitor, then sharing their audience with you shouldn’t be an issue, as nobody buys everything exclusively from one business.
5 Avoid the perfection trap – just do it and learn as you go
Not starting with a new business until it’s perfect, is something I see all the time. “Once I have the perfect font, I will launch my website”, “Once I have 1000 Instagram followers I will start a mailing list”. There is no such thing as the perfect time to do anything, just do it; learn as you go, make mistakes, and improve; it’s all part of the beautiful journey of being your own boss.
I really like Sam’s approach to what she does – and that she, like me, hates the terms ‘mumpreneur’ and ‘girl boss’. I’ve not thought of myself as a girl since I was about 12 and although I’m a mum, I would NEVER describe myself as a mumpreneur, would you?
I asked Sam to share her thoughts on what Small and Mighty Co can offer creative businesses:
‘Small and Mighty Co. has bought together 11 industry experts all passionate about supporting small creative businesses, each ‘Co’ shares her advice in the form of a monthly blog post on “In-The-Co”, as well as a monthly Facebook Live in the Small and Mighty Business Community, and is also available to hire should you want to work them.
Many first-time small business owners are 35 plus, with many of my clients being in their forties and fifties, and they didn’t know where to go for advice or how to find relatable mentors to help them with the different aspects of running their business. Small and Mighty Co. came as an extension of my existing marketing consultancy.
Jargon free creative marketing advice for women
I had noticed a gap in the market for relatable, jargon-free, non-patronising business advice for creative business owners where they weren’t referred to as ‘girl bosses’ or ‘mumpreneurs’ – words that make me cringe.
What was important to me was that the advice was free, practical and actionable, but also a place where you could feel confident you would be hiring a vetted expert and not needing to spend hours on Google looking for the perfect person to help with your SEO or run Facebook Ads for you. The reaction to Small and Mighty Co. has been incredible, and I am so proud to have put something so useful out into the community.’
Here Sam is presenting at Top Drawer with inspiring Sarah Hamilton (founder of the Just a Card campaign), Sarah Tippet (Bridal Editor) and Lucy Heath (Capture by Lucy) they all share really interesting personal insight on how they use social media in different ways to market their businesses.
Simple & Season soulful creative marketing
Another wonderful place to find creative marketing help and inspiration is Simple & Season. Kayte Ferris is a creative business coach and marketing mentor with a mission to help creative people find their own clarity and direction in business.
I love the inspiration behind Kayte’s own creative business:
‘I am a creative business coach and marketing mentor helping creative people find their own clarity and direction in their business and help them grow with soul. The inspiration behind my business came out of the blog and Instagram, and all the amazing creative people I was meeting online. I was an in-house marketer for three years and for some reason it’s something that’s always come very easily to me, but through meeting others online I realised it doesn’t always come easily.
There’s so much online advice out there full of ‘must dos’ and ‘these 5 simple things will make you a millionaire’, and navigating it all is so overwhelming for people trying to get a business off the ground or take it to the next stage. And a lot of that advice is a bit disingenuous and misleading, particularly for small creative businesses. So I wanted to use my knowledge and skills to help people grow their businesses in an effective but soulful way, in a way that was meaningful and sustainable for them and didn’t make them feel, well, really gross!
What’s holding you back?
‘My aim is to simplify key marketing concepts, re-framing them in ways that are essentially human and easy to understand. Through my newsletter Monthly Mail I also set monthly marketing challenges and creative prompts to inject some inspiration and help people do at least one thing that month that will move their business forward. The main part of my work, however, is one-to-one coaching, working with creatives to find out what’s holding them back, where they want to be, what they want to do, and putting a strategy together to make that happen.
For Kayte it’s all about growing your business with soul – and setting out on the right path with clarity. It’s interesting to hear that lack of clarity and in-depth knowledge about the target market are common issues she comes across in her work:
‘What I’ve found across the board when working with clients is that a feeling of confusion, of not knowing where to turn or do for the best, comes from a lack of clarity across the key foundations of business. So making sure that you have a strong business purpose, one that anchors you, directs you and drives you, as well as an in depth knowledge about your target customer are the most important things in building a soulful marketing strategy.
‘And if you think you’ve got those things, niche down on what you’re great at. We have a tendency to want to be all things to all people, but all that really does is confuse our customers and dilute our offerings. Focus on what you want to be known for, get really specific on what you’re amazing at and people will understand. That’s exactly what I did.’
Simple & Season resources
You’ll find great free resources on the Simple & Season website including online courses, coaching fantastic podcasts, as well as some really useful free resources to help you move your business forwards with fresh purpose.
Between Sam and Kayte there is all the information, help and support you need to make a clear marketing strategy plan to start connecting you with more of the right customers. The customers who will help you grow a sustainable businesses based on doing what you love and are great at. Good luck!
I’m sharing my 10 Steps to Creative Business Success in a series of separate posts, as well as a PDF with all the information in one place for you to download and keep at the end.
The 10 steps I’ll be covering are:
- Website design inspiration using WordPress and Squarespace
- Photography tips for makers
- Don’t underestimate the power of a solid Pinterest marketing strategy
- The best online tools and apps to help you
- Social media marketing, photography, storytelling and strategy
- Profitability & how to build a sustainable business
- Make a clear creative marketing plan
- Don’t be afraid to learn from mistakes
- The power of planning to help you build a sustainable business
- Sometimes forget the plan and seize the moment
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