How to use marketing in a small creative business

There are a lot of formulas, funnels, and customer acquisition frameworks you can use so I selected the steps that make the most sense to me and I will explain them all below. I tweaked some of the more traditional marketing terms to something I thought sounded waaaay cooler.

Let's dive in!

Awarenesses

The first step in every sales process, for any product or service, is to figure out how to get people to see your brand or business in the first place. I briefly touched on this in the previous post about your business foundations because it’s not always easy to figure this one out.

You need to find your audience where they are expecting you to be. For example, as I mentioned in the previous post, if you are reaching your audience through a platform they really don’t want to be sold through, you can have an averse effect with your marketing efforts.

For example, when I scroll through Facebook, I am used to seeing Facebook ads by now. I like some of them, because they really speak to me and where I am at in my life. When I enter a Facebook Group though because I want to ask a question related to my business, I really don’t want to be sold to. I just want a genuinely good-hearted human to help me out.

See what I mean?

For the longest time, and maybe still, I couldn’t get the point of Instagram ads. Instagram is my happy place, it’s where I share beautiful content and I get to read everything my business friends are doing. And I buy from them a lot because of the things I see coming by on Instagram.

But they are the people that I consciously chose to follow on Instagram. They are not some stranger who pops up in my feed while I never really chose to see their content in the first place.

So you see, even when your audience might be buying similar products and services through the platform you are marketing on, even the way you market yourself can have a huge impact.

The best feedback I can give you about this, is to find a way to actually talk to your ideal client and ask them how they use certain platforms and what works for them and what doesn’t. A great way to get customer feedback is through surveys and in-person interviews.

If you want to know more about these tactics, let me know and I can create another blog post about it. It will make me feel as if my Uni degree actually served a purpose :-)

Acquisition

Once you have people who sort of know your brand and they have seen you around in places they like to hang out, it’s time to reel them in.

Figure out one thing that would make their lives easier and that costs you about 5-10 minutes to explain to them. Make sure it’s something they can do or implement right away so they can immediately see the value of it.

A really good tip I once read, was to focus on whatever your customer needs to know before they are ready to invest (more) money in what you offer.

For example, let’s say your main service is web design packages for clients. Something your clients could need to have in place before working with you might be to have a clear vision and ideal client defined, or to have basic branding in place, or even just an idea on tone of voice and strategy behind the website. These are all things you can figure out by talking to potential clients or even based on past experience. It’s also amazing what valuable info you find by simply scrolling through forums.

Acquisition is also a way to get a visitor on your website, or another touchpoint, to give you a way to sell to them in the future.

If you sell mostly though Instagram, make sure people follow you there. If you connect with people in person but you reel them in through LinkedIn, make sure you ask them to connect as soon as possible after meeting them. And send a personalised message! Do you make the most sales through your newsletter? Get people to subscribe.

Whatever works for you, make sure you direct people there and have them make some kind of commitment towards you, even if it’s not immediately financially.

Active customer

Once someone is in the loop of what you do and what you sell, you can try some different tactics to convince them to actually invest.

One tactic that I have seen that works really well is a one-off product or service that is sold for a few weeks only. People get the feeling that they are getting something super exclusive, you can tweak it every time you run it, you can keep creating something slightly different, and you create a sense of urgency so people are more triggered to actually buy it.

You can try monthly variants of the same product, seasonal products, e-courses with a limited-time group coaching offer, seasonal mastermind access, and so much more. Even when you sell services, you can create that sense of urgency by being very clear about how many people you are taking on per month or per quarter.

Getting a customer to buy from you is not the end of it though. Getting someone to be an active customer, in my eyes, is having a customer who likes most of the things you post, who’s super excited when you launch something new, who’s engaged when you ask a question, and who just generally spends a lot of time communicating with you.

Those are the kind of clients who eventually become ambassadors…

Ambassador

While an active customer, the way I see it, is someone who engages with your brand during and after purchase, they only become an ambassador for your brand when they actually talk to other people about your products or services.

When someone loves your stuff so much that they actually start selling it for you, that’s pretty much the place every single business owner wants to be in.

Or is that just me?

Ambassadors are also the kind of people you can ask to become affiliates of your brand. If that’s not your style though, having a list of the people who refer the most traffic or clients to you might help. You can give them a seasonal gift every once in a while or simply send them a handwritten postcard thanking them for their help this past month, season, or year.

Just be sure to thank your ambassadors so they know how much you appreciate their help.

It’s also tricky to have ambassadors because they tend to love your brand and business as it is right now. And we all know that our brands and businesses evolve. So when you pivot, even though you might have informed those ambassadors and they might still like what you’re doing, it could be that your service or product is simply not for them anymore.

When that happens, please know that it’s a natural process.

Your business is not meant to be at a standstill and some people might still fall into your ideal audience while others will not. That doesn’t say anything about whether or not your new direction is working. Just be honest with yourself about whether or not your audience still fits your new direction and what the consequences will be when you shift.

Your ambassadors might just know that friend who was never really a good fit for your previous business model but who was told about you so often already that this new direction might just be what they’re looking for :-)

/There are some resources who mention that ambassadors get paid to promote your products or services while advocates are promoting you because they want to. I, obviously, refer to customers who love your stuff so much that they are promoting it to their friends - regardless of whether they are an affiliate or not. Getting people to love your product is the goal here, not bribing people to sell your stuff for you./

Affluencer

1 ( [obsolete] An abundant flow or supply.
2 An abundance of wealth . His *affluence* was surpassed by no man.

To be clear, this word is completely made up and doesn’t really exist as far as I know. For the purpose of keeping my A’s in a row though, I liked the idea of this additional group who goes slightly beyond being a regular Ambassador for your brand.

These Affluencers are Ambassadors who have brought consistent or recurring income for your business, who almost sell your brand as well as you, who helped you land a really big client or project, who helped you get a  spot at a really interesting conference for a speaking gig, or even someone who stuck with you while you were going through a rough time of year.

These are the people who deserve a special Christmas present at the end of the year, the people whose birthday you should always remember and the people who you should engage with as much as they engage with you.

They are the people who bring in money for your business, therefore bringing affluence to you, and they do it all the freaking time.

Since you can’t really be building statues for everyone, though you could definitely try, I do believe that they deserve a little special something every now and then to thank them for how much they mean to you and your business.

I hope this post has triggered you to get your marketing in place stante pede! If you’re not sure how to implement all this stuff though without spending waaay too much time on it, please know that there are people (like me 😊) who can help you out with this.

Have a short(er) question that I can help you with? Email me! I promise I will always respond and I will help you out as much as I can.

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