Marketing: Do any of us really like doing it? The “M” word seems so slimy. But let’s face it, no amount of good vibes, vision-board making, and rock star talent will get us recognized without some sort of promotion. There is no “If you build it, they will come.” With millions of people doing business on the internet these days, a mompreneur absolutely must take her product to the people.
I got into the marketing industry by accident. Needing a way to promote my startup and having no advertising funds spurred me to set out on my own. Advertising is intimidating, and I’m an introvert. Nonetheless, I’ve have luck. After a while, I realized that many other wonderful small businesses weren’t even getting off the ground due to the fear of marketing. My goal is to help the good people of the world get their awesome products and services out there. Big box stores have nothing over our unique and helpful offerings, but we have to market ourselves.
The first hurdle is getting over the fact that you must market to succeed. Maybe you make the best cloth diapers in the Midwest. Maybe your essential oil blends knock the socks of the most discerning noses. You love making this stuff, and have seen the benefits of your product. You want to spend all of your time making stuff. You didn’t sign up to be an advertiser, and shouldn’t have to because your stuff is the best! It should sell itself, right?
So, why is that mama making the “ho-hum” diapers and lower grade oil getting all the sales? It’s probably because she’s spending a lot of time and energy digging into the mechanics of their business and promoting their products. She is stealing your spotlight, mama! Don’t let that happen. And don’t even get me started on the department stores.
Everyone tells me they fear promoting themselves but enjoy recommending great products to their friends. Do you agree with this? Let’s keep this fact in mind, because it’s a really important point.
The first reason this is important is because you have a great product! Maybe I’m making an assumption here, but I’m guessing that if you’re well-researched and talented, you probably do have something great to offer. People need your products, and have no idea you exist. This is a disservice to yourself and others.
I would suggest sitting down and making a list of all the great things about your product. How has it helped you, your family, and your friends? What is unique or special about it? How is it used? Get others to tell you what they like about your product. Write down all of this information and keep it handy. You will refer to it time-and-again.
Believing in your offering is so important, because this is what pushes successful businesses to the top. You must be honest, excited, and show integrity when you’re talking about your product. Even on the internet, people can sniff out a dishonest salesperson like a cat smells a fish in a pond. You must learn to talk about your product like a satisfied customer, (and I hope you are one). Enthusiasm is contagious.
Remember how people “enjoy recommending great products to their friends?” People can’t recommend your product if they don’t know it exists. There are many ways of going about this, and social media platforms are an essential part of today’s global marketplace. What’s so great about social media? Once you have established a strong presence there, your adoring customers have the ability to like and share business and products to their friends. It’s like a word-of-mouth recommendation, and we all know how valuable that is.
In the past, companies broadcast their sales pitches on one-way platforms that included magazine ads, TV or radio commercials, billboards, and store shelves. And that’s a very effective form of marketing if you have a lot of money to spend. If not, social media may be your first endeavor, because it’s virtually free.
But social marketing is a two-way street. The consumers carry (broadcast) the brand’s message on social media. While many people fear their product’s reputation being subjected to unflattering comments, I’ve found these instances to be few-and-far-between for small business owners who are honest, carry quality products, and offer great customer service. If you do these things, you should not fear social media. Besides, what do you have to lose if you’re not selling much, anyhow?
You will encounter bumps along the way, and it will feel uncomfortable for a while. New things always do. Just give it a try, and don’t give up when the going gets tough. It’s those who push through that find success.
What are your marketing hang-ups? Share your comments and questions below.