As a creative person in business it’s easy to lose yourself in the work —especially if you enjoy doing it. For me that’s writing.
I can slip into a sense of timelessness while working on something that I’m passionate about. But what about the rest of it: the money management, the team management, and particularly the marketing.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), our products, and that includes books and services, won’t sell themselves. And in order for you to sell them effectively, you have to get your mind right.
Everything you do begins with a thought and the series of decisions that follow. To help you get your marketing mind on track, consider the three decisions below.
1) Decide that marketing is as important as the product itself.
For the baker that means the muffins have to taste great AND the marketing has to be effective. If your passion is in your pastry, then you’ll naturally create the best product that you can.
Your marketing, however, will only have impact when you decide to give it weight. I’ve seen this often, writers, artists, or creative small business owners who say they believe in their product but fail to create a smart marketing strategy.
You have to remember that your business, your art is your baby. To the rest of us it doesn’t mean much without a litte help. Effective marketing brings attention to your product. Once you decide that it’s important, you’ll make room for the work.
2) Decide to implement your marketing strategy before the product is finished.
Developing your strategy after you complete the product is kinda like decorating the nursery after the baby is born — you can do it that way, but it’s much smoother if you plan ahead.
Every product needs some type of marketing outline before you can move forward effectively. That outline will become your map reminding you of next steps. It will prompt you to:
- research other products like the one you plan to create,
- research the target market to find out who wants what you intend to sell,
- research what it takes to distribute your finished product,
- brainstorm names for your product,
- brainstorm taglines for your product so that you can describe it quickly,
- hire a virtual assistant to help with some of your online tasks,
and so on.
Once that outline is in place, you don’t have to think so much on what to do next, you can check the list and take action. Plus, weaving marketing into your product design helps you develop an organic message. And the more natural the marketing message, the easier the sharing.
3) Decide to launch twice.
Start with soft marketing and then follow up with a big bang after you get your bearings. Here’s a typical small business example.
When you start a new company, you need business cards, but you don’t need 5000. Shortly after getting those cards in hand, you’ll probably discover a change or two that you need to make. When you have 50 or 100 cards, you can pass those out — or toss’em if you really hate it — and update on the next batch. That’s a better option than wading through — or wasting — 5000 cards that you no longer like. In reflecting on the launch of the OWN Network, Oprah Winfrey says she learned this valuable lesson.
Winfrey launched big and it attracted attention that they weren’t quite ready for. The network was a complete new venture with a steep learning curve. A soft launch, however, gives you a chance to excel at the small things and grow at the pace you choose without all eyes scrutinizing as you perfect your business.
Here’s one soft marketing action that you can take right now:
Create a landing page. You may not be ready for a full blown website, but a single page that gives
- the name of the company, the product or the book;
- the description;
- a relevant picture; and
- a chance to sign up for updates or notification when it’s ready for the world,
gives you a digital face, even as you develop your product.