Thursday, April 20, 2017

Online marketing and other bits

So, it's been a while since I posted here .... but I met with a friend of mine today who has recently begun working in a start up (they do furniture and woodwork), and being a 'veteran' of being self-employed, I (annoyingly, probably) dished out advice.... but it was a great conversation and got me thinking. There are a number of things I did when I started out, marketing wise and also discipline wise. These things tend to fall by the way side as we go along and sometimes it does us good to remember them and do them again. Also there are things we learn along the way that are good to keep in mind.

1). Take it one day at a time. Sometimes things can get very overwhelming when you've just started out, you're used to having a salary, and suddenly month end is coming and there's no salary. Try to make plans before you start out and cover a few months' rent, medical aid etc. But spending all your time worrying about tomorrow impacts on how productive you can be today.

2). Take marketing breaks not tea breaks. This is something my friend and colleague Alison Fourie of AMF Typing told me. I haven't always followed this, but when I do, my sales esclate.

3). Set up a website. This may not sound like rocket science, but sometimes people are daunted by the whole idea of a website. The advent of things like WordPress, however, make setting up a site much less daunting than it needs to be. You simply register your domain with a service provider, and go from there. If you have funds available you can also employ a web designer. And something I learned after a while is that it's much better to have an email address with your own domain name than with a generic provider.

4). Social media. Social media can be a full time job if you do all the things there are available. There are so many outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, Google Plus. My feel is that it's better to stick to a few of these and do them properly than go all out with too many and get none of them right. My personal favourites are Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. I feel that they all have different benefits. Linked In in particular is a great place to showcase your experience and skills. But make sure that your profile is extensive and detailed otherwise it may work against you. Facebook is simply the most popular platform. And Twitter has a wide open reach which gives you great exposure.

5). Your work is your reputation. Provide a good quality service and your work will sell itself.

6). Print and distribute brochures, brand your car, put up posters and signs on community boards and in local libraries. Do everything you can to get your name out there.

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