When you are starting a side hustle, one of the most important things you can do for your business is market. But marketing can get pretty out of control if not planned strategically. The first thing you need to do is make sure your marketing is synergistic with your sales plan.
Years ago, I worked for an ad agency in San Diego. Out of the blue someone called our office and asked to speak to the media buyer – which was me. I answered the call and it was a local plumber, who serviced commercial buildings and businesses. He wanted to know if we could create an ad for his business to shine on the side of building at night – because he saw this done in Las Vegas the weekend before and thought it was clever.
So I asked him, “This particular ad would only be seen during evening hours – half of each day, with very little exposure during the middle of the night, correct?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess so,” he replied.
I then asked, “Do you know how many of your prospects – business owners or commercial property managers – drive past this particular building during evening hours to see it?”
“Um, no,” he said.
“Are there other media outlets that your prospect might consume that isn’t just shown overnight, in one spot in town and has more data we could look at?” I asked.
“Probably. I’ll call you back.”
Not surprising, but he never called back. What he thought was a clever marketing tactic was completely out of line for his business and would be a total waste of his marketing dollars. It’s wildly important that your marketing support your sales efforts when you have a side hustle.
Typically when starting out marketing dollars are sparse, so use what you have but be strategic about it. Use marketing channels that your target niche is consuming, and help to support your sales efforts.
Social Media Is Not A Silver Bullet
Social media has been an amazing marketing tool for a lot of small businesses and side hustles, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a silver bullet. Putting up a facebook post will not get you customers – but it will start to build some brand awareness.
Alexandra Franzen, a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur based in Hawaii, deleted all of her social media accounts 5 years ago and has a thriving business to show for it. “Social media can certainly be part of your overall marketing plan, if you want, it’s a powerful tool. But it’s an optional tool, not a mandatory tool. If you don’t want to use social media, that is totally okay. There are plenty of other options. There are so many different ways to build relationships, promote your work, find clients and customers, and make great money without using social media. Reach out to a dream client, talk to your inner circle and ask for referrals, or even use snail mail. The main thing to remember is to be excellent at what you do. Social media is just a small spoke in your marketing wheel,” she explains.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. It’s a long tail effort though, it takes time to build up a strong and engaged email list. According to the DMA Marketer Email Tracker 2019, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. This is why so many online marketers purport growing your email list.
It gets even more exciting for ecommerce businesses – according to Omnisend, sending 3 abandon cart emails (the “hey you left something in your cart” reminders) results in 69% more orders than sending just one reminder email.
It behooves you to start building your email list. It’s not always quick, but slow and steady wins the race.
Text Message Marketing
In my own business, I’ve had clients close up to $10,000 in a single day from a one text message campaign. Text message marketing is a very effective tool in your marketing toolbox. 98% of text messages are open and read, compared to email marketing’s average open rate of 20%, and 90% of those messages are read within 3 minutes.
Compare this to other marketing channels and you’ve got a winner. When you know your message is going to be read by 98% of your audience and most within 3 minutes of getting it – it doesn’t get much better than that.
The key is to get your audience to opt-in, no one appreciates text spam.
If you aren’t afraid of public speaking, do everything you can to get out there and speak to groups of people. Whether it’s on a stage, panels, keynotes, or on podcasts, summits, radio, etc. If there is an opportunity for you to get in front of a group and tell your message – do it. Speaking typically has a very high return, since you have an engaged audience and your message can be heard to lots of people at once.
Finally, you have to get out and network. It’s necessary and beneficial. Just showing up and being seen does a lot for a side hustle. Hiding behind your computer will never grow your business, and a lot of new entrepreneurs make this mistake. It’s uncomfortable to get out and talk about your business – but it’s a must. Go to networking events, conferences, speakers series, mixers, or even start your own networking events. Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we won’t be forever. So plan now on how you can get out and meet people, even if it’s just digitally through Facebook or LinkedIn Groups.
There are lots of other ways to market your business, but just remember, your marketing efforts need to be synergistic with your sales efforts. Make sure they support each other so you can maximize your time and spend.
The final piece in this series is recommended reading. Books that have been instrumental in my own business and the businesses of my clients.
The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Side Hustle – 7 Part Series:
Part 1: Passion Is Not The Way
Part 2: Narrow Your Niche
Part 3: Managing Your Time
Part 4: Automation and Systems
Part 5: Making Money
Part 6: Marketing
Part 7: Recommended Reading