A micro startup is typically a very small company with fewer than five employees. With the changes in the way we do business, this model has become more common than ever before. You can hire workers remotely or contract only the services you need rather than taking on a big, permanent payroll and all the accompanying headaches and responsibilities. Micro businesses are more common today than they were 30 years ago because the logistics of putting together a micro startup are simpler.
Around 543,000 new businesses open each month, and 52 percent of them are home-based startups. A micro startup is almost always a one- or two-person show. Because you’re responsible for everything from the day-to-day running of your company to hiring employees to logistics, it’s easy to let marketing fall to the wayside. However, it’s vital if you want to continue your growth and move past the micro business stage at some point. There are many ways to market your small business.
1. Educate Your Audience
If your product or service is new, educating your target audience is an important part of getting the word out. Perhaps you invented an item for newborn babies that keeps them safer in their cribs. You must first educate new parents about the dangers of SIDS and the importance of monitoring vital signs even if their child isn’t in a high-risk category. Marketing allows you to educate the consumer and pull in the people who need your product.
2. Show Off Your Founders
Big corporations often focus more on the consumer, but for smaller businesses, your personal story becomes important. People have an opportunity to feel connected to you on a deeper level. Show off the company founders and how they got their start.
Think about little brands that have gone big in recent years and how well you know their story. Poler Outdoor Stuff doubles in growth year after year and Scrub Daddy started small, gained “Shark Tank” investors and is now a huge operation. Each of those brands has a clear story about the founders and how they got their start, and your small business should have one to share as well.
3. Build Brand Loyalty
Micro businesses may have a harder time gaining the trust of consumers because they’re seen as riskier and as having more of a chance at failure. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Branding for any size business requires consistency and a strong image of the brand. As consumers come to know who you are and what drives you to do what you do, they’ll become loyal to your brand, re-ordering from you and referring friends and family.
4. Develop Niche Content
Micro businesses often start with a niche focus, which means you have a very unique audience who buys your product or service. This also allows you to really get to know that particular aspect of an industry and share content with users that is detailed and authoritative. Develop your niche area and share information that highlights how well you understand that particular aspect of your business. Content includes blog posts, social media items, and even video and infographics.
5. Care About What Matters To Customers
Spend time talking to your customers and finding out what they care most about. If you sell seed starter kits, you might find that most of your customers are passionate about heirloom varieties and organic gardening. This drives everything you do, from the types of seeds you offer to the causes you invest in and spend time on.
You can also focus your marketing on the issues your target audience cares about. With a smaller brand, your market may be much more defined than for a national corporation that has all kinds of different customers. This is a good time to develop those missions and causes you care about and that matter to your core audience.
6. Team Up With Influencers
You may not have the marketing budget or the reach of a national brand, but you have something more powerful: the ability to work with a variety of influencers and get the word out about your brand. Look for people who already have a following in the demographic you most want to reach. Some industries are currently more popular for startups than others, such as health care, technology and ecommerce. Look for ways to work within these segments and share posts and customer lists with one another.
7. Learn From Your Mistakes
You’re probably trying to get your business started on a shoestring budget, so the last thing you want to do is waste money on marketing that doesn’t go anywhere. However, if you’re going to make marketing mistakes, now is the time to do so while your business is young and you still have plenty of time to recover. It’s actually the best time to learn from trial and error about what works and doesn’t work with your particular audience.
8. Build Relationships
Running a small company is hectic. It’s hard to find time for networking with other business owners. Marketing online forces you make a few connections you otherwise wouldn’t make. You’ll hire freelancers to create social media posts or complete work on your website. You’ll learn who you can rely on to finish work fast and professionally. As people comment on your social media campaigns, you’ll connect with customers and with other business owners. Over time, you’ll develop a strong network of people to help you drive the word about your company and see what needs to be improved.
Form a Plan
Micro businesses need to come up with an intentional plan for marketing if they hope to grow past the micro stage or at least remain successful. Spend time forming a marketing plan, connecting with like-minded people in your industry and building relationships that will go along with you as your business grows. With a little effort and small investment, you’ll find marketing drives your company forward and helps you find success.
Author Bio: Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.