Here’s Our Marketing Strategy Plan for Solopreneurs In Knowledge Commerce. Follow These Ten Steps In Sequence. Research Before Making Final Decisions.
When it comes to building a solid foundation for an online Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs business, your marketing strategy has to be Grade A – and nothing less. It’s the process of steps you are going to take to reach your business goals. Notice that I didn’t say it has to be complicated or tough. It has to be easy to articulate and implement, but it also has to be an ultra-smart strategy.
Your marketing strategy will really help if it is sequenced correctly. It should begin with understanding what you want to achieve first. You then progress to understanding who your customers could potentially be. You also see your competitors standing in the way of your getting the customers you want.
You then plan your angle of attack that’s differentiated from your competition. You plan exactly what to offer customers that will help you rake in earnings for yourself. With all this in mind, you then decide how to market, what to say about you and your products, how to reach your audiences and make them buyers – and then how to make one-time buyers into repeat buyers.
At Solohacks Academy, we know you feel great when you are working with a fresh slate. Harness that starting energy and follow the example we’re giving you here of the steps to go through to put in place your marketing strategy. Research every step of the way so your gut feel is complemented by ground realities.
1. Find your unique niche of expertise by looking deep within yourself
For most people, the starting point in identifying their unique marketable expertise would be to look at their own education or career strong points. Sometimes they go further afield and take on areas of passion or deep interest.
But you may have to look a little beyond your professional or interest strong points. You may have to identify a competitive or “differentiating knowledge tilt”. Again, this tilt needn’t be something spun out of thin air. You can discover it too when you look deeper into yourself.
Many of us think of ourselves as single-dimensional professionals. Whereas, we may have many facets to our knowledge that remain unexploited. We may discover hidden expertise areas and potential knowledge niches if we drill down further than the surface of what we know about ourselves.
You don’t have to be an expert in some formal knowledge to succeed at Knowledge Commerce. Your forte could be some kind of informal, but eminently useful, knowledge. For example, you could ask yourself “What peculiar smarts do I have?” You could end up with talents like this:
- “I’m damn good at ducking conflict”
- “I am brilliant at collecting outstanding dues from clients”
- “I’ve learned the trick of de-addicting from my mobile”
2. Write down your mission statement as your core “why” of business
There’s a very simple but profound rule of life about stating your business mission. Write your mission statement – and your goals – not for the amount of money you want to make. Instead, state your business “why”. Money will follow.
Most people would think that the more clearly your mission statement and your goals specify the kind of money you want to make, the more money you will make. But we’ve discovered that the exact opposite is true.
Both your mission statement and goals have to be nothing about the quantum of money you want to make. Instead, it should be about your larger, and more universal, goal on how you can help others (your target audiences) achieve whatever “value” they desire. The paradox of life, and business, is that in helping others achieve their cherished “value”, you stir up your own ability to create wealth.
Also, your mission statement should precede any goals you set for your business. Why? Because the mission statement is like a guiding compass of the direction you want to take. The goals are the steps you then take to go in that direction. Both mission and goals need to be aligned.
3. Get a strong fix on who your likely target audience is
Target groups are the specific segment or audience of people you want to aim your marketing at, so that you can turn them into engaged readers, loyal subscribers and eventually regular buyers of your products and services.
Once you identify a broad swathe of potential target audiences for your business, you then have to break them down into micro-segments. Only then can you aim and hit them with more accuracy – and shape their minds towards you with deeply relevant products.
You have to know who exactly form your target audiences groups. More importantly, you have to know their psychology and behavior like the back of your hand – their ages, demographics, tastes, preferences, motivations, budgets, online behavior, buying behavior et al.
It helps to ask yourself three critical questions:
- What problems does your business solve? And do some people know they have this particular problem?
- What kind of people are most likely to be suffering from these problems you have identified?
- What are your competitors doing? Are they solving these same problems or other problems?
In all this discovery, don’t forget one most important principle: you have to be looking for target audiences you can build long-term relationships with.
4. Do smart competitive analysis by looking for the leader of the enemy pack
One of the first set of tasks you have to complete in your competitor analysis is to see who your main competitor is, based on who his audiences are. At first, you may list many probable competitors, but eventually you have to boil it down to a one-to-one fight, because it’s foolhardy to take on the whole bunch of competitors simultaneously. Beat the biggest one and you beat them all.
Your second task is to notice carefully how the real competitor has segmented his audience to be able to offer products suitable to those segments. If there is an area of mismatch between the audience segments and the products the competitor offers to those segments, you have uncovered your first weak link in the competitor’s game.
Once you’ve identified the key competitor to go after (in order to outwt the whole pack of others running behind him), there are four things to do:
- Get clear on your competitor, his audience segmentation, and his products-to-audience matching.
- Make a thorough analysis of your competitor’s marketing strategies, including his reach and regularity.
- Analyze your competitors’ audience relationship and community-building strategies.
- Check out the competitor’s reputation in the market with some astute social listening.
Gaps in your competitor’s game give you golden opportunities to break his stranglehold on the target audiences he has whom you covet.
5. Choose your business model … it’s the plan of how you’ll make your money
What is a business model? It’s the strategy and process you will follow to make money from your business. There are many ways to make money by engaging in Knowledge Commerce. You can create and sell ebooks, online courses, memberships, or consulting services in your niche.
Of course, as in most conventional businesses, you could start by making products first and selling them to matching audiences. But the far smarter way to use in Knowledge Commerce is to start by building an audience first and then making products to suit them.
You also have the option of selling your knowledge directly as products and services – or you can give your knowledge away free to create a brand platform that attracts other income sources like sponsorships or the opportunity to become an influencer.
Finding a trusted business model is good, but better still finding a business model you can handle as a solo-ist. A good question to ask yourself is this: “Which business model can I handle easily as a solopreneur without burning myself out?” As solopreneurs, we all have to decide prudently on our own mix depending on our target audiences, our own work/life balance, and our intuitive pulls towards our own success routes.
There is no single business model superior to others, because you may find most solopreneur examples show how they have combined several business models to hybridize a model unique to themselves. Innovation always pays.
6. Zero in on your positioning strategy in the market and in consumers’ minds
What is “positioning”? It is all about occupying the minds of your audiences and dislodging competitors from there. It’s also about carving your own domination corner in the market.
Positioning works well when you are able to state clearly and unambiguously what your difference from your competitors is. What do you offer that they don’t? What is that differential that will always separate you from other marketers because it is your rare uniqueness?
The idea of “positioning is also associated with a second concept – your “value proposition”. To get your value proposition, you have to first gauge what your potential customer’s biggest pain-point is. Then you have to see how you can solve this big pain best because of your uniqueness (i.e. your positioning). You have to let the customer know that your uniqueness is what can solve his pain point the best – and why.
This is how the positioning you state as your difference in the market becomes relevant to the consumer as an answer to his pain point. Positioning and value-propositions cannot exist meaningfully without each other.
7. Plot the stage of your sales funnel – your audiences’ journey towards buying
The definition of a sales funnel is this. People who buy products – any products – go through stages. They first explore a need. They examine possible solutions. They then buy products that provide these solutions.
You could be wasting your time and effort writing vague and purpose-less blog posts. Would it not be smarter to know what information people seek during buying decisions? Would it not be smarter to support them with the right content at the right stage to make decisions favoring you? That’s why it’s important to understand the many stages of the sales funnel. You can encourage the slow-moving customer to proceed faster down the funnel with the right information.
Below is a diagram showing you the eight stages of a sales funnel.
- The two top stages are clubbed together as Top Of The Funnel, or TOFU. This is where the customer is TRIGGERED by a pain-point to CONSIDER looking for solutions.
- The next two stages are clubbed together as Middle Of The Funnel or MOFU. Here the customer CHOOSES to TRY out some possible solutions he has come across.
- The next two stages are clubbed together as Bottom Of The Funnel or BOFU. This is where the customer decides to BUY a shortlisted product and EXPERIENCE your service.
- The last two stages are about retaining customer LOYALTY. They happen after purchase, when we have to cajole buyers to REPURCHASE more products, or ADVOCATE your products to others.
As people progress from gathering information to ultimately making a purchase, the crowds thin out – and the people you sell products to remain just a fraction of those who first seemed to enter the funnel. That’s why the funnel is … well, funnel-shaped.
8. Commit to a content marketing strategy that includes consistent blogging
Traditional advertising – or even online advertising – doesn’t work well for online businesses. Why? Because the online audiences search the Net for information. They don’t come to buy products.
Research also suggests that when people come online, they like to follow their own pace. They read information they like, they develop an affinity for authoritative writers they like, and gradually they begin to trust the authors they like. Then, when the author recommends a product or two, the audiences become well-disposed to following his recommendations.
- He has to publish articles rich in valuable and relevant “content”.
- He has to create his own unique brand of information.
- His content has to become more and more engaging, credible and trustworthy with audiences.
- He then influences sales, without needing to resort to interruptive and irrelevant advertising, that online audiences despise.
Content Marketing costs less to start with, but takes time to produce results. But when it does begin to sell for you, the profitability can be very high.
9. Decide the metrics and process by which you’ll measure performance
Measuring the performance of your website and business, to see how users interact with your content and products, is something all solopreneur Knowledge Marketers should do regularly. But it shouldn’t just be about the data and metrics you collect. What will you do with all the data? What do you aim to find out?
From the statistics you gather, you have to analyze if user behavior on your site is what you want it to be. You have to get insights on how your potential customer sees your site’s value.
User behavior shows you how any user typically interacts with your pages and posts. By measuring site performance and studying user behavior, you can figure out not only how many people are interacting with your site, but also which pages bring them to your site in the first place, and which pages they engage with the most.
Study site performance and user behavior via three sets of parameters. One, see how people behave on arrival at your site from Google. Two, see how site users behave with the usage of your site. And three, see how they behave with your social media posts.
10. Stay at the cutting edge of technology through planned upgradation
Technology will keep changing and evolving. Technology will change the way your business operates – and it may change your knowledge products repertoire as well. No one can stop that.
Those solopreneur Knowledge Commerce marketers who are timid about change – or tentative or fearful – will get stuck in the old ways, and fall behind the curve. Those who embrace technology change pro-actively, and try to encash on it, will grow faster than the crowd.
It’s good to have a dictum to not adopt technological shifts just for the sake of it – or just to be with the crowd. Neither should you overspend by being too far ahead of the trends, and put yourself in a position to be the guinea pig.
Stay at the cutting-edge with a periodic and systematic upgradation review. Have a strong readiness for change, by being a vigilant trend-watcher. make your goal single-pointed: it’s growth. Whatever supports growth is the only right way to stay ahead of technology.
An appetite for growth at the least cost, and with lots of readiness to experiment and innovate is the key. And it cannot be left to happenstance. The exploitation of technology, at the right time and at the right price, has to be deliberately incorporated into your business process.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
This post is part of a series that elaborates on “Marketing Strategy Plan For Jumpstarting Knowledge Commerce“.
Other related posts you may like to read are these:
- How To Find Your Niche Of Expertise For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Write Your Mission Statement For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Find Your Target Audience For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Conduct Competitive Analysis For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Develop A Business Model For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Create A Positioning Strategy For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Create A Sales Funnel For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Do Content Marketing For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Measure Performance Of A Website In Knowledge Commerce
- How To Exploit Cutting Edge Technology In Knowledge Commerce