What lockdown taught me about micro business marketing challenges

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Micro Business Marketing Challenges

What lockdown taught me about micro business marketing challenges

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2020 has certainly posed many micro business marketing challenges. I came into the year having decided my goals for the year. At the end of January, my husband and I went on holiday for two weeks. We kept an eye on what was happening in China. Two weeks after we got back, I knew that I’d have to adjust my goals.

I had a feeling lockdown was coming. I knew it would impact so many micro businesses. So, I set about creating a plan to help. By the middle of March, I had planned three webinars in a six-week period, starting in April. I did three Facebook Lives (one on my Page and two on others) before I kicked off weekly lives on my page.

Heading into the middle of May, I knew I needed to take stock and understand micro business marketing challenges as a result of COVID-19. I also wanted to understand the support needed for the remainder of 2020. So, I launched a survey to get an idea of whether anything had changed since my last survey in the November before.

Micro business marketing challenges

I’ve shared the results with my email list and my Facebook Group. But, since they have impacted my thinking and how I want to support micro businesses, I thought it was time to put fingers to keyboard and explain what I found out.

Your focus for the rest of 2020

I asked respondents to prioritise their focus for the rest of the year. The image below shows you what they said. I think it’s true for most of us that we want to find new customers. Everyone’s business suffered – mine too.

Lockdown, Marketing

Minal’s Tip: whilst we want to find new customers, did you know it’s actually cheaper for you to keep existing customers? In fact, it’s five times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an existing one. (Stat from Invesp)

The marketing topics that are headscratchers for you

Next, I asked respondents to prioritise what they wanted to learn about when it comes to marketing. It was no surprise that organic social media came out top of the list. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the participants also wanted to make sure they had their marketing strategy right.

Micro Business, Small Business, Lockdown, Marketing

Minal’s Tip: I know it can seem like social media is your only option when promoting your business. But it’s not. For example, did you know that email marketing gives an average return of £42 for every £1 spent? Getting your strategy right will help you understand the digital, and non-digital, tools you can use to help you be seen and find buyers. (Stat from the DMA)

The way you prefer to learn

Given the timing of this survey, it’s perhaps no surprise that webinars came out top. In fact, the top two methods of learning involve video. Remember I talked about my goals at the top? I had decided not to do any of my own events this year, opting to pitch to speak at others’ events. But this response has changed my mind. In fact, I have three more webinars planned for later this year! The first one is all about getting started with Canva.

Micro Business, Small Business, Lockdown, Marketing

Minal’s Tip: during lockdown, video consumption has increased. It’s only going to get bigger. In fact, 75 million people visit Facebook’s video platform each day. One great way to use video in your marketing is to go live on your Facebook Page.  If you’re a bit nervous about doing that, read this post I wrote. (Stat from Adweek)

Are you getting a bang for your buck?

The last question I asked in my survey was whether people thought they were getting results from their marketing efforts. The majority said no, as you can see from the image below. Working with micro businesses, I find that many use a scattergun approach, which generally only uses promotions. That’s why a strategy and plan are so important.

Small Business, Lockdown, Marketing

Minal’s Tip: If you can’t work out what your strategy should be, consider working with a coach (I know, I know, you think I would say that!) But did you know 86.3% of business owners see a positive impact on their business from business coaching? (Stat from The Alternative Board’s Business Pulse Survey)

What are the problems you’re facing?

From my conversations with micro business owners, together with additional information I gathered in my survey, here are the three things that stood out to me as your challenges:

  • Time: if you’re the only person in your business, you do everything. And I mean everything. I know because it’s the same for me. So, time is a precious commodity and sometimes it can be hard to find the time to do any marketing.
  • Knowledge: this is tied into the time challenge. If you had all the time in the world, you could learn how to market your business at your leisure. But you don’t – you are learning on the job.
  • Money: yes, this old chestnut. When I first started my business, I’d ask “what’s your marketing budget?” I’d get an incredulous look and the reply “I don’t have enough money to have a marketing budget.” Yes, money is tight, but you are spending money on marketing, and it’s not always working hard for you.

So, what’s the answer?

The research I carried out, together with all the anecdotal things I’ve heard, led me to think about my offering for micro businesses. In fact, I decided to revamp my coaching service. But some things have stayed the same.

  • Time: I’ve been a micro business owner coming up for four and a half years. I’ve developed (and shared with my clients) techniques that help save me time and get my marketing done.
  • Knowledge: before I started my own business, I worked in bigger businesses. In the last four and a half years, I’ve taken what I learned there and applied it my own business and those of my clients. I take complex and expensive marketing strategies and help micro businesses learn how to use them simply and cost-effectively.
  • Money: I have the same struggles as you. One late payment and the cash flow is out of the window. That’s why I’ve created three coaching plans that I believe will suit all pockets.

Marketing is a lot like cooking

You might have heard me say this before (and it may have a connection with my love of cooking and food!) You need a recipe (a strategy), ingredients (plan and content), a few basic tools (like social media and email marketing) and a bit of practice. Then you will be able to find your inner marketer… and believe me, she or he is there.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and work out what your marketing should be doing as lockdown eases, take a look at my coaching packages. Make the commitment to help your business survive and thrive.

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