Every business needs some form of marketing. But, not everyone feels they have the skills or time it takes to properly create a brand and market it well. Especially since most new business ventures start out as something you do on the side as a hobby, to gain extra money, or even just to start getting your name out there. Which generally means a lack of funds to put into marketing efforts. So, you can basically rule out hiring externally for graphics, photos, videos, social media, and everything else you may need. Since you’ll most likely be doing it all on your own, you need to make sure what you’re putting out there properly represents your business and looks good while doing it. Sometimes, bad marketing is worse than no marketing at all. But, don’t fear! I’m here to help with some simple ways that you can look like you’ve hired professionals to work on your marketing materials, when really – you can do everything on your own! As well, as my personal recommendations for programs to use that have worked well for me in my current endeavors and in the past.
Graphics may seem like one of the hardest parts of marketing your brand. But, there are a ton of resources out there to make creating graphics super easy! If you simply search online for a “free online graphics creator”, hundreds of websites will pop-up. These websites are designed to make the creation of graphics extremely easy, and kind of fun! Generally, these sites have a variety of graphics sizes for different needs such as blog posts, social posts, posters, infographics, presentations, logos, and basically everything you can dream of. Not to mention, custom dimensions if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Still strapped for time and creativity? Don’t fret – these websites not only make it extremely easy to create beautiful, professional looking graphics. There are usually hundreds of templates to choose from where you can go in and edit things like colours, fonts, text, etc.
A word of advice – before you get to this point, make sure to think of some sort of brand identity you’d like your business to have. Even if it’s just as simple as two or three colours, it’s a good point to start from and will make it easier when creating your graphics. Make sure to stick to these colours and guidelines you set for yourself so you can create a brand identity. Making yourself recognizable to customers.
Personal recommendation - Canva and Adobe Spark Post (both are websites and smartphone apps)
Photo & Video Editing:
Creating beautiful looking photos and videos can really add some quality to your marketing and branding. Now, not every business requires photo and video – but, I’d say almost any can find some way to incorporate it into your plans. Any simple research will show that video marketing is everything right now, and most customers expect it. As well, people are more likely to interact with a social media post (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) when there’s a photo or video attached.
The best programs I’ve used can be found right on that little device glued to your hand all day (kidding, maybe…). There are seriously, hundreds – if not, thousands of apps available for video and photo editing. Better yet, you can edit your photos and videos while just hanging out on your couch. Usually, even the photo editor programmed into your phone has great settings for adding filters, adjusting the lighting, colour, and giving it that professional feel. Just clicking the “auto-enhance” button in your editor can do wonders.
As for video, again, you can work with the built-in video editor on your phone or tablet. Generally, they just assist in cutting out parts of the video. Which, is very useful, but if you want to go the extra mile, there are some great apps for phones and tablets that are awesome and very simple to use. There are literally apps where you can upload all the clips and music you want and in a couple minutes (or less) the app will stitch it all together into a video - So easy! You can then go in and edit the order and add in any text you want. Alternatively, there are usually video editors on your computer as well (e.g. iMovie) that are just as easy to use but require a bit more work.
Personal recommendation – Photo: VSCO Cam and iPhone Photo Editor. Video: Adobe Spark Video, Adobe Premiere Clip (for tablets).
Balancing your life can be difficult, regardless of how much (or little) you have going on. But, simply reminding yourself to work on your business or giving yourself deadlines, can be a huge help with growing your business.
A great place to help to manage your busy life is using some sort of project management system. You can create tasks that need to be done and set different lists for different projects. You can then, assign tasks to different projects and set deadlines for them. These are extremely helpful with staying on top of your business, day-job, freelance jobs, and even personal tasks such as grocery shopping. Creating a way to balance your work and life will ease some stress and put your work-load into perspective. And, who doesn’t love making lists?! Keep everything organized by having all your day-to-day tasks all in one, organized system.
Personal recommendation – Asana and Trello (both are websites and smartphone apps)
So, having a business means having some sort of social media, presence, correct? Great! Glad we’re on the same page. Sometimes, your whole business is a social media account, and that’s totally fine. But, managing a social media account, or multiple for that matter is A LOT of work. Whether you think it is or not, it is. Trust me! And, ideally, as a business, you should be posting on social media daily. Keeping a consistent online presence is very important. There are companies that hire people to run social media accounts full-time, and if you’re handling all aspects of your business you may not have the time for that.
But, of course, there is a solution to that problem. Social media scheduling tools. Where, you can attach all your social media accounts (except, unfortunately, usually not Instagram) and then program and schedule in your posts for the week, month, couple days, whatever you need basically. All you must do is take some time to think of content for a few days, plug it into the program of your choosing, and decide what date and time you want it to go out, and you’re done!
The program will then post on your behalf, and all you should do is monitor the engagements with your posts and really, just sit back and relax. Your job is done, and your social presence will be taken care of. Easy-peasy!
Personal recommendation (and definitely the most popular program) – Hootsuite.
There you have it! Try out some of these resources and your marketing efforts will improve tremendously. Take some time to get to know the programs, watch videos, use their help functions, and take tours of the sites so you can fully grasp them. But, a big reason why these ones were suggested, is because they are all very easy to use and will make your life a lot easier. Not to mention, save you a lot of money and time hiring someone else. That is until you’ve become wildly successful and can afford to hire some employees. Until then, my best advice is to “fake it ‘til you make it” and everyone will be amazed at how well you’re managing your business endeavors.
Pepper Prep Contributor