Marketing has come a long way. It’s creative, diverse and more accessible than ever (…and actually pretty fun). But to take full advantage of these opportunities, it’s crucial that we learn our way around. So welcome to your complete guide on marketing for creatives and solopreneurs.

I’ve organized the information below into three core sections. 

The first section is an introductory discussion, for context and foundation-building. 

The second and third sections are full of actionable advice, instructions and strategies for digital marketing best practices. 

OK enough small talk, let’s get into it!

*This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive compensation from. This is at no cost to you and lets me keep the lights on. Read more here…

Part One: Intro To Marketing

This first section will give you some footing for marketing and online entrepreneurship.

As creatives and solopreneurs, it’s understandable wanting to just focus solely on our craft or core product…simply hoping our audience will find us.

This never (or, rarely) works…

But trust me when I say, effective marketing is not boring and it’s definitely not too difficult or expensive to implement.

Before we get into all that, let’s start with some definitions and benefits. 

What Is Modern Marketing?

I never saw myself as a business person or marketer. After all, I was an artist. A musician.

How could I dare rub elbows with suits and ties?

But it turns out, modern marketing and entrepreneurship has a lot more in common with creativity than I would have ever expected (and vice versa).

From designing your website, planning out content, making clever titles…it’s all artistic.

So what is modern digital marketing? Here’s how I see it:

Modern marketing uses modern technology, data and social tools to create personalized experiences, enhanced optimization and more added value across multiple channels.

That’s kind of a mouthful.

But essentially modern marketing brings your creative business to its fullest potential. 

Never before have we had so many amazing resources, affordability and data to back our creative endeavors.

And the best part is all the old, towering barriers to entry are all but diminished. Truly, there are no gatekeepers. 

Benefits of Digital Marketing

I’ve already hinted at some of the different perks of digital marketing. But let’s dig deeper.

Here are some of my favorite benefits.  

It's Cost-Effective

A lot of the strategies and automation tools we review in this post are either free or quite affordable (except for your time, of course).

And when you do decide to invest in paid ads, you’ll be using real-time data so you’re not wasting your money on ineffective campaigns.

For example, when running social media ads, you’ll be testing multiple ads, audiences and angles.

So you can clearly see which ads are working (adding more money to these) and which ads are are flopping (pausing these and not spending any more money on them).

It Increases Engagement + Communication

Communication is at the core of everything in modern marketing (and just generally being an entrepreneur online…).

We have omnichannel marketing capabilities, stretched across multiple platforms, devices and content types.

Although we can’t be everywhere, we have options like never before.

And the cool part is businesses and brands are not negatively perceived at all (despite ad blockers and general sentiment).

Did you know that over 90% of Instagram users follow a business account? 

So without a doubt, people want to engage with you online.

It Has Low Barriers to Entry

Modern digital marketing has very low startup costs and is easily accessible (and fairly easily learned).

Literally, if you have a phone in your pocket, you can start marketing your brand.

Of course, many strategies have a slight learning curve when starting out. But all the resources you could ever need are online for free (cough cough, like this site).

I feel bad for artists, creatives and solopreneurs 20 years ago, when the only options were flyers, billboards or expensive commercials which only big businesses could afford.

Well, maybe there were a few more options, but you get my point.

It Builds Brand

Brand is everything. It’s that je ne sais quoi…that intangible thing that can’t be copied or replicated.

It’s your whole shtick.

And modern marketing is like the gasoline (or rather, the electric charging port) to building your brand.

We need to have our brand image, mission and overall aesthetic dialed in, so there’s cohesiveness and identifiable markers between our channels and marketing.

Niche Targeting + Customization

One of the greatest parts of modern digital marketing is the high degree of audience targeting.

We can literally reach anyone, anywhere, with a highly personalized message.

I guess this scares some people. But I really don’t mind that all of the ads I see are actually relevant. 

Still, whichever way you feel, there’s no denying the power and profitability of customized, niche audience targeting. 

You Can Automate A Lot

This is the whole reason I started a blog and learned SEO in the first place: automation and passive income.

Simply put, automating your marketing efforts means you can basically set it and forget it

Well, not completely. But close.

You’ll of course need to remain active and monitor your campaigns. You know, general stuff like responding to comments, updating information, maintaining your site, adjusting ad sets, making new content…

But the opportunities for automating a lot of your online marketing tasks is huge. 

Ultimately, this saves you time and opens up a lot of passive income streams. 

Make Data-Based Decisions

Using data to make decisions is critical. I can’t stress this enough. 

Although, admittedly, sifting through analytics and metrics isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I understand the importance of it.

After we put out a bunch of content, or ads, we’ll have a general idea of what’s working (and what’s not).

The hardest part about this – as a creative or solopreneur (or, anyone really) – is accepting that some of your hard work just won’t work…it’ll never “land”. 

When I did an overhaul of this site (yea, my first go at it wasn’t…great), I ended up rewriting, deleting and tweaking almost 90% of my content. Ouch!

But I had to be honest with myself. My blog just wasn’t ranking and my “niche” was all over the place.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s crucial to look at the numbers and adjust, or pivot, when needed. 

Modern marketing gives us the data to do this, so be sure not to just brush over it.

8 Types of Digital Marketing

There are a lot of types of digital marketing. But most can fall under the more general, binary umbrella of being either free marketing or paid marketing.

Which strategy you ultimately choose will depend on:

  • Your budget
  • Your preferences
  • Where your audience spends their time
  • Whether you’re starting from scratch…orhave an audience already
  • Your willingness to learn new tools and skills

So think about these questions and how they stack up to the your digital marketing options. And by no means should you feel like you need to learn everything.

For me, I tend to focus mostly on SEO, content marketing (via blogging) and social media. For me, these suit my preferences, budget and current skillset.

Let’s have a look at some different types of marketing.

1. PPC (pay-per-click)

PPC ads are campaigns that you pay for each time someone clicks on your ad. 

The most common example are the ads placed on top of the Google search results page.

The big benefit of PPC ads is you can jump straight to the top of the search results and reach potential buyers (who have a high intent to buy something).

So if you show up, with a clever title addressing their problem at the exact moment they’re searching for a solution, then there’s a good chance they’ll click on your ad – and possibly make a purchase.

The main drawback to PPC ads is they cost money (duh) and once you stop paying for the ad placements, your traffic and results will dry up pretty quick.

2. SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO is one of my favorite marketing channels. It’s passive and it gets you high-quality traffic – for free!

And it’s not just for blogging. You can optimize your website, your YouTube videos, landing pages and even your Google My Business listing. 

For example, this article is optimized for the keyword “marketing for creatives“.

So I’ve strategically added this key phrase throughout the post and in the title. 

I cover SEO in greater detail below, so I definitely recommend leveling up your skills in this area.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing is closely connected to SEO. This blog is content marketing. 

I’m creating value and marketing my brand through content – written content.

But content marketing comes in a few different styles – not just blogging. Some examples are:

  • Blogging
  • Making Videos
  • Social Media Posts
  • Podcasting

At the end of the day, content marketing means you’re creating content with marketing intent.

4. Social Media Marketing

This type of marketing does not mean posting on your account (as you normally would), just for your followers to see. 

Although that has its place, social media marketing is actually paying for ad space on social platforms. 

Some popular social media marketing channels for creatives and solopreneurs are:

  • Instagram + Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • Twitter

There’s no shortage of social media channels to try advertising on.

So a good rule of thumb is to simply go where your audience spends most of their time.

Makes sense.

This does require a deep understanding of your audience, niche and market. 

I talk about target audience research more in part two. 

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a staple. We can use this channel as direct communication and marketing of our brand, product or service. 

Email is definitely an OG in the marketing game, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

In fact, email remains to be one of the highest converting marketing channels, averaging an ROI (return on investment) of around $36 for every $1 spent.

Dang!

The big caveat here is you’ll need to understand email marketing best practices and actually have an email list of subscribers to be effective.

But if you’re not there quite yet, just keep adding value and building your brand – all good things…

6. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been a bit of a buzzword the past 5 years or so. But it’s for good reason: it works.

Essentially, influencer marketing means you’re tapping into someone else’s already-established audience.

This can be an effective strategy to essentially leap-frog your way to the front your ideal market.

But you want to be sure you’re only working with influencers whose audience is, well, your target audience. 

And you don’t need to focus solely on huge accounts with millions of followers.

Different sites have different numbers, but influencers can essentially be divided into three different levels (all of which can be highly effective):

  • Macro-influencer
    • Over 1,000,000 followers
    • More expensive
  • Micro-influencer
    • Between ~10,000-1,000,000 follow
  • Nano-influencer
    • >10,000 followers

7. Podcasting

Podcasting has been on trend these days. Seriously, there are so many podcasts.

And while the space is pretty saturated, we can’t ignore the opportunity here.

If you’re the type of person that does well with a microphone in front of you, or loves to dish it out and interview guests, then this could be a great content choice for you.

Alternatively, you could reach out to other podcasts to try and get a slot on their show.

Of course, this will be much easier once you’ve built up some brand and an audience first.  

8. Display Advertising

And finally, we have display advertising. These are simply the ads you see displayed on websites.

I see them as the billboards of the internet.

An effective way to use display advertising – so it doesn’t feel so…salesy – is by using native ads.

These are display ads that seamlessly blend in with the website’s other content. The effect? 

It doesn’t come across as an obtrusive advertisement.

This is a win-win for both the site owner and the reader.

You can get started with display ads using Google’s Display Ad Network.

Part Two: Marketing For Creatives + Solopreneurs

OK, here we are! 

This second part is a complete strategy and full breakdown of modern marketing for creatives and solopreneurs.

I’ve linked out to further reading on key parts. 

But if you follow this roadmap, you should be all set up to hit the ground running.

Step 1

Find Your Starting Point

Obviously, not everyone will have the same starting point.

If you’re just starting out and have no current marketing plan or strategy implemented, then you can go ahead and skip to step 2.

But if you’ve already got some things in the works (or published online), then let’s start by doing a self-audit. 

The goal here is to be completely honest with yourself – to be as objective as possible. 

You want to analyze your efforts so far from an outside perspective.

Here are some starter questions to think about:

  • What marketing strategies are you currently using?
  • What assets or content do you currently have?
  • What is your current content strategy or image?
  • Are your efforts profitable and gaining traffic?
  • How do your efforts compare to your competition and industry?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What goals are not being met?
  • What do you hope to improve first? 

Beyond these ideas, you can also perform a SWOT analysis (oof, suddenly I’m back in my business and marketing lectures…). 

While a bit nerdy, this will give you clear understanding on where you stand and how you can compete – and how you can improve.

SWOT is an acronym for:

  • Your Strengths
  • Your Weaknesses
  • Your Opportunities (in your niche)
  • Your Threats (competitors, market shifts, etc.)

Step 2

Setting Goals

Goal setting is extremely helpful. 

Having clearly defined goals are like your north stars, giving direction and adding intention to all of your marketing. 

And if you’re running paid ads, each campaign will actually require you to choose a specific objective first.

For example, Facebook and Instagram’s ad objectives are:

  • Conversions
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation
  • Brand Awareness
  • Traffic
  • Reach

Your messaging, content, marketing material and offers should all support your objectives.

Let’s use my site as another example.

My primary goal for this site is to add value by providing free, experience-based advice for creatives and solopreneurs.

I also wanted a low-cost, passive income stream, which is why I decided to use blogging and SEO as my primary marketing strategy.

Ultimately, goal setting is marketing with strategic, organized intention.

Step 3

Target Audience Research

Without having a clear understanding of who we’re creating content (or ads) for, our marketing efforts will be fruitless.

And I want the fruit!

While guesswork can pan out sometimes, throwing ideas at a wall hoping something sticks isn’t the most methodical approach.

So we start with target audience research. 

A great starting point for target market research is to create a buyer persona. 

A buyer persona, or customer avatar, is simply a detailed description of someone who represents your ideal target audience.

For me, I kind of lucked out – I am my own buyer persona. I mean, I’m an active member of my target audience. 

I’m an artist, a musician, a travel filmmaker and an online entrepreneur with a passion for investing and digital marketing.

I know the struggles and I experienced all the ups and downs of learning digital marketing for my own creative and entrepreneurial endeavors.

I feel confident that I’m connecting with my audience in an authentic way.

So if you happen to be closely connected to your audience, that’s a great leg-up. 

But of course, this is by no means a prerequisite.

So let’s create a buyer persona.

Creating A Buyer Persona

Creating a buyer persona is pretty straightforward. Although you may need to do a little digging for audience research.

But then again, that’s the whole point of this section…

Below is some basic information to include for a buyer persona. 

Fill in this data, and you’ll have a great foundation for understanding exactly who your audience is. 

Basic components of a buyer persona:

  • Demographic info
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Values and beliefs
  • Fears and pain points
  • Who do they look up to or follow in your industry?
  • What type of content do they want to see?
  • Where do they spend their time online?

Where To Find Target Audience Info

If you’ve never done audience research before, you may be wondering where you can find this information.

Fair question!

One of the easiest places is Facebook and its Audience Insights feature. 

This is a tool found within the Facebook Business Manager (the same platform needed for running Facebook and Instagram ads).

And since you’re here to learn about marketing anyways, you may as well go ahead and sign up for an account (don’t worry, it’s totally free).

How to use Facebook Insights:

  1. Find the Insights tab in the main menu
  2. From here, click on the Audience tab 
  3. Choose Potential audience
  4. Click on the Filter button
  5. Start filling in basic information about who your audience is

Once you start adding in some interests and demographic info, you’ll start seeing the results as your main screen starts populating.

This is a super insightful and helpful tool. 

And yea, maybe little creepy…fair enough. 

But definitely helpful for marketing!

Step 4

Competitor Analysis

Analyzing your competitors provides a ton of valuable insight. 

It’s a deep dive into your market and its participants. 

A competitor analysis is the process of researching your top competitors and their products, services and strategies in your market.

If we understand our competitors deeply, we can know:

  • What’s working for them
  • What’s not working for them
  • How you can improve upon their current strategies
  • What keywords, topics and concepts are working in your space
  • Your main point of differentiation, setting you apart
  • What their customers like or don’t like, by reading reviews, comments and monitoring their socials

Step 5

10 Powerful Marketing Strategies

Once you’ve identified your target audience, analyzed your competition and dialed in on your goals, it’s time to think about which marketing strategies you’ll be using. 

I can’t do a full tutorial for each of the methods below, so I’ve linked out to further reading on each.

There’s no right or wrong answer here – and many will overlap each other.

Here are 10 powerful marketing strategies for creatives and solopreneurs looking to grow online. 

1. PPC Ads

PPC, or pay-per-click, ads are a form of paid advertising where you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

The ads on top of a Google search result page are a perfect example of this.

Pros of PPC Ads

  • You only pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • You show up on top of the search results
  • People are searching for you (or something you can offer), not the other way around

Cons of PPC Ads

  • It can be costly
  • It requires money to continue to get results
  • Requires technical know-how

Quick Snapshot: How To Do PPC Ads

  1. Define your goals
  2. Head over to Google AdWords and explore the platform
  3. Research and define your target audience
  4. Research and define your focus keyword(s)
  5. Run ads

2. Social Media Ads (With Retargeting)

Social media ads are practical ways of reaching people. They’re familiar and relatively easy to set up. 

But it’s critical that you set up retargeting ads. 

We need to follow up with everyone who showed initial interest in an ad. People on social media generally ignore a brand’s advertisements the first few times around.

Pros of Social Media Ads

  • It’s familiar and you already have content to promote
  • Highly detailed targeting, reaching any and all niches
  • Can easily track and measure success

Cons of Social Media Ads

  • Often requires remarketing and ad followup
  • Can be competitive
  • Requires a lot of monitoring and technical upkeep

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Social Media Ads

  1. Define your goals
  2. Choose a social media platform
  3. Use the business/ad manager account of that platform
  4. Research and identify your audience
  5. Run your fist “test” ads for a few days
  6. Pause the bad ones and add more money to good ones
  7. Retarget everyone who engages with your first ads

3. Blogging + SEO

Blogging is my bread and butter. It’s an amazing, pretty-much-free tool for creatives and solopreneurs.

The main idea here is you create high-quality articles on niche topics that people are searching for in places in Google. 

Over time, you’ll get more and more qualified traffic to your site.

Pros of Blogging + SEO

  • It’s free and gets you high-quality, organic traffic
  • It relatively simple to learn
  • Can be monetized in a variety of ways, generating passive income streams

Cons of Blogging + SEO

  • Requires a lot of upfront work and time
  • Need to stay organized with maintenance and updates
  • Can take a long time to see results

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Blogging + SEO

  1. Define your goals
  2. Define your niche + audience
  3. Choose a platform
  4. Perform keyword research
  5. Create a content plan
  6. Write and optimize your blogs with SEO

4. YouTube Video Content

YouTube is great. It’s a seriously powerful tool for creatives and solopreneurs looking to gain an edge in online marketing.

Much like SEO in blogging, YouTube also ranks by keywords and videos need to be optimized correctly (among other things…).

Pros of Making YouTube Video Content

  • It’s free
  • Teaches you valuable, transferable skills
  • Can cross-promote content on other channels

Cons of Making YouTube Video Content

  • Requires a lot of upfront work and time to make videos
  • Takes a long time to see results
  • There’s a learning curve if you’re new to making or editing videos

Quick Snapshot: How To Make YouTube Video Content

  1. Define your goals
  2. Research competitors and create a content plan
  3. Research keywords for your content plan
  4. Create and edit value-adding videos
  5. Create click-worthy titles
  6. Make visually interesting thumbnails
  7. Create copy for your titles and descriptions
  8. Optimize your video copy with SEO best practices

5. Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest is still an untapped gem – especially for creative entrepreneurs and solopreneurs at large.

It’s a powerful, highly visual search engine (yep, it’s technically a search engine) and has a growing audience that you can tap into.

Pro of Pinterest Marketing

  • Pinterest users have more discretionary income and spend more on the platform
  • It’s free (and also offers paid ads)
  • You can get traffic quickly through pin-sharing and group boards

Cons of Pinterest Marketing

  • You need to make, design and test pins for each post
  • It can be competitive and difficult to stand out
  • Requires upfront work and learning platform technicals

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Pinterest Marketing

  1. Define your goals
  2. Explore your market and competitors for inspiration
  3. Define your target market
  4. Create a posting plan with prepared content
  5. Create pins for that content using Canva
  6. Post 20-30 pins a day  (or test pins using paid ads)
  7. Explore group boards and share other’s pins equally

6. Social Media Branding

Having and using a social media account is a given. Everyone has one and it’s 100% expected from your audience that you’ll be online posting and engaging.

Social media is where we put our “day-in-the-life” content. It’s less about selling and more about engaging with your audience – you know, building brand and growing “authentically”.

Pros of Social Media for Branding

  • It’s free
  • Engage directly with your audience in a non-marketing context
  • A lot of insights on audience sentiment and opinions

Cons of Social Media for Branding

  • It’s competitive
  • It takes time to grow
  • Requires consistent, fresh content

Quick Snapshot: How To Use Social Media for Branding

  1. Audit your current profile
  2. Switch to a business account (or make a new account)
  3. Define your brand image and content strategy
  4. Research trending hashtags to use in your niche
  5. Commit to a realistic posting schedule
  6. Be consistent, engage, add value and be yourself

7. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is like cutting in line, jumping straight in to the front and reaching an engaged, loyal audience. You can “borrow” someone else’s audience.

It’s important to use a relevant influencer to work with though. You know, someone who shares your own ideal target market. 

You’ll also want to let them take the reins on content style and approach (after all, they know their audience).

Pros of Influencer Marketing

  • Can quickly get in front of your ideal audience
  • Can be less expensive than ads
  • It’s easy

Cons of Influencer Marketing

  • You need to work with the right influencers, relevant to your brand
  • It’s difficult to track and measure results
  • It’s not guaranteed (but then again, what is?)

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Influencer Marketing

  1. Clearly define your target audience
  2. Define your goals for influencer marketing
  3. Research influencers in your niche
  4. Reach out or use a tool like Upfluence to find influencers
  5. Plan out a content strategy with them

8. Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are kind of what they sound like.

Essentially, you attract potential fans and customers (leads) using some free gift or enticing offer that solves a specific problem for them, or provides them with a quick win.

It’s a great way to get email signups. And it’s perfect for marketing campaigns that are targeting people who have never heard of you (i.e., cold traffic). 

Pros of Lead Magnets

  • Can quickly make conversions and get email signups
  • Shows your audience you know what you’re doing
  • Starts the relationship in a low-friction, give-first way

Cons of Lead Magnets

  • Costs money (or time) to run ads and get traffic
  • Requires lead nurturing and consistent followup
  • Notorious for attracting low-quality prospects (who just want the freebie and then immediately unsubscribe)

Quick Snapshot: How To Use Lead Magnets

  1. Define your goals
  2. Choose a specific subset of your target market
  3. Identify a specific problem or pain point in that audience 
  4. Solve that problem with a free piece of content
  5. Set up an email signup widget to automatically send your content
  6. Run ads to that target market offering your solution in exchange for their email
  7. Continually provide value-adding followup emails
  8. Eventually turn subscribers into sales

9. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a huge asset for your brand. And it’s been around for a long time – but rest assured, it’s not going anywhere. 

Actually, a perfect way to start building your email list is by using a lead magnet strategy (#8 above).

People won’t just give you their email, unless you’re giving them something they need or want in return.

Pros of Email Marketing

  • It’s free marketing on a channel everyone uses
  • You “own” your email list, and can use it anywhere
  • It’s automated, highly customizable and a direct form of  communication

Cons of Email Marketing

  • Requires time to build email subscribers
  • Requires a lot of consistent value creation and email drip campaigns
  • A lot of people never open emails and it’s easy to unsubscribe

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Email Marketing

  1. Identify your goals
  2. Plan out email content strategy
  3. Give subscribers a reason to stay (exclusive content, fantastic value, etc.)
  4. Commit to a schedule and prepare automated sequences
  5. Promote your product or service (sometimes)

10. Podcasting

Podcasting is another growing trend that can be a springboard for building your brand and audience online.

Here’s a quick hack: combine your YouTube strategy with podcasting by taking out the audio and reposting it as a podcast; two birds, one stone.

Pros of Podcasting

  • It’s relatively easy to get set up
  • Podcasts are a growing trend as more people listen to them
  • It’s portable, convenient and builds trust

Cons of Podcasting

  • Finding and growing an audience is difficult and takes time
  • It requires a lot of consistent upfront work
  • It takes time to create content 

Quick Snapshot: How To Do Podcasting

  1. Define your goals
  2. Explore different podcasting platforms
  3. Research others in your niche for inspiration
  4. Prepare a content plan
  5. Start creating
  6. Explore podcast marketing tactics to grow your audience
  7. Adapt, adjust and create at scale

Part Three: Tips + Trends

Welcome to the final section! 

This part will wrap things up, provide some helpful tips I wish I knew when starting and discuss some key trends that should be on your radar.

Let’s start with my six “secrets” to success tips (my apologies for the click-baity title…).

"Secrets" to Success

6 Powerful Tips

This section is a collection of key tips for running effective ads, optimizing your brand and generally crushing it in marketing.

Some of the strategies may seem like no-brainers, while others have some more advanced nuances. 

Either way, adopting them will have a serious compound effect on your marketing performance.

1. Use A Sales Funnel (+ niche targeting)

I’ve hinted at sales funnels throughout this post (with lead magnets and cold traffic and the importance of retargeting).

Related to funnels is your audience targeting. Remember to be specific and customize your whole campaign around a specific group. 

If you try to target everyone, you’ll target no one.

So how about a sales funnel – what is it?

A sales funnel is a visual display of the customer journey, generally structured from the top, the middle and through to the bottom.

At the top of a sales funnel is cold traffic – people who have never heard of your and are unlikely to buy something.

In the middle are warm traffic – people who know and are starting to trust…sales may happen here.

At the bottom of a sales funnel are your warmest leads, your loyal fans or followers and existing customers – they are most likely to make a purchase.

Using a sales funnel means we’re gently nudging our audience further along, closer to the bottom. We do this through retargeting and continually adding customized value.

Using a sales funnel truly organizes your whole marketing scheme.

Here’s another example of a sales funnel:

  • Starting with potential fans (at the top)
    • Turning into interested fans (in the middle)
      • Eventually becoming loyal fans (at the bottom)

2. Use Your Creative Skills Or Creative Tools

OK, this one is obvious if you’re an artist or using your craft to create a brand online.

No doubt, leveraging your unique skills to create visually unique and interesting creatives is a serious strength in such a noisy world.

But if you don’t have those “creative skills” per se (belonging more to the solopreneur camp), no sweat. 

There are still some amazing creative tools you can take advantage of and use to stand out just as well.

Some of my favorites are:

3. Add Awesome Value + Personalize

Not to sound like a broken record, but value is at the center of everything we do online (well, everything meaningful). 

But what is value?

For the sake of argument, let’s agree there are three main types of value.

Educational Value

Entertaining Value

Inspirational Value

So every time you’re creating a piece of content or crafting an ad, ask yourself this: what value is this adding to my audience?

It’s a simple thing, but keeps things honest and forward-focused.

4. Know the User's State-of-Mind

This concept seems so obvious – once you realize it and start paying attention to it more.

Essentially, a person’s state-of-mind will change and vary between different platforms.

For example, people on Google are looking for answers to questions and solutions to problems. They’re more likely to have buyer intent and purchase something.

People on social media on the other hand are looking to engage with friends, followers and people they look up to.

They’re looking to be entertained and are not in a buyer’s mindset (hence the importance of remarketing with followup ads).

And people on Pinterest? They’re looking for inspiration.

So whenever you’re creating an ad or a piece of content, consider the platform you’re using and what your audience’s frame of mind will be. 

5. Learn Retargeting

Retargeting, again…

But seriously, it’s the backbone to a good marketing campaign. 

In fact, did you know it can take up to 6-8 points of contact before a prospect actually becomes a good lead or converts into a customer?

Retargeting lets us reach this goal, by continuing the marketing conversation with only the most interested people.

Here’s an example of how retargeting looks:

  • Set up 4 different ads, each targeting different audiences
  • After a few days of running those ads, pause the under-performing ones and scale the better-performing ones by increasing their budgets
  • Start running new, retargeting ads to the most engaged prospects from the first set of successful ads
  • Rinse and repeat until you start making sales or conversions

6. Read the Data

Finally, we have the last piece of the puzzle.

Reading the data means you’re making informed decisions based on actual performance metrics and analytics.

It can be a little dry – and confusing – if you’re new to extrapolating numbers.

But luckily, online platforms all provide us with easy-to-read reports and analytics – even your personal social media account!

To start getting data and insights about your followers, post performance and other metrics, all you need to do is convert your social media profile from a personal to a business account (or create a new, separate business account). 

It’s free and takes only a moment.

Bottom line? Watch your data to grow your bottom line. 

Finally we have key trends to know in the online marketing world.

Things move pretty quick, but below are some of the top shifts happening right now.

I’ve tried to cater these to creatives and solopreneurs, but definitely do some of your own research to see what’s trending in your particular niche.

Staying on top of things means you’ll stay ahead of your competition.

NFTs

Oh NFTs, you’ll always have a special place in my heart.

But seriously, NFTs (or, non-fungible tokens) had a big year in 2021. Their popularity skyrocketed, hitting multi-billion dollar trading volumes.

But hey, that’s crypto for you.

So what is an NFT exactly?

NFTs are non-fungible tokens built on a cryptocurrency blockchain, like Ethereum. They cannot be replicated and represent authentic proof of ownership.

They have scarcity and offer public-facing ownership rights to desirable assets.

They have a high intrinsic value, much like traditional, physical art does – except it’s digital.

It’s safe to say that NFTs are not going anywhere. In fact, they will only continue to grow from here.

Although, most of the current NFTs being put out will ultimately be worthless (everyone’s trying to be the next CryptoPunks or Beeple).

Still, if you’re not in it for the quick buck, and rather trying to genuinely create something of value for your audience, it’s an awesome strategy that can give you sweet recurring revenue, each time it sells to a new owner.

(Psst, they’re also easier than ever to set up now. See how to make one here on OpenSea, a popular NFT marketplace)

Continued Growth of the Creator Economy

If the gig economy defined the 2010s, and the attention economy has had its day…then the creator economy is making its mark for the 2020s. 

We’re living in a world where content, social clout and the creation of unique assets rules.

So what is the creator economy?

The creator economy is the economy built by individual creators, businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Bloggers, YouTubers, videographers, musicians, artists, crafters, creative entrepreneurs, solopreneurs – everyone who contributes to and owns social and market influence.

NFTs, cryptocurrencies, new social platforms and zero barriers to entry (among other factors) are all pushing this movement even further.

Creators and smart solopreneurs understand this and are dominating the trend. 

So if you can leverage your skillset or knowledge, then this new creator economy is definitely for you (and is likely to only continue on an upward trend).

Increased Adoption of New Tech

There’s a lot of evolution and tech shifts happening in the marketing world. And all of it will influence how we operate online as creatives and solopreneurs.

So rather than covering each trend individually, I’ve put them in a basket. Some may fail, some may flourish.

Either way, they’re good to put on your radar. Here are some top trends relevant for creatives and online solopreneurs:

  • AI and AI-based software and optimization
  • Voice technologies
  • The metaverse and digital assets
  • Global 5G, such as Starlink, and a potential increase of 2 billion+ more internet users
  • More personal, conversational marketing and apps for communication
  • Continued adoption of video 
  • Visual search
  • Continued trends for mobile-optimization

Conclusion

This post has walked through all the steps for implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy as a creative or solopreneur. 

It’s provided key strategies, first steps and important tools to turn your vision into reality.

There’s also a lot of information here. So I recommend getting started by choosing a single option or two, and focusing on that exclusively. 

At least in the beginning.

After all, one well-developed strategy is better two half-developed ones.

Thanks so much for reading today! Let me know in the comments what strategy you’re using!


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