A friend of mine is thinking of starting her own insurance business, but she can’t leave her full time job until she’s tested the waters and determines if she has what it takes or if there is enough demand for her offering. We talked about the kind of marketing practices she could dabble in that wouldn’t risk her allegiance to her current employer but still create a level of awareness for her future practice. My advice to anyone looking to start their own business, while continuing to work full time, is to start by branding yourself as an expert in your field. Since resources are probably tight at this stage, having a complete website up and running may be a challenge.
Here are 3 easy, do-it-yourself marketing tools to help you put your toes in the water of entrepreneurship and brand you–the hottest new thing.
1) Start a Blog– Create an account on WordPress or TypePad and make yourself an expert in your field. You know all of those common questions new clients ask that you repeat over and over, start writing about them now. Offer the inside list of tips to evaluating services or guides on how to get started. In my friend’s case, I suggested she write tips on when to buy life insurance and how much is enough coverage? Then, to make the most of this blog page, add an opt-in form on this page that integrates with an email marketing list. Ask friends and family to check out your blog, post a link on their Facebook page and help you spread the word about your new inside tips. All of this new traffic to your blog page will help you build a list of potential clients for the future. A great opt-in email marketing list that includes social influencers will help you find your own clients when you are ready to quit that full-time job.
2) Start an Email Newsletter– create an email marketing account with a company like VerticalResponse (disclosure- I happen to work there). They offer tons of templates to help you create a professional look and feel, tons of online tutorials and demos to teach you how to create great looking email. Then use your new email tools to reach your list of subscribers and send them a weekly or monthly communication that drives return traffic back to your blog page. For example, after you’ve added a new post on 5 Common Mistakes People Make when Buying Insurance, send an email newsletter out and include the first 2 mistakes in your email and provide a link to view the complete list on your blog. But also include a few other helpful links, articles you like, or more information about how to get in touch with you about their insurance needs. Don’t forget to ask subscribers to leave comments on the blog post, it will give you more ideas for future topics, a sense of how your tips are being received, and future email campaign ideas.
3) Leverage your Social Networking sites– From LinkedIn, to Facebook, and don’t forget Twitter. Reconnect with old classmates, neighbors, and colleagues. Let them know when you complete a new blog post, ask for feedback and keep them in the loop when you decide to make the switch to full time start up. Again, you are warming up some relationships and when you are ready to go out on your own they will be right there to support your new business venture and consider you for their own needs!
The best thing about all of these options are they are low cost, trackable, and require minimal web skills to get started. They may take a little practice in the beginning, but with all of the tips here on StartupNation, you’ll be a pro in no time.