Marketing Your #SideHustle

You have a career that you love, or at least get through on a daily basis. But what you really enjoy — where your passion truly lives — is somewhere on the side. Whether you have a hobby that you’re trying to market to bring in a little something extra or you’re hoping to turn your side gig into a full-time career, you’ll need to absorb a few basic marketing tactics.

Check out the six tips below to market your side hustle effectively.

  1. Start by Building a Brand

Whether you market products that you create by hand or have a service that you provide, it’s easy to look at that endeavor as something on the side. But if you’re hoping to make it bigger and possibly bring in additional income, you need to build a brand around it.

Some important steps for building your brand include:

  • Giving your business a name and visiting the IRS’s website to make sure you proceed under the law from the start
  • Creating a logo or having a logo professionally designed
  • Building a website or working with a web designer to have one built for you — include all information prospective customers could be interested in: how to contact you, what you have to offer and why you do what you do.
  • Making business cards and marketing materials to distribute to prospective customers

When your brand looks legitimate, it’s more likely that your target market will take you seriously. Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and taking the right steps from day one.

  1. Start a Blog

When content on your website is updated on a regular basis, it’s more likely to attract the attention of search engine crawlers. It also gives visitors a chance to engage with your brand and learn more about what you have to offer. Best of all, it’s free or of little cost to you.

Think about questions your potential customers might have, your brand’s story and why you do what you do. For other content, consider local and international news: how does your product or service relates and how can you create content based upon that relationship? Share pictures, videos, testimonials and anything else that might attract new customers.

  1. Spread the Word

Once your business can operate as a legitimate business and has a brand to back it up, it’s time to spread the word. Talk to others about what you’re doing and what you have to offer. Ask if they’re interested in seeing your marketing materials, direct them to your website and ask them to send others your way.

Also, look for local businesses that might be willing to display your business card or flyer. The more attention you can attract, the better.

  1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media is an effective way to start conversations while attracting attention. Best of all, it’s free. Think about the social media platform you’re most familiar with or where most of your customers spend their time.

Next, create an account for your business and start posting. Be sure to interact regularly, invite your friends to follow or like your account, post photos and start and moderate discussions. The average Internet user spends approximately one-third of their time on social media. This gives you plenty of time to grab their attention while growing your side hustle.

  1. Sign up for Trade Shows and Local Events

Getting your product in front of your target audience while you’re in person and able to interact with customers is priceless. That’s exactly what trade shows and local events like craft fairs offer to entrepreneurs with side gigs and products to present.

Run a search to find out what events are happening in your general vicinity in the near future. Consider the investment an opportunity to grow your business. Then start preparing.

  • Think about how much space you’ll need and look into the specifics offered by the trade show in question. This gives you an idea of how much inventory you’ll need to have on hand.
  • Envision how you’ll display your product. The more products and varieties you can place in front of customers, the better.
  • Invest in a trade show exhibit. A professional exhibit sets you apart from the competition and attracts attention.
  • Go out on a limb. Start conversations with those walking by — ask if they’re interested in checking out what you have to offer. Leave each trade show visitor with a business card, pen or other piece of marketing that reminds them of what you have to offer.
  1. Join a Local Association or Networking Group

Building local connections is critical for the success of any side gig. Look into local professional organizations that relate to your side business. Attend a meeting or two, consider joining. Being able to connect with other professionals allows you to get into the habit of talking about your business, and sets you up with an in-person network that can be hard to come by in other ways.

You can take your side hustle to the next level by investing time, rather than incredulous amounts of money, into it.

Think about where you’d like your business to be at this time next year and consider which of the tactics above will help you get to that point. Remember, a side gig doesn’t have to stay on the side forever — you can grow your business with just a few small steps.

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.

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