Sara is pursuing her dream job: life coaching. She’s never been happier or more fulfilled with her job. But there’s a problem. Sara spends the bulk of her time coaching clients. She barely has a moment to answer email or even think about generating new business.

Sara isn’t alone. It can be hard for a small, one-person coaching business to do everything under the sun. As a solopreneur, you’re the accountant, worker bee, janitor, and boss. You can try to be everything, but the reality is that it’s hard to market your business on top of everything else you do.

Everyone needs marketing. Just because you’re a small operation doesn’t mean you have to forego promoting your business. Fortunately, there are ways even the smallest business can bootstrap your marketing efforts.

It all starts with whipping up amazing stories that will get you clients. Storytelling requires little cost and can be done in multiple formats. It’s easily the most effective and personal way to make your brand stand out. Let’s dive into how you can bootstrap your small business marketing through affordable, effective stories.

Bootstrapping with stories

What does it mean to bootstrap your marketing? Bootstrapping means that you build something without external help. As a coach and entrepreneur, you’re probably already used to bootstrapping. You don’t need a huge marketing department (or any staff, for that matter) to create marketing that works. Bootstrap your brand’s marketing with the power of storytelling.

Follow this never-fail process to consistently and effortlessly promote your business with storytelling.

Know your audience

The first step to creating an amazing story is understanding your audience. Who is listening to your story?

Think about this: would you tell a gory, violent story to a child. Of course not! Because you know your audience wouldn’t enjoy that. Don’t create a story that you think sounds good; make a story that your audience will enjoy. The first rule of marketing is knowing who will be consuming your content. Do your research to produce a crave-worthy story that your potential clients will love.

Remember to always relate the story back to your audience’s needs, too. After all, the point of any good marketing story isn’t only to entertain, but to show how your business fulfills their needs!

Follow storytelling best practices

Every great story includes a few key ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • A likeable or relatable main character
  • A need or goal for your character
  • A challenge or adversity
  • The overall theme or moral of the story

These elements are critical to telling a juicy story that your audience wants to hear. Use these elements to craft a story that flows well and grabs the audience’s attention.

Think about format

While we like to think of storytelling in the context of books, any medium can support your story. Get visual with both the language you use in the story and actual imagery, like photos. How is your story best told? Will you choose 2D animation, talking-head style video, or podcast? The format can make or break your story, so don’t neglect carefully planning how the story is told.

Whatever channels you choose, remember to tell a consistent story. Your clients should all get the same story, no matter where they find you.

The bottom line

You don’t need a multi million dollar budget to succeed in business. All you need is to find how you communicate value to current and potential clients. When in doubt, bootstrap your business marketing by telling your story.

Please share some of your favorite bootstrapping marketing ideas in the comments. I’d love to hear what’s working for you!

Your story…to be continued