Marketing in 10 minutes a day

Photo courtesy of Paula C. Eytcheson

Photo courtesy of Paula C. Eytcheson

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is ‘How long should I spend on marketing?’  Realistically, I think you should be investing at least three hours a week, but most small business owners insist they haven’t got that much time to spend.  If you also don’t have a member of staff or an outsourced support to give it to, here is my quick and dirty guerrilla marketing plan.

Monday

Upload a week’s posts to Twitter, your Facebook Page and your LinkedIn account.  OK this means you need to generate the posts and that can’t be done in 10 minutes, but if you invest an hour in putting together some value-based tips, suggestions and advice linked to relevant pages in your website and pay $9.99 a month for a Hootsuite account, you can update and upload these in 12 clicks! (5 minutes)

Take a look at your Twitter feed and comment on a couple of things, retweet something that interests or entertains you. (5 minutes)

Tuesday

Upload a picture and a short comment relevant to what you do onto either Facebook (if you’re B2C) or as a LinkedIn post (if you’re B2B).  You could also pin this to one of your Pinterest boards too and post it to Google+ if you use those platforms.  The sourcing of the image and creating the comment will take most of the time, uploading is pretty straightforward.  (10 minutes including finding an appropriate image)

Wednesday

Ask a question on your Facebook Page or LinkedIn status to get people talking and engaging with you.  (4 minutes)

Revisit your Twitter feed and comment, thank people for mentions and retweet interesting posts. (3 minutes)

Check your Facebook Page/LinkedIn account/Pinterest/Google+ and respond to any comments (3 minutes)

Thursday

Do an advanced search for your ideal client on LinkedIn.  Choose the best matches who are 2nd level connections and make contact with them.  (10 minutes)

Friday

1st week – write a list of subjects that people ask you about a lot with a view to converting them into blog posts.  Find a copywriter who can turn these into articles to post on your blog.  (10 minutes)

2nd week – post one of your pre-written blogs with an appropriate image and post the blog title and link on social media.  (5 minutes)

3rd week – create a newsletter using your blog as the lead article and adding your latest promotion/offer and send to your list. (10 minutes)

4th week - post another of your pre-written blogs with an appropriate image and post the blog title and link on social media.  (5 minutes)

Repeat your Friday schedule every 4 weeks, obviously you won’t need to find a new copywriter each month, if you find one that you can work with, you just need to schedule maybe an additional 15-20 minutes to talk through your list of subject and pick two for development.

To start with some of these activities will take longer than 10 minutes, but once you get used to them you’ll get familiar with the processes and ensure you are visible online to help people to remember you.

Ideally, you should be looking at extending this to include things like getting involved with groups where your target clients are active on LinkedIn, or getting your Facebook Page more visits and activity, writing longer posts for LinkedIn, guest blogging, developing social media posts from your blogs and much more.  However, in the real world time is at a premium and 10 minutes a day is manageable for most people so this will at least get you started.

P.S.  If you’re looking for someone to help with your blogs – we do that!  Give us a call on 01245 473296.

A simple marketing plan for busy people

If you’re a business owner with limited staff keeping the ‘sausage machine’ stuffed is a perpetual challenge!  When business comes in the customer has to come first and it’s easy to push the marketing activities onto the back burner simply because of lack of time.  The problem is that when the current customer demands are met you’ll need more business and the marketing machine has been switched off.  Starting from scratch is tough and it takes a while before your efforts are rewarded.

Marketing planSo – how can you keep your marketing ticking over while you’re busy elsewhere?  The secret is in planning ahead, start now and create these basic elements to tick the important boxes that will market your business:

Social media

When you DO have some time create a bank of value based posts.  I usually aim at a minimum of 28 – all linked to various relevant pages on your website or blogs.  These can be scheduled to go out weekly.  With a small investment (about £7 a month) in Hootsuite Pro account you can post the whole batch to Twitter, LinkedIn and your Facebook and Google+ Pages every week in a couple of minutes.  Once they’re written this is an easy task to delegate.  It means you’re sharing your expertise and being visible even if you’re busy.

If you’re B2B then LinkedIn is probably the best platform to build relationships with potential customers.  If you’re B2C then Facebook may suit you better.  Get the habit of coffee and LinkedIn/Facebook.  You only need to spend a few minutes looking in the groups and/or Pages where your target audience is active.  Scan the threads for anything where you can add value and post your thoughts.  This will keep you visible and show off your expertise.

Blogs

If you’re not writing blogs already, think about doing that as it’s an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise (like this one!) and can be used to feed your social media and as the base for a newsletter.  If you write a bit then have a brainstorming session and create a list of things you could write about – answer questions your customers often ask, create case studies, share your expertise.  Start writing them up – aim to complete one each week and then post two a month and keep the others in your ‘bank’ or schedule them ahead to post into the future.

If you’re not a natural writer short video clips will do the job or find someone who can write and get them on the case.  We do this for some of our clients, but I also know wives/husbands who do this for their other halves and, if you have staff, there is often someone in the business who is able to do it.

Newsletter

If something has to give, this is probably the one to go.  However, if you have a couple of blogs posted and an offer or promotion, putting together a newsletter shouldn’t take long.  Whether you’re using an in-house CRM system, MailChimp, AWeber or one of the other online distribution tools, get your newsletter template set up and then lead with the headline and opening paragraph of each of your blogs, followed by your promotion or offer.  It shouldn’t take more than half an hour to put together and, if you have staff, could easily be delegated once the template and list are set up.

Offline networking

Choose a couple of networking groups that actually bring in business and make the commitment to turning up.  If you have an urgent project people usually understand if you miss occasionally – but, not if you only attend one in four meetings.  Put it in your diary and go.  If it’s a breakfast group you should be back in the office by 9, if it’s at any other time of the day treat it as an appointment with a client – it will be as important to your business as any client as it’s the means of bringing more business in.

Of course, there are many more networking activities you could do, but if you schedule these activities in you will keep your traction and won’t end up finding you’ve finished all your existing projects and have to start from scratch.

 

 

How shiny is your reputation?

Walking by the sea tracks

When was the last time you did a reputation check?  Do you know what people are saying about you – good and not so good?

Most of us work hard, are nice to our customers and deliver good quality goods and services – but is that enough to create a great reputation?  If you think about it, you know of people who have made a lot of money and are very high profile – and yet you know other people who deliver the same services and are struggling to get by.  It doesn’t mean that they aren’t as good, in fact, often they are actually a bit better.  It just means that their reputation has reached far enough to gain critical mass.

Growing a list

You’ll hear online marketers saying ‘the money is in the list’ and they’re right.  The more people that know about you and hear good things about you, the further your fame spreads.

  • If you have a list of 300 people those 300 may think you are amazing, but only them and a few of their contacts know about you.
  • If you have a list of 50,000 that’s going to mean a huge number of people are listening to what you say.

The first few hundred can be challenging, but there will come a point where your systems gather interest from more and more people.  If you know how to grow a list of 50,000, then the next step to 100,000 is pretty easy.  Now you’ve got critical mass.

Social success

There is a lot of controversy over whether social media is trivia or power.  Both can be true depending on how you use them.  If you share value to your target audience people will follow you and like and share your posts.  The secret is in having a strategy and a plan of action, then sticking to it.

That means regular material being made available and sharing it with as many people as possible.

This might be blogging regularly then sharing the blog link with your Twitter followers, Facebook Page community, Linkedin connections, Google+ circles and pinning the image on Pinterest.  It might be sending the blog to your list as a newsletter, it may be talking about it at networking events or running a webinar on it.

The other side of the social media coin is engagement.  If you sit in a corner and don’t talk to anyone at a live networking meeting you won’t get anywhere.  The same applies online.  You need to be active and engage with people in your target market and other people who supply that market.

Recommendations and testimonials

People can recommend you on LinkedIn, customers can give testimonials to you that can be used on your website and marketing material, other people can recommend you in Tweets and posts on other platforms.  All these contribute to your reputation.  Do you ask for feedback on your services and products?  You should!

In the offline world

Everything you do offline counts too.  The quality of your business cards and marketing material, the effectiveness of your 60 second presentation, how you look and behave – they all have an impact and help people to form an impression.  How much help do you give people who need it?  How friendly are you?  How well-organised do you appear?  It all contributes to your reputation.

How does this affect my reputation?

Try typing your name into Google (other search engines are available!).  Even if you have a name that is quite common, the number of mentions you get on the first few pages will give you an indication of how you’re doing, unless your name is Tom Cruise or Jennifer Aniston!  If you have a famous name try your name and your main keyword.

Most people are surprised to find that their business website is lower down the list than their social media activity.  That’s because sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have so much activity that they are under constant surveillance from the search engines.  Your website activity is likely to be minuscule in comparison, so the search engines will only visit from time to time.

The more positive material that is visible to the world, the better your reputation will be and the further it will reach.

 

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