For many, if not all, small businesses, serving your customers is job one, and finding time to promote your business is difficult. Far too often, we find ourselves so wrapped up in production, we lose sight of some of the necessary, and more fun, aspects of running a business. Marketing is one of those pieces of the time puzzle that doesn't always fit.
Because Swish's model is to help other businesses better market themselves, its important that we have an internal marketing process that works. We've been at this a long time, and certainly had up and down months and quarters. Every time we find ourselves chatting about cashflow issues, its typically because there's an overload of work, and marketing efforts has fallen off the radar.
For most small businesses that focus on a specific local or regional market, it doesn't take a lot of work to improve your business's visibility. Try to start small - one hour, twice a week. When its crazy around here, I scale back to Tuesday and Thursday morning from 8am-9am. I usually don't start work until almost 9am, so this isn't time I'd otherwise be spending doing work.
Ideally, that hour would occur every day of the week, but ramping up to a daily process is perfectly fine. Here are the tasks I usually do during this hour:
The first four tasks in that list usually take about 15 minutes. If I give myself 30 minutes of writing time, I can use the last 15 minutes to get my newest blog post up on our social properties. Its not always perfect, and that is an important point.
For many years, I'd start and stop with blogging or content creation. I'd get motivated and write a few posts, or list out a few dozen topics, and then I'd get too wrapped up in finding tools to help me write better or improve my publishing process. Then I'd lose the motivation to produce the content.
The tools you use and (most of) the processes you put in place won't help bring in more traffic to your site. Content will. And it is important that you recognize early on that perfection is not necessary. You don't have to write the perfect post, or find the most perfect image to accompany it.
Getting content written and published is by far the most important thing you can do to attract potential customers. Your posts can be too long, too short, it doesn't matter. Just get them published. You can revise them later, and there is nothing wrong with doing that. You'll get better with practice, and before long, you'll be writing topical content that is targeted toward your intended audience, and likely being rewarded for it in search results and visibility on the web.
Now is a great time to take one hour and write something for your website. Not sure what to write about? What is the #1 question your potential customers ask you? Answer that question in your first blog post. Thoroughly explain the answer using the old who, what, when, where, why process, and you should be close to having a complete article to publish on your site.
And if you aren't able to publish on your site, or don't know how, give Swish a call.
Chad is a 19 year veteran of the web industry. A developer by trade, he is now at the helm of his 3rd digital agency.