Which internet marketing tactics do you focus on when you are starting your small business?
Two weeks ago I quit my job to work for myself full time. I’ve been working on it for over three years as a side project. In that time, I built a business that replaced (mostly) my income, created a platform for thought leadership, and attracted a mailing list of over 8,000 artists who are interested in learning how to sell their art online.
I recently came across Boostsuite and immediately began recommending it to my readers as a way of quickly iterating on what they are doing. After five years in digital strategy for some of the world’s largest companies, and three years of building my own side business, one comment that I consistently hear is that people don’t have time to look at all of their analytics – so here’s what I paid attention to when I was getting started.
Creating, and Repurposing, Quality Lead Magnets (Content)
Pay attention to headlines. Headlines are the single most important reason people click, read, and share your content. I wrote long, informative blog posts that blew people’s minds with how valuable they were. I also made sure to add multiple kinds of media to the most popular blog posts. By publishing content in multiple formats, you enable different kinds of marketing, and different kinds of readership.
Creating video for your marketing is ridiculously easy. Skype call recorder is $20, iMovie is $15, and Screenflow is $99. For less than $150 you can just record any interview you do and put together really valuable clips that can live on Youtube and your website.
Here’s the real key – after developing enough content that I could put together into an introductory course, I packaged it all up and told my readers that if they signed up for my mailing list, they would get a 10-part course on how to sell art online. My email auto-responder sequence then took every new subscriber through my best blog posts, teaching them the basics and qualifying them as sales prospects at the same time. Finally, I set up an RSS to email campaign that published all of my blog posts to my newsletter. This tripled the rate of subscriptions to my mailing list.
I used to write 3 – 5 blog posts per week. It was exhausting, and it didn’t really get me anywhere. At some point I stopped doing that and focused on promoting the content on my website that was the most interesting to my readers. I started guest blogging on blogs that were more popular than mine, and linking back to the content that I wanted to promote. I formed a circle of professionals like myself and we shared each others’ content on Twitter and other social media. I also found tools that would automatically tweet my old blog posts. All of these things brought incremental traffic to my site, and gave me opportunities to write for other publications, which brought their readers back to me.
Analytics packages are filled with unnecessary fluff or information that is only relevant when you are doing specific marketing tasks. Every month I look at these stats, and mostly ignore the rest of it:
- Total unique visitors to the site – up or down? why? ignore pageviews and visits because when you’re a small business what you really need is more new eyeballs
- Top performing pages for that month and why – did any other new sites link to one of my pages this week? Can I drop the site owner a thank you and look for a guest-posting opportunity?
- Email opt-ins – is my email list growing? Why or why not? which page brought me the most opt-ins? Ignore social media follower growth in favor of growing your email list. Your business will grow faster that way.
The ability to stay focused on a few key metrics and adapt my strategies to what customers were responding to are traits that have helped me optimize my time and get my small business off of the ground. Focus on building useful marketing content, and on promoting that content. I usually spend about an hour each day working on creating new content for my business. This way I’m ahead when time comes to publish.
By spending 15 – 30 minutes each week, you can get a clear snapshot of what’s working and what’s not. By having content prepared ahead of time and understanding what is and is not working, you have a clear map for growing your business.
How do you grow your small business with the limited resources you have?
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