When you’re running a small business, every moment in your day is valuable. This is especially true for small business owners managing an equally small team that’s responsible for not only the operations, but the promotion, perception, and marketing of your products or services.
The good news is that your team isn’t always as small as you think – you can rely on your online audience and your customers to do some of the promotional leg work for you.
Before you can lean on your audience to help you promote your business, you have to win them over first.
It’s more than just your public relations efforts that influence the public’s perception of your business – it’s the full spectrum of your internet marketing practices. This includes your SEO strategy, social media posts, website content and other online outlets where your business is featured.
This wide spectrum of marketing activities can directly influence your customer base to speak on your behalf. Make sure they have something positive to say, and you can leverage it while spending way less time creating content and promoting your business yourself.
Optimizing the little free time you have as a busy entrepreneur doesn’t require more hours in the day – it just requires some business savvy and people-minded thinking. Here are 7 tips to get you started:
1) Remember Who You’re Marketing To
Digital marketing experts have been telling us “content is king” for years.
Well, they’re wrong. Content isn’t king – your audience is.
That’s not to say you should abandon your digital marketing content all together – in fact, quite the contrary. It just means you should create content for your audience, not for the search engines who index it. Keep SEO best practices in the back of your mind while you’re creating your content, but be sure to prioritize how it benefits your customers first and foremost. A keyword-rich, alt tag-packed blog won’t do you much good if it doesn’t fit the needs of the people who pay for your products or services.
Creating customer-centric content will require an initial time commitment on your part, but the magic really kicks in once it grows legs of its own, so to speak. Strive to create high-value content with a shareability factor, like infographics and quizzes. If your audience finds it useful, interesting and/or entertaining, they will be more likely to share it within their own personal or professional networks online. The more word-of-mouth marketing your content receives, the less marketing you will need to do yourself.
2) Start In-House
Your customers aren’t your only marketing secret weapon – your employees can also be some of your biggest advocates. Not only are they already excited about your business, but they’re the ones that know it best and understand the message you’re trying to send.
Leaning on your employees for a little more exposure definitely alleviates some of the effort you’ll need to put into promoting your brand online. This provides you with more time as the business owner to think about the big picture and your future strategies.
Employees are especially useful when you’re trying to build a social following – leverage their audiences, as they’re probably connecting with other professionals and audience members in your space. It can be very time consuming to build a large social reach from scratch, and leveraging those of your employees means you already have a target audience that you can tap into.
What you’re aiming for is not necessarily to add another to-do list item to your team’s roster, but to give them such a great experience with your company that they want to talk about it on their own accord. Provide them with a unique work environment and fun experiences that they’ll be excited to share with their friends, family and followers.
Nurture your employees, and an employee advocacy program will fall into place.
3) Embrace Automation
When you think about what marketing for small business owners will look like in the future, you’re probably right to expect it to be more complex than ever. Even today’s standard marketing practices like local SEO and AI technology were novel concepts just a few years ago!
It’s completely reasonable to be trepidatious at the thought of adjusting to the unknown future landscape of small business marketing. Learning new marketing technology can be overwhelming, especially when trying to run a business full time.
The good news is there are some seriously intelligent trends on the rise that are only aiming to make your life easier – namely, automation.
Advancements in today’s automated marketing tools enable busy business owners to do double the work in a fraction of the time, including compiling analytics, posting on social media and even writing full-length blogs. Simpler forms of customer communication can also be handled via automated chatbot technology, some of which has gotten so advanced that you may not even realize there isn’t actually a human on the other end. Embracing this technology frees you up to focus on doing what you do best – developing your business.
4) Learn When You’re Productive
Your business might operate on a 9 to 5 basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean 9 to 5 is when you produce your best work. Depending on the atmosphere of your workplace, you might find mid-day to be difficult to focus on each individual task at hand. Maybe you’re juggling meetings with clients and fielding questions from your staff throughout the day – or perhaps a [global pandemic] has kept you doing double duty at home managing your kids and your workload.
No matter the case, a task that could take mere minutes normally could stretch over a period of hours by the time you get yourself back into the zone.
One of the perks of owning your own business? Setting your own hours.
Start to pay attention to when you feel the most motivated to get things done during the day. You might find that you’re a night owl who gets their best ideas after you’ve had time to decompress, or maybe you’re at your most productive early in the morning while your day is still a clean slate. An hour’s worth of work while you’re feeling sharp and focused could save you multiple hours worth of work when you feel yourself crashing in the afternoon. In that same vein…
5) Take a Personal Day
I know what you’re thinking – if you’re already short on time, why would you spend even less time marketing your business?
One of the biggest roadblocks for your productivity isn’t necessarily that you’re short on time, it’s that you’re short on steam. Burnout is real, and it’s important to recognize when it’s time to take a break.
If you feel yourself struggling to brainstorm new ideas for marketing your business, it’s probably a sign that you’re due for a day off. Research finds that employees who are encouraged to use their vacation time view their company more favorably and produce higher quality work, so be sure to encourage your staff to do the same.
Even one extra day of rest, relaxation and minimal distractions can get your neurons firing on all cylinders again. And who knows? The day you spend disconnected from overhanging projects could be the day you come up with your most brilliant marketing idea yet.
6) Master Delegation
One of the hardest things for any entrepreneur to do is learn to trust others with their business. You’ve grown your startup from a tiny thought to a blossoming success story, and the thought of its fate resting in someone else’s hands can be understandably scary.
The quickest and often most effective way to instantly open up your busy schedule is to master the art of delegation. Make a list of your routine tasks, and determine which of them can be handled by someone else on your team. Start with administrative tasks, and move onto delegating by skill set from there.
Giving up complete control of your business is a huge step for many entrepreneurs, but a necessary one if you’re already spreading yourself too thin.
This leaves one big question: What if you’re a solopreneur without any employees?
7) Know When to Find Outside Help
The number one thing that will help free up your time as a business owner is, and will always be, extra help that is dedicated to the success of your business.
While you’re growing, it might not always be in the cards to hire another full-time worker to support your digital marketing needs whenever you hit a busy period.
Consider leaning on a third-party agency in this case – their marketing expertise and business acumen will help propel your business forward.
Here at Creative Click Media, we specialize in helping small business owners improve their company with better content marketing. Let’s get a call on the calendar if you’re interested in talking about how an SEO and content marketing strategy can help grow your business.