Consistency – how regular marketing micro-commitments can pay major dividends for small businesses
When you’ve already got a million and one things you have to do just to keep your business running, how do you find the time to do all those things you know you should be doing to grow your business? The answer is micro-commitments.
My friend John, like me, is no longer 21 (yes, I know, shock horror, your stunned disbelief is welcomed), so when his GP warned him that he had to improve his lifestyle, his wife put her foot down and insisted that he went on a diet. If you knew John like I do, you’d know that this would not go down at all well – he likes the sweeter things in life. There was no way he would go cold turkey, especially with Christmas around the corner, and his exercise regime is more likely to end up in the pub than the starting line of the London Marathon. But, he surprised us all by going on one of those alternate day diets. So, four days a week he eats all the things his wife wants him to eat, and the other three he gets to have a packet of Haribo Starmix or a Milky Way if he wants. The fact that he’s doing something each week to improve his diet means he’s lost half a stone already, and all because he’s making micro-commitments that he can keep up with consistently, not attempting to ‘blitz diet’, which so often leads to failure.
Marketing is a little like this. Small businesses are often confused by the daunting amount of advice that’s out there, or scared of the cost many become paralysed by uncertainty and their businesses suffer as a result, or they try to do everything and run out of money with little to show for it. But a proper marketing plan of action, developed bespoke for a business, involving daily, weekly and monthly micro-commitments means keeping to budget and building a brand reputation, search engine visibility, and audience trust over time. Small manageable efforts carried out with consistency can create big results down the road.
In my experience, there are three marketing micro-commitments that offer the highest returns for your efforts if you keep working on them:
#1: Website Design and Content Upkeep
We have been building websites for clients for a very long time now, and what we’ve found is that the vast majority consider this investment in time and money to be a ‘once in a site’s lifetime’ affair. However, that couldn’t be further from what they should be doing.
As time goes by, two things happens to your website:
- It dates. How often have you searched the internet only to give a website design just a cursory glance before exiting, because the site looks so dated that the snap judgement you make is either they’ve gone out of business, or they’re so far behind the times how could they possibly understand your needs? The longer you leave your own website alone, the more out of date its imagery, copy, feel, structure and messages will become. The solution to this is easy. Develop a calendar strategy where you or someone in your office take a little time each month to update services, images, copy and media. Just a little at a time so you keep your site current. Then, once every six months, it would make sense to run an audit on all your digital assets to ensure that they are keeping up to date with customer/client expectations and company aspirations and advancement, to determine whether the time is right to upgrade your website design entirely.
- It falls from digital interest. Search engines are most interested in ‘active’ sites – the longer your site remains dormant, the less interest Google and others will have in you and you don’t want that to happen. To maintain search engine visibility and to enhance it, you must regularly add to or update the copy on your site – adapt your services, add a blog, amend your primary pages. You don’t need to go crazy here, a little new copy a week will be enough to keep the search engines happy that your site is still live and worthy of their attention. And a little new copy each week builds up to quite a bit of new content a year.
#2: Email Marketing
It’s not rocket science, the longer you leave it to contact your contacts the less likely they are to remember or trust you. The more often (within reason of course), that you stay in touch, the more opportunity you have to show the value you can offer them and the greater your potential for conversions.
Email marketing is just so easy to do these days. Get yourself a professional emailing tool (MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, etc.), add all your contacts to it, create some amazingly engaging emails that you can send on a regular basis and your little bit of effort, presented to them on a consistent and regular basis, strengthens relationships, builds your brand, and increases conversions.
#3: Content, Content, Content
You’ve heard that saying ‘content is king’? It’s so overused now that anyone in the content and copywriting field will cringe when they hear it mentioned now. That being said, the more QUALITY content you produce, the better it will be for your business.
Choose your medium and form – website, social media, LinkedIn Pulse, blogs, PR articles, blogger outreach, thought leadership, case studies/customer stories, etc., and then just go for it.
Finally, don’t analyse this to death, marketing success for small businesses is all about consistency and micro-commitments over analysis on which platform to post on, or how much – assessing keyword effectiveness and so on will be important at some point, but for now, the most important thing is just to get started, to write something new every week.
So, there you have it. Marketing micro-commitments, or the art of getting a little bit of something done each day, build into a whole heap of marketing goodness over time. You can do all this yourself, or, if you’re looking for a little guidance you can ask your friendly neighbourhood London design and marketing experts at Bond Media (unsubtle plug).
Good luck, and keep up your commitment to your micro-commitments.