Raise your hand if you wish marketing your business could go on auto pilot – something you could set and forget so you could get back to doing what you really love.
If marketing stresses you out and makes you feel like you have no idea where to start, you are in good company. It’s a problem a lot of entrepreneurs face. And it’s not because marketing is just naturally overly complex and hard to master – in fact, marketing can be very simple and straight-forward. A lot of the overwhelm and confusion surrounding marketing for small business owners comes from the simple fact that there is just so much information and advice surrounding the topic.
One casual scan through your favorite marketing and business blogs will land you with a marketing “must-do” list the length of your arm.
You just have to start hosting webinars. If you you’re not active on Google+, you might as well give up now. Podcasting is in. Video marketing is essential. Have you started using images on Twitter? Infographics should be a part of your blogging strategy. Are you joining online networking groups? And please, for goodness sake, get on top of your SEO as soon as possible…and on and on.
With commentary like that, no wonder we procrastinate when it comes to marketing. All that information coming at us is enough to freeze us in place, panicking over where we should start.
Recommended for YouWebcast: 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Content Plan
Here’s the deal: there are hundreds of ways to market your business online. Most of them are legitimate and profitable. But none of them matter if you don’t have a solid framework in place first. You must have a basic, repeatable, easy-to-understand marketing plan in place before you can expect results for your business.
So if you regularly feel confused, overwhelmed, or unsure when it comes to marketing your business, that’s a clear sign that you don’t have a solid marketing foundation in place. Now isn’t the time to worry about keeping up with all the newest marketing fads – now’s the time to take a step back and focus on the basics.
This is great news for you, because it means your marketing life is about to get a whole lot simpler. Below are the only 4 marketing pieces you need to worry about.
Marketing Piece #1 – A website
Most of you probably already have a website, which means right off the bat you’re already a quarter way through your new marketing checklist. If you don’t have a website up and running, don’t panic. Setting up a website is super easy these days. Keep things simple and focus on the necessary pages only: a home page, and About page so people can learn about you and your business, a “shop” or “services” page so people can learn about what you sell, a page with contact info so people can get in touch, and a landing page to collect email addresses for your list.
Marketing Piece #2 – An email list
Email marketing is alive and well, and it’s also an essential part of your new, simple marketing plan. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for staying in touch with leads, building a loyal audience, and making sales. If you’re not currently collecting email address, you can get started quickly and easily with an email service provider like MailChimp or AWeber. Once you have an account set up, add opt-in forms to your website and start building your list!
Marketing Piece #3 – Content
You need to create free content on your website – usually in the form of a blog, though you can choose to host your free content any way you want – and free content attached to your email list to entice people to sign up. This free content is important, because without it your prospects wouldn’t have a good reason to come check out what you do.
Keep this simple: you could create a short eBook or report, put together a checklist, or record a few short videos and package them as a mini-course for your opt-in content. For your website, you could choose to write traditional written blog posts, or start a podcast, a vlog, or share graphics and photos. Just focus on creating something that your ideal clients or customers would find valuable.
Marketing Piece #4 – Traffic
Now that you have everything set up (your website, email list, and free content), it’s time to get people to check it all out. You do this by generating traffic. In order to drive traffic back to your website, email list, and content you need to find an existing audience to tap into. Some great ways to do this is with social networking platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc), publishing guest posts on popular blogs, or getting interviewed on someones podcast, webshow, or live event. You can choose the mediums you like best, but just remember: you have to find a way to get your message in front of a pre-existing audience that is interested in the types of things you do.
Put it together
That’s it! This marketing framework is dead-simple. There are only 4 piece of the puzzle, and when put together they create a complete marketing system that will attract new leads, build an audience, and sell your stuff. And because this is a marketing framework, and not a one-size-fits-all marketing plan, you can adapt it to compliment your business and your style. Once you’re comfortable with this basic plan, you’ll be confident in trying out new marketing techniques, because you’ll know exactly where they fit into the overall plan (does it create free content for your audience? Does it drive traffic? Does it improve your website? Etc.).
Want step-by-step guidance on creating your own stress-free marketing plan? Join the Free 5-Day Marketing Dare!