For new business owners, for freelancers, for those still working a day job and managing a side hustle with big dreams — budget is often a serious issue. You start to wear a lot of different hats; you’re your own boss, sure, but you’re also your own assistant, your own accountant, your own salesperson…I mean, until your business grows enough to hire staff, you’re your own everything. It’s all DIY. And that is never more true than when it comes to marketing.
Ah, marketing. An evasive quarry, one that seems kind of easy, right? That is, until you sit down and actually try it. Then it seems insurmountable.
While I’m not going to argue that it’s easy (it’s not), it is not insurmountable, either. In fact, with the right tools and marketing plan, you can achieve a heckuva lot more than you might think. You can create your own website. You can grow your audience on social media. You can use content to attract new clients and actually increase your income.
I know, because that‘s what I do.
For the past six years, I’ve been helping small businesses with their content marketing. Through my work, my clients have had some serious results:
- A fitness coach who’s Instagram shot from 100 followers to 8,000
- A realtor who’s website traffic increased by 300%
- A counselor who’s practice doubled in size
And here’s the thing: If you can’t afford to hire me to get those results, you can do it yourself.
Seriously. And there are three things you can start doing today, right now, that can get you on the right track.
- Make Beautiful Graphics. The world is becoming more and more image-based; a photo with awesome typography is going to be way more eye-catching to your viewers than a text post! But there’s often two hurdles new business owners face when trying to incorporate imagery and graphics: They don’t have the time or resources to create professional imagery, and they don’t have the time or resources to add professionally design elements (like typography) to those photos. I have a quick solution for you for both of those hurdles. Start with www.unsplash.com. It is chock-full of completely free, fantastic imagery; find the photo you want with their ‘search’ feature, and download away! It’s yours! Then, moving on to step two, download an app like Over, PicLab, or Snapseed which will allow you to add text to these photos. Text that’s pretty, or hip, or fun — whatever fits your brand. Add the text, play around with the options, and suddenly — you’ve got yourself some awesome imagery to use in your content marketing.
- Pick one — that’s right, ONE — social media platform. This is the simplest, and yet somehow the most difficult, step for many business owners. They hear that social media is essential to their business, and then suddenly they’re trying to balance Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Mastadon, all at once — with every single option within those platforms used to the max! Here’s the problem with that: unless you have a team working with you, there’s no way you can run all these platforms and run your business. You just can’t. You’ll either do a pretty lame job with all of them, or you’ll do a good job for about a week before you burnout completely and swear off social media for life. Don’t do this. Instead, pick one. Just one. Pick the one that sounds the most fun, and the one where your ideal customer most likely lives. Then, give that one platform all you’ve got. Become an Instagram expert, even if you don’t have a clue about Twitter. Your work will be much more effective, and you’ll be able to keep up the practice as you grow. Pick one.
- Add your calls to action. The most important way to stay focused with your content marketing is to consider, with every piece of content you put out there, what do you want the reader to do? What is the call to action? This could be the simplest of things: Maybe you want them to hit ‘like’ on a post so that they’re engaged with your company. Maybe you want them to make a purchase, click a link, drop their email — whatever it is, know it ahead of time. Know your purpose for content marketing — otherwise, you’re just participating in a popularity contest. You want to get more followers/likes/subscribes? Okay, well none of that matters if you don’t know why and how. Pick one specific goal, like “Grow my email list,” then address how every level of your content marketing can call your reader to that goal. You have to be careful here, because you don’t want to sound spammy — the idea is to be strategic. Don’t produce and share content just because you feel like it, or just because you feel like you should — have specific goals in mind, and make everything you post conform in some way to those goals. Add in calls to action.
Now, there’s a lot more to it than these three steps, of course. If you want to learn to do it yourself, you could spend hours scouring the internet, reading every article, listening to every podcast, and basically fall into the rabbit hole of the obsessively self-taught. I’ve been there. It’s a dark hole, but effective if you have the will.
Then again, if you’d like to learn it all in a concise, cohesive way, in one day, from someone who’s been doing this stuff professionally for years — well, then you could sign up for our online seminar!
It is absolutely possible to grow your social media audience and establish an amazing business blog and website on your own. That’s DIY marketing. And it’s actually pretty fun — in fact, if it’s not actively fun for you, then you’re doing something wrong. You’re missing out on something powerful, effective, and engaging for both you and your fans.
On January 13th, HER Magazine and I, Heather Rose Walters (*waves*), will be offering a one-day, online seminar: MASTER YOUR MARKETING. In this seminar, you’ll learn all the trade secrets I’ve collected over the years: everything you need to create a marketing plan that’s actually effective, sustainable, and fun.
You read that right: fun.
This stuff should be fun. If you’ve been struggling with marketing, if you just aren’t jazzed for it, or if you’re not sure where to start — that’s exactly why we’re offering this class. You can absolutely do this yourself, and you can absolutely enjoy the process! Marketing should be one of the most exciting parts of running a business. You have a product you’re passionate about, a target audience you love — it’s time to connect the two.
This class is not a module you can sign up for and forget — it’s a live, interactive workshop. It just happens to be online (so you’re welcome to wear your pajamas if you feel so inspired). After just one cozy Saturday with me, you’ll be ready to face 2018 with your most powerful, exciting marketing plan yet — one that you can execute yourself. DIY, baby!
I’m so excited to be working with HER on this project; the readers here are all incredible women who are doing amazing things, and I LOVE seeing you succeed! That’s why we designed this class. Marketing is one of the most important tools for business growth, so join us on January 13th and get equipped.
Also, I should mention that the first 50 people who sign up get a nice juicy discount — it is the holidays, after all. So nab that discount before it’s gone, and sign up here.
(PS: If you’re not sure whether this class is for you, we put together a little marketing assessment. Take the quiz, and see if it’s a good fit!)