How small business can optimize or automate marketing before expanding
After a small business achieves a point when the concept is proven, the clients return and spread a positive word, and there is a positive income dynamics, it’s time to make a decision. Will it limit growth now and focus on suiting a fixed number of clients, or will it grow. If you want to grow and not lose too much authenticity I advice automating as much as possible. When you automate and optimize instead of delegating to levels of management you have a chance of keeping track of communication and all happenings with business. In this piece, we’ll briefly explore modern practices and tools to prepare the business for authentic growth.
There are free technologies that let you build an automated series of emails when a new person gets subscribed. Built once this script will work by itself with no later actions. For example, when a person first subscribed, it gets a well-designer greeting email with all useful information. After a week he can get an email with additional services and products you provide. After a month you are welcome to share useful information about client’s interests and lifestyle. Then build special emails corresponding to important dates for your brand – be them holidays or relevant calendar dates. After some time, like 3, 6, 12, months you can thank this client for being with you and supporting you. For one of the interior designers we built an email-series with advice and helpful information for homeowners that start a construction process. It was a series of 10 emails that explored each stage of construction every week. Easily set with free Mailchimp automation tools and works for every new subscriber. Based on this foundation of regular emails you can always add new relevant emails with special proposals and news.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, the guides and publications below are essential to reading:
Neil Patel and Savvas Zortikis explore ways to build smarter automation systems: 6 Awesome MailChimp Automation Hacks
Zapier wrote a substantial how-to guide with best practices: What is Drip Marketing? The Complete Guide to Drip Campaigns, Lifecycle Emails, and More.
As a great case study, look into this beautiful automation process built by Nat Eliason: How to Build a Lifestyle Business Step-by-Step (Emails, Tools, Everything)
Content creation optimization
Creating content is often a very effective way of giving an additional value. When the business starts growing new challenges will inevitably demand more time and many entrepreneurs sacrifice time dedicated to content creation. To avoid this one has to optimize time consumption as much as possible. I would advise picking regular dates, for example, once a week, or once a month when you create all the content needed for the future. It’s a normal practice among successful people to record 3-4 podcasts in one day and publish them weekly during the whole month. Many social media managers have a daily publication plan for the next 2 weeks ready to get posted. TV shows are produced seasonally and not episode by episode partly because every little thing that goes wrong can ruin the consistency of the whole project. So it’s good to have a content plan pre-recorded long in advance and dedicate one whole day for that instead of trying to find time for this during a workweek. The second part of optimization is creating a system of effortless content creation. If you are systematically creating pictures of your product, create a small studio setting in your office. If you record audio or video, create a fixed set of equipment that you will only have to turn on and work.
Here’s a video of behind the scenes of a video-production:
Do authentic social media not interrupting real work
Many times when you run an authentic business you can create content while you are in a process. You don’t always have to become a professional creator. Instead, try to find a way to document your work using the right social media. If you make short 1-minute posts now and then with no work interruption you will remind about yourself your followers in a quite efficient and authentic way.
Check out a weekly Instagram Stories from Everlane, called Transparency Tuesday:
Advertising optimization and scaling
Build smart online advertising campaigns, test them when you are small and flexible, get them ready for money influx. Well-working Adwords campaigns can do miracles but it’s super important to fine-tune and test them before you start scaling. I would advise spending months experimenting with messaging and targeting, reading analytics and trying to figure out the most effective campaign. It’s better to lose some little money experimenting than finding out later that you have spent lots of money on irrelevant keywords. Then when you will be ready to scale and put a decent advertising budget to work you will know everything will work as you intended.
Here’s a short guide of the most common optimization opportunities:
There’s a very easy guide to start your optimisation and that’s also a good point to begin expanding your efficiency: 4 Ways to Squeeze Every Last Bit of Value From Your Google AdWords Budget – Entrepreneur magazine
Track as much separate marketing activities as possible
Find a way to evaluate every marketing and advertising action you do. Implant tags and markers everywhere to always understand what works and how. This has to be done and tested before you expand because it will allow you to make very quick decisions based on real data. With this knowledge, you will be able to establish a system of efficiency-evaluation your colleagues and partners will also use. If you put advertising in print media with just phone number, you can create a different number for every media you buy. If you buy publications online you always can implant a latent marker and get analytics of clients’ behavior of your website. Every clickable link in your emails can bring tracking tag and every partner links too. Use these free tools and track money and time spent.
Promo-codes for partners
You can track offline references as well. Use different promotional codes with different partners. When you give chance to get any bonus to a person who comes through a recommendation of your partner, you will get a real understanding of what partnerships give what. Very easy, just find a perfect discount or a bonus to make client remember to use it.
Expand helpful information on the website
As you become busier it will be more difficult to answer all questions individually and invest the same time in personal relationships with clients. But what you can definitely do before expanding is creating an infrastructure of help for your clients. You can write more information about delivery and return processes, explain how to find you offline more easily, give recommendations and tips for usage, etc. Creating an easy and clear help section will unload your email and phone and improve user experience while growing.
I would love to see your ideas and experience of marketing optimization in comments.