Start with a Goal and a Plan
Ya, I know. You’ve heard it all before and if you’re like me you’re probably not consistent with following through. If that's the case, let me share with you what I've gleaned from 2016 (and 18 years as an entreprenuer)...focused, perseverance will net great results…eventually. So start again and stick to it.
Write down a SMART goal
For example, my goal was to write a 750-word blog post (minimum) before the clock struck 12 o’clock midnight on New Years Eve in order to help my clients succeed in 2017. I also wanted the blog to have a contact form so potential clients could contact me. The contact form is also a part of the success steps, so to not include one would be going against what I’m preaching.
In 2016, while coaching a few start-ups I found that each one was so busy getting the business off-the-ground, servicing clients or trying to generate business, that they didn’t have or follow a plan. Sure they were doing and getting stuff done, but they were needlessly stressed out and missing good opportunities.
I felt their pain, having been through the, all too common, chaos stage; but I also learned that having a plan keeps things in perspective and allows an entrepreneur to stay focused and achieve much more with their limited time and resources.
In fact, following a plan, can be the difference between building a business or being perpetually self-employed.
Now before you get overwhelmed with the thought of creating a business plan, know that with the advent of lean enterprise models and the speed in which technology and business is changing, you probably don’t need a 40 plus page business plan.
I have found that a single-page, quick business plan and the use of a Business Model Canvas can be great ways to put the essential elements of a plan down on paper. Once written down, you can then build on both documents as needed; especially if you are planning to seek investment capital.
Build Your #1 Employee
Now that you’ve set some goals and planned your business for 2017, the next step is to build your number one employee…your website.
That’s right, your website should be your hardest working salesperson, cashier, marketer and product expert. That means you’ll need to create content that reflects each of those roles. Content that your potential customers are looking for; that engages and educates them about your company and your products and services.
“Content is King” so you should have a content plan in the form of a Content Calendar.
Tips for Creating a Content Calendar
Start with the seasons
Consider each of the seasons (spring summer, fall and winter) and how your business, products and services fit and relate to your customer.
For example, at 3C we’ve discovered that during winter (November to February) our clients are looking to get a jump start on the new year…hence the creation of this blog post.
Once you’ve determined a customer need, create content that meets that need and put it on your calendar. Ensure to add any interim steps and tasks so that you deliver the content when your customers need it most.
Retail stores have this down to a science. Each year you will notice that as soon as Christmas shopping is done, Valentine’s Day promotions and displays begin to pop-up. Once Valentine’s Day is done, Easter ads start, then Victoria Day, Canada Day, Thanksgiving and so on.
Each of these special events are opportunities to connect with your customers and the beauty is, most of the work to get customer's to focus on the season is being done by mainstream media and the large retailers. You simply have to connect the event with your brand and you become relevant; a key component to online marketing success.
7 ideas to add to your content calendar in 2017
- Anniversaries / Birthdays
- Canada is turning 150 and there will be lots of searches, sales and events related to that
- Product/Service Launch
- Special Events in your region
- For example, here is a list of 2017 events happening in Toronto
- Valentine's Day
- Thanksgiving / Black Friday
- Christmas / Boxing Day
- New Years Eve
How to Articles and Videos
Are you a knowledgeable expert in your field? Do you find customers are asking the same questions about your products or services? Write a “How To” article or record an instructional or demonstration video. Not only are they helpful, but “How To” is one of the most widely searched terms on the internet and in YouTube.
Make Your Content Valuable and Actionable
I will close with this. You will notice that I’ve included links to downloads and other resources along with a contact form. All of these help the visitor along their journey to solve their challenges and or meet their needs. This is what makes the internet powerful and purposeful. Offer more value to your website visitors than what they came for and they'll reward you with referrals, a revisit and hopfully their business.
As a parting gift and a big THANK YOU for reading all the way to the bottom of this post, check out this infographic by unbounce for a complete guide to online marketing. Click to expand and or download.
Lastly, look for Part 2 of this post in which I’ll cover, Creating Community a.k.a. Social Media Marketing. You can also subscribe and be notified of future posts.