It’s 9:34 am on December 29th and it is new business prospecting day (every Monday I prioritize prospecting for new business at Sharp Guys Web Design).  There’s a problem – no one is awake.  At least not the type of people I need to speak to.  I mean sure, they are likely physically awake but 90% of them are out of the office until January 5th.  What can I do to stay busy?  Write an article about how to stay busy of course!

There are always a million things you can do to prop up the digital marketing efforts of your business.  If you are a small shop like Sharp Guys Web Design, typically these things fall by the wayside.  Why?  Because the guy who does the marketing also takes out the trash, sells the services and implements the client work.  So on a day like today, it is time to do some of the little things that can make a big impact later on down the line.

First things first, let’s do some housekeeping.  Why not start with a little meta description update for each and every page on your website.  Yes, it is slow and yes, it is boring but IT IS IMPORTANT!  These are the words that differentiate your web page from all of your competitors when people do a Google search.  If you aren’t sure how to update these and you’re using WordPress, follow this simple guide –  https://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/   If you are using a different platform for your website, just search for ‘update meta description on [platform].  You are guaranteed to find a few articles.

Many people never add unique meta descriptions for their pages and posts – this is bad because you are less likely to stand out from the pack AND the first words of your page could be used instead.  For example, if you have an ecommerce website, your meta description in Google may look like this when people search for ‘Toy Ball’ –

 

bad toy ball

Instead of something like this.

kong

Based on the description alone, most people would click on the Extreme Ball and not the one with random product numbers.

Next up – it is time to start work on writing a marketing email – email still provides businesses an enormous ROI ($37:1).  Before you start, let’s look at 3 important things you’ll need:

  • An email list to send to – I highly recommend an opted-in email list.
  • To look at who is on your list. You’ll want to tailor your email message for that audience
  • An email marketing software. If you don’t have one, I’d recommend MailChimp.  It’s free for up to 5,000 contacts and incredibly easy to use.

Now, you have emails, an audience you would like to cater to (prospects for example?) and you are all set to use the email marketing software of choice.  Now it is time to begin writing.  What is there to write about?  Since it is the end of the year, why not create an end of the year review or a 2015 forecast/preview.  Some tips:

  • Don’t be salesy.
  • Write to your audience! If they are industry people, write about your industry.  If they are general consumers, write about interesting things that your consumers would like.
  • Write about the types of work you have been doing with other clients.
  • Write about the kind of things you would be willing to read about.

Not a great writer?  That’s ok (neither am I).  Writing is an area where nearly everyone could ‘be better’ – like running.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out there and try your best (except running, I hate running).

I hate running so much that even this picture is hard to look at.

I hate running so much that even this picture is hard to look at.

So you have some email content – don’t send it yet!  I bet you haven’t even spent 5-10 minutes thinking about the perfect subject line.  Do it!  The subject line is incredibly important.  What’s the point of spending so much time on content when no one will see if if you write a poor subject line.  Need some tips?  I only have one:

Write your subject line like Buzzfeed editors write their headlines.  It is stupid, but it works.

  • 3 things you won’t believe…
  • 5 Ways 2015 will be different…
  • You have to read this to believe it…

While you’re at it – does your email have a call to action?  If not, think about adding one – even if it is just a link to a partner’s website.  Why?  Because you can measure your recipient’s engagement and if people are clicking, maybe they are worth giving a call (when they are back in the office of course).

The final step of your email is scheduling your email send date/time. Maybe today is a great day.  Your prospects may all be off from work but most of them check their email anyway, right?  Not convinced they will check?  Try sending your email a day or two after everyone comes back.  Otherwise, it may get lost in a flood of Kohl’s emails.  There is never a perfect time to send an email – it is different for each and every business.  I recommend sending email on different days/times and see what works best with your own email audience.

While there are a million more digital marketing to-dos we could go through, let’s just finish with one last item.  Let’s go back to your website.  When was the last time you updated it?  I don’t mean adding a new blog.  I mean you truly updated it.  For example you could:

  • Add a new slide that describes a new service offering or product.
  • Update your About Us section to reflect new information.
  • Integrate your website forms with your sales database (SalesForce, Marketo, etc.)
  • Change the language used throughout the website to be more in line with the 30 second elevator pitch you are currently using.
  • Add a new case study that shows off work or a project you are particularly proud of finishing.

So many times these little things get lost in time because we are too busy running the business to talk about it.

I hope this quick guide gave you an idea for how you can use a slow day at your small business to really make an impact.  None of these items should take more than a couple of hours and all of them will give you a tremendous return for a slow day in the office.

What types of things do you do to invest in your company on a slow day?  Need help implementing ideas like this at your own company?  We’d love to help.

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