Don’t worry; I haven’t lost my mind.
I’m not recommending you go rogue with your business either.
(Well, not entirely.)
Best practices are still important.
Good customer service is still important.
Having a strategy for all your online marketing efforts is still important.
But what’s not important is following along with every.single.thing thatÂ Everyone says you are *supposed to* do.
Everyone will tell you a whole lot of things if you give him or her the time of day.
And it’s all those things that can wear you down and make you crazy.
As a small business owner, you already have enough to wear you down and make you crazy, so let’s purposely lighten our loads a bit, shall we?
Everyone often hasÂ very sound advice, but there is no substitute for knowing what works best for you and your business, following your gut feeling, or making a point to take a big picture approach as a solid double-check that how you are approaching your small business makes sense.
Let me give you an example about us: We have a newsletter subscriber list that we do nothing with.
Here’s another example: Although we regularly run ads for our clients, we’ve only ever run paid social campaigns for our business as a way to test out various social media ad products. Paid ads are not otherwise part of our marketing plan.
And here’s one more: We only added a contact form to our site about 8 months ago (we’ve always listed our email address and phone number, though).
We know that you are *supposed to* nurture your email subscriber list and use that to sell your products or services. We know that we *should* pay money to run Facebook campaigns that would drive more LIKEs and increase our fan base to some more-impressive number. We know thatÂ we are *supposed to* have always used a contact form as a way to collect leads and email addresses of prospective customers.
So why – with these supposed tos and shoulds – would we choose to ignore these industry-standard practices?
Because the other online marketing activities that we are and have always been doing have always worked very well for us. Where we’ve put our focus is not what’s typical for our industry, but it makes sense to us from a big picture level as well as making sense to us when we consider what our customers would like to see, read, and experience from a firm like ours.
Our focus is on things like blogging and SEO. Those two things are where we’ve chosen to put our investment (of time). Those methods work for us on a day-to-day implementation level, as well as on a client acquisition level.
So while all the things we don’t do are actually tried and true practices, the online marketing activities we’ve chosen to implement are tried and true practices as well. Ultimately, those chosen practices are a better fit for us and our business.
When you are deciding where to focus your time, energy and money, do consider all the directions you could go, but then choose only the ones that are the best fit for you and your business.
(P.S. Of the 3 contact options – phone call, email, and contact form, we get the fewest inquiries via the contact form!)
I’m with you on this one. I have people who see all those posts and infographics about the best time to post, or which platforms they should be on, or whatever, and they ask me my opinion. The fact is, all of that information is an aggregate of all sorts of businesses, large and small. Their experiences will probably be far different, and they have to find what works for them.
Funny you specifically mentioned the best times to post. I don’t know one person who has looked at the Times your Fans are online section of Facebook Insights and seen any real difference between times of day.
You are so right, Liz! You really need to look at your own business and clientele and figure out what works the best for you. About 50 percent of our contact form contacts end up in sales, which I think is actually quite good for us. The majority of business is from word of mouth, locally and the few trade shows that we do. Very little business actually comes from Facebook – it really is more of a social platform for us. We don’t currently have an email subscription or do a newsletter. If Facebook continues to reduce its’ organic reach, however, we will probably cultivate an email list to regularly communicate with interested people. We ARE a small business and perfectly happy to stay that way without all of the marketing hype you get from the “authorities” of social media. We like and appreciate your approach to doing business!
We really appreciate that, Pat! We really try to be sensible and practical with our advice and guidance. Especially with small business. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many people to handle all those tasks!