Complexity does not equal smart. Simplicity is smart. It’s easy.

Marketing Minimalism is the new way to simplify your business and your life as a small business owner.

No, customers aren’t spontaneously going to rush through your doors and your online bank account isn’t suddenly going to explode with orders (no matter what the millionaire marketing experts say).

There are way too many ways to market your business.

Every day there seems to be a new way or new tactic, new strategy or new tool that claims to grow your sales exponentially, which is great if you have the time, patience and lots of money. That doesn’t mean you have to do all of them. It doesn’t mean you should do all of them. In fact, we recommend you don’t.

Do these things instead.

Value Your Time More Than Money

We’re all given the same amount of time.  You have as much time as Oprah or as Richard Branson.  The question you have to ask yourself is how will you use the hours that you’ve been given.

The most common phrase I hear from small business owners is “I have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done!”

If you’ve got too much to do and not enough time, you’re doing the wrong things

There are 3 main culprits to the “Too much to do and Not enough time” conversation

I call them –

The Paradox of Performance – This is the idea that if you just DO more, you’ll HAVE what you want and you will BE – happy or successful.  This kind of thinking is what drives you to constantly be DOING.  But are you doing those things that will actually take your business forward?  Chances are only 20% of what you’re doing will accomplish this goal.  Take some of that valuable time you’re using to putz around and use it to identify your top 20%.

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Apply the principle to your own day: Is there a time of day you’re most effective?

The one hour where you’re wide awake, most energized and undistracted? That’s the time to tackle your toughest, most valuable challenges. If you align the best 20% of your day with the top 20% of your list of work, you’ll get more done in that sprint than most accomplish in a 10-hour day.Finally, apply the principle to your own day: Is there a time of day you’re most effective?  == From AskMen.com [/thrive_text_block]

Delusional Commitments and Diluted Outcomes – Isn’t it funny how we SAY that we are committed to something but we DO something completely different and we aren’t really clear our goals.

Sit down and ask yourself “What am I committed to?”  Don’t just say “Making a difference” — be specific.  And be clear that you just might be committed to working the fewest hours possible.  There’s nothing wrong with that if you are honest with yourself.  You could be committed to “writing code” if you’re a software developer, or making great sandwiches if you have a food truck.  It doesn’t have to be big or lofty, just true.

The key is to choose an honest commitment and then select the projects that will help you support then commitment.  Then, create a set of tasks to do that support your commitment.  When your day is filled with actions focused on supporting your commitments you will feel energized and productive.

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We’re driving ourselves crazy trying to do everything, instead of identifying ways to do fewer things and a few things better.

Turn off your cellphone at the same time each night. The endless emails and texts that arrive on our computers and phones 24 hours a day are a major reason we feel constantly overwhelmed.  “Give it a try” says Nicole Anzia in her article in the Columbia Tribune.

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The Dilemma of Disorder – When was the last time you were completely on track with your day when an email or phone call completely took you out of the loop?  That’s the dilemma of disorder in actions.  It happens when you let the circumstances of our day drive YOU– instead of YOUR driving your day.

When you identify these three conversations in your life, you’ll notice how they sabotage your day and steak hours away from your workweek.

The antidotes to these criminal conversations are focused on what matters and the rigorous elimination of anything and everything that stands to distract you from your ultimate goal.

How to Become a Marketing Minimalist

The promise of marketing minimalism is the ability to free yourself from the marketing overwhelm that has you in an ongoing marketing hamster wheel; do this, try that and you’ll get these amazing results.  To be fair, it’s not the strategies that the gurus teach that are wrong, for the strategies to work, you will have had to have the core elements of marketing addressed.  If you follow the principles of marketing minimalism, you’ll not only free yourself from the overwhelm of trying every marketing strategy or tool, you’ll actually become perfectly positioned to try any tool or strategy and be successful.  The only requirement is that you like it.

Take time to craft your core message and uniqueness.

Without your core message and competitive positioning in the marketplace, marketing minimalism will not work.  Your message, your story and your commitment to your customers and the industry is the foundation for saving time and money around marketing.  Too many people think that they have this down.  If your core message is tight, specific and targets your ideal customer, you should have a flood of prospects and customers, you should be looking at adding more staff, expanding, etc.  If this isn’t happening in your business, your message isn’t specific enough.  This is why you find yourself throwing more and more time and money into your marketing process.

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Identify and focus on a very specific audience

The next area that eats up tons of marketing resources (your time and money) is getting your message in front of the right audience.  If you’re stumped by this process because “everyone can use my product or service” understand that

To find your ideal customer, think of the person who SUCKS at what you do best.

  • If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, who is terrible at keeping their books, who would rather stick a fork in their eye than reconcile their checkbook?
  • If you’re a software developer – who is spending hours and thousands of dollars trying to implement an idea into a piece of software?
  • If you’re a house-cleaning service, who is neglecting their house. whose house isn’t getting the kind of love they would normally give it? What’s stopping these people from cleaning their house? Health, age, something temporary?

When you answer this question and describe a specific audience with specific circumstances or pains, you’ll find yourself suddenly standing out.  With a core message and target audience specified, you’ll find that people will come out of the woodwork because suddenly, you are speaking directly to THEM.

Take the time to develop a “Simply Irresistible” offer

A message and an audience isn’t enough.  It will bring people to you but it won’t make them drink.  To get them to drink — you need an offer.  A simply irresistible offer.

To develop a “Simply Irresistible Offer” you only need four things:

  1. What your customer wants in their own words.
    • I want someone to keep my QuickBooks clean and organized.
    • I want to know how much money I made, how much my time is worth
  2. The features of your product or service that give your customer what they want.
    • A bookkeeper that only works with online publishers and consultants
  3. Proof that your features deliver on what the customer wants
    • Testimonials and referrals from publishers and online consultants that I know and respect
  4. A WOW Factor that makes your offer irresistible
    • Guarantee that your books will be clean in less than 48 hours.

This is just a simple example using a basic “bookkeeping” business, but you get the idea.

These first three steps will take TIME and THINKING and REFLECTION.  Don’t rush through them. It’s not about getting words on a page or checking something off your list, it’s about hitting on that sweet spot of a marketing message, target audience and offer.  These three elements are the legs that will hold the future of your business.  When these elements are in place it simply doesn’t matter WHAT strategy you use, the target customers will come to you.

Figure out the shortest distance between you and your ideal customer

Stop listening to what worked for others.  Take the time to think about where your ideal customer spends his or her time.  What triggers their search for a solution?  Where do they search for their solution and how can you be within arm’s reach when they are searching.

This is a research function designed to help you determine “what’s so” and not what you want or how you think it should be.  Don’t think you have to spend tons of money either, depending on who your ideal customer is you may just observe or watch them.  If there is research, grab it and then use that information in your observations.  Be open to see what’s happening and why they do what they do.  Always ask yourself the question “What’s missing for them, that if it were present would blow the roof off of their experience?”

Select your favorite platform

Finally, it’s your turn.  YOU get to select your favorite platform and communication channel.  It’s hard to choose a platform when you have hundreds of experts extolling the virtues of their favorites.  I’m going to describe each platform in a way that might help you choose.

Twitter:

If you’re the “shy” type who is hesitant in approaching new people and prefers to “test” the waters in a conversation, Twitter is the ideal way to start and build relationships – especially with influencers.  The challenge is getting your message out in 140 characters (and that’s the benefit as well).  Don’t forget you can use images to supplement your message.  Use Twitter to reach out to experts in your industry, ask them questions and get into conversations.  You can also use Twitter as a customer service platform.  Twitter is a great choice for experts, restaurants, publishers, etc.

Use Twitter to quickly and easily start conversations with influencers and customers.  Then move those conversations out of Twitter and into your email.  Then continue the conversation from there.

DO NOT sell or push on Twitter.  Think of the headspace that people are in when they are on Twitter.  It’s a newsfeed, conversation platform.  They are in learning, researching, connecting mode – so do that.  Avoid pitches, selling, etc.

Don’t automate your messages — especially if you are connecting with people who have more than 1,000 followers.  It looks like THIS to them.  And they will ignore it.  Direct Messages are intended to private conversations between people who KNOW each other.  Typically reserved for sharing email addresses and private information — NOT for pitching your product or service.

[/tweet_dis_img] Image via Business Insider

Facebook:

There’s no better way to target a very specific audience based on their likes and their behavior.  With more than 2 billion monthly users and counting, all addicted to their stream and increasingly open to advertising, those companies that are clear on their message, their target customer and their offer, are perfectly poised to buy as much traffic and as many prospects as they can handle.

Image via MarketingCharts

Here’s a great chart by MarketingCharts that highlights ad rate benchmarks for some of the most common industries.

LinkedIn

With their recent purchase by Microsoft, LinkedIn and its nearly 500 million users have evolved into the largest online business networking platform on the planet.  So, who is LinkedIn ideal for and why?

  • If your customers don’t spend time their “professional” time on social media, LinkedIn is a great platform for you.
  • If you’re in the B2B space or any kind of technical industry where your decision-makers may not be Tweeting, or Snapping or Instagramming, chances are, they are looking for information and connections on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn’s article posting options is a phenomenal way to communicate your expertise.  If you’re already blogging, but not getting much traction or traffic, consider putting some of your content on LinkedIn.

One concern that you might have is posting duplicate content and how it might impact your website rankings and SEO?  Here’s a quick answer from Maddie Osman and Search Engine Journal

How Can You Avoid Duplicate Content on Medium and LinkedIn?

If you’re more interested in brand building than search engine ranking, there’s really nothing holding you back from posting duplicate content on any platform. To you, getting more eyes on your content is likely your number one goal and Medium and LinkedIn can help you achieve just that.

If you’re worried about posting exact duplicate content on LinkedIn or Medium, here are a couple tips to minimize or eradicate potential penalties (or just plain confusion from your readers about the same content published in multiple places):

  • Wait at least seven days before creating duplicate content on LinkedIn and Medium, so Google has a chance to index the original page first (or publish on LinkedIn or Medium first, then use rel=canonical for your website’s blog post version).
  • Use Crestodina’s suggestion of positioning your article from an opposite perspective (i.e. “the best” versus “the worst” of something).
  • Publish the first paragraph of your article as a teaser on LinkedIn with a link to read more. This would not be recommended for Medium, as the platform relies on recommendations to achieve a viral factor past your own followers.
  • Reword the entire article. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the effort.
  • Avoid it entirely and create content unique to LinkedIn, Medium, and your website or any other online platforms.

However, with all this speculation, there is confirmation from Google. Gary Illyes has stated that republishing articles won’t cause a penalty, and that it’s simply a filter they use when evaluating sites. Most sites are only penalized for duplicate content if the site is 100% copied content.

SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube:

I’ve lumped all of these three together because they are visual social media platforms.  With these platforms, you are using images to convey a story more so than words.  Another wonderful benefit of these platforms is that they can drive insane amounts of traffic.  Think of YouTube and Pinterest as search engines for visual content. These platforms are ideal for businesses where images and experiences draw customers such as:

  • Restaurants
  • Spas and Salons
  • Hotels
  • Theaters
  • Celebrities
  • Artists
  • Experts

Although they are NOT limited to these types of businesses, in fact, celebrities and experts use them very effectively to connect with their audiences.  This is definitely one of those instances where if you like a platform, you are good at it and you are super-clear on your message, target customer and offer, it WILL WORK.

Build a turnkey marketing system

Now, we are finally where all of the other gurus begin — building your turnkey minimalist marketing system.  Assuming you’ve done the work we’ve talked about up until now, this should be relatively easy.  The marketing experts out there have wonderful turnkey systems that you can use out of the box.  Here are just a few of my recommendations.

Each of these resources have a fundamental philosophy and belief about how to market your business.  It’s not that one is right and the others are wrong. It’s truly a function of where you feel most comfortable and which system is more natural for you to implement.

Ryan Deiss and Digital Marketer Lab

The folks at Digital Marketer Labs believe that the best way to get new customers is to advertise on Facebook.  The idea is to buy advertising on Facebook to drive traffic to your website and convert people through your content. This will ONLY work if your audience is very engaged on Facebook, if you are engaged on Facebook and if have a crystal clear message, audience and offer that you know will resonate with your ideal customer.  If you have all of these things, then RUN to Digital Marketer Labs.  At $38 per month, the content is outstanding, the advice is tested and their Facebook community is kind, generous and helpful.

Ryan Levesque, Author of ASK

Ryan Levesque is both a neuroscience expert as well as an online marketer. His philosophy is that you should never have to guess what people want. You should know exactly what they want. Not what they think they want, but what they are hungry for. Ask is a detailed look at Leveque’s process. You’ll get both Levesque’s personal story as well as a detailed methodology for putting this same process to work in your business.

The book is outstanding as well as a great way to learn about your customer and identify what matters most to them so that you can fulfill on that.

 

Are You a Marketing Minimalist?

Now let’s see where you fall.  Take our quick, easy and fun quiz to see where you currently stand with your marketing philosophy.

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DIYMarketers DIYMarketers

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com. She ranked #21 out of 30,000 influential people on the Internet in Fast Company. Ivana is also one of D&B Top SMB Influencers. She is the book editor for Small Business Trends, a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum and has appeared on MSNBC.

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DIYMarketers DIYMarketers

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com. She ranked #21 out of 30,000 influential people on the Internet in Fast Company. Ivana is also one of D&B Top SMB Influencers. She is the book editor for Small Business Trends, a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum and has appeared on MSNBC.

Learn How to Become a Marketing Powerhouse Without a Budget

Learn How to Become a Marketing Powerhouse Without a Budget

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