“Time and content — those are the two killers that make it difficult for a small business to get started with online marketing. It’s not the learning curve that comes with using the tools, because I think business owners have the help they need when starting out. But finding time and creating content, those are ongoing challenges.”
Michael Neuendorff has been working with small business owners and independent professionals since 2008.
Last week I had the chance to sit down with Michael, who is also a Constant Contact Solution Provider, to pick his marketing brain and learn from his experience as a small business consultant and owner of a small business.
Luckily, Michael offered a number of solutions for business owners struggling with these all too common challenges. Here’s what he had to say:
Finding the time you need
“The best way to find more time to do all this stuff is to really narrow your focus. Not every social network is going to be a good fit for every business. Instead, think about what you want to achieve and identify the tools you should be using to achieve those goals.”
That’s not to say businesses should be afraid of reaching out. For businesses that are expanding their reach on social media, Michael offers a simple tip for doing so without disrupting your schedule.
“Find and use tools that can help accelerate your use on these platforms. A social automation tool like HootSuite for example, will allow you to save time in a lot of different places. You will be able to manage all of your platforms in one place and become more efficient at finding and sharing content on your social networks.”
Overcoming your content challenges
Creating great content will take some time. But there are a number of ways businesses can get their content machine moving in the right direction.
“The best place to start is getting comfortable with finding and sharing content from other people. This will give you the chance to get into the rhythm of identifying useful content and understanding how it can be used to market your business in different places.”
Michael explains that when businesses get more comfortable with the use of content they can then take the next step:
“From there, you can add on the next important layer, which is creating your own content. Ultimately, you want to have your own social hub where other people will come to your Facebook Page, LinkedIn Company Page, website or blog to find your content. That’s the goal every business needs to keep in mind.”
With that in mind, you can begin creating and sharing your own content. However, it’s usually at this point where the challenges of time and content arise again.
“I always make sure to encourage people to have a head start. Start creating content before it’s actually time to share it. I recommend having your first four blog posts finished before you launch your blog.”
“If you can stay ahead of the curve, you will give yourself a buffer. That way, if you get a little behind or run into a setback, you will still be a post or two ahead of your sharing plan, which will give you the comfort you need.”
If you do start to fall behind or are having trouble coming up with content ideas, Michael says there are practical steps you can take to stay on track.
“Start thinking content all the time. Make a list and jot down content ideas when they come up. That way, you can refer back to those ideas in the future. You also want to make sure you’re sharing the workload. So often it’s one person responsible for creating everything, but great ideas don’t come from only one person and neither should your content.”
When it comes to time and content, we’re all in the same boat.
Finding time and creating great content are challenges that all businesses will face when marketing themselves online.
Consider these tips when getting started, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to people like Michael Neuendorff for help reaching your marketing goals.
Need help overcoming your online marketing challenges? Visit the Constant Contact Marketplace to find a partner in your area.