Posts in Business marketing
How long it takes for marketing to work

Are you wondering how long it takes before your marketing should be expected to begin boosting sales or lead conversion? Do you get impatient to see marketing results? I do! 

As business owners, we should be interested in how our marketing is doing and regularly check performance, but I have also seen clients give up way too quickly on a strategy because they expected too much too soon. Or the wrong results from the wrong type of marketing.

How long should you wait to measure your marketing or make a call on its effectiveness so you can either keep it going or make improvements? It depends on the platform, your audience and what type of results you're after. 

how long for marketing to work

Paid search ads, for example, can take several days - even a couple weeks - to "learn" how to get in front of the right people at the right time. Google utilizes complicated algorithms and testing to help your ad get to peak performance. Facebook does the same and is increasingly allowing more defined targeting with its paid ads. As long as an ad is showing decent adoption each week, I recommend clients give it a solid month before making a judgement call on how well their ad campaign is doing. A good ads manager will make tweaks about once or twice a week but still give it space to let the learning happen. 

Social media posts can also take days to work all the way through your following. I try not to put insights down for a social post until at least 48 hours after posting to make sure it's run its course. Even then, you'll notice older posts still getting traction since they're available to new followers or anyone randomly browsing your account (that's not creepy at all).

SEO doesn’t register with search engines for a few days and can take months to really gain traction. This is because Google and other search platforms are looking for combined SEO tactics to rank your website. It’s the power of the consistent combo. I’ve had clients ask me to help them rank higher about 60-90 days after their website is built. Unless their site was built by someone with very little SEO knowledge (a website builder worth their salt will optimize it fine), the problem is usually that they haven’t given it time to prove itself in cyberspace.

My advice is to take SEO very seriously when you first build your website, it’s much harder to get it caught up after the fact. You can, however, make changes that help a lot - but it still isn’t an overnight solution. AND, while I’m harping on SEO, if this is a priority strategy, you need to have it handled by a pro. For realz.

Some marketing campaigns are more about brand awareness and others are pushing an audience already following you to take the next step to engage with your content or buy. Some strategies are to gain leads and others are about warming up leads for a big promotion you're about to do. These can all factor into how long you need to wait to see if your marketing is actually working. 

You also need to consider the product you’re marketing for. Some purchases - like buying a home, car or college enrollment - require a longer period for the client to make a decision about. If you're a luxury real estate agent pushing high priced properties, that's a BIG ask. You have to let a would-be buyer marinate on that big, important purchase for much longer than, say, a new pair of shoes. 

The bottom line is to commit to a marketing strategy and let it loose for a reasonable amount of time before you make any major changes. Usually, I recommend a solid 90 days for a well planned campaign. With some tweaking along the way, three months will give your marketing enough time to consistently do its job and reveal all its strengths and weaknesses for improving upon. 

Failing to give your marketing time to work will only cause you to assume it was a bad plan and remain in the dark on what your audience wants and will respond to, which is only going to hurt your business and have wasted your efforts.

If you’re tired of guessing and are ready to turn your small business marketing over to a professional marketing director, I’d love to talk with you about your needs and vision.

Six data-driven tips for stronger email performance

Email marketing makes small business better. In fact, it surprises me how little emphasis a lot of business owners put on growing an email list and sending that list regular emails. I think many entrepreneurs get distracted by the attractional qualities of their website, social media and ads, and neglect to recognize the conversion power of a strong email marketing play. 

small business email marketing

Anyway, getting off my soapbox, because this blog is for the business owners who get email and want to strengthen their email marketing game. How do we make our emails more effective? We listen to what the data tells us.

Some of this will probably surprise you - data doesn’t always back up our preferences and untested opinions - so if any of these tips make you go, hmmm, really? I’d love to know why in the comments.

Here are a few ways to make your emails better:

Run your subject line through a subject line checker 

This one is easy-peasy and if you do anything differently after reading this blog, it should be this. Subject lines are critical to getting email opens and earning interest at first glance, so make sure they pass the test. I use this one but there are others you can find through a simple search. The subject line checker may not always feel human but it’ll help you compare options and learn what is preferable to a general audience. Or, it may simply give you confidence in a subject line you already know is strong.

Use emojis, first names and text-only

Okay, so this is a three-in-one tip and may not hold true for long as trends change, but the data shows emojis in subject lines get higher open rates, using someone’s first name in the greeting is gold and images at the top of the email deter readers. Yes, images may look nice in an email but audience behavior indicates it can have a negative effect. I think it’s because email is still a medium where text is expected and reigns supreme. When someone gets an email, they’re thinking; okay, just tell me what you can do for me. They’re not as likely to have patience for scrolling past a pretty picture to see what you want to tell them. This isn’t Pinterest or Instagram.

Send emails on these optimal days

Most reports I’ve found show the middle of the week being the best time to email. Some even get more specific and cite Tuesdays, but I’ve personally found Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to work just as well. In fact, I use this incredibly handy top performing email dates calendar by Worlddata.com to schedule emails at optimal times. Generally, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday beat the other days of the week, but there are factors that impact this on the regular. Holidays, seasonal events like summer vacations and back to school, audience culture, and big news days can all shift where people’s attention is and if it’s on their inbox or not. The best way for you to nail down your optimal times is to experiment with different times of the week and see what’s working best over time. 

Send emails at these optimal times

Most email marketing gurus recommend sending first thing in the morning or around lunch time which are both times that have worked well for me. Since emails are usually more content-heavy than social posts and often ask for the reader to continue exploring whatever it is they’re teasing such as a blog or website, you have to get it in front of your audience when they’re on their computer or phone and can spend a few minutes reading and following the trail you’ve set - usually during work or productivity hours. This is a different strategy than social. 

Make it mobile-friendly

This article on Hubspot says emails that display incorrectly on mobile may be deleted within three seconds. I gotta be honest, this part drives me nuts. Although digital marketing data screams at us to make everything better for mobile screens, many website and email platforms still have a ways to go. It may take a little extra time but do what you can to make your emails show up nicely on a phone. And pay attention to how much scrolling a phone user will have to do to get to any calls to action. What may seem accessible on a laptop or desktop screen is going to land in an entirely different location on a phone. 

Spend 15 minutes looking at your previous 6 email reports

Over time, your audience will tell you what works best for them. If you’re using a platform like MailChimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite, etc., to send emails, you have a goldmine of data reports to show you what’s working and what’s not for your audience. For the stronger open and click rates, take note of the strength of the subject line and the day and time you sent them. These three factors can make a world of difference once you pinpoint what is consistently performing well. 

Of course, if the content of your emails isn’t helpful or interesting to your readers, none of these tips will help. Ready for a professionally written email campaign that works? Schedule a free strategy session with me.

My marketing agency side-hustle is now my full-time small business! Cue the confetti!

I did it. I quit my full-time corporate marketing job and made the leap to full-time entrepreneurship as a small business marketing agency. Today, August 19th, 2019, marks my first official day as a small business owner. I honestly wasn’t sure what this day would feel like. The day I’ve had pinpointed between the proverbial crosshairs for months.

Now that I’m in it, it’s a numbed kind of overwhelm. Like a weird collision of acceptance - because, yes, this is now reality whether I’m ready or not - and euphoria. Oh, definitely some fear in there too. Yeah, actually, lots of fear.

When I first launched Lindsey Wagnon Marketing two years ago, full-time entrepreneurship was not the goal. I simply needed and wanted a creative outlet I could completely control. One where I wrote about more than types of mortgage loans and closing costs and insurance. Cora was 1, I’d backed off a lot of my extracurricular commitments like music and fitness in her first year and though I was still carrying a pretty full plate, I wanted to see what I could do with a little bit of entrepreneurial energy. So I asked my graphic designer sister to make me a logo and leaped headlong into SquareSpace website design.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll remember my first business name was Lindsey Wagnon Brand Writer. My services were limited to copywriting, the marketing skill I have the longest tenure in and am most comfortable with. But also saturated in. It wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t want to just write copy for people. I wanted to give them the whole package.

In those early days, I’d learned enough about the bigger picture in marketing from my corporate 9-5 that when clients contacted me, I couldn’t help but talk to them about much more than brand scripting their copy. I desperately wanted to help them think through how everything was fitting together. Good copy is only part of a fantastic marketing strategy. If you haven’t approached the other aspects of marketing well, solid copywriting isn’t going to fix conversion problems or suddenly bring you an onslaught of leads.

I wanted to know what my customers’ goals were, who they were really trying to reach, if their website was converting visitors well, if they were on the right social media platforms, what their SEO looked like, if their content was consistent and effective, and were they utilizing email marketing to drive purchase? To me, it became so evident that one marketing service - in my case, copywriting - was usually not what business owners needed most. They usually need much more big picture marketing direction. Someone to say, hey, you don’t need this service as much as you need a more functional website. Let’s audit and strategize first, then figure out what you should actually spend money on.

A year in, I found myself offering full-service marketing agency packages. SquareSpace website design, email marketing, SEO, paid ads on Google and Facebook/Insta, consultations, planning, some social media (I keep my social media offering on the light side. I have no desire to only do social all day long, ugh. Thank goodness for my social pro friends who I’m happy to outsource to.)

I also noticed a gap in the area of marketing planning with clients. A good marketing plan is SOOOOO underrated. That’s when I launched The Marketing Plan Shop - which hasn’t gone much further than basic concept, but I have big plans for it so stay tuned.

Today, I’m operating in the marketing director chair for several small businesses and couldn’t be more fulfilled. Yes, I still do the single side projects like email campaigns and brand messaging (fancy for copywriting) Pause. That was such a Fancy Nancy toddler mom moment. Unpause. But I am the most grateful for the company owners who are trusting me with the full scope of their marketing. Because let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, we only have so much time to wrangle multiple service providers to piece together marketing campaigns. Who wants to waste time on that? And if you’re doing that, how do you know it’s all fitting together properly?

With the growth of my business came the realization I wanted the change it could support. You know, the same reasons many people switch from working for someone else to working for themselves. Control over my time, availability for the heavy seasons of ministry life, the option to keep my daughter home with me, creative variety, the choice of who to work with and who not to put up with, earning potential that isn’t left up to HR and finance departments, the frustrating crawl of filtering ideas and approaches through too many people…

Oh yeah, about that fear I mentioned at the beginning. I’m also processing through all the trepidation you would expect for a new business owner who just gave up steady, dependable paychecks. Right along with “yay, this is finally happening” is “oh, crap, this HAS to happen!!!” Will I successfully apply all the productivity podcasts I’ve been devouring for the last two years? Will I get distracted by all the things that need to be picked up or cleaned around the house - a HIGHLY likely temptation for this Enneagram 1? Will I get lonely working from home alone? (eh, not likely.) Will I charge enough and bring in the clientele willing to pay? So many small business owners lack the understanding of “you get what you pay for.” Now that this business needs to feed my family, I’m much less willing to put up with cheapskates.

Consultant. Strategist. Planner. Director. Vendor liaison. Branding. Content. Data. Lindsey Wagnon Marketing is all of it in one. And now, I’m available full time. From side-hustler to small business owner in two years. To all the mompreneurs out there with a tiny idea you’re dying to try - do it! It could evolve into the surprise career shift that is everything you didn’t know you need and long for. It could become the key to controlling your life, time, energy and wealth.

If you relate to any of this, I want to know. Comment below!!

Four ways to automate your small business marketing

When I speak with small business owners, their main issue is not creativity, know-how or desire to run an effective marketing strategy. Their issue is time.

Great small business marketing takes time and many preferred marketing methods like emails and social media can start to feel like full-time jobs if you’re doing them right. Every effective email and social post requires thought, planning, writing, art and learning from the results. An effective marketing campaign requires all of this ten-fold across the weeks. Who has time for that when your actual business is not to do small business marketing!?

small business marketing automation

Here's a tip to help you get a handle on time-consuming marketing so you can give yourself some hours back: Automate. Putting as much as possible on auto pilot is a SAVING GRACE for us business owners. Here are my favorite ways to automate small business marketing:

1. Website pop-up. Get emails added to your list while you're sleeping. Most website platforms have a way to add a pop-up or announcement bar. If not, there are opt-in services you can add to your website (just search website opt-ins or website pop-ups). Come up with a great reason for a visitor to give you their email and tease it using a pop-up. Try a few different ideas and see which works the best, then stick with that for a while. Need ideas for what to use? Here are a few.

2. A Google listing. Random? Maybe. SEO savvy? Absolutely. Create a simple Google listing for your business that connects to your website and includes basic business info. This is especially important if you're a local business trying to sell to your own community. Having a presence on Google helps validate your business and is an SEO enhancement. Create a Google account or use the one you have and get that listing up and running with all the proper info.

3. Email campaigns. Ya'll know I love my email campaigns. Even if you only have 50 people on your email list, start emailing them! Writing and automating emails takes some work upfront, but it's soooooo worth it a couple months down the road when you're cultivating your community and pushing sales without lifting a finger. Hit me up if you’d like to learn how I create email campaigns for my entrepreneur clientele.

4. Marketing plan. Okay, so this may not seem to entirely fit into set-it-and-forget-it automation, but it actually comes close if you do it right. Many of the small business owners I work with don’t have the budget to hire someone like me to run their marketing full-time, but they do realize a professional plan can save them hours of time each month. The plans I create show the entrepreneur what to post and when week by week - saving them from the constant “uh, what should I post now?” or “crap, I probably need to send an email for that new service” or “shoot, I just spent an hour stressing about a Facebook caption”. A customized marketing plan can truly revolutionize a business owner’s life. Check out my customized marketing plans in the add-on section of my services list to see what options I offer.

I’d love to know how you’re automating your marketing, or if you’re planning to try any of the options I mentioned here. Leave a comment to share your marketing automation experience!

Why email marketing should be a cornerstone of your marketing strategy

Emails are my favorite marketing strategy. If you follow me on Insta, you’ll know how frequently I nerd out about emails. Especially directly following a social media outage (insert eye roll). If you’ve been a client of mine, you’ll also know I almost always add an email strategy to my services because, well, here are all the reasons why:

small business email marketing

No dodging the algorithm!

Emails are MUCH more likely to get your message to the part of your audience that's ready to buy. This is HUGE. It's a gamble when you post on social media or run online ads - will they see it? Will they see it enough to convert to a buyer? With emails, you're putting that direct connection right into an inbox. No algorithm to fight. When you’re concerned your message isn’t getting through a well timed, well crafted email can confirm you’re getting communication to the right people. Whether they choose to open it, read it or take you up on your offer is up to your audience, but you will know you’ve done your part in getting your offer as in front of their eyeballs as you can.

The happy medium of messaging

Emails can give just enough info without demanding too much time from your fans. A couple paragraphs of great advice or a few steps to success and they'll be hooked and appreciative. It's the happy medium between super short social posts that are difficult to craft and more lengthy blogs that take time and regular updating (if you want to stay SEO’d). Now, I’ve had a lot of practice writing emails - both for my business and slews of campaigns for the corporate job, but my weekly email only takes me about 30 minutes tops to write, refine, link check and schedule in MailChimp.

Automate that sucker

Emails can be AUTOMATED. Oh sweet goodness, this is the BEST part. I personally use MailChimp to schedule them and it's a time and life saver. I can create several at once, schedule and done. Or, if I feel the content needs to be extra fresh - say I’m promoting a monthly giveaway or a recent blog post - I can put it together and schedule to send that day. Today’s email platforms are versatile and offer tremendous convenience for set-it-and-forget-it marketing.

Oh, hey, I can just click right here. How convenient!

Emails help the user take immediate action. With social, you're always "link in profiling-it" - so annoying! That extra step your fans have to take to get to your website, blog or video link is actually a huge downside to the effectiveness of marketing. For every step required, the audience is more likely to bail and not move forward. With emails, you can link directly in the body copy and reduce the amount of steps your readers have to take to find your services or product or blog or video or whatever it is you're promoting. Or, add a fancy button to really grab their attention and encourage a click through.

It’s free!

For a small business with a few hundred people on your email list, you can get by doing emailing for free. Even a growing business with larger lists to manage can still keep email marketing very affordable. In fact, the first thing I recommend to an entrepreneur looking for a simple, no cost marketing plan is weekly or bi-weekly emails. There are other free ways to market, sure, but the amount of time most other methods take compared to half an hour a week on a great email that gets right in front of your audience makes this marketing tool a no brainer.

I hope I've convinced you to join my club as an email marketing lover! If you need help getting your email strategy off the ground, it's one of my favorite offerings. Check out my services list including pricing for full campaigns and one-off email creation.