Posts in digital 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.

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.

Five email list builders that WORK

I love working with entrepreneurs who understand how important it is to build their email list and send emails on the regular. I often get asked how someone can entice a website visitor or social media follower to drop their email in exchange for something of value. There are a gajillion ways you can do this but here are a few that have worked well for me.

email list

Checklists

My audience devours these. I guess because when you’re slammed trying to parent, build a business, keep up with the chores, manage your time well and feel productive, a good checklist comes in handy.

I love to boil my advice down to actionable lists that are easy for someone else to apply to their life. If you’re familiar with Adobe Acrobat or Canva, these are pretty simple to make. If you want to make a big splash by promoting/advertising the list on social, you may want to hire a graphic designer to turn it into serious eye candy. If you’re looking for ideas, refer to your social posts or blog posts for inspiration on what you can break down into steps.

Free consultations

I’ve called these by different names before - a website audit, a strategy session, a content coaching session but essentially they’re all just a specific type of consultation. I’ve had a lot of interest when I offer these. Just be sure you can actually afford to give your time away with these types of opt-ins as they can really drain the clock. I like to put a limit on openings to prevent from over extending my time investment. These offers are probably the most effective for me in building my email list, and have often provided a no-pressure, soft introduction to a new client.

Referral incentives

I offer the deepest discounts to those who refer me. Referrals are gold so it’s worth it to put an attractive offer on them. I typically ask my current email list for referrals and a nice percentage off certain services in return. For these, you’ll want to make sure you give instructions on how the follower can get the referral incentive. For example, make sure you explain; forward this link to a friend and get 20% off such-and-such when they purchase. Just telling people to give you referrals without clear instructions will only make them wish they knew how.

Quizzes

I recently added a quiz to my site and it’s been very well received. Quizzes are kind of irresistible when they’re presented as a fun way to get great info, guidance or a silly, unexpected answer. Simply search Google for a quiz platform and you’ll find plenty to choose from that are created to help build your email list, many of which have free versions.

Access to free trainings

I give out a lot of free advice via social media, my emails and this blog but I am careful to save more in-depth training for those who give me their email or join my Facebook page. Want to get more instruction from me on a topic? You’re going to need to at least opt-in or join a page for that.

Sites like teachable.com are great for hosting educational videos, you can use a Facebook page for live videos (they save on the page so your followers can always view the content later) or upload to YouTube, make the link private and ask for email addresses in exchange for the private link. These are all ways you can become everyone’s favorite free advice giver.

Okay now your turn! I’d love to know what email opt-ins and list building ideas have worked best for you! Leave your comment below! Oh, and if you’d like to be on my email list to see what goodies my favorites get, email me to let me know.

Why your business needs a marketing journey, ASAP

Have you created a marketing journey for your audience, or a marketing maze?

Marketing Journey

If there’s one potent marketing lesson I could offer small business owners - and even some inexperienced marketing professionals - it’s that you want your audience on a journey, not forced to navigate the mess of a maze to buy what you’re offering. Here’s the difference.

A marketing maze leaves out important steps your perfect client is likely to take in their relationship with your business to shift from stranger to follower to fan to customer to repeat customer to referrer. A maze is inconsistent in brand identity, timing, message and/or calls to action.

A marketing maze is created when you get caught up in trying to attract new leads or clients without planning out the path you’d like to put them on once they respond. It’s confusing, and it’ll lose people along the way - oftentimes without you even realizing they dipped out.

A maze is not only messy for your followers, it’s deceiving for you as a business owner - you may think it’s working because a few people will persist and find their way to the end, but what you may not be aware of is how many you’re turning off with its twists and turns. (This is where reading marketing data is vital, another essential aspect of great marketing.)

A marketing journey is a clearly mapped out path from attraction to conversion. It’s a carefully considered plan that ties everything together from who you’re wanting to go after to where you’ll attract them to that first piece of content they’ll see to how you’ll keep them engaged, how you’ll push for response and where they’ll go to respond. Then, how you’ll continue to communicate so they’ll keep buying or give you a great testimonial. A marketing journey is very intentional and reduces the work your audience member has to do to get to each next step - preventing them from bailing along the way.

You know what I’ve noticed leads many small business owners to a marketing maze? Patience.

Not great ideas. Not creativity. Not budget - although if you’ve got the money for it, I HIGHLY recommend paying a professional to help you with a marketing journey. Not smart business goals and decision-making. What keeps most of us (I can be guilty, too!) from truly effective marketing is the patience to pause, reevaluate, and be as intentional with marketing planning as you are with your business planning.

If you’re concerned your marketing is more of a maze than a journey, here’s what you should do, immediately.

  1. Put a half-day block on your calendar.

  2. Get a marketing plan.

  3. Spend some concentrated time planning your marketing - from business goals to budget to which platforms you’ll use to how you’ll follow-up after purchase. The marketing plan will help you think through every aspect of an exceptional journey.

Of course, I’m always here to help you determine what’s next for your marketing. Sign up for a consultation.