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.

My top 5 podcasts

I have a podcasting habit. As an enneagram 1, I’m all about effective use of time and podcasts are one of my favorite ways to learn, recharge and get inspiration while running, walking, driving or cleaning. I like to bring up the podcasts I listen to on the regular which leads to the frequent question, “hey Lindsey, what are you listening to lately?” from friends, family and my team at work.

top five podcasts

Whether you’re a podcast lover like me or curious where I get many of my ideas and motivation from, here’s a list of my top 5 favorite podcasts.

Building a StoryBrand with Don Miller

This one is my favorite for marketing and a bit of business sense. I’ve been following Don Miller and the StoryBrand formula for a couple years and it’s transformed how I approach copywriting and putting together a clear marketing message. The podcast is easy to digest, light and entertaining while providing a ton of great ideas and inspiration. If you’re looking for great general marketing advice that isn’t too technical, you really need to check this one out.

The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

Been a long time listener of this one and it’s absolute GOLD for anyone in a leadership position or working with a team. The episodes are usually about 20-30 minutes long and the content is well developed - if you use the website, there are leader notes for discussion. I often use his podcasts as conversation for my team at work.

Lore

A guilty pleasure. Normally, I’m hitting play on something a little more serious but when I need a mental escape from the daily grind, I choose Lore. It’s a storytelling podcast that digs into historical myths, legends, odd occurrences, mysteries and anything creepily fascinating. It’s extremely well done and offers a completely different type of entertainment than binging Netflix. I get so hooked on some of the episodes I can actually listen to them while I run. Yeah, they’re that good.

Rachel Hollis’ Rise Podcast

I’ve listened to quite a few girlboss podcasts in the last year or two but Rachel’s is the one most consistently offering the kind of content I can appreciate and apply. She lands incredible womaneur interviews and offers a ton of vulnerability in sharing her own story. It always feels like I’m in the same room, completely welcomed into the conversation she’s having with special guests. This is one to listen to whether you’ve got goals to reach or need a consistent voice of wisdom in your life.

EntreLeadership

Fascinating interviews with successful business owners and high achievers, EntreLeadership offers exceptional coaching for business owners and leaders. The focus is that combination, but the stories exposed offer vastly more insight and inspiration applicable to every area of life. The episodes are normally around an hour and sometimes combine interviews with TED talk style clips from Dave Ramsey & Co (EntreLeadership is under the Ramsey umbrella) speaking engagements.