Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? They can be fun and exciting. As a small business owner, have you ever been on the cash flow rollercoaster? That, my friends, can be scary!
What is the cash flow rollercoaster you ask? It is the cycle of feast or famine that plagues many small businesses (especially solopreneurs). How does this happen? Often it is caused by being too busy to market and sell, then hitting a lull in business and needing to market your head off to boost your business back up. Lather, rinse and repeat!
Rule The Rollercoaster
Larger businesses have a marketing team and marketing plan. Smaller businesses can have the plan (and a team if you use virtual assistants). The key here is the plan. If you have a plan to consistently market, then you can own the rollercoaster. The ebb and flow of time to market is what causes the rollercoaster. When people get busy, they are usually too busy with money-making activities to focus on business making activities. Then the business dries up and they work feverishly to market to create new business. However, there is often a lag time between marketing and creating the new business. So, the cycle repeats itself.
To avoid this, it's best to have a consistent plan that is in place through busy, as well as slow times, and never varies (unless you change the plan). I have a podcast on Monday, blog post on Tuesday, expert interview podcast on Wednesday, email digest to my list on Thursday, and Friday is for marketing miscellaneous things like upcoming webinars, Blabs, and affiliate offers. A great system is rarely missed or varied. This does two things … it keeps the prospect pipeline filled, and reduces the number of people who ignore or miss my marketing campaigns (and leave my lists) because of the consistency (people know what to expect and when to expect it)!
I have not only seen this work for my business, but I have seen clients double their income in two years or less. Two Years? Yes, but who would not want to double their business? It takes determination, consistency and a plan … but it works!
The Marketing Trifecta
Part of this system is understanding how to set up a marketing plan. I have found that you need a foundation of three key components: a killer website, understanding how and why the traffic gets there, and priming the pump for increased traffic. Keep in mind that each website has to have a specific audience and purpose. Trying to be everything to everyone on one website dilutes the ability to use this plan and philosophy successfully. I utilize multiple websites including those for my main business, books, programs, podcast, speaking amongst others. If you follow some of the best of the best (award winning and best selling authors, speakers & coaches), you will see the same pattern.
Here are the basics of this system …
- Home Base – Home is where the heart is and a safe place for people to feel comfortable. Your website or landing page is such a place. We have to make sure that it has a purpose, and a clear vision of what we want people to do once they get there. That means if you are trying to add people to your mailing list, you have to have a compelling free offer to get them to sign up (who needs more email?). If you are trying to get people to buy something, you better have a killer sales page and sales funnel built in.
- Measurement – “What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker. Some of you know who he is, but Peter is the godfather of management principles. It seriously kills me when you set up Google analytics for a website and people rarely check them, or even know what the stats mean? I constantly teach people how to read them, but they are too busy to check them. You need to add that to your plan. Most successful businesses check the stats daily or weekly, and compare them to previous periods to see trends and alleviate potential problems. Recently, one of my clients had their Google AdWords stop because their credit card had expired, however their website traffic rose 40% due to their content marketing.
- Feed The Beast – You have two ways to drive traffic to your website using Google. Pay Google (AdWords) or use content marketing to drive them to your website. Creating and serving up compelling and engaging content from your website is the best way to drive traffic to it. I have seen people use free blogging sites and drive a lot of traffic there, but few, if any, people are going to click through to your main website. Having the blog, podcast, or video embedded in your main website gives you a leg up! Using social media, email marketing and content aggregators to drive people to your home base will give you a better chance of getting them on your list or selling them your product or service.
This, by no means, is a complete picture of success. It takes time, tweaking, and techniques. If I (or anyone else) had a way to beat Google at its game (trust me people are trying hard), then we would be sipping piña coladas on our own private island. How can you outsmart a company with a profit of 40 billion dollars per year? The best thing you can do is to play in their sandbox and by their rules!
The other factor is that each business has a unique market with unique customers as well as unique needs. Trial and error can be like Penn and Teller … a great show with awesome illusions. The glue that holds this plan all together is the measurement piece! “What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and comments.