What's Your Plan?

Most business folks spend their days being nibbled to death by ducks.

You want to print the meeting agenda but the printer is out of ink.

Your website manager still hasn't updated your bio.

That new client postpones their call. Again.

The prospect can't meet for lunch at noon so would 1:30 work? Or next Friday?

The path to success requires relentless focus on what's important but that's hard to do with mallards and drakes nipping at your heels.

To Stay on Track, You Need a Track

If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably never get there, and even if you do you won't know it.

In the frantic scramble of the average entrepreneur's workday, marketing your book is one of the first things to fall through the cracks. If it's not a priority, it won't get done, and if it's not part of the plan it won't be a priority.

The Plan

You need to have your own plan, of course, but here is the big picture for a business person who has written a book to support their business:

  1. People engage your services because
  2. they read your book after
  3. they followed your blog, Twitter feed, and other social media when
  4. they saw your insightful generous comment on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, or another blog, which happened because
  5. it was on your schedule.

Getting Started

My father used to tell the story of little Billy, who told the teacher he was late because he ran beside his bicycle all the way to school. When she asked why he did that, he said "Because I didn't have time to stop and get on."

Make the time to stop and get on the bike. You'll lose a few minutes now, and gain them back manifold in the coming weeks and months.

Write down your plan. Even if, at first, it's as vague as my list above, write it down. What's the path someone will take from total stranger to client?

Until you have that, you're flailing in the dark.

Once you do have it, you're ready to create a formal marketing plan.

If you need help with that, or even with the informal plan that comes first, give Sue a holler. We love helping folks figure out social media.

I Can't Spend All My Time Marketing!

And you don't have to. You shouldn't. Marketing, rather than being a flood of information about you and yours, should be a steady drip, drip, drip, like watering a delicate plant, not hosing down an elephant.

I've spent my adult life working with automation and efficiency using computers so any time there's a task with repeatable steps, I look for a way to make those repeating parts automatic. It allows me to spend my time on the unique bits, the parts I can do better than a computer because they require creativity or special knowledge.

Automating and scheduling your online marketing is smart. Create messages (that's the 'unique to you' bit) and schedule them in a single monthly session. (We use and recommend Hootsuite but there are a number of social media automation tools available.)

You still have to check in daily to interact with the real human beings who touch your social media messages, but you don't have to be online 24/7 to keep your message (remember those 80/20 principles, both of them) in front of potential readers and fans.

Taking 80/20 to the Next Level: Engagement Content

We've discussed that about 80% of your online posts and comments should be generous, giving useful and interesting information, with self-promotion only making up the other 20% or so.

Let's take that to the next level: engagement content.

What is Engagement Content?

As nonfiction authors our impulse is to teach, to share practical and actionable content.

Guess what—the 80/20 principle can help here.

Yes, make 80% of your 'giving' posts usable tips, educational content.

The other 20%? Engagement content.

In other words, personal, friendly, sharing, about-you-but-not-self-centered content.

Your day at the beach. A great movie or band you saw or plan to see. A beautiful sunset. A kind act someone did for you.

Why?

Because your goal is to be social and get noticed.

Even at a business mixer or a client meeting, don't you discuss Pat's new puppy or Sawyer's trip to wherever? Of course you do. We're people, and we engage most with people we like.

Give your followers, not just something to learn, but something to like.

Math geek alert: this would make "engagement content" 20% of 80% or about 16% of your overall content. Don't sweat the precision.

Catch Up. Reset. Continue.

As you can tell from the 4 week silence, our travel interrupted our blogging. Work went on, clients were pleased, clients were acquired, all those aspects kept on rolling.

It's tricky, isolating priorities and staying focused. Entrepreneurship is a juggling act; there's not a single day where you get everything done. (Sue keeps saying "I have so much to do and I'll never get it all done!" and I keep saying "Good; that's how the bills get paid." I am an expensive dependent so I need her to stay busy.)

Now that we're home (okay, now that we've been home for 13 days) I'll be making sure one of us posts something at least weekly (instead of posting weakly. Yes, I crack me up.)

Sue spent some time filling the pipeline with a pair of live events. Check 'em out:

Custom Author Website for $300

We're considering adding custom author websites to our offerings.

These would be extremely affordable but worth about ten times what they'll cost. I have nearly 25 years of experience in web development so I work quickly and efficiently and I love doing this.

For $300 (three hundred dollars) one time cost you'll get a custom made WordPress site with a blog and as many pages as you need. It will include all the content you provide, text and images, and will be designed to match your book (or whatever color scheme you provide.) Once the site is created you'll get one round of edits, which includes virtually any changes you like to layout, colors, fonts, text.

There must be a catch, right?

Not really.

What's not included is the domain name and hosting, which you'll have to buy from our preferred hosting company Charlottezweb. Domains are $10 per year and hosting is $52 per year. We also provide managed hosting; we charge $25 per year for domains and $125 per year for hosting. Managed hosting means we keep your site backed up, updated, and generally trouble free. It does not include updates, which you can do yourself easily. If you already have a domain name we can use that.

To summarize: a unique, custom WordPress site and blog for $300 plus hosting costs.

I want to do this for one author to work out the kinks before I make this a general offering. Whoever says yes first gets it.

Some of My Work

I've done loads of websites over the past 20 years. I haven't been promoting my web business so my most recent work has primarily been for our own businesses, but there are a few for clients here as well.

This site, of course.

My author site.

My author coaching website Someday Box.

My music site, tunehenge.

A site for our client, author Errol Barr.

Custom Massage Work, my massage therapist.