Tell me, how long is your Things-to-do in 2014 list?
Your resolutions – the promises you are making to yourself. To achieve your business dreams and all the success you deserve.
You do have one, right?
Even if in your head. We all do.
Now, how many of those things truly excite you? So much so that you don’t even wait for the new year. You are already doing them.
And then there are those tasks that cause so much dread that you are scared to go near your list. Admit it, things that make your skin crawl just by thinking about it.
For an introvert it might be the pressure to create videos; for someone who hates writing, it might be writing blog posts itself (both are matter of preference and neither is better – just saying).
Today, I am going to try and put your mind at ease. I am going to highlight all the things that gurus always tell us to do, no matter what. Things that are an absolute MUST if you want to succeed without having any idea of what our business situation is like. But I am saying you don’t.
I am going to tell you what you can easily do away with – and somethings that you can’t. Let’s start with making your list a bit lighter … shall we?
Top 6 things you don’t need for business success
#1 Split test everything
This might shock you: As a an owner of a very small business, split testing won’t do much for you if you consider all the time, effort and even money you spend implementing this and what you actually get out of it.
Let me explain.
I am guessing your visitor stats look decent but you don’t have tons of traffic coming to your site. If you did attract tens or hundreds of thousands of people to your site on a monthly basis, it would make total sense to split test what performs best.
It makes sense to test variations of headlines, call to actions, call to action buttons, colours and what not. Only when you have large enough a data to work with.
However, if you still haven’t crossed a few thousand subscriber mark or getting substantial number of visitors, you are better off spending your time on other areas.
When you have large numbers to work with, 2% makes a big difference in your conversion rate. When you are looking at 50 visitors to your site, your results are skewed anyway and the ROI on your effort and time isn’t worth all the trouble.
So if you kept telling yourself that you should pay attention to all the people who are advising you to do this: “Split test, split test, split test.”, you can finally stop feeling guilty. There I said it, trust me, you can easily leave this one aside for now.
#2 A shiny newsletter
Okay, I am confused as to why as a small business owner, you feel the need to have a professional, ‘corporate looking’ newsletter?
Unless you are pretending to be a big corporation.
You know what to expect when you receive a newsletter from Myer’s (or Macy’s if you are in the US), from your local charity organization or a college making a case for you to consider them for your son or daughter. That makes sense, right.
These are big businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees and big marketing budgets, or big enough (think your local real estate agency with 19 employees). You expect their newsletter to have fancy graphics, big logos and everything else.
Who says you have to do the same? You are a writing a blog to market your business, I say you don’t even need a newsletter. Many successful bloggers don’t.
Still, you think you want one, feel free to style it any way you want. Or don’t, send it as a plain text with links to a few blog posts, guest posts, news on your upcoming product launch and promotion. Do whatever you like. As long it makes sense.
And stop reading all the blogs giving advice that is meant for people running companies or those working as marketing managers for them, and not necessarily one person shops.
#3 Massive social sharing
Tell me something, would you rather be a successful solopreneur making 100K a year and getting a handful of comments, Facebook likes, Tweets and what not or would you rather appear to be popular and not make a decent amount of money.
You’d be surprised to know how little correlation exists between these two concepts – popularity and business success.
You’d be even more surprised to know how many bloggers who seemingly have hundreds of tweets and more than 50 comments per post make less than 2K per month. Some hardly make any money at all. If you look closely, you will see the same kindhearted folks (readers, friends and fellow bloggers) leaving comments and sharing posts, over and over again.
How many of these people actually buy from the person running their business? I am guessing, a fraction of those who share.
Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t try and get people to share – that would be insane. Social shares bring other people to your site (hopefully readers that eventually turn into buyers and not those who only share). You also grow your email list.
What I am saying is that you don’t need to obsess about the stats. Don’t go crazy looking at your metrics. Concentrate on creating content that appeals to your ideal customer.
This customer may or may not share – and that’s fine too.
#4 A fancy design
You don’t need to have the most expensive or the best design right away.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on hiring a designer until you are ready. Until you have reached that point that you are making some money and can afford to do so.
There are many decent options available, premium themes that you can buy for about 100 bucks. This won’t break your budget but you still look professional.
And don’t forget, the world’s greatest design won’t win you any business if your offer is crap and your content puts your readers to sleep. Relax. Your design does matter – a lot. But you don’t need to hire a designer any time soon.
#5 Persistent namedropping
This one will not earn me any brownie points but I have to say this. Sucking up to A-listers won’t do you any good.
I wrote a guest post on Problogger about this. If you are in no mood of reading it, let me summarize it for you. If you need the attention of the A-listers – the influencers, you do it AFTER you have something to show for yourself, and not BEFORE.
In my experience, no matter how much ‘link – bait’ posts you do, and who hasn’t really, aside from a surge of traffic you get for a day or two (as a result of influencer sharing the post), and a handful if subscribers, you don’t get much.
There are much better ways of genuinely connecting with people – influencers, peers and readers – that don’t come across like you are just kissing them on the proverbial.
Like personal emails of how they made a difference in your life, results you have gotten after following their advice (my personal favourite) and of course, guest posting.
If you need to get attention, from the movers and shakers and from their followers, you have got to earn it. Don’t publish so called epic link posts. This is losing effectiveness fast because it is easy and anyone can do it.
Come up with a better plan.
#6 Elevator speech
What is elevator speech or pitch?
According to helpful Wikipedia, “An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.”
Basically, it is your answer to the question ‘what do you do?’ given in the time it takes you to ride an elevator – in about 60 seconds.
A lot have been preached about elevator speech, but it doesn’t apply to you unless you go to many networking events, have your own office or regularly ride such elevators where business suit clad people routinely ask you this question.
Stop obsessing about coming up with a perfect answer to this question. It sounds exactly like what it is – a perfectly rehearsed pitch, and who wants to hear that?
While it is helpful to give it some thought but when it actually comes to meeting people, please respond to this question like any normal human will, and not the salesperson that you are not. You know, the sleazy kind.
And now let’s look (briefly! as this post is getting too long) at 6 things that WILL make the biggest impact on your success in 2014. I promise
#1 How consistent you are
Many bloggers will tell you that their lives changed the day they started publishing on the same day, at the same time, every single week.
While this may work for them, there is no evidence to show that publishing on different days or times negatively impacts your business.
The only consistency that matters is the consistently of quality, and in keeping the promise you made to your readers. Being on brand and being helpful. Same day/time doesn’t matter that much. Trust me.
#2 How strategic you are in creating content
So you do know that creating all these blog posts actually does have a purpose – to qualify your audience and pre-sell your products.
By creating the right kind of content, you attract the perfect reader who happens to be a really good prospect with the likelihood of buying from you in the near future. That’s all you want.
All because you want through the trouble of choosing to say the right thing on your blog.
#3 Building the email list the right way
By publishing the right content, and offering the right opt-in offer. An offer that speaks to your perfect customer and have them sign up.
#4 Improving and creating products or services
Identifying under served markets, creating products to fill this gap, differentiating yourself from others.
#5 Making offers the right way
Learning email marketing and writing sales pages and making irresistible offers that won’t take no for an answer.
#6 Mastering the inner game
Keeping yourself motivated, understanding your highs – and lows and keep going no matter what. Once you develop the right mindset, you will finally’ make it’.
And that should be at the top of your list in 2014.
Not spit-testing, or hiring an expensive designer, or sending out a shiny newsletter or sucking up to others ..
Aren’t you glad to hear that?
Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome! 🙂