“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”
At this time of year, that famous line from Clement C. Moore’s poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is certainly true – at work anyway. When business slows down, whether it’s during the holidays or other “slow” periods, I love to take advantage of the quiet. Being able to focus on a big or time-consuming project when clients aren’t demanding my attention is a very nice change of pace.
Here is my list of the best marketing projects to tackle when work is quiet:
Write white papers and ebooks
Writing long-form content requires focus for hours – not minutes – at a time. Once you’re in the rhythm of writing, it just flows – and it goes a lot faster. I like to start these projects by re-using content (read: blog posts) I’ve already created.
Start by choosing a hot topic your clients ask you about a lot. Create an outline and fill in as much of it as you can with blogs and articles you’ve already written. Then reach into your vast knowledge bank to fill in the rest. If you can find statistics online to drive home your point, all the better.
At this point, you’ll need to step away from the white paper or ebook for a day or two to clear your mind before you can start editing and polishing it. Consider working with a graphic designer to format it beautifully so all of your effort also makes a huge visual impact.
Clean up email lists
Go through all of the email lists in your email marketing platform of choice. Are there people – clients, vendors, and partners – you can add? Are there new segments you’d like to target? Create new lists for them that will allow you to send highly personalized content – a huge marketing trend for 2016.
Set up (or update) a CRM
For many people, setting up or updating a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is akin to cleaning out the garage or home office. It’s not fun and it’s a lot of work, but you’ll love the results.
If you’re merely updating your CRM – adding notes and clients, etc. – you’ll probably only need an hour or two. If you’re setting one up for the first time ever, it could take hours depending on the size of your client base. Either way, break this task up into chunks; I have found that 30 minutes a day is manageable.
Create a content calendar
In my experience, this is one marketing project that small business owners routinely ignore. I can’t stress enough the importance of a content calendar. It allows you to be really strategic and thoughtful about your marketing rather than relying on a gee-I-hope-this-works approach.
A content calendar ensures you are:
Research a new marketing program
Have you been toying with a new marketing program, like social advertising? Video content? A new social media channel? Do your research now, including finding vendors who can help you.
Review website and social analytics
Like content calendars, I see a lot of small business owners also ignore their analytics. This is probably the dumbest thing you can do, because the stakes are too high. If people don’t trust that you understand them and their challenges, they’re not going to trust you enough to hire or buy from you.
If clients aren’t visiting certain pages on your website, that is an indicator that either the content is not speaking to them or they simply don’t care about what’s on it. If this is a product or service page, you could be losing money.
Likewise, if Topic A generates a lot of engagement on social media, you want to share more of it. But if you’re mostly sharing Topic B and it’s not getting any engagement, you want to stop.
Your turn! What marketing projects do you like to work on when it’s quiet at work?