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  • Danita Jo Talbot

Back burner is now front and center.

Do not be mistaken. Just because your small business may not fit the government's definition of an essential business, this is not the time to hit pause. There is no better time than right now to focus on your Marketing.

Every business has a marketing wish list--you know, those big marketing projects that you just haven't had time to fully develop and put in place. It's time to take that project off the back burner and give it your undivided attention.

Build your business at a time when you need it to be recession-proof more than ever. Invest in growing your business today. Plant the seeds now. Set in place ways to nurture them over the next quarter. And you'll have new business to harvest before the year is done.

Not sure where to start? Here is a short list of projects that are likely on your To Do list that can be moved to your DONE list.

1. Relax for a minute.

When is the last time you caught your breath. If you're like most small business owners, it's been so long you can't remember. Do that first, even if just for a minute (or a day, or a week). Give yourself permission to clear your head. Recharge. Reflect. Restore your energy. It's a long road ahead as we all start to define the new normal. Distance yourself from the day to day operations of your business just long enough to bring some clarity. Breathe.

2. Prepare your taxes.

This one is not a marketing project, but it's a no brainer. It's that time of year. Sure, the payment date has been extended but you still have to file your taxes (or file for an extension) by April 15th. So get your paperwork in order. And if you're filing for financial assistance due to the health crisis, you'll need all that paperwork in order. Give this your attention first.

3. Update your website.

It's so common to create a website and then rarely go back to it to update the content. So if your site hasn't changed since your put it up, it's time. If it's stagnant, take a minute to look over it. Do a quick audit, identifying information on your site that is old, needs to be updated, not relevant any more, needs to come down, or maybe even improved.

  • Look at your team page. Add your newest employees. Take down anyone who has moved on. Be sure to update your bio with your latest accomplishments or recent project list. And you may want to change up your photo to match your new look. This page is a good place to start.

  • Set up Google Analytics. When it comes time to really make some major changes to your website, or add some new functionality, you'll need data to inform your decisions. Google Analytics is free to use, it automatically gathers basic data about how your website is being used, and it creates reports that are easy to read and understand. All you need to do after setting up your GA account is copy a simple piece of code to your website. You'll thank yourself later.

4. Build up your Blog library.

Keeping up with blogging takes constant care and feeding. Make a list of recent questions you've answered, lessons learned, or stories of your clients, partners or brand. These will make for good ever-green blog content you can use today, or at any point in the future. And then start writing. If you don't have an editorial calendar, schedule out topics for the months ahead. Tackle each topic, one by one. Write. Build a library of articles that you can release in the months ahead.

5. Plan your next product launch or campaign.

Now is a great time to release a new product. It will give you opportunity to talk about something new, something positive. A new product can strengthen existing customer relationships or form new relationships growing your customer base. Product launches can be inventive, multi-faceted, and require integrated marketing efforts. Make a plan, create all the elements of it, and then schedule the launch.

6. Thank your customers/donors.

Share some gratitude, especially in these tough times. Let your constituents know you're here for them. Kindness is an amazingly powerful currency and when given authentically, it is the best growth tool you have in your tool belt.

7. Clean up your contact lists.

Lists are only as effective as they are accurate. Maintenance is an essential piece of keeping lists current. It's the first step and the single most time consuming step of starting a new campaign. So take this time, and clean up your contact lists proactively. Make sure you have a single source of accurate information, that there are no duplicates, that the lists are tagged for easy segmentation, that each contact are formatted consistently. Spend the time needed now fixing, correcting, verifying the information you have on hand and save yourself time later when you need to be nimble in sending out communications.

These projects are a few ways to focus on small projects that will give you big impact. Marketing is the type of work that is best done in advance--the seeds your plant now need time to grow your business. Invest in your business now, and you'll begin to strengthen it for the months ahead.

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