I watched a great documentary last night about minimalism. It’s about how corporate America has sold us the American dream of accumulating more ‘stuff’, until it seeps into our consciousness, and we effectively live our lives ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ We’re always on the ladder, improving our cars, our homes, and buying more possessions, in the belief it will make us happier, somehow.
Minimalism asks the questions ‘Does this add value to my life?’ ‘Does this free my time to focus on the important things, or is it an unnecessary distraction?’
I’m currently writing a book on living a more simplified work life, and it got me thinking about how this applies to our businesses.
When I wrote my last blog post, I posted it on a Business Growth Facebook Group, and someone mentioned that they would implement my YouTube tips when they have cleared ‘space’ for it.
I’m sure you’ve got lots of things you are ‘planning’ to do, too, and if you’re a business owner, you may have a marketing ‘to-do’ list that’s as long as your arm.
There are so many demands in the modern marketing world that it’s difficult to be laser-focused with your marketing. Do you focus your efforts on Youtube campaigns? Facebook advertising? Building your email list? Filming your Instagram Stories? Working on organic SEO? Writing an ebook? Improving your website conversion goals?
...Seriously, the list is endless. It can all be valuable, but without knowing exactly how valuable, you’re far less likely to have time in your business to focus on the things that make the difference.
Michael Gerber in the E-Myth notes that many business owners work in their business, instead of on their business. It simply means they can’t see the wood for the trees - they are so focused on growth and day to day tactical marketing activity that they rarely have time to look at the big strategic picture.
So how do you adopt a minimalist approach to your marketing, especially if you’re a small business or solo entrepreneur?
Simplify: Find one or two channels that your audience hang out on, and do them really, really well.
There’s no point spreading yourself too thinly if you’re a one man band or a small team. If you’re focusing on say Youtube and Instagram, find out all you need to know about those channels. Become an expert on them, and dedicate yourself to growing the platform. You can pick up other channels in time, but for now make sure you can grow a dedicated following on one first.
Create meaning: play to your strengths and values
If you’re an excellent speaker but a terrible writer; why not play to your strengths? Create a podcast or focus your efforts on public speaking. As your business and team grows, you can pay to outsource those bits of your business that you don’t like. You need to enjoy what you’re doing, after all, so your work becomes meaningful to you.
Declutter: Remove unneccessary distractors that eat away at your time
I use Facebook Newsfeed eradicator, and I have used Rescue Time in the past to check my productivity. There’s probably a lot of things that distract you away from your marketing time. You just need to keep tabs on yourself - are you going to fall into an Instagram hole when you tell yourself you’re just ‘checking out competitors?’
Do less: But be consistent
So many people have burned themselves out by simply trying to do too much (me included), and then not being able to keep a handle on all their marketing efforts. Think about whether certain activities could be scaled down, yet improved. You might not need to create a video every day, nor send out a newsletter every week, especially if you’re lacking the research time to do a really, really good job. Better to wait and gather up a lot of information and knowledge so you create an outstanding piece of content when it’s out there. It’s much like those music artists who spend time crafting their albums rather than just churning out lots of low-quality songs. Focus on quality; but be consistent.
Do you struggle with simplifying your marketing efforts? Have you tried streamlining your marketing activity in line with your strategy? What do you think about minimalism? I’d love to hear your thoughts.