This shouldn’t be a newsflash: the failure rate of businesses is staggeringly high.

Here are the stats if you haven’t seen them lately…

20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 30% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. – Fundera

For sure, there are a lot of factors that make or break the success of a business. I’m not going to try and make this black and white.

When I look at the landscape of entrepreneurs and read the emails they send me one thing is clear, though. The busyness of most entrepreneurs doesn’t match the value they’re bringing to the business.

Maybe you feel like this is the case for you? Maybe you’re getting tired of busting your ass day in and day out for very little payoff or progress?

If that’s the case, it’s time to shift your focus. Here are seven high-impact marketing activities that you can build out your daily calendar around.

By prioritizing these activities over other business activities (even over other commonly mentioned marketing activities) you can pretty much guarantee that the needle is going to move in your business.

#1: Networking

The word “networking” has many different connotations, some negative and some positive. Whatever you think networking is or isn’t, set that aside for a moment and listen to me.

At the base level, networking in business is simply the act of connecting and establishing relationships with other people. Usually it’s other business owners or people in positions that can create a mutually beneficial scenario.

The old-school phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is 100% accurate in many ways and if you’re not networking, you’re cutting yourself off to different options and avenues of success.

Here’s the thing: networking doesn’t just happen at networking events. You don’t have to attend a conference, a networking meet up, a social gathering, or anything like that to do networking.

Thanks to the internet networking can be done from anywhere in the world at any time, which is precisely the reason why you should be doing it every day.

If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, set a low daily goal of connecting with 3 other business owners or influencers in your niche or a tangentially related niche.

Don’t overcomplicate it, either. Networking can be as simple as following someone new on Instagram, leaving a comment, and sending them a quick DM.

Sometimes I’ll find a blog in my niche and shoot them an email telling them I appreciate their work.

Don’t ask for anything. Just aim to connect. If they get back to you, keep the conversation going and start building a more meaningful relationship.

Here’s a basic networking article from Forbes that goes into a little more detail. And here’s a pretty good TEDX talk about hacking networking…

#2: Outreach

“Wait, isn’t outreach the same as networking?”

I don’t know. I guess a lot of people use the terms interchangeably, but I don’t.

To me, outreach is what I do when I actually want something from someone.

Sometimes I do outreach to people I’ve never networked with or have any intention of networking with. That’s why I like to keep them separate in my mind in terms of marketing activities.

Let me give you an example. When I’m link building for SEO I “reach out” to other sites using various methods to earn links from them. Sometimes I’ll do this for landing guest post spots as well. No networking needed.

Sometimes I do outreach to people in my network that I’ve already built relationships with. The outreach needs to be done to make things happen when I need them to happen, so I see that as a separate marketing activity.

Successful business owners are doing outreach daily. My typical outreach involves link building, guest posting, podcast scheduling (getting myself on other shows or inviting people on my show), and content promotion.

#3: Market Research

Does “market research” sound like a tactic reserved for big corporations?

It’s not. It’s something you should be doing every day.

Market research is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information about a target market, consumers, competitors and the industry as a whole. Market research is the foundation of any successful company and it can be used for a number of different purposes – from identifying a new market to launching a new business. – Oberlo

Here are my favorite ways to do market research…

  • Conversations with my audience through email. Turns out that when you stop sending email blasts and start doing better email marketing, you end up having lots of meaningful conversations with people on your list and you learn a lot about your target market.
  • Surveys. I send some type of survey to my audience, even if it’s only one question, a few times a month.
  • Keyword research. I do keyword research almost daily. There’s a ton of power in figuring out what your target market is searching for, how they’re searching for it, and what they’re intent is while searching. Even better, this research is immediately actionable as you can target your findings with your content and drive tons of traffic, leads, and sales.
  • Group participation. Find out where your target market is hanging out online, be it Facebook groups, forums, Reddit communities, YouTube channels, Amazon book reviews, etc. Listen. Engage. And then listen again.
  • Sales calls. If you haven’t realized that sales is fantastic market research, you’re sleeping through class. I’ll explain more later.
  • User testing. Did you know that you can pay lots of people to use your website and then watch a video of them commenting on your offerings and website usability in general?
  • Customer service. Market research doesn’t just happen before people buy things. Once someone becomes a client or customer, it’s important to pay attention to how they use your product or service. Lessons learned here need to wrap back around into your marketing.

Want to know one of the best ways to write good headlines, good bullets, and good copy on your website? Use the exact language and phrases your target market uses.

If you consistently do market research and use what you find to make adjustments to your products, services, copy, and sales process, you’ll find that sales come easier and easier.

Market research = marketing success.

#4: Creating

Creating is one of the most important daily activities you can engage in as an entrepreneur considering that content marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies.

Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. – Content Marketing Institute

Does that mean you have to create all the content for your business? No, of course not. But if you’re not creating any, or you’re not creating consistently, you’ll quickly fall out of touch.

Keep in mind that there are lots of ways you can create…

Some of them take hours and some of them take just a few minutes. Whatever your schedule looks like, fit some sort of creating in daily.

Oh, and creating isn’t just about getting leads, it’s about refining your message and developing your storytelling and communication skills – three additional things that directly translate to the success of your marketing activities.

#5: User/Customer Experience

There are two angles to user experience that pertain to marketing: market research and product development.

I already covered market research earlier, but I wanted to mention this aspect of it specifically. Watching your customers interact with your products and services gives you valuable information about how to market to them effectively.

Not only that, but using their feedback to make your products better (ongoing product development) is a form of marketing in itself. Why? Because a great product is remarkable, meaning “worthy of attention” or “worthy of being remarked on.”

The better your products and services get, the more they market themselves and the more they sell themselves. Great products can’t be ignored and your customers won’t be able to resist telling others about what you’re up to.

Even changes to a single aspect of a massive organization can have an enormous impact…

ESPN.com revenues jumped 35% after they listened to their community and incorporated suggestions into their homepage redesign. – Invision

One of the main reasons I switched from Samcart to Thrivecart was the favorable user experience.

There are things I can do in Thrivecart in seconds that took me 15-30 minutes in Samcart. There are also some things I can do in Thrivecart that I couldn’t do at all in Samcart.

Beyond that, Thrivecart’s customer service and team culture was vastly superior to Samcart’s. These big differences in user experience caused me to switch and I’m so glad I did.

thrivecart dashboard user experience

User experience is also why I switched from Adobe Premiere to Final Cut Pro for video editing even though I have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Final Cut Pro uses a magnetic timeline, which I prefer, and exports movies in a fraction of the time it takes Premiere to export.

Final Cut Pro earned my business by having a better user experience and that better user experience has led me to recommending Final Cut to dozens or even hundreds of people.

Make no mistake, continually considering and tweaking user experience is a profitable marketing activity.

#6: Customer Delight

When is the last time you reached out to a customer or a random person and did something nice for them as an intentional marketing activity?

These random acts of kindness are known as “customer delight” in the business world.

Now, when I say “as a marketing activity” I’m not talking about expecting something in return. I’m just talking about making customer delight an intentional part of your company’s culture.

Here are some traditional examples of customer delight that are pretty easy to implement. And not just by you, by the way, but by your team as well.

Then there are more out of the box examples of customer delight, such as the one Gary Vaynerchuck describes here…

The bottom line is that creating good will among customers and even non-customers is a valuable marketing activity that will have a strong ROI over the long term. The secret is to truly care about the people you’re serving and not worry about ROI in the short-term or in specific cases.

#7: Sales

I know what you’re thinking. “Kevin, sales isn’t a marketing activity! It’s sales!”

That’s not true, though. It’s not true at all. For intentional business owners who have a constant eye on improving their marketing, sales is an important marketing activity.

Why? Because it gives you deep insight into your buyers that directly translates to being more effective at marketing.

If Owner A engages in sales conversations on a consistent basis and Owner B always let’s her sales person or sales team handle sales, there’s no question which owner is going to be more effective in the marketing department.

You need to be hearing questions and objections from prospects. This is a huge problem in so many businesses – the marketing department and the sales department never talk to each other.

Good marketing makes sales easier, but good marketing comes through studying what’s happening on sales calls.

Good marketing makes sales easier, but good marketing comes through studying what's happening on sales calls. Click To Tweet

I’ll give you a perfect example…

What if you sat your sales team down and said, “What’s the #1 obstacle you’re facing on sales calls lately?” and they said, “People are confused about the pricing options on the pricing page. I have to explain it to almost every person I talk to.”

Bam! The pricing page is part of your marketing, right? But it took the act of engaging in sales calls to figure out that the pricing page was confusing people.

Now you know where the confusion is happening, you fix the pricing page, and you make more sales. That’s as simple as it gets when it comes to using the sales process to improve your marketing.

You can uncover bigger marketing problems as well. Imagine your team says, “Everyone keeps asking why we’re better than XYZ alternative.” Well, that means you’re not effectively taking care of that obstacle in your marketing, doesn’t it?

As an owner you need to be doing sales calls or sales meetings consistently. Even if you suck at sales and have a sales person or sales team, sit it on the meetings with them or listen to the calls. These interactions are a marketing gold mine.

First Things First – You Have to Stop Wasting Time on Less Profitable Things.

If you want to be able to spend most of your time on high-impact marketing activities, you obviously have to audit your current efforts and figure out where you’re wasting time.

The good news is, most entrepreneurs have a pretty long list of shit they’re doing that’s not moving the needle in their business. Here’s 10 common time wasters. If you’re doing just a few of these, you’ll be able to recoup plenty of time to do the 7 marketing activities I’ve listed above on a daily basis.

  • Administrative work
  • Micromanaging people
  • Dicking around on social media
  • Consuming & processing information
  • Working *in* your business.
  • Bookkeeping (seriously, you still do this yourself?)
  • Tinkering with your website
  • Running meetings
  • Putting out fires
  • Making everything perfect

How many of these are you guilty of?

Winners don’t waste their time on that stuff, so you probably shouldn’t either. The question is, can you make the necessary cuts?

Go Forth & Grow

This is a powerful article that has the potential to change the landscape and scope of your business if you take action on it.

Unfortunately, most people won’t take action. Hopefully you will, but most won’t.

To recap, here’s what a typical day should look like for you in terms of marketing activities…

  • Plant some networking seeds.
  • Use outreach to “make things happen.”
  • Talk to your prospects and customers because every interaction is market research.
  • Create something.
  • Find ways – even little ones – to improve the user experience.
  • Think outside of the box and be intentional about customer delight.
  • Do sales with real prospects. Or, at the very least, sit in on sales conversations.

Seriously, compare this list with the list of things you’re currently doing. If there’s a big difference, then making the switch to these new points of focus is going to create a big difference in results. I can almost guarantee it.

Share via