As part of my speech at MicroConf 2012, I took a look at putting together processes for your business that can help you to get more things done. I actually think that Patrick McKenzie said it a lot better than I did during his speech, so I’ll blatantly
steal borrow a line from him:
A job is a system which turns time into money. A business is a system which turns other systems into money.
A system is synonymous with a process. And a computer program is a (usually) very well defined process consisting of bits and bytes in a specific sequence. That means that a business is a system for turning your computer program into money.
Makes sense so far. But the reality is that your nifty little application on its own will not turn into money. You might think it does, but it doesn’t. No, you need a lot of other supporting systems to turn your application into cold hard cash that you can use to feed the family, pay the mortgage, or support your World of Warcraft and/or Mountain Dew/coffee/tea habit. And there’s nothing wrong with that habit that therapy can’t make you feel better about it.
The bottom line is that you need all kinds of supporting systems. You need systems for hosting your website, hosting your email, taking orders, billing, lost codes, banking, customer support, etc. The list goes on.
One of the systems people don’t spend enough time on is marketing. It gets squeezed in-between everything else and it’s arguably one of the more important systems. It’s called Marketing. Say it with me. Trust me, it’s really not that scary. Mar-ket-ting.
Marketing is one of the things that’s so easy for software developers to either ignore entirely or push off until later. Trust me when I say that I have built several products without spending any time on marketing because it was uncomfortable. Let me also tell you something that is unequivocally true.
Without knowing how to market your product, you will not succeed.
It’s simply not generally possible. I know there are some exceptions to that, but the chances of you being the person to build something that doesn’t need any marketing are astronomically small. So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
As software developers, we tend to be an ornery bunch with our roots stuck in the realm of instant gratification. Write code, compile, execute, test & deploy. All in about 10 seconds. In fact, a lot of us skip the compile and test portions, but I digress.
The solution that I started implementing is something that I learned at MicroConf 2011. I was talking with a group of other entrepreneurs and the topic of scheduling when to do marketing efforts came up. The basic problem with marketing is that it usually takes quite a bit of time for those efforts to show any sort of results.
But as I said, marketing takes time to accomplish and we’re so used to getting instant results that we don’t tend to like doing marketing because it takes soooo long to get any kind of answer. Did we do it right? Why aren’t my search engine rankings going up? What else do I need to do to get some x-rated lovin’ from Google! AAARGH!!!
Ok, so maybe it’s not quite that bad. Or maybe it is, I don’t know. But the solution that “we” (as in not me) came up with was “Marketing Monday”.
The idea behind Marketing Monday is to set aside a single day of the week to do all of the marketing efforts. These can be for your entire business, just one product, a suite of products, etc. Obviously this is a lot more applicable if you’re running the company and your title is anything but something that has the word “marketing” directly in it. I’m really not advocating that marketing people work one way a week, even if it seems like that’s all they do sometimes.
No, I’m referring more to the small, one to five man shops where there’s plenty of work to go around and not a lot of time available to do marketing. But you have to do it. It’s essential if you want to grow your business.
Setting aside a full day to do marketing activities does a lot of things for you. First of all, it blocks off the time to at least get something done. I’d be hard pressed to say that I couldn’t get anything done in 2 hours. And if you’re working full-time on your business, then it would be impossible to not get something done in 8 hours.
Second, by dedicating a full day rather than two hours per day almost forces you to ignore the results of what’s going on for a full week. This gives the search engines some time to catch up with the things you’ve done. If you spend 2 hours/day, you theoretically get 10 hours/week of marketing. But how much of that 2 hours each day is
spent wasted analyzing the results of the previous days? How much is wasted trying to identify trends? And how much of a trend are you really going to see from one day to the next?
The answer is not much. So you’re better off skipping out on your responsibilities for a week and then spending 30 minutes analyzing results once per week instead of five times each week. It saves time and is probably more effective. Plus there’s the psychological benefit of seeing that something you did last week is starting to pay off. As opposed to seeing that what you did yesterday amounted to almost nothing.
Now this isn’t to say that you don’t respond to marketing inquiries or follow-up emails from what you did on Monday. It merely means that you aren’t totally focused on marketing for the rest of the week.
Keep in mind that this strategy doesn’t work everywhere. As I said before, if you’re the Marketing Manager for the company, you should be constantly marketing, but only analyze your results about once per week. If you’re small and just starting out, then this should dramatically help keep your marketing efforts from becoming an all-consuming, uphill struggle that never seems to mean much from one day to the next.
Implement Marketing Monday. Then let me know in the comments how things are working out for you.
For the past few months I’ve been collecting and analyzing the metrics on my products every Monday. I found that it helped me to stop checking everything every hour and let me look at longer term trends.
I like the idea of batching up the marketing tasks too. It might help me stay in the zone for longer.
In some ways, I think my whole week should be marketing and I should be creating a ‘Engineering Wednesday,’ but I do like the process. Baby steps.
I think this is a great post. Thanks for sharing.
I feel like you wrote this post just for me. I spent a lot of time on my product, and delayed marketing efforts until the product was “ready”. Now that I’m focusing on marketing I’m frustrated by how long it takes to see results.
I love the idea of Marketing Mondays. Thanks so much for sharing.
I’m a little late to this, but great post, thanks! I started a ‘Software Micropreneurs’ group on LinkedIn and would love to have you all join.