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Massage Today
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07

The Importance of Knowing What to Outsource

By Stephanie Beck

We are all in business to conduct a service or provide a product. Most would agree what drew you to the massage profession was ultimately to "help others." And if that was all you had to concentrate on every day, all day, you would be the happiest person on the planet, correct? So, is your current massage business generating the same feelings it did when you first started? Have you ever thought, "When did life get to be so complicated?" Perhaps you got into this profession to help people through massage and now find yourself performing tasks and doing things you never thought you would have to do instead of doing the ONE thing you love to do, MASSAGE.

Running a business seems more complex today; the internet provides more ways to touch peoples' lives that need our help. Finding those people requires more of our time, especially if you want to try to do everything yourself. Understanding your limitations and knowing what items are best to outsource can relieve a lot of the daily pressure so you can concentrate on what you were most passionate about when you started.

A big secret that everyone knows is that marketing drives the sales of the business. Believe it or not, one of the most effective marketing tools to use is to remove you from this equation. You are in business to conduct a service, perform a massage, or provide a treatment, and that is what you LOVE to do. What you should be concentrating on is outsourcing those tasks that are time stealers. What is a time stealer? A time stealer is a project or task that for all intensive purposes you are able to perform. But, the truth is you are not the most efficient at it and end up doubling or quadrupling your time. When mentioning marketing, most think about websites. Having a website just isn't enough anymore, you need to constantly be updating, creating, being "social," blogging, posting, subscribing, liking, creating fans, or making friends ... which can leave you feeling overwhelmed. To make life simple, see the five most common marketing areas considered vital to today's business owners success and the most common marketing time stealers:

  1. Web Designing
  2. Video Editing
  3. Content Creating
  4. Research Marketing
  5. Social Media Marketing

As mentioned, this list can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to your time; so these are the easiest to outsource. First, web design, almost anyone can create a word press site or join a business group site that will allow you to "choose" colors, layout, upload photos, make a video, and presto you have a website. Sounds simple, however, what about the extra time to create content for each section, deciding how many pages, what is your objective, and how you want it to look. Did you know that web designing and marketing is not the same thing? You can have a web designer that is a graphic artist but knows absolutely nothing about keyword research or how to get your website ranked so your ideal customer can find you. The most beautiful website won't matter if the content isn't delivering the right message or capturing the potential customer's information. Therefore, when you are considering web design, make sure you include these four features:

  1. Offer on the front page: include the option for the potential client to enter their name, phone and e-mail so you can be building your list of followers.
  2. Informational video: describing the benefits of how your product or service "helps" your potential client in two minutes or less.
  3. Keywords: not the overly competitive ones that bury you on page 20+ of Google, or the noncompetitive terms no one is searching, but real terms that your ideal customers are searching for monthly.
  4. Page Title: not the domain or name of the company, but an honest to goodness keyword rich title to help your website get ranked.

Ask the web designer if they are familiar with any of these or if that is included with the service. Find out if the service also includes SEO research for keywords. Having a good web designer to create a custom website so it easily functions for your customers is important. Most people assume a designer is also an expert on keywords, creating content or marketing and are disappointed when expectations and assumptions do not produce desired results.

The second thing to consider is video editing. Video is a great way to communicate with your clients and potential clients. Almost everyone has a video camera so creating a video isn't rocket science. However, there is a real art when it comes to editing it and adding fun applications to make it appealing to viewers. Common knowledge is it takes approximately five minutes of shooting and one hour of editing to equal a two minute video. So, save the editing for a more experienced person and give a clear directive of your objective and how it will be used. Some editors are $50 to $100 an hour, others charge much more and make sure you end up with the final product and not just a link to it.

The third thing to consider is content creator, as mentioned before the content shelf life online is extremely short lived. You have an average of six seconds to grab attention before they are moving on to the next piece of information. The average time spent on any online piece is about two minutes. That is why content is so important! Communicating with the right message, to the right person, at the right time equals success. Today's market message has changed. Every potential customer has a "what's in it for me" mind set. This isn't meant to sound negative. The truth is everyone is over inundated with information. Having to sort through information available everywhere can be so time consuming.

Therefore, to be in the top five of any search term is the most desirable position. You are the expert of your business and you know what you do and how you do it, you also know why you are doing it. Being able to communicate that to your ideal customer within six seconds is something most cannot do effectively. Prior to searching for a content creator establish a clear communication strategy for your business including:

  1. Internal Guidelines: the "do's" and "don'ts" of what is allowed to be discussed.
  2. Frequency of updates: a standard rule is every 3-4 months on your website and 3-7 times a week on each social media site.
  3. Define the necessary skills you require in the position.
  4. Identify the personality traits required for the position.
  5. Understand who is your ideal audience.

Think about your company, your mission and your goals, why are you using these tools and what you want to accomplish so you can achieve your desired outcome.

The fourth thing to consider is research marketing. Understanding how to use keywords and getting the most traffic is a combination of strategy and luck. Researching how your ideal customer is searching for products or services you offer is time consuming. Knowing what tools to use and how to know if people are actually entering those terms into search engines is complex. Especially when the search engines keep changing the way the search results are produced on our computer screens. When working with an SEO expert or keyword research expert, they should be able to explain how competitive the terms are. The goal is to find the best keywords or keyword phrases that best that your ideal customers are searching for on a monthly basis. Since the search engines love to change the rules, consulting a research marketing expert two to four times a year should help to keep you at the top of the Google game. Any new changes in keywords take approximately 60 to 90 days for the website to begin to rank for those new terms. This, of course, is dependent on how competitive your keywords are and how "fresh" you are keeping your content.

The final area to consider is social media marketing where fresh content is the most important! Share your communication strategy and guidelines with this person as well. You will want all of your social media coordinated with your off line marketing and funneling traffic on line to your website. All while entertaining and maintaining the attention of your customers and potential customers. This should be someone you trust to manage the comments, answer questions promptly and update content timely. When people are engaged and connected they will convert to new business.

No one ever claimed running a business was easy. Luckily you don't have to do it all yourself to be productive, efficient and successful. Recognizing where your limitations are and how to use your time is a decision every business owner must make for themselves. Appreciating and understanding the different roles within the marketing process can help you to decide which ones are best served by you or someone else.

Click here for previous articles by Stephanie Beck.


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