At last year’s Micrconf Mike Taber, one of the event organizers, gave a talk on how setting up systems and processes can benefit your organization. One of his recommendations was to establish Marketing Mondays where you set aside one day a week to work entirely on marketing efforts.
The idea that you should have to set aside time for something as essential to your business as marketing might seem laughable, but it is a big problem for a lot of startups including my own. Given the choice between building something new and writing a blog post, for example, I’ll almost always start up TextMate and start coding. It’s not that I don’t think marketing is important, but that I love coding and I have this misguided belief that if I build a great product it will market itself through other people sharing it.
If you build a good product, a fraction of your visitors will share it and if you’re lucky your startup will even grow organically through word of mouth. The reality, however, is that most startups will either grow too slowly or not at all if you’re relying solely on word of mouth. You absolutely need to find other ways of educating people about the existence of your product.
And while I know this is true, I still don’t always do it. For most of January I was working on the new Domain Name Trends tool for Lean Domain Search. From start to finish it took about a month to complete. Each day I woke up I had a choice of what to work on and I always chose to work on developing this new product at the expense of everything else. How much marketing did I do during this time? Take a look at Lean Domain Search’s news section:
I had one update on December 18th, right before I started working on the trend analysis tool. My next blog post was not until January 28th, the day I launched the tool. I did not do any major marketing activities during that time.
Would one interesting, well-written blog post per week have delayed the trend analysis tool launch by that much? Maybe a few days. But here’s the more important question: what’s my primary objective? It’s to grow Lean Domain Search (and my other product, Preceden). Building this new trend analysis tool was a major initiative and long term it may be a major factor in Lean Domain Search’s long term growth, but maybe not. I should have spent more time marketing while I was working on this new feature in order to keep a steady stream of new visitors coming to the site. Marketing is not something you do only when you need a break from coding.
With that in mind, I’m going to try out something new: instead of Marketing Mondays like Mike suggested, I’m going to practice Marketing Mornings. Every day from around 9am to noon I am going to work on marketing initiatives instead of product-building initiatives. This will include writing blog posts and tutorials, making videos, going over analytics data, analyzing conversion funnels, improving SEO, and more.
It’s hard to say for sure what the outcome will be or whether I’ll be able to maintain it long term, but I’ll probably be marketing about 5 times as much as I have done in the past so it will be interesting to see what happens. I’ll post updates here periodically on what marketing things I’ve done and what the results wind up being so that hopefully others can benefit from my lessons learned as well.
Wish me luck. :)