10 Tips for Time-Crunched Marketing

I often find myself having just a few minutes before some scheduled engagement, and trying to find some way to be productive during that time. I’ve found that, as a programmer, having less then 30 minutes to devote to a task just isn’t adequate to get anything significant done, but when it comes to the marketing side of my businesses, I can usually find a good way to spend those few minutes. Here are some things I’ve found to be successful:

30 minute marketing

  1. Write a short blog post.
  2. Use Google blog search to find recent blog posts on topics that your customers read about. Make meaningful, useful comments on those posts (complete with links to your website, of course).
  3. Submit one of your webpages to criticue, then review 2-4 other websites. You’ll get 2-4 reviews of your own site, which you can use as a starting point for deciding what to A/B test.
  4. Brainstorm 10 ideas for future blog posts.

15 minute marketing

  1. Create a customer development survey on survey.io. Send a link to the survey to 50 random customers.
  2. If you haven’t already, set up a Facebook page and/or Twitter account for your business (separate from your personal one, unless you’re trying to build yourself as your brand).
  3. Post something interesting to your audience on Facebook or Twitter. It could be original content or a link to something interesting.

5 minute marketing

  1. Go to whatpageofsearchamion and search for something your customers would search for. See where your website is in the results. If you’re unhappy with the result, make a note to work on SEO for that phrase.
  2. Write down one idea for a blog post to write later.
  3. Find a tweet that’s interesting to your audience and “retweet” it. (What?)


MicroConf 2012: Dave Collins

Dave Collins is a software marketing consultant, and in particular an expert on Google AdWords. He spoke at Microconf 2012 on May 1, 2012. These are my notes from his talk:

  • Calculated the number of hours he has spent in the AdWords interface: 11,000. Given the often-quoted 10,000-hour rule, that makes him an expert.
  • AdWords is the opposite of interruption advertising: It brings you people who want what you have at the exact moment they want it.
  • The biggest threat to Google’s dominance isn’t Microsoft or Apple. The biggest threat is that you will stop clicking on the ads.
  • Google actually benefits from putting inferior ads on top (because it makes you more likely to click 2 ads rather than 1), so don’t worry so much about being in the #1 position.
  • AdWords is just a means to an end: Getting people who want your product to come to your website.
  • How to take control from Google:
  1. Segment like your life depends on it. Small, focused groups of keywords with relevant ads and landing pages
  2. Balance the odds with data. 11,000 hours speaking: Data is cool!
  3. Drop the¬†narcissism. Not every change [in rankings] is a result of your actions. It could be competition, algorithm changes, etc….
  4. Processes and cycles: Nurture & kill (good ads vs. bad). 7 day cycles (pro tip: Have two identical campaigns, one for weekdays, another for weekends with lower bids). Dedicate a few hours per week to AdWords: it takes time.
  5. Get ready for confrontation. A common mistake: Spending too much money on bids in an effort to get to 1st position.
  6. Be a stalker: Adwords remarketing lets you stalk those that didn’t buy for up to 540 days (it’s a little clumsy though). Make it less creepy by showing remarketing ads only 3-4 times per day.
  7. Dig beyond the surface. What constitutes an effective ad? Multiply CTR by Conversion Rate to figure out the “best” ad (CTCR = Click-Through Conversion Rate).
  8. Bidding wars are for dummies. Win on technique, not strength.
  9. Quality score is hype. Ignore it. It’s just an attempt by Google to get you to raise your bid.
  10. Empathy works! But it’s underused in AdWords. Ads should address why the person is searching for something instead of repeating the exact search phrase.
  • Three takeaway ideas: 1. Segment and Mold. 2. CTCR (identify what works and kill weaknesses). 3. Ride the remarketing wave.
  • Regarding the display network: It goes in cycles of popularity. Ignore what people say about it and base your decisions on actual data.

Dave offered a few more things that were exclusively for MicroConf attendees (there are some serious benefits to actually attending the conference!)

Next up: Bill Bither on how he bootstrapped a company, maxed out his credit cards, and then sold the company for cool 7-figure earnout.