Five ways to DIY the small business dream

diy Venturing out into the small business world can seem impossibly daunting. Take the example of a friend who worked for a startup company that had overheads piling on by the minute. The founder had the luxury of investments, but still the weight of outsourcing everything from milk deliveries to e-campaigns became too much.

I can’t help but wonder, what would have happened if she had taken a more DIY approach with the business?

A similar conundrum faces young professionals who arrive in a new city without a job. After fruitless searches on foot and online, plus some really useless albeit interesting interviews, many realize they will simply have to create their new position.

No boss and no overheads. No time card and no payroll. But also, no time to mess about. Getting to grips with the intricacies of marketing your very own baby is time consuming but worth it in the end. Besides saving money you may or not even have, knowing how it all works makes the success all the more enjoyable. It seems that eventually the need to outsource everything will be as archaic as MySpace.

Do it
So what’s at your fingertips? A lot. Don’t get overwhelmed with the emerging technologies. Embrace a few, for they are your friends. And perhaps start with these five tips that can save a little business a lot of cash along the way.

1. Make your content count and know your SEO
Familiarizing yourself with Search Engine Optimization now will save you from backpedaling when you realize you should have been optimizing your website’s headings and listings all along. Once you have a grip on the simple concepts involving careful placement of keywords and meaningful, descriptive content, you can start using some pretty cool tools like Google’s Keyword Planner.

2. Learn to love Google Keyword Planner
Recently revised from the slightly different Keyword Tool, the Keyword Planner really helps you hone in on the best words and phrases to use for a particular landing page. It’s time consuming but worth it in the long run since the search engines rank sites based on relevancy. Make sure the content is full of keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for. The Keyword Planner will help you do just that. If these Google algorithm business interests you, you may want to step it up a notch and check out SpyFu.

3. Sneak a peek with SpyFu:
Snooping on your competitors is par for the course, and the keyword tool SpyFu makes that pretty easy to do. Learn what the other guys are using as their Google Adwords keywords and more so you can keep up with the swiftly changing world of SEO. Instead of letting the competition get the best of you, you should get a glimpse of what’s making their site soar (or sink) in the rankings.

4. Consolidate Outreach
DIY marketing does not mean manually updating Twitter every half hour. It doesn’t mean having two dozen open tabs to get your Google Analytics here and your social standings there. Instead, consider a service like Raven Tools or HootSuite to pre-schedule Twitter and Facebook updates, freeing days for other tasks. In one place, you can check site stats and research backlinks to both your website as well as that of competitors. This is important if you want to raise your profile via backlinks. For example, if you discover that a similar business is featured on a reputable blog, contact the blog as well for a possible spot.

5. Keep in touch with MailChimp
E-campaigns simplified. I think the idea is that even a monkey could do it, and it’s not far from truth. Create and schedule a campaign for all or a certain group of contacts. Make it pretty. Then you can judge from the backend who’s into it and who’s ignoring you by analyzing the click data the MailChimp site provides you with. Don’t let social media fame fool you: the people still love a good newsletter.

For now, it’s safe to say that your future and your budget can stay in your hands if you want them there. With the right set up, it may be possible to run your business from your smartphone. The stats, the ability to list, to communicate with customers can be done with only a tap or two. You can access Paypal for transactions, photo apps for crafting pretty Instagram and Pinterest images, and Vine for a bit of motion marketing, too.

With thousands of tech tools and apps cropping up daily with startups worldwide, DIY marketing is becoming a viable option against outsourced companies. Do you think the fresh and simpler marketing trends will one day outdate the big guys?

Myrna Vaca is the Head of Marketing and Communications at Lyoness America. Follow them on Twitter at Lyoness.