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For Solopreneurs and Small Businesses, What Marketing Activity is Most Important?

SEO, Email Marketing, or Social Media

· Small Business,Email

My original answer to this question is on Quora, "How would solopreneurs and small business owners rank the following according to their importance - SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing?"

My answer:

  1. Email marketing
  2. SEO
  3. Social Media

Here’s why: as a small business / solopreneur your effort should be spent on the items with the highest probability of delivering the best bang for your buck (or time spent).

  1. Email marketing will deliver the best results - consistently develop content of value and people will continue to buy / renew / refer.
  2. SEO is not an overnight thing, but will improve your footprint over time, and people who are coming to your site after a search have at least some level of intent. As a small business, focus on the “long tail” phrases. E.g. do a Keyword Planner search every time you post a blog and consider the volume and level of competition for each phrase you are considering. Until you have a lot of SEO “juice” your focus should be on the low competition phrases.
  3. Social Media is even higher in the funnel than SEO, as many people who see your tweets / posts / etc. do not have the intent they might have in SEO. They simply see it.

But wait, there's more...

Craig White commented on my answer and the following ensued...

Craig - Would you agree that you would switch out 1 & 2 if your current email database was relatively small i.e. assuming it is small, and assuming you have a likewise relatively small online footprint, then your new subscription acquisition would also be small (in absolute numbers, irrespective of conversion rate). Therefore, would you position SEO (I’m talking holistic SEO with good content creation as part of it) above email marketing?

Adam - Not absolutely. SEO takes time to develop and there really isn’t much you can to make it an overnight success. Email marketing gets results on a much shorter timeframe. So the answer is situational. If someone who has a small list has the time to build it up over SEO then that might be the best answer for them (e.g. a blogger who has a day job). However, if someone needs to kickstart their business and has even a small budget, then purchasing a list on, for example, might be the better option for them.

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