Last week I made an appearance at the New York Times Small Business Summit and the event far exceeded my expectations. The reason I enjoyed myself so much had little to do with the host—although I’m a big fan of that Sunday Times—but the real kick came from the people I met.
I not only got to spend time with the smart, young, talented group behind OPEN Forum, but also got the opportunity to interact with the folks that comment on the content I provide. For those who haven’t had this chance, I can say firsthand that conversing with the very people that make this possible from a strategic and tactical point of view is something everyone that reads OPEN should get to do.
The other group that I had a chance to spend an entire day with was the hundreds of small business owners that attended the event with the aim of networking and advancing their business. I speak to large groups of business owners at numerous events, but for this event I got to hang out in a futuristic round bar setting and chat with groups of 4-5 entrepreneurs that were interested in discussing search marketing.
I met consultants, IT service providers, spa owners, skin care product importers, limousine companies, and even one woman that started a company that provides iPod tours of major cities around the world—iJourneys.
These are the true small businesses and the heart of soul of our economy in good times and bad, and they share the same spirit, passion and concerns no matter what the headlines read.
These folks want to figure out to how to do more with less, provide value in exchange for profit, and how to squeeze just one more hour out of a day.
My advice, whether talking about search marketing or something practiced offline entirely is this:
- Figure out what people are really looking for (keyword research)
- Produce lots of educational content that answers their questions (blog)
- Network in ways that make it easy for people find your content (social media)
It’s not really that complicated, it’s simple. It isn’t easy, however, and that’s why those that do that which is not easy will win.
John Jantsch is a marketing coach, award winning social media publisher and author of two best selling books, Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.
Image credit: Anita Campbell, Small Biz Trends