When it comes to being a true boss, you often have to make the hard decisions about what matters most in your day. Whether you’re a solopreneur trying to do it all, a parent working during naptime and after the kiddos are in bed, or a leader of a team of many trying to juggle all the moving parts, deciding how you spend your time and what gets the most focus is one of the hardest things you can be faced with.

Of course, there are many posts on this very blog about how to get shit done. This is not one of those posts.

Because getting shit done is one thing, but knowing what to do in the first place is an entirely different problem to solve.

A problem I hear over and over again all around the Internet is “How do I market my business?” “What should I be focused on in my marketing?” “Val, I need help with my marketing plan.”

I hear you. 100%. Marketing is a crucial part of getting clients, doing the work, and getting paid. If people don’t know what you do or why you do it, how can you ever expect to turn your dream into a reality?

And yet many bosses get caught up in that word: marketing. It covers so much from content creation to advertising to consultations to networking and more. How do you know what to focus on when you have limited hours and energy in your day?

Over the years of being a boss myself and also seeing thousands of bosses in the thick of marketing their businesses with ConvertKit, I’ve narrowed the expansive list of “how do I market my business?” down to just four key things. Want to know what they are? Keep reading below to take your marketing plan from clustered and confused to completely prepared.

Create Smart Content

Everyone creates content differently and I am not here to tell you what kind of content you should be putting out into the world. What I am here to tell you is that content is only worth creating if it’s content your ideal customer truly wants to read.

If you’re a vegan dessert blogger, don’t write blogs about your family’s trip to Maine (unless that trip included LOTS of vegan bakery trips or daily homemade desserts). Yes, your audience wants to get to know you, but your content has to have a strategy behind it.

Whether you’re blogging, vlogging, podcasting, or Periscoping, ask yourself the following questions every time you sit down to plan your content:

  • Which of my main topics does this post fall under?
  • How does this content tie back to a paid product or service?
  • Am I providing value beyond what my audience expects?
  • What action will my readers/viewers take next?
  • Does this content answer a question my ideal customers are typing into Google late at night?

When you can answer those questions clearly, you’ll know you’re creating smart content.

On the Reach Podcast, Being Boss friend and mentor, Tara Gentile, shared how she creates smart content:

“It starts to all reflect back onto that core offer that we have. By offer, I’m not necessarily meaning that I’m selling people all the time because I’m not selling people all the time, but I’m constantly pointing back to the ideas behind our main products.

I think that’s the biggest thing. For people who maybe they’ve dabbled in some lower ticket things, or they’ve been offering one on one services, and they’re looking for how to create something more leveraged or scalable, the first piece is figuring out what are the themes, or what are the ideas behind what you are already doing. Which parts of those are most compelling to your audience? They create the best results. They get the most people talking. They get the most people excited.

Which of them are the most compelling to you? Which are the ones that you get most excited about, the ones that you enjoy talking about the most? Take that little Venn Diagram. Pinpoint the parts that overlap, and use those as the themes for your content over and over again. It doesn’t mean you have to write about the same thing every day. You can write about completely different things every day or every week, but you’re still pointing back to those themes.

Then that’s what allows you to make that big high ticket offer a couple of times a year, and get people who have been waiting for it for months because they just knew something was brewing. They knew you had this great idea. They knew that you are the right person to offer them something, and so when you offer it, they’re ready to go.”

Smart content is also well-strategized content—and this goes for content for your own blog as well as guest posting. Your posts should always (either directly or indirectly) tie into something you’re selling, and you want to give a direction to your reader at the end. If it’s a guest post, get them back to your website with a content upgrade or custom landing page. If it’s a post on your own site, keep them moving through to related blog posts or a sales page for your latest webinar, product, or new service.

Build Your Email List

There’s a reason you hear it over and over again. Building your list is an essential step to being a true boss.

Lots of business owners are afraid of building an email list. They don’t want to ask people for something as personal as their email address. They’re afraid they’ll end up sounding “salesy” or they think no one will join their list. Email marketing is complicated.

Well, let me tell ya, no one is going to join your list if you don’t give them the option to do so.

And there’s nothing complicated about email marketing when you have the right tools in place.

There are many options for where your opt-in form can go on your blog, but this is the Bare Minimum Marketing Checklist so the most important piece to know is that you have to have an opt-in form. Stephanie Stiavetti has identified the needs of her ideal client and built an irresistible opt-in offer right at the top of her blog:

Stephanie Stiavetti email opt-in

Stay Top of Mind

The next step in your marketing plan is to actually stay in touch with those new email subscribers who have been consuming your incredibly smart content.

One of the best ways to stay top of mind is to get in touch early and often, and an email sequence is the easiest way to do that.

With a sequence setup, your new subscribers get emails from you over a set period of time-based on when they subscribe. Now, why would you want to send so many emails so often right away?

Well you’re doing two things:

  1. You’re delivering an incredible amount of value right up front. By teaching what you know early and often, your new subscriber builds trust with you and wants to learn more.
  2. You’re training your new subscribers to get used to emails from you and to want to open them. This one is key since many times we subscribe to lists only to get the first email a week later and completely forget we signed up in the first place!

Boss babe, Amy Kuretsky, gets this done with a four email sequence she has set up inside ConvertKit. It looks like this:

Amy Kuretsky newsletter sequence

The next question I always get is “But how many emails do I send???” Well, boss, that’s up to you. Only you know what’s best for your readers (more on that below if you don’t), but I can safely say that somewhere between three and ten emails works well.

Know Your Community

Of course, all of the tips above aren’t going to do you any good if you don’t know your community very well. Luckily, there are so many great options for getting to know them better. While the sky’s the limit for “networking,” I want to give you three options that work really well:

Join a Facebook Group

These groups are a great way to network as long as you’re strategic about it. You want to pick a group full of your potential customers. While peer groups are nice and they might send a few referrals your way, your ideal customers are who you want to market your business to, so join a few groups and get into action. Want to know how to market within these groups without being a sleazy cheeseball? I’ve got you covered.

Poll your audience

Have an email list built up but not sure what they want to see from you? Send a poll to your list and ask them to answer a few key questions to help you create exactly what they want and need.

Interact With Other Bosses

Our very own Boss leader, Kathleen Shannon, put it so well on the Reach Podcast:

“I think that’s what it comes down to, especially as things are moving more and more fast-paced. It’s really just about making connections. What I’ve tried to do is always engage in the platforms professionally that I’m enjoying personally.

Whenever it comes to blogging, I really love writing. I’m going to blog, and I’m going to read other blogs and comment on them. I think that’s part of it, too, is realizing that there is a give and take whenever it comes to that sort of engagement. If you want more people to comment on your blog, you should probably comment on other people’s blogs. It’s kind of like ‘do the thing that you want others to do.’”


And that’s it! All of those other elements—business cards, social media, a logo, advertising, creating infographics, running contests, doing free consultations, etc.—they’re just optional for you.

With this essentials list in your back pocket, you’re ready to focus in and build the boss business of your dreams.

Do The Work:

It’s time to do the work, of course, but I’m not going to leave you in a lurch trying to do all of this on your own. I want you to know how the impact of your bare minimum marketing translates into dollars in your pocket! That’s why we built 5 Days to Selling More Through Email Marketing. It’s a free gift to you from the team here at ConvertKit and you can click right here to get the mini-course and turn all of that email marketing into paying customers and happy clients.

In addition to being a yogi, mom, military wife, and avid podcast fan, Val Geisler is the founder of Gmail School, a small business systems expert, and head of content creation for ConvertKit. You can generally find her reining in the back end operations for creative entrepreneurs, writing blogs on ValGeisler.com and ConvertKit.com, or sharing GIFs on Slack. She’s ridiculously obsessed with stellar customer service, sharing and creating content that actually makes a difference in the world, and doing more with less effort.