Dear <<First Name>>

More time. How often do you say you need that? Here we are on February 29th, the bonus day on the calendar, a whole 24 hours of more time. But if you’re anything like us, the day is in danger of getting swallowed up by a myriad of tasks, to-dos, emails, phone calls and multiple demands.
With that in mind, we’re making a conscious effort to stand back and keep an eye on the bigger picture. How are the tasks and to-dos helping to move us towards what we really want? Doing it all is impossible, so what really matters? There are a hundred things we could be doing, so how should we prioritise our time?
Thinking of priorities, here are the results of our Small Business Digital Priorities Research. Thanks to all of you who took part.
>> Small biz digital priorities 2016 – survey results
We’re happy to see that content rules for you – leader of the pack, before SEO, PR, and ads. We’ll give space on our blog to experts in these fields so you can see how the other elements fit into the big picture. But if you want to know where to prioritise, then ‘think content first” is a great mantra.
What surprised us was how many businesses put ‘update or redo our website’ at the top of the list. 43% of respondents plan to tackle a website overhaul this year, in response to changes in their business, or changes in the digital marketing sphere.
With websites in mind, we wanted to share a quick and very powerful experiment to help you get into the right frame of mind when thinking about your site. It’s an exercise we developed for our Pub School students.
It’s short, but it will make all the difference to your website and content too. 

Let's get started. 
Your customers are no different from you. All of us all are busy, trying to do twenty things at once to fit everything in. When people are searching for services like yours, they’re more than likely overstretched. When they get to your website, they’re looking for something that makes a quick connection to tell them they’re in the right place.

It’s really useful if you can put yourself in the place of a customer, and experience a website search through their eyes.
1. Spend 10 minutes searching online for e.g. a web design firm you’d be happy to pick up the phone to. (To make it even more realistic spend those 10 minutes on your mobile, standing up commuting on a packed train, or waiting at the station, or squeezed between crucial tasks in a noisy office. The key is not to be too relaxed. Recreate that over-busy feeling!)
2. Notice what websites and content you connect with in the process. Notice what pulls you in (the Good), and what switches you right off (The Bad). Which design elements work, which don’t (The downright Ugly)? Which sites do you want to move on from immediately, and which ones are you happy to spend time on? Notice how you feel and why. 
Here’s what our recent group disliked:

  • Websites that talked about 'we' not 'you'
  • Needless jargon/anything they didn’t understand
  • No pictures or details on the people who worked there
  • Boring, hackneyed stock photography
  • Anything that took too long to read
  • Lists of logos instead of case studies 
Here’s what they DID like:
  • Writing and design with personality
  • Companies clearly showing what types of people they like to work for
  • Content that answered their questions
  • Case studies as stories that reflected their own challenges
  • White space/pages that weren’t overcrowded
  • Sites with good ‘team pages’
  • Companies that gave pricing information, however rough
The best piece of content our group found was a well written guide from one clever web designer on how to select the right web design partner – neat!
Any surprises on that list? Try the exercise yourself and keep a note of what connects and what falls flat, then apply these lessons to your own website and content.

The hardest and most powerful thing you can do is to look at your business from your customers' perspective, not your own. This exercise will help you to put yourself in their shoes. 

We really hope it helps. Do let us know. And have a great month. 

Best wishes, 

Sonja and Sharon

P.S. We're running a half-day Valuable Content Marketing Masterclass in Bristol on 21st March. Do come and join us if you're in the area, or help us spread the word. 

And if you’re feeling too busy, watch this - The Too Busy Busyness Trap (The Guardian) 

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