Can the Best Marketing Advice Fit on an Index Card?

By Maria Peagler

Jan 12
best social media advice index card maria peagler socialmediaonlineclasses

Last week, NPR shared an interview from a university professor & author who offered his best financial advice on a single 3x5 index card.

It was the ultimate oxymoron: after all, don't you need to be Warren Buffett to profit from a complex stock market?

Apparently not.  Instead, the basics were astonishingly simple (but not simplistic). They flew in the face of the terrible advice many people receive from financial advisers.

"Experts" overcomplicate things.

I see similar overly-complex advice offered for marketing:  strategies requiring expensive tools, a team of marketers, and ridiculous workloads.

Not around here. Instead, I'm offering you the best social media marketing advice — yes — on a single 3x5 index card.

What follows below is the official list, with a brief explanation of each piece of advice, and links for learning more.

Here's to keeping it simple . . . ​


The biggest recipe for failure is to try to be everywhere, spread yourself too thin, and you end up burnt out, with little success to show for it.

Instead, focus on one social network first; give yourself time to learn what works, get a little creative and have fun with it. Then, and only then, move on to your second social network.

Here's our free social media strategy class to get you started:

social media strategy template


Fastest, easiest way to learn social online

To get the class, enter your email below:


When was your last social media post?

Has it been awhile? You're not alone.

Here's a real example from one of my clients:

"Sue" works in a small family-owned business, does the social media, the accounting, and the inventory. She usually posts to Facebook only when they have new inventory.  But she's been so busy trying to get their new accounting system to work, she's hasn't posted lately and dreads getting back to it after being gone for so long.​

Stop putting pressure on yourself to create a "viral" sensation. You don't have to hit a home run with every social media post.

Instead, be authentic. Share a story, a funny joke, or just check and say, "it's really busy but we're still here!"

Set aside ten minutes every day to do your social media, then be done with it.  And here's some help in creating that content you've been dreading:​


Need to create solid content for your marketing but dread it? Learn how to create your BEST. CONTENT. EVER. In just 10 minutes a day.


"My boss wants more Facebook fans."

"I just can't reach 10,000 fans/website visitors per month/downloads of my freebie."

More isn't always better. 

A huge Facebook fan base get less engagement than a smaller, targeted one.

Sure, you can get 10,000 visitors to your website, but if they leave right away, what did you get out of it? Better to have 3,000 highly-qualified visitors who sign up for an email newsletter, call your store, or purchase your product.​

Focus on the most profitable segment of your audience, following the 80/20 rule, as you'll learn in this video:​

If you're spending advertising dollars, you need to be targeting your most relevant offer to your most receptive audience: the people most likely to buy from you.  Otherwise, you're wasting your money and their time.

Identify your most profitable audience and focus on them, excluding everyone else.  You can watch the full webinar as a member of


Avoid putting all of your marketing eggs into Google's basket (or Facebook's).

What's good for stocks works for marketing as well:  DIVERSIFY

diversify traffic social media advice index card

If you've focused on great organic search rankings and a new competitor takes over your #1 position, don't panic. Focus on the same consistency and quality you always have, and bring in a new source of traffic so you won't be overly dependent on organic rankings you can't control.

Similarly, you're likely not reaching as many fans on Facebook as you used to be. Don't get mad, get better.

Better results, that is.  How? By being smarter about how you approach Facebook and other social media.


Good news! You don't have to write War and Peace when posting to social media.

In fact, the shorter your post, the more likely it will get read, shared, and clicked on.

Add an image, and you just doubled your chances of all three.​

My Facebook post with the highest organic (free) reach from 2015 wasn't even my own content; instead, it was a short blurb about an article in Entrepreneur magazine that had a fabulous photo with it:​

fb organic reach entrepreneur

​Use these resources to help you create compelling visual stories using images:

Visual Storytelling: My Interview with Author Ekaterina Walter 

How to Create a DIY Stock Photo Library for Your Business

Our video on how to use (a free tool) to create your own social media images:​


We live in noisy, busy world, filled with images, messages, and distractions.

No matter how consistent you are in your marketing, no matter how compelling your message, it's likely to be forgotten if people don't act on it immediately.

It happens.  Don't take it personally.

Instead, understand that your visitors are interested, but they couldn't get to it immediately. They had to answer a business call, attend a meeting, drive their kids to soccer, take a parent to the doctor, or binge-watch Mythbusters.

​But we all have an Inbox, and according to studies, we check it an average of 23 times a day. 

We look at our smartphones over 150 times a day. A lot of that time is spent on email.

Get the most out of the website traffic, fans, and social media followers you already have by getting them to sign up for your email marketing, then follow up with them.​

Make them a fabulous offer they can't refuse, then over-deliver on it.  In the offer below, I share a checklist for how to sell out on Instagram, based on a case study of a retailer who does it every day.  Who doesn't want that?

irresistible offer

Learn more about email marketing with these SMOC resources:

Email Marketing Solutions for Small Business

How to Combine Social Media & Email Marketing to Capture Leads You’re Missing


If you did nothing else but this one tactic, you would see a huge increase the return on your investment (ROI) in your marketing.

But it's the part few people ever get to.

How do I know? Because analytics lessons are the least-viewed lessons here at

What an enormous missed opportunity.​

By measuring the results of last year's marketing, you'll identify what worked well, what didn't, and you can focus on those tactics generating the most revenue.

Here's my confession: I'm not a numbers person.  I'm an author, an artist, a trainer, and numbers simply don't come easily to me.

But you better believe I measure my marketing results.  Weekly. Monthly. Annually.

My business depends on it, and it's the best learning tool I have.

Here are some ways I make it easy to measure your own results:

Google Analytics for WordPress: Easily Measure What Matters​

google analytics 3 must-have reports


Here's the secret to success in any marketing you do:  keep it simple.  You're far more likely to look forward to it, be consistent with it, and be successful with it if you keep your marketing efforts manageable and effective.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

It can be.  IF you listen to the right "experts."

Who use amazing tools like index cards.

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About the Author

Founder of, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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