No time for marketing?
Oh—I’m guilty of it too. We get caught up in the day-to-day of our work; answering phone calls, putting out fires, payroll, inventory, life. But the fact is, the long-term success of any business is dependent upon finding the time to invest in the future. And one of the surest ways to insure your business will be around for the long-haul and continue to grow and flourish is to implement and use a marketing plan (and a system).
Here are 5 tips to help you manage your time and fit marketing into your regular routine
- Tackle one thing at a time. You don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. Choose monthly themes: make June website optimization month and July list building month and focus on that one task for the entire month. This makes marketing less overwhelming and gets you started in the right direction.
- Set marketing appointments with yourself. I can’t stress how important this is. I do this and every successful business owner I know does this. Write it down, put it on your calendar, block it out and don’t book anything during those times. If it’s not on your calendar, it’s too easy to forget about it and become so overbooked you never get to it. This is your time to work on your business—take it and use it.
- Hire someone. It doesn’t have to be a full time person and it doesn’t even have to be a marketing expert. Hire an intern or a student to make follow up calls to customers or write introductory letters to prospects or potential strategic partners. You can even hire someone on a commission basis to make outbound sales and appointment setting calls, or a writer to write your blogs. With so many un- and under- employed people out there, it’s not hard to find people who are willing to do some hourly or commission based work for you and this will free up hours of your time that you can devote to more productive endeavors.
- Plan your activities out for a year. Yup, a whole year. Create a marketing calendar for an entire year and plan your weekly and monthly marketing activities. For example: every Monday, blog, update Facebook; Wednesdays, call 5 customers and 10 prospects; once per month, review website, do a postcard mailing. Once you have everything laid out in front of you it makes it so much easier to manage and actually get it done. I like a printed calendar and I hang it in my office right in front of me so I can visualize it. I also set reminders in outlook as a double-reminder that my business must not be neglected!
- Take baby steps. This kind of goes with #1- but in addition to taking things one at a time, baby steps is about finding what it takes to get over a hurdle and take that first step. Does a task seem overwhelming and insurmountable? Then don’t think about the big ole scary task—break it into smaller parts and tackle the little parts instead. Don’t think “Oh my god, I need 20 sales this month. How am I going to do that?” Instead think, “Ok, to get 20 sales, I need to get 5 this week—or one per day. What can I do to make 1 sale today?” Isn’t one sale a whole lot easier and manageable than 20? I love to think of things in terms of baby steps. I’ve never accomplished anything in life by tackling the entire task all at once. That just leaves me overwhelmed and paralyzed in fear. Instead, I tell myself, “take baby-steps, one small step at a time.” I know that soon I’ll be taking bigger and bigger steps and before you know it I’ll be off and running. It works every time.
Managing your time and fitting marketing into your schedule are critical to the future success and sustainability of your business. Marketing is a vital component to building a business, getting and converting leads, satisfying customers, making sales, increasing profits and achieving your goals. With the proper marketing strategy and time investment the possibilities are endless!