How small business owners can manage the time they spend on marketing
The weather in Atlanta has been magnificent. Winter wasn't as harsh as it could have been and now that Spring is here, the sun roofs are down and the cardigans are being replaced for finer fabrics and if you are really game, swim suits.
Marketing can be addictive for a small business owner. How many of you spend your nights laying in bed with your ipad reading blogs, tweeting away, updating your facebook accounts or reading the latest in marketing techniques? I would say a lot because at Marketing Eye, we receive 90% of our inquiries after 6pm at night. That means, small business owners are surfing the net looking for marketing consultants after dark.
There are some great ways you can minimise the time you waste on marketing. They include:
1. Setting clear and concise goals: That means putting a marketing strategy in place and working out stage by stage what you hope to achieve from a marketing perspective in your small business.
2. Set up a WIP report: A 'WIP Report' or work in progress report as we like to call it, will break up your marketing tasks on a case by case basis. This will allow you to put time constraints around how long you want to spend on areas like social media, branding, public relations, online marketing, advertising, promotion, events, communications and so on.
3. Reduce the time it takes for others to do marketing tasks: If you have the luxury of having a marketing agency like Marketing Eye or a design firm, web firm, public relations firm or social media firm, then make sure you brief them well. An extra half hour on writing a comprehensive brief will save you time and money.
4. Improve your time management by reducing distractions: Its very easy to be distracted when it comes to marketing. Think about surfing the net and getting ideas from other companies or seeing what your competitors are doing. This could take an hour or it could take days. Twitter is another great one. If you are on Twitter, then its very easy to click on every link someone sends you, but at the end of the day, is this really going to help you market your business? Facebook is another great time waster. What is the purpose of spending hours trawling through other people's profiles, pictures and updates? Is it really going to impact your business? Is it going to make you better friends? I think not! Pick and choose where you spend your time online and once again, put time constraints around it.
5. Know when to say yes and when to say no: That means, know where you should spend your marketing time and money. For instance, Marketing Eye is not big on facebook. Why? because our friends are on facebook and we are not selling events, nor are we selling consumer products, so there is little or no benefit in having someone work full time on our facebook strategy. However, Twitter is a different story. We get a sale every single week from Twitter because the people that follow us on Twitter want to do business, and they are interested in our blogs, what we have to say, our latest marketing campaign etc. By knowing where to say yes, and where to say no, your brand will not only get more traction, but it will also ensure you save your valuable time and that of others and focus your efforts in the right place where you will get ROI.
6. Use dead time: If you are in a queue, going for a walk, waiting in someone's reception, then use the time wisely. Follow people on Twitter, update your tweets, facebook, use your linked in account to push your blogs or tweets, send emails, return calls, research. There is so much you can do when you have dead time. Use it wisely.
7. Kill the procrastinator in you: We all know that if you have too much to do, quite often you end up doing nothing at all. Likewise, when you have every intention in the world to do a marketing activity but find getting a coffee, talking to a friend on the phone, surfing the net, checking your facebook and so on, comes in your way - think again. Give yourself a reality check. Set up your WIP report with key deliverables and if you haven't achieved them, sacrifice something so you can.
There is no better time than to use Spring in Atlanta as the platform to managing your marketing time better. Sit by a pool and enjoy the sun (with sunscreen on of course and a good hat), and promote your business in social media on your ipad or iphone. Read literature on marketing and how to market your business better. Download podcasts and listen to them while you are on your daily walk.