When you run a small business, there’s always more to do. Coming up with new products. Updating your website. Chatting with customers. Shipping out orders. Posting on Instagram.
Not to mention there’s a must-be-on-it marketing platform popping up what feels like every five minutes.
And while you’d love to have more customers coming to your website, you feel like you just don’t have time to actually go out there and market to them. Talk about a Catch-22.
When I chat with peeps about this problem, the two complaints I hear the most are a) a lack of time management and b) not knowing where to start.
Well I got you. In this post I’m tackling how you can find time to market your brand (no matter how much time you’ve got).
Find time for marketing by assessing how you use your time
You’ll want to start by honestly evaluating how much time you have to dedicate to marketing each week/month. It might only be a few hours each week (which is fine). As you start to see results from your marketing (and get into the groove) you’ll probably be motivated to bump up the time you spend on it.
You’ll find it easier to get into a workflow (and get more done) if you can set aside a chunk of time, like a day or a couple of mornings.
Then put that time in your calendar.
I’m a big believer in scheduling not just appointments and deadlines, but things you have to get done. If it’s on the calendar, you’ll make time for it.
[Note: if you’re sitting there saying, honestly I have zero time for marketing. Like I can’t squeeze any more stuff into my day/week, then it’s time to look more closely at the stuff you do in your business. if you’re spending your time on low-level things it may be time to outsource.]
Now you’ve carved out a bit of time for your marketing, it’s time to tackle what you’ll actually get done in that time.
The less time you have for marketing, the more important it is to approach it with a plan.
First up, you want to rank your current marketing activities based on how much time it takes you and the results you get.
Draw up a table on a blank piece of paper like the one below (or download your free worksheets here) and write each of the marketing activities you currently do or would like to do into the relevant section.
Something like posting on Instagram would probably rank as low time, low results. But if you get a lot of sales from Instagram, then it might be low time, high results.
If you get a bunch of traffic and sales when you send out your newsletter, you’d rank this as a high time, high results activity.
Some activities, like posting to your blog, might not give you many results now, but will give you more results in the long term.
Include the activities you do regularly, along with those things you do less often.
Once you’ve listed out your marketing activities, write next to each task how long it takes you (on average). If you’re not sure, you can just estimate it for now. The idea is to just assess how much you could realistically get done in the time you’ve got.
Now it’s time to prioritise it and create your marketing plan
Take out a calendar and mark out when you’re going to do what tasks. The first thing to input is your low time/high results and high time/high results activities. For me, this is creating Instagram posts and writing for my blog.
To make your job a lot easier, batch your content. So instead of trying to write a new Instagram post each day, create a week or a month’s worth in one go and schedule them. Then write out your blog posts for the month. And so on for all your regular activities.
Remember also that you don’t have to create new content every time. You can reuse and recreate content for different mediums. Chances are your followers are not on all the platforms you share across. And even if they are, they might have missed some of your old stuff or would find it helpful to be reminded of that info today.
- Rework an old blog post to send out to your email list.
- Use some photos from Instagram to share on Facebook.
- Create Tweet-able sound bites from your blog posts.
Once you’ve decided on what you’re doing and when, follow your marketing plan for at least a month. As you do each task, time yourself to see how long it actually takes you to complete. This helps you to know how accurate your estimates were and if you need to tweak your plan. You’ll also probably find that as time goes on, you get faster at doing each task.
Remember, the key to getting a whole heap of marketing done isn’t to magically create more time or find a dozen ways to get things done faster. It’s about being realistic when it comes to the time you have and creating a plan to focus on what’s really important.