by Guest Blogger: Robby Slaughter
There are countless challenges to effectively marketing your business. Perhaps the one most commonly brought up is cost. You do need to spend money on marketing expertise, graphic design, advertisements, marketing strategy, and so on. But that’s not the biggest cost you have to pay.
The most expensive part about marketing is your own time.
This reality is difficult for many small business professionals to accept. After all, part of the reason you’re leveraging an outside agency is to save time, right? And while it’s true that a qualified marketing partner will save you time overall, they will not totally eliminate the need to devote time to spreading your message. Here are some tips for getting the word out about your business without wrecking your schedule:
Create daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly commitments: Marketing, like many aspects of your business, is fundamentally about consistency. Decide what you will do every day, every week, every month, and every quarter. For example, you might decide to post once a day on Google Plus. You might plan to visit a networking group once a week. You might decide to take a day each month to write blog posts. And you might want to meet quarterly with your marketing agency to work on strategic planning.
If you can stick to this schedule of commitments, you are less likely to feel the need to scramble to work on marketing tasks. You’ll also create a rhythm with the rest of your team. And if you do decide to delegate parts of this work to other people (or even outside companies), you’ll already have a pattern established.
Save past work so it can be reused: Although there are lots of unique things to say about your organization, part of generating brand awareness and communicating with potential customers is saying the same thing over and over again. Being “on message” means you need to save what you’ve used before so it can be re-used.
In this regard, a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel can be your best friend. Since so many marketing messages are text-based and brief–like tweets, LinkedIn updates, or Facebook posts–start a spreadsheet that keeps track of each message you’ve sent and the last date you used it. This allows you to repeat yourself, on purpose, when enough time has passed.
Leverage automation, carefully: Whether your marketing strategy includes email, post cards, or brochures, technology can save you incredible amounts of time in the form of automation. For example, you can build a campaign that automatically inserts the first name of every customer into a mailing, personalizing each message. You can schedule marketing to occur while you’re busy doing something else. Automation can allow you to get far more done than you could ever do by hand.
Like all technology, however, this can be dangerous. Pay attention to your automation to ensure that you don’t accidentally do something foolish. It’s not “set it and forget it” but rather “set it and remember it.”
Use these techniques to manage your time when managing your marketing. Your schedule is important! Your customers need your attention, too. Spend your time taking care of the business you have today–and the business you’ll need in the future.
Robby Slaughter is an Indianapolis consultant at AccelaWork. His primary professional interest is in productivity, workflow and employee engagement. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife.
Follow Robby on Twitter! @robbyslaughter