Time glorious time
Marketing is vital for all businesses.
But, there is a common problem. Time.
Do you ever feel like there’s never enough time in the day? Does your ‘to do’ list seem to keep getting longer?
For many businesses, this can lead to marketing getting pushed into a tomorrow that doesn’t come as often as you’d like.
When you’re not marketing your business as much as you need to, however, your potential for growth is limited.
So, how do you find that all so critical time?
Your time is valuable
When I was growing up, I was often told ‘don’t put off ‘til tomorrow, what can be done today’. That sounds admirable but, when I entered the world of work, I realised it was idealistic for it seemed like everything had to be done not today but…yesterday.
There’s one thing I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter whether the business is turning over billions or is just getting started, time cannot be bought. It has to be harnessed.
So important is this time that – in lean management – which focuses on maximizing customer value while minimising waste to fuel profits – time is identified as one of the seven key wastes to be eliminated.
Howeve lean your business becomes, though, time remains finite.
It’s easy for me to say that a chunk of this precious commodity should be focused on marketing. It’s what I do every day so, of course, I’m going to find time to do it.
How about all those businesses whose main priorities are other things like processing customer orders or delivering services?
If you want more orders coming your way, to have a consistent and visible pipeline of demand, to scale and to grow, marketing needs to be one of your top priorities too.
The good news is, though, everything becomes easier when you use the following seven ways to find time for marketing and start enjoying great results
7 ways to find time
- Work your marketing objectives
The first way to find more time is to ensure your marketing objectives are working for your business. Do they mirror your overall business goals or are there some extra objectives linked to personal passions or things you simply feel you should be doing?
Are you confident on what your marketing needs to be achieving to make your business goals happen? This strategic alignment is crucial for making best use of your time and your budget.
- Have a solid marketing plan
Do you have a solid marketing strategy and plan that is this optimised to serve your business goals?
If not, or if you’re not sure, take some time out to get your plan together. This could more than repay you back in terms of time saved later. Get clear on who your customers are. Identify their challenges and drivers. Decide how best to get their attention, capture their interest, generate desire for what you sell and inspire them to act.
Make sure you know how you’ll measure performance against the plan. You not only need to know if you’re on track but what’s working and worth the time as well as what has little impact and can be dropped. Continually review what you need to stop, start and continue.
- Prioritise effectively
If you examine all the things you are doing right now, some will be getting you results whereas others won’t be performing so well. List all your key activities and rate them from 1 to 4 in terms of effectiveness, with 1 being of least benefit to 4 being the greatest.
When rating anything, I advise against using a 1-5 scale, or any odd number. The reason? You can’t have a mid-point, a middle ground, a ‘this okay’ option. There’s no room for complacency.
Your 1-4 scale forces you to decide whether something truly is in the useful camp or not. If you don’t know the answer, observe or test the activity. Then, come back and give it a score.
Also consider all the things you want to do that you’re not doing currently. Give them a speculative score.
In addition, think about what you could automate, systemise or delegate.
Soon, you’ll be clear on all the 3-4 scale activities you should be focusing most of your time on. It doesn’t mean you can’t do any of the 1-2s…just, that they’re not essential when time is pressed.
- Draw up a great schedule
When you’re clear on your prioritise, you can draw up a schedule that works for your business. It’s easy to get excited at this stage and over optimistic about what you can actually do. It’s equally easy for fears around how you’re going to fit it all in to hold you back.
So, when drawing up your schedule, my recommendation is to keep your busiest week in mind. Perhaps, it’s the time of year when you receive a peak of orders, perhaps it’s before a big event, or maybe it’s in the run up to or after a holiday.
Consider how much time you have at peak points and set your minimum marketing commitment around this. Consistency is key when it comes to marketing and, if you plan with your peaks in mind, you’ll create a plan that’s sustainable all times of year. This will avoid you ending up with big gaps when no marketing happens at all and your engagement with customers falters. You don’t want them speculating that something’s wrong in your business.
- Batch your content
A great way to work around peaks and sustain the creative energy required to keep marketing well, is to batch.
This involves creating a set of content in one go, for example a week’s worth of social media posts. Batching allows focus and focus creates efficiency.
Could you set aside a slot every week to create what you need for the following days? Or could you set aside a slot every month to batch for the weeks ahead? Ensure you’re in a place when you can’t be distracted or disturbed so you can focus and get the most out of your time.
Believe me, ‘tomorrow you’ will be thankful you did the work!
- Build a ‘creative well’
Time can be lost when generating ideas. For example, if you want to write an article and don’t know what to say, you may find yourself staring into space or looking around for inspiration to get you started. It’s incredibly frustrating.
These are the times you’ll be grateful if you have a ‘creative well’ that’s always full of ideas you can draw upon. The trick is to keep topping it up regularly.
To do this, every time you read, watch or listen to something interesting that sparks an idea, write it down. Every time an idea pops into your mind while you’re at work or going about your life, write that down too. Keep a notebook handy or make use of your favourite voice or note-taking app so no idea is lost.
This way, your well will be ready to greet you every time you want to create. You’ll be able to pick an idea and run with it.
- Play to your strengths
We’ve all heard the age-old advice to ‘stick to your strengths’. It’s undeniable that when you do what you’re best at, it’s easier and takes less time than it would others. If marketing is your strength, fantastic. Make the most of it!
But, if marketing isn’t one of your strengths, you have options. You could bring someone on board to advise you or do the work. Alternatively, you could turn your weakness into a strength by investing in training then go for it!
Marketing really is vital to the success of any business. It’s a driver of growth. Use the seven techniques we’ve shared today and start getting the results you need to achieve your business ambitions.
- Making time for marketing is vital for ensuring your business’ growth and success.
- Your marketing strategy needs to serve your business, with each objective contributing to your overall goals.
- Planning, scheduling, prioritising and batching are useful technique for helping you find more time for your marketing and making every minute count.