Managing Your Time So You Can Manage Your Marketing

Managing marketing and a business is not easy. We often meet people who just can’t get to it all — and that makes sense! We offer free marketing webinars, and one of our topics is about managing your time and marketing. If you weren’t able to attend, you can email us to get a copy of the recording. Or, read on to learn more.   

Why It’s Hard to Find Time to Market Your Business

You probably know the answer to this one! Even growing, medium-sized companies with a team of people handling marketing can find it challenging to get it all done. After all, marketing includes many things: 

  • Strategy
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing
  • Website
  • Landing Pages 
  • Brochures, Fliers
  • Events 
  • Video/Photos 
  • Graphic Design
  • Direct Mail 

And that’s not even a comprehensive list! 

Small businesses have it even harder. Managers and owners are often distracted by the many other to-dos, such as: 

  • Running the Business
  • Bookkeeping/AR/AP  
  • Staffing/HR
  • Scheduling  
  • Making Decisions 
  • Doing the actual work! 

Time Management Basics 

So how do you get it all done? First, let’s rethink time management. Our friend Janice Russell is a longtime professional organizer and productivity expert. She currently focuses on helping people get organized during times of transition. As she likes to point out, we can’t really manage our time. Instead, we must manage ourselves. And that’s probably why it’s so challenging! 

One of Russell’s favorite quotes: 

Time is finite. You only get a certain amount – 168 hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year, and that’s if you’re lucky. Time is a gift that most of us take for granted. We get so caught up in the busyness of our daily lives that we rarely stop and take a serious look at how we’re spending this gift. Instead, we use appointment books, electronic calendars, and other elaborate tools in the hope of scheduling our time more efficiently. But these tools just perpetuate the myth that we can somehow “manage time.” The truth is, we can only manage ourselves. The only way to truly make more time is to say no, schedule less, or cancel appointments. This is called “self-management,” not time management.

Cheryl Richardson

Visualize Your Time

For many people, the challenge comes in “seeing” time. It’s hard to get a picture of it so you can honestly assess it. Try this: picture each hour as a shoe cubby in your closet. There are only so many of them. Here is Russell’s example and more info on how to see your time.

5 Ways to Help You Get Marketing Work Done 

Now that you’ve got a better idea of your time let’s look at some practices that will help you manage yourself and your business. 

1. Use Project Management Software

There are many project management solutions for this, including free versions, such as Asana, or a kanban style board, such as Trello. You might look at Basecamp or Monday as well. Decide which features and style will suit your needs. Regardless, you need a place where your entire team (even if it’s two people!) can communicate and see tasks that need to be done. 

Trello board example

2. Make Time to Plan

Planning is tough amid a pandemic, but it’s looking like the year will improve from here. Create a plan for the first quarter at least. What marketing goals do you have for this quarter? How will you get them done? Which tactics bring the best return on investment? Which ones might work better later in the year versus now, when we’re all still at home? Creating a plan like this takes time and work. You’ll have to set aside time each day to sit and think and then time to discuss with your team and decide who is doing what. That’s often the real hard part. 

3. Avoid "Email Jail"

Russell has some useful information about what she calls email jail. The main thing to know is to set boundaries around when you check email. It’s so easy to get distracted by that little notification in the corner of your screen. But if you have your email open all day and allow those interruptions, you’re continually intruding on whatever you’re doing and diverting your focus. Instead, choose three times per day when you’ll devote time to email. That might be 9-10 a.m., 12-1 p.m., and 4-5 p.m., for example. Another pro tip: Don’t start your day with email. Instead, decide the day before your most critical tasks for the next day. When you come into the office, work on that first, before you do anything else (except make coffee, maybe). That way, even if your day goes sideways, you got at least one thing started or even done! One fantastic example of setting such boundaries is Barbara Cocoran, a real estate mogul famous to the rest of us via Shark Tank. In her podcast, she once said she comes home each day and leaves her phone plugged in on a table in the hallway. She enters her apartment and is then present on home life. She does not see her phone again until the next morning when she exits. That boundary means she separates work and home life and makes it all much better. Cocoran also only checks her email three times per day and even has an automatic response message to indicate that to people who send her messages. That way, they know when they will hear back. 

4. Schedule Fewer Meetings

Corporate life is full of jokes about meetings. It’s easy to see why. If you’re stuck in a meeting that’s wasting your time, you’re not getting any work done. COVID and working from home has increased the number of meetings for some because we can’t turn around and ask our teammates a simple question. But there are ways to rethink meetings; you can read more about those here

5. Delegate

Delegation isn’t easy for some people. You might be used to doing things your way, and probably the person to whom you assign it might have a new idea or approach. But there are many tasks we do that we should assign. After all, if you are the boss, you need to think big picture and strategy while someone else executes. In her ebook, “Moving Beyond Me,” Russell explains her delegation approach as she expanded her solo business.

Ask yourself: 
  • What do I like to do? 
  • What do I have time to do? 
  • How am I making money? 
  • Which tasks can you easily assign?
  • Which items can I train someone to do? 
  • How much money is my time worth? — This is critical for smaller businesses. If you generate $200 per hour doing what you do, and you can pay someone $50 per hour to do some tasks, it’s well worth it for you to delegate those things. 

Marketing “Shortcuts” to Help You Save Time

There are no real shortcuts in marketing. Marketing is an ongoing process, and you’re never “done.” There’s also no speedy way to get from ranking 641st for a keyword to getting on the first page of search results. You can get there with time, patience, and effort. But not overnight. 

However, there are ways to manage your time a bit better throughout your day, so here are marketing-specific tips to save time:

  • Schedule social media posts. Use Hootsuite, Buffer, or any other tool to schedule social media posts. We recommend you do them in batches by the week. You don’t want to get too far ahead in case something weird in the world happens, and your tweet comes out at the wrong time. But it’s good to have things ready to go. Plus, these tools give you access to free images. 
  • Reuse content. After spending so much time on blog posts, why not reuse them? Turn those into content for presentations, webinars, podcast episodes (or if you’re a guest on someone’s show), infographics, social media posts, and more. 
  • Schedule blog posts. You probably do this already (I hope!). But schedule posts to appear at roughly the same time and day for consistency. 
  • Get help from your team with post ideas. Blog post ideas are a challenge for many. Each week, ask your team for ideas. Salespeople should have thoughts about prospects’ pain points, for example. They might also know what customers are asking all the time. FAQs make useful posts. At first, you will struggle to get ideas from people; keep asking, and eventually, they’ll start thinking. 
  • Use email software and set up automatic emails. Many people use MailChimp, and there are dozens of other email programs, all with different features. Research and figure out what might fit your needs and budget. Once you choose one, set up automatic emails. You might set these up to send after someone buys a product on your site, for example. You can set them up to remind people about upcoming events or ask for an online review. How yours work depends on your business and industry. But this way, you’re communicating with your customers, and you don’t have to do as much work! 
  • Invest in PPC. Pay-Per-Click ads are a useful way to get the phone ringing right now. While all your other marketing is long-term, this is something you can do in the short term to generate leads. Read more about PPC and how it works in the link. 
  • Focus on your foundation. If you don’t have a useful website, an SEO process, and a system to ask for online reviews, start there. Once those are in place, it’s much easier to branch out to other marketing tactics. These won’t generate leads right away, but just like the foundation of a house, your other work will not be stable if they are broken. 

Do You Need Marketing Help? 

You can’t do it all, even with the best time and self-management. Besides, you might not have the energy! We created this fun flow chart to determine whether you need a bit of extra help. If that sounds about right, please contact us to determine how we can become your marketing department. 

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