The Top 8 Ways To make More Time For Marketing
One of the most common reasons given for not getting to grips with their marketing is that business leaders can't find the time. Despite good intentions, real life gets in the way. We all know that we should spend more time working ON our businesses than working IN our businesses, but life isn't always that simple.
Here at The Purple Edge we're not immune either. We recently decided that a project we conceived several months ago just wasn't going to progress unless we could devote a lot more time to it so we started researching ways to create more time. What we found were mostly things which we sort of knew already but we just forgot about when up to our ears in "real work".
We thought others might benefit from a refresher too, and maybe we'd uncovered a few things which might be new to some people, so we thought we'd share them. We've done the research so you don't have to!
So here goes with our top 8 ways to make more time for marketing (or other important things you want to find time for).
1/ Take Control Of Email
Don't get me wrong, I think email is a fantastic tool. Unfortunately I am guilty at times of allowing it to become my master. When mail arrives in my inbox I jump to read it and reply to it or initiate action as a result of it. Never mind what I was doing before that mail arrived. Never mind how much more important it might have been. I have retaken control. I now work off-line all the time. I set aside time during the day to look at and work on email and I avoid looking at it first thing in the day. Why is that? Well......
2/ Start Each day With a Plan
Knowing each day what the most important things are that need to be done and working your way through them from the start of the day has really helped me ensure that the urgent and important tasks get addressed and don't over run. Looking at email first thing is the easiest way to take a sledgehammer to your plan!
3/ Schedule Social Media
Participating in social media can be a huge time waster - it's very easy to get absorbed in conversations which might be interesting or fun are not really advancing your business. If social media is important to your business, and when I say that I mean it makes a clear positive contribution to winning new business or servicing (in the broadest sense) existing business, then schedule set times during the day when you will keep up to date and contribute. Just don't make it first thing!
4/ Just Say NO!
This is very empowering. Tell people no. Not just to be difficult of course, although that can be fun sometimes, but if you are clear about your priorities be prepared to say no to things that will distract you from them. Say "No I can't talk right now. Can we chat in an hour?" Say "No I can't make that meeting but if you'd email me with your questions/issues I'll be happy to provide you with some input."
5/ Get An Assistant
There's a relatively simple equation here. If you could earn more by doing your work than you'd pay someone to do some other task, then pay someone to do it. Of course the decision isn't always that simple. If you can't find time to market your business because you've got those invoices to prepare how do you decide which is most valuable? It helps if you know what your marketing return on investment (marketing ROI) looks like, but I'd say that spending time on building your business is more important than admin that a competent assistant could do.
The only truly limited resource is time. You get 24 hours in a day and that's that. Using that precious time doing things that can be done cheaper (and often more efficiently, elsewhere is a false economy. Whether it gets you time with the family or time to work on your marketing, it's worthwhile.
There are lots of Virtual Assistants (VAs) around who will do all your admin for you at very reasonable rates. You may have to try a few to find one that works for you but once you do you won't look back.
6/ Go Global
If outsourcing is good enough for multi-nationals maybe it's good enough for you. I have to admit I haven't made the step yet but I'm doing the research and want to give it a go. The good thing is that you can trial outsourcing small projects to see if it works for you or not. What can you outsource? Well anything really. Research, tender writing, admin (again), web design, SEO. The list is almost limitless. There are lots of reports of poor experience of outsourcing overseas so you do need to enter into it with your eyes open but here are some tips I've found to help the process go more smoothly:
- Do your research - look at reviews. Ask to speak to some clients etc.
- Get recommendations from people who are using such services
- Start small - choose a smaller project to start with to see how well the outsource person/company perform
- Choose a company that has a team of people to do your work rather than an individual. This protects you in case of illness, holiday etc.
- Be VERY CLEAR in specifying the work to be done, the deliverables, the timescale and the amount of time you expect to be spent on the job. This increases the chances of you getting what you want, when you want it and there being no nasty surprise in the bill!
- Periodically review progress as the project proceeds - make sure it's on track, you're getting what you want and the cost is acceptable.
7/ Eat The Elephant One Slice At A Time
A big project that will require a lot of time and effort can be daunting. Break those big projects down into smaller bite sized pieces, things that you can do in an hour for example. That way each individual task feels manageable and you will be able to pat yourself on the back for making progress rather than beat yourself up for putting it off.
8/ Don't Beat Yourself Up
With every plan to change behaviour we go off the rails at some point. A typical reaction when that happens is to think that you just can't make the change and give up. Diets are a perfect example. How many diets which were working stopped after a guilty piece of cake? "Oh I shouldn't have eaten that cake. I'm an awful person. I'can't do this. I'll always be overweight. There's no point even trying. Pass the chocolate and crisps!"
The thing is no small straying from the straight and narrow is disastrous. It's the giving up that's disastrous. If you forget yourself and check your email first thing just say "Silly me. I shouldn't have done that. I must make sure I don't do that again tomorrow." Then get on with your daily plan.
If you do it everyday then clearly you are an awful person, there is no point and you should budget for more chocolate and crisps.
So there you go hopefully this will give you some food for thought. If you have any great tips to create more time in your day for your marketing (or for your significant other or kids) please share.