I often talk about planning your time in order to create actions of success and it leads to a lot of questions. Clients ask for specificities to help them understand how they should be breaking down their days, weeks and months. I get that, you want to know how to achieve the planned success that I talk of.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is, ‘How much time should I be spending on marketing my business?’
No matter the size, or type of business you have, or whether you are a start-up seeking awareness, or an established business seeking to grow sales, marketing is essential. There is no running from the fact that good marketing gathers growth and sales momentum and so it makes sense to answer that you should be marketing your business every single day.
What happens if we don’t? The one day you don’t market your business, is the one day that your momentum grinds to a halt and you have to start again picking up speed on engagement. Boy is that hard work!
So my broad answer really is Every day.
But that doesn’t mean to say that you need to physically be active on the creation of your marketing content every single day. If you were there’d be little time left for anything else and we all know that your business has to be a well maintained and fuelled machine creating products that you can sell, to produce the money you want.
So how do you plan your marketing time better to free you to work on other things?
I work on the Pareto Principle that infers that we should strive to achieve higher productivity on vital tasks with small focused efforts.
So in other words I plan that 20% of my month is spent on targeted marketing, which should achieve at least 4x the rate of return, in terms of engagement and sales.
Marketing is definitely a vital task for our business, so I create my most vital content in a focused block of time.
At the beginning of my business I started by creating my automation systems. These are pieces of online software that help you to schedule blog posts, social media, or email marketing content. I use a mixture of Squarespace, Mailchimp, Buffer and Hootsuite which I link to on my Resources page, but there are plenty of options out there. Choose which will work for your business model and the types of content you wish to create and automate.
Once you have set these up, then you need only log in when you want to schedule content, or retrieve stats about engagements rates.
Then I plan and design my content with a specific target. I usually take 4-5 days a month to generate my monthly targeted content. This is content aimed at getting my customers to follow my marketing funnel and either subscribe to my newsletter, join my Facebook group, follow me socially, or most importantly make a sale.
My advice is to think about what you want to say each month before you sit down to design your targeted content, because knowing what your promotion is about, will help you to decide how you want to talk about it. As a blogger I take this further by using a blog editorial calendar to plan in advance, so that my message flows from one month to the next. If you have a product business, then you could do something similar based on seasonal promotions, or new product launches.
Finally I set my automations. I set up my content on each of the automation software programmes in the same time frame as I design and create it. I literally schedule blog posts as I go and then set up the social media and newsletters around it.
So for my business, the broad process takes approximately 4-5 days a month. For you that may certainly vary. The main idea I want you to understand is that I create my most vital marketing content in a focused block of time. This allows me two things; firstly the time to work on other things and secondly a steady stream of considered content that promotes my business as I work on those other things.
That’s not 20% of your time Sara? You are right; there are other activities I consider as part of my marketing work. These processes are time spent on; other types of marketing, learning about marketing, and recording and analysing my stats.
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What are your other types of marketing?
It’s absolutely right to say that my automated content is not all that I do in terms of vital marketing and it won’t be for you either. There are other types of vital content that you will need to do ‘ad-hoc’. These are things like;
Exploring guest blog posts, or features on top blogs in your niche. That includes podcasts too.
Exploring editorial in print magazines
Exploring paid ads
Making sales calls with potential and existing clients
I don’t really have a time frame for these, because some of these opportunities rarely come at a planned time, so you need to ‘make’ time for them as they come in.
I would say all in all that I’m close to my 20%, which based on a 30 day month looks like about 6 days. I’m maybe over some months.
I plan my vital content in my focused time block in order to aim for my x4 return.
I do have other duties that fall under the marketing umbrella, but these tend to fall into the other side of the Pareto Principle, in that these are jobs have a far lower productivity outcome… in fact about 4x less than the time spent on them.
Engaging with potential and existing clients on social media
Impromptu Live video sessions with social followers
I tend to do these outside of my traditional working hours, like hopping onto Facebook after dinner just to see how people are. These kinds of actions lead to fewer results, in that I won’t necessarily get a sale, or a sign up, but they are important rules of engagement on social media none the less and help keep up brand awareness.
So yes, I work on a theory that I need to plan my time for marketing, as I do for other areas in my business. This allows me to remain focused and on topic, working towards generating the right outcomes for me.
I highly recommend this approach for you too, because it is easier to analyse the outcome of very specific content experiments in your marketing plan. In that your customers will be very clear on what they react to. This makes what doesn’t work easier to spot and tweak until you get it right.