When I’m out and about meeting clients and promoting my business, the number one excuse I hear from people is around not having the time to do any marketing or promotion. It’s the age-old problem of spending more time working in your business than on it.
These are just a few of the phrases I’ve had people say to me:
“I know I should write a blog, but I just don’t have the time”
“I really must update my website, I haven’t published any new content for ages”
“I don’t have the time or the knowledge to get to grips with social media properly”
You won’t be surprised to hear that I set my business up to fill these gaps that clients identify in their businesses. Whether it’s a monthly blog, a LinkedIn post, crafting an enewsletter or posting on social media, I enjoy helping out businesses where they don’t have the time, skills or sometimes inclination to do these tasks. I’m here to help and I love what I do.
But what if you don’t have the budget to outsource your marketing and communications work? Well, it’s really all about time management…
Wear different hats
Essentially, I try to divide my time equally between client work, business development (meetings, networking etc.), admin (quotes, invoicing, accounts) and marketing and promotion. Just as you would when focusing on delivering a project for a client, you have to physically switch yourself off from other distractions. Then you put your marketing hat on and spend an hour planning your marketing strategy, writing that blog or newsletter, updating your website or scheduling some social media activity. It’s just as important as the client work. Without it, you’re dramatically reducing your chances of winning any new clients.
Go on a course
If you don’t know enough about writing a blog or which social media channels to use, book yourself on a course and find out. There are lots of free courses out there - check out the listings on Eventbrite, Meet Up or your local business growth hub website for details. Earlier this year I attended a couple of ‘Eveolution' events which was a government funded programme to get more women into digital. Even from just a couple of events, I increased my knowledge in the area and I’m now able to pass that expertise on to clients. Learning how to do things correctly will save you time in the long run.
Get yourself a timer app that helps you to focus on a specific task for a set period of time. I like to use Pomodoro when I have a number of small tasks to complete, for example, uploading a blog for a client and scheduling some related social media posts. The default time is 25 mins but you can tailor the duration to meet your needs - and better still, it tells you when you can take a break for a cuppa! Pomodoro doesn’t work for me when I’m working on a copywriting brief as I get somewhat carried away with my writing. The only time I realise that is when my husband comes home from work!
Close Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and whatever other social networks you’ve got going (and that means on your phone or tablet too). Turn your phone to silent and close down your email programme - don’t just minimise it. You’ll be amazed how much you can achieve with no external distractions.
If you are spending time and effort on marketing and promotion and not seeing any return, then it’s time to analyse why. Don’t spend ages crafting clever content for your Facebook page if you’re not getting any engagement from it. Try to analyse your activity and the results you’re seeing. Focus your efforts on the places your customers like to ‘hang out’ and cut your loses on those that aren’t working. I always advise clients to choose a few channels that perform well and to put all their effort into those. Spread yourself too thinly and you’ll be back to square one again, with no time to work on your business.