How to save time with marketing
3 tips to save time in business and marketing
I have this email newsletter – I started it last year after putting it off for ages… why? Because I didn’t have time or headspace to think it through. The longer I put it off, the worse the prospect became. Actually, it’s proving to be quite enjoyable! Figuring out the tech, the layout, the subject matter was very satisfying. Not only that, but it’s a great way to stay in touch, keep up with what’s happening ‘out there’, and discover what really matters to my readers.
When feedback from one particular newsletter prompted me to write about some subjects close to business owners’ hearts, I embarked on a series of practical blogs – hints and tips really – to help normalise marketing and break down the scare factor.
My readers have had some guidance on better budgeting, simplifying marketing in a complicated world, and how to make marketing more accessible for smaller businesses.
This, the last in the current series, focuses on the idea of time-saving from a marketing perspective. Not marketing automation or software. It goes back further – back to basics.
But nothing in life is free they say, so to save time ultimately, you’ve got to spend some time up front.
- Research – By finding out first what’s needed saves time, and money, down the track… with the right input, you get a better strategic output.
Find out about everything you can – what’s the state of the market you’re in; what are the future prospects for your sector; who is the competition and what are they doing; where do you sit in the competitive environment; what does your offering look like and how does it compare; what’s your point of difference (some might call this a Unique Selling Point).
Ask your own people, ask customers, ask random members of the public.
Gather feedback, gather opinion, gather facts. Read on to find out what to do with the data.
- Plan – Get a marketing plan – you only have to do it once, and it’ll last you forever.
1 in 4 small businesses in the UK don’t have a written business plan. That means at the very least one quarter won’t have a marketing plan either.
Having a marketing plan is like having a road map – you can see exactly where you’re going, you can see the stops along the way, the alternative routes that offer new opportunities, and by calculating the mileage, you can estimate when you’ll arrive.
Turning on sat nav is like a close up of each of the steps in your plan – the processes behind getting from A to B.
Like all maps, roads change, and here is where your marketing plan comes into its own. You need to be not just responsive, but proactive. If you’ve done the plan, you can turn quicker, having already calculated the prospective results. If not, it’s a long, slow haul.
And just like a road map, it’s revised on a regular basis to reflect changes in topography, new towns, new road plans etc. But the basis is always there. Just like your marketing plan – you have your basis, you merely run adjustments and updates on a regular basis.
So not only do you save time investing up front, but it allows you save time when you’re actually in the ‘doing’ bit – because you’ve planned it already, it all happens faster, you don’t take a wrong turn, you get to your goal point efficiently and successfully.
And all that research you did earlier? That goes into your plan too – yet another timesaver.
- Delegate – it might cost you, yes, but it’ll not only save you time, but it’ll free you up to do the work your business really needs for growth.
Once you have your plan in place, it’s a lot easier to see the amount of work you’ve got to get through, and also clearly visible are the jobs that you can ask others to do. And asking won’t be onerous – because you’ve already got the brief, the background, the objective and the process… they’re all written in your marketing plan.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll find that not only do you have more time but you’ll know exactly what to do with it, thereby freeing up even more time or headspace – or both – to give you the clarity to get on with planning your business direction and growth.
To find out more, contact me now – firstname.lastname@example.org