Small business marketing can be tough and a challenge at times. One of the most common challenges is not having enough time to focus on it.
Time is the only resource we can't plant, harvest, and regrow. It doesn't grow on trees. Time is a very limited resource that most of us waste by doing absolutely nothing and then we eventually end up regretting it.
As small business owners, wasting time is the last thing we want to do. We want to be productive all the time. Misusing time can mean a loss of profits, opportunities, and even people. A business can go bankrupt quickly if it doesn't value time.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to your small business marketing...they'll help save you time and energy in the long run.
The best marketing strategies start with a plan. Small business owners ignore how crucial this process is. Keep in mind that the success of your online marketing lies on how well thought out your plan is.
I don't know about you, but I also love planning ahead. It makes my job easier, plus I save a ton of time whenever I plan in advance.
The first thing you should consider before any tactics is your strategy. Creating a marketing strategy is a critical first step.
I find it convenient and helpful having a template ready for a number of my digital marketing activities. What types of things are you doing over and over again where a template would be helpful?
Here are a few things you might consider creating templates for:
When you find yourself reinventing the wheel for something you did last week or last month, take the time to determine whether creating a template would help.
The sky is the limit when it comes to online tools. Whether you are working on your social media marketing, content marketing, or some other marketing activity, there's a tool for that.
Implementing the right tools can make menial tasks easier, automate what you are currently doing manually, and save a lot of time.
Check out some of the awesome tools below to start saving time right now.
For Email Marketing:
For Social Media Marketing:
For Online Review Management:
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
It's easy to go overboard with tools. I would encourage you to identify the handful that will really help you and start with those first.
There are a number of moving parts to any marketing plan. How can one possibly stay focused and organized?
Use a marketing calendar!
A lot of small business owners overlook the importance of taking the time to create and organize a marketing calendar. I'm not going to lie, it takes some time and effort to set up a marketing calendar.
However, it will save you so much time in the long run and keep you on task consistently. Your marketing calendar will become an invaluable tool in your marketing strategy.
A simple online search for "marketing calendar templates" will provide you with a number of resources to check out. Pick a calendar that is simple, but comprehensive enough for your needs and make any necessary tweaks for your business.
Here's a sample of the marketing calendar we use:
Digital marketing only becomes complex if you treat it as a "theme park" instead of a "robot". What does this mean?
A theme park has a lot of moving parts with different functions. This makes it difficult to manage. A robot, on the other hand, has different parts working as one. It is a coordinated system.
As a small business owner, you should create a procedure for each of your digital marketing activities. When you have procedures in place, you can start to delegate these activities to some else...that's a huge time saver!
Automate...Automate...Automate...Don't make your life difficult!
Digital technology exists to make everything easy and there are tools that can make it happen.
You don't need to spend hours in front of your computer to complete tasks like posting on your social media accounts.
There are tools to help you automate any number of digital marketing activities. Jump back to #3 above for a list of some of the more popular tools.
Digital marketing is not easy. It takes time and effort, skills, and money to be successful in this field. The only way to become better at it is constant monitoring.
Learn the weakest point in your strategy and improve it. Monitor your competitor's strategy and try to adapt. Keep an eye on the ROI (Return on Investment) and perform a deep dive analysis regularly.
Monitoring your performance and making changes to improve your results will be transformational for your business.
I'll let you in on a little secret...most small business owners set things up once and never take the time to monitor or make adjustments! You'll be way ahead of the game if you do.
Sometimes the easiest way to promote your business is through networking and the connections you make. Most small businesses generate a large percentage of their revenue from referrals.
In addition to expanding your network, you might also want to consider reaching out to influencers.
What are influencers?
"Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers. In business to business (organizational) buying, internal employees (engineers, managers, purchasers) or external consultants act as influencers.” - Business Dictionary
Building connections with bloggers, social media influencers, and online journalists that reach your ideal customers can be very powerful.
Your network can be a very powerful force in driving your business growth. Take the time to build it and nurture it on a regular basis.
It's not a bad thing to seek help from other small business owners like yourself. There will be times when you get stuck in the process and will not know what to do - it's OK! There are online communities ready to help.
Quora, Alignable, and Reddit are all communities where you can post your questions and people within the community will help answer them. A simple search for "your industry + forum" will spit out a list of a number of other resources you might want to check out too.
You can also gain a ton of insight from these popular digital marketing websites:
When you've exhausted your capabilities or don't have any more time, but you still need to place more of an emphasis on your small business marketing it's time to seek outside help.
But, before you outsource your marketing make sure you ask the right questions.
You don't have time to do everything your business requires. If you need to enlist the help of a small business marketing consultant and digital marketing agency that's OK.
They'll help you leverage your time so you can focus on the stuff you're great at.
I hope you found some of this helpful and can apply it to your business. Feel free to comment below or share.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.