(OK, full disclosure: they aren't magic, but they are good advice!)
The other week, I put off writing our Guidepost blog maybe half a zillion times. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I had so much client work that I needed to do. And business management stuff. And… you get the drift. There was a lot on my plate, and the blog—being a self-set deadline—was an easy one to let slide.
Normally, I wouldn’t mention this, because I’m a marketer, so it’s a little embarrassing that I’m putting off doing my own marketing. And ultimately I did write the blog, and while it wasn’t my most brilliant effort, I still think it had good information that will hopefully help a small business owner somewhere make better marketing decisions. So, why bring it up at all?
The thing is, I’m not alone. Every small business owner and startup founder I have ever worked with struggles with this same problem: how do you balance the marketing needs of your company with all the other stuff that keeps you working late at night? So often, marketing gets postponed because it feels less mission critical. To the point where marketing projects stretch out months… or worse.
The problem with this is that marketing actually IS mission critical to your business.
Remember, marketing isn’t just traditional advertising (like an ad in the paper). It’s everything to do with how you’re interacting with current and future customers in order to generate new sales. And if you don’t do it, you’re not going to get new customers. Full stop.
Let’s talk about what you can do about this. I realize that you’re not going to get more time in the day, but I’ve found the following tips help:
Prioritize marketing. Yes, it’s a bit captain obvious, but it needs to be said. What is prioritized gets done. I’m not suggesting you always prioritize marketing over everything else you have to do, but try making marketing your top priority for one week a month, a day or two a week, or even a couple of days a month. You’ll be amazed at the amount you can get done.
Right-size your marketing plan. The best way to make the idea of working on your marketing overwhelming is to aim for the stars and try to do too much. Design your marketing strategy for the level of time you know you can commit to it, with a timeline that is reasonable to execute.
Break things up into bite-sized chunks. When a marketing project feels huge, it can seem impossible to put enough much time aside for it. Instead, break projects up into an hour here, and an hour there. Sure, it may take longer to get done that way, but it won’t overwhelm you—and taking a while to get done is much better than never getting started.
Accept good enough. Most entrepreneurs are a bit type A (ya think?), and that means they want everything they do—marketing included—to be perfect. But the reality is that good is usually just as effective as great when it comes to marketing, and definitely better than not at all. If that sales presentation deck you’ve been working on is stuck, try taking a hard eye to it, deciding what slides are mission critical and ditching the rest. At least for now. That way you can get the deck done enough, and ready to use, much, much sooner.
Lose your fear. This isn’t really a time management issue, no. But the part of the business that is the least comfortable for small business owners is the part that gets put off the most (for me it’s doing taxes). If you feel over your head with your marketing, it’s likely to be the last thing you put your mind to. Instead, get a mentor, or hire an part-time adviser (shameless plug: we do that), so that you feel better in your marketing skin.
Hopefully, these tips help, but at the very least know that you’re not alone.
Now, get busy and do some marketing!
Happy small business marketing,
Katie & Theron
At Urban Sherpa Marketing Co. we offer marketing advisory, strategic planning, and services for small business and startups. Our goal is to make high-quality marketing possible for every business, no matter the size. Think of us as your outsourced marketing department, strategic marketing adviser, or even your phone-a-friend marketing lifeline. We help you grow your business without blowing the bank.
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