A friend and I were talking about marketing the other day before a networking event. I was getting ready to speak on Marketing (one of my favorite subjects), and she commented about how marketing has always been a headache and frustration. I replied, “It can be a headache. Marketing is like the laundry, the job is never done!”
Here are three quick tips to help you keep up:
1. Schedule time every week to FOCUS on Marketing. When you put your marketing efforts on a to-do list, other things that can seem like a higher priority and marketing can move from one day to the next and the next. I recommend scheduling 2 hour blocks (or even 2 of them!) in your weekly calendar. Prepare your brain by making that time as important as a meeting with a client or lunch with a friend. (Don’t forget to cut out distractions during this time. Don’t answer the phone, don’t take other appointments and don’t get sucked into social media stalking. Get in the program you want and then GET OUT and onto other marketing tasks.) If you work with a team of people on your company’s marketing efforts, create constructive and perhaps regular meetings for brainstorming. Prepare the team in advance and let them know to come ready with lots of ideas.
2. Strategize your efforts and make a plan. I hate to break it to you, but shooting from the hip is not a plan. If you can strategize your efforts it will help you feel more in control of your marketing efforts AND it will give your more confidence in your execution.
Simply put, there are three main things to strategize in marketing: lead generation, lead conversion and a plan for repeat business. What marketing efforts are best suited for you and your industry to generate leads? What about lead conversion (turning your leads and prospects into customers)? What about your customer loyalty program? Write down the outlets and mediums that are best suited for each of those three main marketing efforts. Be clear on your goals and then decide the budget and schedule for each marketing medium. Remember that part of strategizing is evaluating your efforts. Set objectives for specific campgaigns and check to see if those objectives were met. Did you increase traffic to your site? More likes or views on a video? Did you increase the number of opt-ins for your email list? What was your Return On your Marketing Investment? After you have this information, use it to brainstorm again and create a new strategy. Keep the stuff that worked, and try something new or tweak your last campaign.
3. Systemize your efforts. Scheduling is part of that system. So is creating an ongoing system for your marketing efforts. When you post on facebook, what times of day gets the best response? What days of the week? Schedule those into your weekly marketing plans. Decide which marketing tasks are best for you to do, and which marketing tasks are better for your assistant or other members of your team. Also, consider programs like Hootsuite that will allow you to schedule selective and strategic posts to your social media networks. EVERY company needs a CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool that will allow you to house your custmer database or email list and send calucated and regular email (without spamming) or newsletters. A good CRM tool will walk you through the steps to create an automation process that will allow you to schedule series of emails and it automates the process for you. (If you want a recommendation about which CRM is right for you, I’m happy to help point you in the right direction. You can email me at michelle <at> startupprincess <dot> com.) I’m all about automation and having the right software do some of the mundane tasks so that you can focus your efforts on the more strategic things in your marketing plan.
I know these ideas are pretty basic, but it’s surprising how many companies and solo entrepreneurs aren’t even doing these three things. If you are doing these three things and you still feel like you are spinning your marketing wheels, go back and do some serious evaluation. Talk through the objectives and make sure that you getting the outcomes you desire. If not, make a change.
I wish I could say that it gets easier. It is possible to get into a groove and create some systems that will work for you, but the business landscape is constantly changing, and you’ll need to adapt and change right along with it. That’s why regular (weekly or monthly) evaluation is key. Perhaps if you embrace that it’s a priority to always be on the front-burner, you’ll be able to keep up.
What systems and strategies do you use to tackle the marketing monster?
Michelle McCullough is the Managing Director for Startup Princess and is also a National speaker and business consultant. Michelle recently released Marketing Mastery, a 4 disc audio program that helps entrepreneurs and small business become confident in their messages that reach the masses. Michelle became a partner in Startup Princess in 2008. She is responsible for event planning, marketing, affiliates, sponsorships and partnerships. Over the past 4 years she has coached women entrepreneurs (and even some men) and helped them grow their businesses from “dream in development” to established thriving businesses. Michelle is a speaker, strategist, success expert and a serial entrepreneur. She started Doodads Promotional Products when she was 19 and has also spent the last 12 years working in marketing and advertising. She’s worked in all aspects of the industry from production to creative and sales to management. On top of her full-time jobs, Michelle has cultivated her love for entrepreneurship by running Doodads as a successful side business. Today it continues to thrive. This year Michelle launched a coaching program called “The Life Balance Myth” to help busy entrepreneurs build thriving businesses AND meaningful personal lives. She believes that life balance is a myth, but she provides practical tools to achieve personal and professional success. Michelle has two children ages 4 and 2 and lives in Utah. You can learn more about Michelle at SpeakMichelle.com.