You know that marketing is an essential part of running your business. If you don't market yourself, nobody will know you exist. So you don't have leads, and you don't have clients. But knowing that you have to market yourself is the easy part. The difficult part is doing the marketing. And if you don't prioritise it, you'll find that it gets put off to the bottom of your to-do list.
Plan ahead and get it done
In this post, I'll show you how to plan ahead and get your marketing done. The most important word there is PLAN. If you don't plan it, it's not going to happen. You may do ad-hoc marketing occasionally when you feel inspired to take a particular action on the fly, and that's fine. But to have the focus and consistency that you'll need to grow your business, you need a plan.
If you're anything like me, your typical day is filled with client work, family obligations and various requests coming from all directions. On top of that, a few unexpected things will get thrown into the mix. As a result, there's usually very little time left when you can say to yourself: "Well... everything is done now, I think I'll grab a coffee and do some marketing." That just doesn't happen, right?
Make a date with marketing
But, have you noticed that if something is in your calendar, it takes on a certain level of priority and importance. So, for example, yesterday a friend suggested we get together for lunch. And I looked at my calendar and said "Sorry, I can't do this Friday at 1pm. I'm speaking with a client."
Sure, I could have rescheduled my appointment with my client, but there was no reason to. Instead I arranged lunch with my friend for a different date and time. That's because once something is on my calendar, it's something I'll try and commit to. I'll put my phone on silent, turn off email notifications, and focus on speaking with my client.
And this is what I want you to do. Put your marketing activities in your calendar. Even if you're not meeting with anyone, even if you're just brainstorming and working on something on your own, put them in your calendar. Schedule them. Give them a specific date and time. Set reminders for them.
This is a much better strategy than just having a to-do list. I mean, do you have things on your to-do list that have been there for months, years, even? By all means keep our to-do list, but every week, take your to-do list items and schedule them in your calendar. OK?
"How much time do I need to put aside?"
So, now that you're going to put things in your calendar, I want to talk about how much time you need for marketing. A general consensus is to spend about 20% of your time on marketing. Assuming you work 5 full days a week, that's one day a week. Depending on what you do, you may spend more, or spend less. But 20% is a good percentage to start with.
How you split that one day a week is up to you. I like to do 2 half days a week. Some people do one full day. Others do 2 hours a day.
Two half days work well for me because I find it easier for me to get into the flow and bulk create content. But you'll find your own rhythm and what works best for you.
"What marketing activities should I be doing?"
When you've decided how to split your time, you'll want to make sure that your marketing activities consist of a balanced mix of the following:
(1) Generating new leads: Writing a new blog post for your target audience, recording a video, doing a live stream, being a guest on a podcast, attending a networking meeting, etc.
(2) Nurturing potential clients: Sending an email to your subscribers, showing up in your Facebook group, running a webinar, etc.
(3) Strengthening relationships with your existing clients: Having a phone or Skype chat with clients, taking them out for a quick coffee, asking them if they need help with anything, or sending them resources are helpful to them.
You don't have to do anything that you don't enjoy. The key to consistent marketing is to focus on actitivities that light you up. You can increase your visibility without increasing your anxiety!
However you do it, try and do your marketing first thing, at the beginning of the day. Don't check emails, don't go on social media, don't text your friends... because the moment you start doing those things, you're going to get distracted by client requests, answering emails, dealing with other people's priorities, and looking at cat videos on YouTube.
Plan and execute!
So, the bottom line is, make sure you plan out your marketing activities so you actually do them instead of just think about them. May be you sit down on a Sunday evening, review what you've done the previous week and schedule things in your calendar for the following week. Once they're in your calendar, treat them the same way you treat your other appointments. Commit to them, show up and do the work.
Do you prioritise your marketing? Or do you keep putting it off and it never gets done? What's one thing you can do today that will make sure you do your marketing?