Two of the most valuable resources a small- or medium-sized business owner has is time and money. The reason they are so valuable is because there is rarely, if any, a time that a business owner feels like they have enough of either. That is why we use schedules with detailed to-do lists and create spending budgets. We want to make the most of the precious time and money we have. Otherwise we risk not being able to properly operate our businesses.
Depending on how you go about it, marketing your business takes a certain amount of both time and money. When marketing your business you have to wisely use both your time AND money so you get the most out of your marketing effrots. Creating a budget that helps you track the hours and dollars you put into marketing your business will help you become a better and more thoughtful marketer.
Let’s examine both time and money to better understand how you can improve your marketing efforts by maximizing these two valuable resources.
When it comes to properly managing your time, much of it has to do with strategy and planning. Below are different aspects of strategy and planning that will help you make the most of your time with respect to marketing.
When you set goals for your business and marketing, you detail the path you want to take from where your business is now to where you want it to be in the future. This will guide your actions so you waste less time and effort on tasks that do not provide the return you need to truly grow your business.
Understand Your Assets
Assets are items like photos, images, videos, or any previous marketing material you have used in the past. It also includes branding-related items such as colors, logos, fonts, and mission/vision statements. There is nothing worse than having to constantly stop what you are doing to search for something that you need. Defining the resources and assets you have available to promote your business can save a lot of time and frustration.
Pro TIp: Create a digital folder that contains everything you need to promote your business. Label subfolders for your branding info and previous campaigns. Give access to whomever you are trusting to assist you in promoting your business.
Professional Over Perfect
This applies to creating marketing content. Trust me from experience, there is no such thing as perfection. You can waste a lot of time trying to make things “just perfect”. However, the fact of the matter is the longer you work on something like a video or a blog the more stressed you get and the more mistakes you are prone to make.
Instead of perfection, aim for professionalism. No matter your business, you want to be taken seriously so make sure that you present your information in a coherent and professional manner, and any small mistakes will be forgiven.
Create A Marketing Calendar
A marketing calendar tracks your marketing efforts by detailing what forms of marketing should be developed, when it should be completed and published, and to what marketing platforms it should be published on. This is a huge time-saver because you can see a big picture of when tasks should be completed and by whom which makes it easier for you to manage.
Last, you want to actually schedule time in your calendar to work on marketing. Whether you are reviewing work or actually helping with the creation of the content, make sure you block out the time in your schedule to do the work. If you wait for “when I have time”, chances are that it will never happen.
Saving money with respect to marketing is about understanding what you would like out of your marketing efforts. This is where detailing a marketing strategy and setting goals helps. Once you do that, the below factors will help you stretch your dollar.
It is just about impossible to do all the marketing of your business on your own. Trust me, I know. If possible, look to hire someone for your staff, even part-time. If you cannot do that, look at your current staff. Review their files and speak to them to see if anyone has the skills or desire to potentially take on more responsibility like responding to reviews on Facebook or drafting email content. Let someone else help take the load off your hands.
If you cannot find help internally, then look externally for a consultant or agency that may help you. The key to saving money here is truly understanding what you are looking for and what the consultant or agency are promising to deliver. Do some shopping around and consider creating a sheet to track everyone you speak with to determine who might be the best fit. Before signing on, make sure you define success so everyone is on the same page. Also closely review any contract so you understand the terms.
Time for an understatement: there are a LOT of marketing tools out there. Whatever you need help with, chances are there is something out there that can get it done. Again, the key is to define your needs and do your research. Look for ones that have a free trial. However, before you sign on for the free trial make sure you have the time to actually use the service during the free trial period. Before making any long-term commitments take a look at the reviews. Most providers have a Q&A section or allow you to chat or send emails with any questions.
Paid advertising through Facebook, Google, or any other platform can increase your audience and drive revenue. But, if you are just getting started it can take some time. Before you get started do your homework and make sure you understand how the platform works. Contact their customer support with any questions. Make sure you understand your goals and who you are targeting.
Tools and Assets
If you are creating your own content such as videos or blogs, you may need equipment like a camera, tripod, or even lighting. These are all things I have purchased to help me develop content. There is no special budgeting trick here other than defining what you need, doing research on what is available, and then saving up.
A common thread of this blog is understanding your marketing needs. If you view the above as a checklist of sorts you can use it to define your marketing needs which will help you make the most of the time and money you invest in marketing your business.