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We get it—as a small business owner, you're busy—and you might find that you aren't able to spend the time on marketing that you know you need to or should.

However, in today’s fast-paced marketplace, if your company doesn’t spend time and resources to market your brand and services, your competition will take advantage of the void you’ve left. Ask yourself (or business) some tough questions, “Am I leaving a void for my competition to take or am I going to fall behind my competition in attracting potential business?” You don't want to be in a position where you're behind the competition and have to invest in your digital strategy to catch up or compete when the market turns, especially if money is tight and the economy isn’t as great.

When times get rough and managing time seems like a daunting task, you’re going to need to be more creative and tactical to generate quality business, so you are able to make a digital marketing strategy that impacts your business.

In the small and mid-size business community, company leaders are responsible for multiple functions, from CEO to Sales to Marketing (and many more). Most people who are running a business wear numerous hats, which means juggling time for marketing is often daunting and sometimes non-existent. Marketing though is a much-needed part of a company to keep things moving forward, and it’s genuinely an engine that propels a business by assisting leads through the buying process into becoming customers.

“The purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”—Peter Drucker

So, when days consist of meetings and the other priorities of a business, how do you find time for marketing? We’ve got some tips to help make the most of the time you have!

Business Operations are Essential but so are Your Marketing Efforts

business-businessman-chair-90333There are many different reasons why businesses say they don’t have time to focus on marketing efforts—if you’re a small business, you may be able to name a few of those reasons off the top of your head, right now. One thing that small to midsize business owners often forget to work on marketing is that the operations of the business itself must continue—sometimes even overshadowing any marketing strategies that are taking place. Marketing should be prioritized as highly as operations.

While business operations are essential, keep the perspective that marketing drives leads to your business. Operations will come to a grinding halt if you have no leads coming in from marketing efforts. Without marketing, you won’t have clients to serve your customers to purchase your goods!

Another critical component that keeps leaders from marketing is that some people don’t like to market. If you’re one of these business owners, who doesn’t enjoy marketing, it’s often difficult to prioritize it, despite knowing its crucial role in growing your business. The more you delay marketing activities, the more guilt and anxiety accumulates. By making a little time for marketing on a regular basis, you won’t be facing a mountain of work later or playing catch-up with your competitors.

Your 3 Step Process to Improving Marketing Efforts

To get started, stop wasting time. While that phrase is simple to say and even easier to read, it’s quite a bit harder to grasp and fulfill. How do you stop wasting time and work more effectively?

Focus on things that move the needle. Take a look at your current marketing efforts: are there activities that you keep doing despite never seeing measurable results? Quit doing those things. When you focus on putting energy into the things that help your business grow, you'll see a vast change in the impact of your marketing. Your mentality toward it will follow.

To maximize time and marketing efforts, sometimes all you need are a few improvements to your process. Here are three steps that help your marketing and ultimately, your time management:

  1. Organization: Keep everything organized, but how? CRM’s are a great way to get out of spreadsheets. When businesses have rapid growth opportunities, valuable leads may get lost along the way. This loss is not because of marketing or sales; it’s just because these teams are incredibly overloaded with a vast amount of information at one time. If you’re not using a CRM system, you need to hop on this organization and relationship management tool as it will solve many challenges experienced through growth and scaling operations. We recommend HubSpot CRM for a free option. Plus, by having all your marketing information and collateral tidy, clean, and branded you’ll be able to find it quickly and know exactly what projects to start working on right away.
  2. Completion: Create a checklist to ensure project completion occurs. We understand that sometimes items get missed, or pieces of content don’t get published because of minor details. Utilize list tools such as Microsoft’s OneNote, or Wunderlist to prevent common mistakes, so you get your marketing material on track.
  3. Efficiency and Effectiveness: Measure the engagement and leads that your marketing produces. Track engagement through call-to-actions, time on page, scroll depth, shares, or event comments. When you’re able to track success over time, you are able to adjust campaigns that could be improved or eliminate strategies that aren’t working. Think about options such as Google Analytics, or Databox, by creating efficient marketing tactics you’ll become more efficient and your time spent on them more efficient.

How Much Time Should You Spend on Marketing?

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How much time should you spend? That question is asked continuously by marketers, strategist—you name it—it’s probably wondered at least once a quarter. In short, always be thinking about your marketing efforts, especially if you’re running a small business, because you are the marketing department!

Before jumping into finding the time to spend on marketing collateral, you’ll want to know how much time is required to ensure you get everything done without wasting hours or days. In the business world, the Pareto Principle is a crucial component to getting things done. Coined by Joseph M. Juran, in 1941, the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) utilizes information collected by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, which states that:

“20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your production IF you spend your time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20% of your priorities.”

While the 80/20 rule is good for businesses (and frankly, life in general), if you want to invest in the growth of your company, we suggest dividing your time by 60/30/10. Spend 10% of your time devoted to business management, 30% to providing quality products and services, and finally, 60% of your time for marketing and sales:

  • Marketing = 60%
  • Making = 30%
  • Managing = 10%

Why so much time spent on marketing? It’s no use spending time on production or management if you have no incoming orders! 60 percent sounds like a LOT, but you'd be surprised at how much you are already doing without an established plan that actually fits into this category. We call this bucket of time “Marketing,” but really, it includes any activity that contributes to attracting and engaging your customers. Most likely, you are already spending at least half of your time drumming up new business. We’re suggesting that you spend just a little bit of that time dedicated to marketing efforts!

Sometimes when goals are broad, and there are small teams to complete said goals, organization and time management might not align with objectives to get projects done. If the time isn’t there for marketing, you’re not going to use the skills and expertise to grow your business effectively. At this point, the 60/30/10 rule or even the 80/20 rule is null and void. How do companies accomplish these tasks when there is no time to spare? Simple, they either hire internally, or they choose to outsource with a company which helps their marketing effort (so owners focus on growth).

Does Denamico follow the 60/30/10 Rule?

You bet! Let’s take a look at Denamico as a handy example: 60% of our time is spent on marketing (including sales/outbound promotion/inbound efforts). These activities include blogging, content offers, strategy, social media, building workflows, landing pages for our Denamico offers, Blueprint work, as well as all of our outgoing sales and networking efforts. We spend 30% of our time actually "making" the client deliverables (workflows, blogs, offers, CRM builds, SEO improvements). Our final 10% of time is spent managing the business, which includes all of our internal meetings (L10, Leadership, etc.) and operations work that is just focused on running Denamico—not client based.

In a growth agency like Denamico, our employees have specialized roles which means not every person will spend 60% of their time “marketing,” (some more, some less depending on the position). What’s more important is that Denamico follows the 60/30/10 rule as a whole.

If you’re a small business with a one-man-band-type operation, your personal daily/weekly breakdown should follow this 60/30/10 rule as you ARE the whole business.

How to Accommodate the 60/30/10 Rule into Your Marketing Efforts?

Make sure you have your schedule planned (do this with a project management tool like Jira, Trello, or Basecamp) to accommodate marketing into your day-to-day activities. It’s also important to think about your budgetary needs, the scale of the project, and any other objectives. You should be able to work around deadlines and time allowances when you know how long a task takes. It’s also excellent to establish limits so that marketing seems less overwhelming!

One thing to note is that this fantastic 60/30/10 rule is also perfect for budgeting your marketing spend. As an example, Logically following the "Budget" chart, if you have $200 to spend: Spend 1 hour of your time (paying yourself $20/hr) coming up with a strategy (10%), pay a writer to spend 3 hours writing an article at $20/hr (30%), and spend $120 on digital advertising.

When thinking about the rule set from above, how does it apply to your weekly outlook and new content? We’ve compiled an easy Monday through Friday schedule to ease you into marketing!

Monday: Schedule three social media posts throughout the day at different intervals.

Tuesday: Write and post one blog to your site.

Wednesday: Add fresh, new content to your social accounts.

Thursday: Respond to comments on blogs and social posts.

Friday: Check analytics and metrics for traffic on your social channels, website, and blogs.

Weekly: Find influencers in your industry and build relationships through networking, think of ways to repurpose content, and connect with clients at the beginning and end of a project.

Eight Ways To Find Time and Work Efficiently:

  1. Prioritize: One of the best things you need to do for your company is prioritizing your marketing strategy, set dates, deadlines, and anything that you need to ensure the projects gets done promptly.
  2. Plan: Set a plan of action for your marketing strategy. Along with your priorities, create your project plan to ensure that you have the time to get everything done.
  3. Delegate: Make sure you have the right team members for the projects you want to create! Then, delegate tasks for marketing towards those who skill set will excel for a particular project (i.e., have your marketing automation person write a blog about getting out of spreadsheets by utilizing a CRM).
  4. Small Commitments: If you’re short on time, commit a small portion of your day (maybe 10 minutes to post something) or a part of your week (2-5 hours-per-week) to work on marketing items. Think of the 60/30/10 rule stated above, maybe your efforts need to adjust the time to hit 60% for marketing in each quarter or biannually. We understand that this may not look like a small commitment in the grand scheme of things, but that 60% could be spending X amount of time each day to get 60% throughout 3 to 6 months. That way you’ll still be able to ensure marketing items get done, even if it takes a little longer than average.
  5. Calendarize: If you need help with time limits, compose an editorial calendar which should tell you exactly what you need to do and when. We suggest making these quarterly or biannually to help your marketing efforts.
  6. Recharge: Don’t feel like you aren’t able to take a break and relax. Relaxing is good for decluttering your mind, but don’t forget to hop back on the bandwagon and get the marketing ball rolling.
  7. Don’t Multitask: Multitasking is not a good thing to do, especially when trying to get something done. When you are flipping between two to three projects, you’re going to spend more time trying to understand each topic. Sit down and hammer out one plan at a time or block off specific times during the day where you focus solely on one item rather than five.
  8. Get Technical: Don’t be afraid to use technology to your advantage! Employ marketing software or programs to assist you in your marketing tasks.

Make Time and Reap the Benefits

Making time for marketing in your busy schedule is possible. Combine a positive mindset, prioritization, organization, and scheduling to get your marketing in tip-top shape! Stop working on things that aren’t benefiting your company and reinvest that time into new, measurable strategies. Once you achieve time management, your marketing is sure to be more effective and creative.

Still not finding the time for marketing? Denamico is a Twin Cities growth agency specializing in marketing. We’re ready to get your projects moving so that you can see value, growth, and unique content to generate leads. Schedule a meeting today to consult on what we can do for your team or take a look at our marketing checklist to get you started on finding time for marketing!

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