28 Marketing Time Savers
As a small business owner, marketing is one of the most time-consuming functions we face. Turning non-revenue generating activity into revenue-generating work is the name of the game. Whether you market your goods and services online or offline (or a combination of the two), marketing not only takes time but also requires a wide range of skills – writing, graphics, public speaking, video production, networking, etc. The list goes on.
In this blog post, I outline 28 ways you can save time on your marketing.
Have a time-saving mindset
Having a positive outlook will make marketing much easier. The term ‘growth mindset’ is rightly the flavour of our times. So, let’s look at a few time savers when it comes to mindset.
- Time of Day
Do you know your chronotype? Your chronotype indicates the time of day you are at your most productive. Are you a bear, lion, wolf or dolphin? Bears who make up about 50% of the population, are neither larks or owls. So, the best time for ‘deep work’ is the middle of the day. For lions, who are early birds, first thing is their favoured time for concentrating unlike the relatively few dolphins, who are busy when most of us are tucked up in bed. The wolves are slow to start the day, coming alive in the evening.
Therefore, when it comes to a big marketing project, choose the right time of day which suits your creativity.
Flitting from a creative task to an admin task and then a writing task and back again, is very tiring and unproductive. Get stuck into a single mode for several hours and you’ll get into a state of flow. Whether it’s creating social media posts, designing images for your blog or writing copy, it’s much better to combine similar tasks together.
If you’re scheduling social media, do a month in one sitting. It might take a couple of hours, but you can then set and forget for the next four weeks.
- Time blocking
Similar to batching, time blocking helps you to save time by allocating a specific time in your diary to carry out a task. For example, if you have 10 telephone calls on your to-do list, block out a couple of hours in your diary, rather than hoping they’ll get done at sometime in the day and finding that only a couple have been made when you reach the end of the day.
Blocking out time to write each day is the only way I find I can get content done.
- Give up multitasking
Multitasking is actually a myth. Unless you are doing something on autopilot – like driving or cooking – the likelihood of being able to add in another task simultaneously is remote. I can drive and listen to the radio, but I can’t write an email and make a phone call at the same time.
Multitasking in most cases is rapid switching. For the brain, this type of working pattern is very tiring and inefficient.
- Be realistic
There is nothing more demoralising than running out of time. We all like to think we can fit more into one day than is actually possible (see blog post on planning fallacy), but when we fail, this can be demoralising.
You’ll save time if you not only schedule your marketing but allocate some buffer time before and afterwards to reflect and allow for overruns. In the end you’ll feel less frustrated and less likely to give up and more likely to work more efficiently.
With a time-saving mindset, let’s look at some practical tips which can help save you time.
Networking time savers
For many businesses, networking is an invaluable marketing channel. There is the potential for referrals, recommendations and business with fellow networkers. The secret to a successful networking strategy is preparation.
- Prepare one minutes in advance
Set aside 30 minutes and brainstorm a whole raft of ideas for topics for your one minutes. List 12 if you do monthly networking and 52 for weekly networking! Stories, props, testimonials, new products and services, and key value propositions are all themes for your ‘elevator pitches’.
Practice and time them before you go to the meeting.
- Meet before and after 1 to 1s
Make good use of the time by arranging 1 to 1 meetings with another member of the group before and after the meeting. You’ll be in networking ‘flow’ by the end of the morning.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to build relationships and turn leads into potential clients and potential clients into customers. It’s also a great way of keeping in touch with existing clients.
GetResponse is my email service provider of choice. It does so much more than just email marketing including:
- Landing pages
- Delivering attachments
- Online meetings
The cost is just £26.25pm (billed annually) which for all these functions is the best value on the market. In addition, GetResponse integrates with lots of other software.
The most important benefit is you don’t need GoToWebinar or Zoom, SurveyMonkey, or Leadpages and there’s a handy WordPress plugin. Perfect!
For a free, simple to use email service provider use MailChimp.
Use autoresponder software to schedule a sequence of communications to your database.
Content creation is probably the most time-consuming part of marketing for any small business owner, but it is one of the most valuable as it helps with SEO, provides information to share on social media, is the backbone of newsletters and really showcases your expertise.
- Content Calendar
To simplify life, create a content calendar. This is simply an Excel spreadsheet with titles for weekly or fortnightly blog posts. The topics should each have a focus keyword.
- Blog post and article templates
Decide on how you want your blog posts and articles to look in advance and create a template. Mine are usually 1,500 words+ in length and made up of 5 sections with an introduction and summary at the end.
- Google alerts
Set up Google alerts https://www.google.co.uk/alerts and receive an email every morning with news items on your specialist topics.
- Social media source of content ideas
Search on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for ideas for your own content. Go for posts which have high engagement with lots of likes, shares and comments. But no plagiarising.
- Answer the public
Use Answer the Public https://answerthepublic.com/ which has great ideas of what people search for on Google for different keywords.
- Dictate using Google docs
Use the recording facility in Google docs to overcome writer’s block. Here is a link to how it works https://www.useloom.com/share/68fd8798275d4d3fbcc095d289099810 recorded using the Loom Chrome browser extension for screen capture.
- Audio transcription
If you need an audio file transcribed, use www.rev.com for affordable accurate transcription.
- Keyboard shortcuts
Find your frequently used shortcuts by searching on Google for your particular operating system.
The free Chrome extension Grammarly helps with spelling and grammar https://www.grammarly.com/
Canva is the dream non-graphic designer graphics tool. It goes from strength to strength. A pro account, Canva for Work, is $12.95 per month and is worth every cent. You can make gifs, post directly to social media, resize and print with trim and bleed ready for the printer. It has an ever-increasing library of templates, photos (free and paid) and icons. https://about.canva.com/work/
Zoom is a free to use online meetings and webinars platform. You have just 40 minutes with the free version. It’s stable and has all the features of much more expensive industry leaders.
Loom is a free Chrome extension which allows video screen capture. It hosts the video and provides a link. A real time saver for social media videos and for sending instructions to others.
For quick videos use your smartphone. For the iPhone use iMovie for editing.
The biggest time saver when it comes to social media is scheduling all your posts at the beginning of the month, which leaves time for engaging without scrabbling around wondering what to share at the end of a busy day.
- Scheduling tool
There are so many social media scheduling tools but probably the best known are Hootsuite, Buffer or Agorapulse. I use Hootsuite and have a pro version, but you can have a free account for up to three social accounts.
- Visual creation tool
If you market using Pinterest and Instagram take a look at Tailwind, the must-have scheduling and sharing application for these platforms.
- Repurpose your content
Blog posts and articles can be repurposed by sharing to LinkedIn and Medium.
Save time by setting up automated actions using a tool called If This Then That – commonly known as IFTTT. Use pre-set ‘recipes’ which automate such things as ‘when I post to Instagram, post to my Facebook page.’
Obviously one of the most instant ways to save time is to outsource your marketing. Use experts for projects which are complex such as SEO and Facebook advertising. For more routine tasks use an experienced virtual assistant.
These are my favourite marketing time savers. Tips you can put into practice immediately. Most of them are easier to achieve and will help you fit all the your marketing into less time.
The most important is to work to a schedule and try not to deviate. Once an activity is written on the calendar that's it.