Strategy ALWAYS needs to come first! But are you overwhelmed thinking about your marketing strategy?
After all, in the early stages of a business, a start-up, or even a non-profit org – you may have to spend up to 50% of your time on non-billable, non-client or patron oriented activities. This is the infamous ‘working ON the business’ vs. ‘working IN the business’ concept. In that administrative portion of organization building, it mostly means working on marketing.
You probably need to devote at least 20-25% of your time to marketing– 1 day each week on marketing related activities.
Or 90 – 120 minutes per day.
Yes, really that much!
BUT … there’s a lot that equals ‘marketing’ that you might not be thinking of as such right now. Such as :
Networking (online and offline), going to events, having coffee with key influencers or prospects, blogging, social media, guest posting, email, following-up with prospective clients, postcards, flyers, posters, infographics, videos, talking with your users/customers/patrons when they come in your front door, your business card, press releases, your website, your email signature, newsletters, webinars …. see, the list could go on a long time.
You don't have to do it all, nor do it all at once
You can chunk that time up. Plus, you’ll get more efficient the more you do and the more you create systems, processes and use a calendar.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all this talk of marketing – how many ideas to try, or which ideas to try – it’s probably because you don’t really have a defined strategy. Having a step-by-step strategy means you have focus.
“What defines your marketing strategy’s effectiveness is how strongly it compels people to take action.” [Peter Sandeen]
You may also be spending a lot of time on marketing activities and feel that nothing is coming of it after a while. So, it's time to reevaluate. Go back to your (soon to be created) marketing plan and check your strategies and then your planned tactics.
Check how you're really spending your time and where your priorities are
Be brutally honest here!
Let's look at how you spend your time on marketing activities as of now:
- Is your networking more about socializing? Drinks and chit chat or tossing business cards to anyone, and everyone, in attendance? Social events can be good opportunities – if you're strategic about, have an outcome in mind and be purposeful.
- Are you really meeting with your ideal clients at those networking events? Or are they more of your own crowd, people in the type of business, niche or industry you're in?
- Are you spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter vs. LinkedIn? Or maybe you're ignoring YouTube and Pinterest when you should pay attention because that's where your best donors or patrons are.
- Are you relying on word of mouth or waiting for your connections to send someone your way?
- Are you following up with your pipeline efforts and prospects?
- Are you asking for introductions from those best connected to your ideal target market?
- Are you spending tons of time on volunteer activities, with not much in return?
- Are you giving away too many ‘free’ consults or too much of your time for too low fees?
- Are you just too busy with other, non-work activities?
Go through that exercise honestly and you will start to see what's been working and what hasn't; what you enjoy doing and what you're putting off (that maybe you shouldn't); and where you should maybe cut time so you can refocus to activities with a better return on your precious time.