Your marketing time is one of the most precious commodities your business has to work with. It's critical for you to know where it goes, know where it SHOULD go, and take steps to stay on track with how your time is spent.
Here's my recipe for taking control of your marketing time:
- Track where you're spending your time now. For the next two weeks, track every minute you spend on marketing and sales. Whether you are talking to a prospective client on the phone, going to a networking meeting, or posting on social media, record how much time you spent and what you were doing. One easy way to track the time spent on any task is to use Toggl, a free, simple timekeeping system with both desktop and mobile apps.
- Determine where the most effective places to spend your marketing time truly are. Look back at all the new clients and repeat client business you've landed over the past year. How did that business come to you? Were the clients referred? Did you meet them somewhere? Did they find your website and contact you? Are they members of your social media network? Have you been following up with them with calls or emails? If you haven't been in the habit of tracking where your clients come from, start now. It's the only way you'll know which marketing approaches are working for you, and which ones are a waste of time.
- Set aside time for marketing in your calendar. The best way to make sure you always have enough time for marketing is to block it out in your schedule just like you would a client appointment. Do this at the beginning of each month, and then schedule other commitments around it. When other urgent needs threaten your marketing time slots, don't cancel them; reschedule them, just like you would a client. It's surprisingly common for self-employed professionals to discover that they haven't been spending as much time on marketing as they thought. You may be thinking about marketing -- or worrying about it -- much more often than you are actually taking action on it.
- Continue tracking both your time and your results. Tracking your marketing time will have a positive impact all by itself, like writing down what you eat when you're dieting. It will sharpen your awareness of your marketing and sales activities, which will cause you to begin changing your behavior for the better. Tracking your results will give you the essential data you need to make smart decisions about where your marketing time goes. You can use my free Get Your Marketing Unstuck Journal to record both time and results in one place, along with your notes about what you might need to do differently. (If you already subscribe to my newsletter, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to download the Journal without subscribing.)
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