Producing content, attending networking events, writing emails, posting on social media—marketing seems like such a difficult chore that many small entrepreneurs become discouraged before they even start, especially if they don’t have a lot of time to invest or a huge marketing budget at hand.
Luckily, you don’t need either of those things to succeed at marketing your small business. Carve out just 30 minutes a day and follow the step-by-step plan below to help your company shine and reach more customers. (Bonus: Check out these 7 tips to build a positive online reputation for your business.)
Step 1: Find out where you’ll achieve the highest ROI
One common misconception among entrepreneurs is that they need to do everything in order to be successful at marketing—get active on seven social media platforms and write a fantastic bi-weekly newsletter and gather customer testimonials and...
That kind of shotgun approach only leads to busyness, not business. The key is to strategically hone in on just a few marketing avenues. Where will you see the greatest return on investment (ROI) of your time and resources? What will shine the brightest spotlight on your company?
For instance, a salon owner may notice that 70% of new clients coming through the door are referred by a past or existing clients. Therefore, he should dedicate his time to developing a referral program that incentivizes recommendations, like 10% off the recommender’s next cut and styling, to build on the marketing strategy that is already working for his company.
Determine the handful of marketing avenues that should receive your attention. If you’re not sure where to start, try:
- Exploring what works for your competition (e.g., which social media platforms seem to be most popular for them)
- Analyzing how your current and past customers found you (e.g., by word of mouth, via online search engine, etc.)
- Crunching data about your existing marketing efforts, such as the number of people opening and clicking through your email newsletter, to determine their success
Then, make a list of the top 3 most promising marketing strategies to pursue.
Step 2: Set SMART goals
Now that you know in which direction you’re headed, set SMART goals to guide your way. SMART stands for:
- Specific: What exactly would you like to accomplish?
- Measurable: How will you track progress? How will you know when the goal is complete?
- Achievable: Is this goal realistic, based on the resources available and the time limit set?
- Relevant: Why do you want to accomplish this goal? How does it contribute to the success of your business?
- Time-bound: When is the final deadline? Do you need to hit/establish smaller milestones to reach this final deadline?
Using the SMART criteria when creating objectives can ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable, so you’re positioned for success from the get-go.
Step 3: Break long-term goals into smaller, daily tasks
After establishing long-term goals, it’s time to create a 30-minute daily schedule to stay on track. For instance, let’s say that one of your business goals is to produce 1 new 900-word blog post per week, for 8 weeks, to drive more traffic to your company’s website. You could break that large objective into manageable 30-minute chunks and assign them a specific time on your calendar.
- Monday at noon: Research blog topic for 20 minutes, outline article for 10 minutes
- Tuesday at 2:00 PM: Write 300 words (that’s just 10 words a minute!)
- Wednesday 2:00 PM: Write 300 words
- Thursday at 2:00 PM: Write 300 words
- Friday at 11:00 AM: Read through, edit, finalize article, post on website and social media
These 30-minute chunks don’t have to occur at the same time every day. After all, a flexible schedule is one of the biggest benefits of becoming an entrepreneur.
Tip: Try setting a 30-minute timer while working to stay focused on your deadline and ward off the lure of time-wasters.
Step 4: Automate and delegate wherever possible
Automating repeat tasks can save valuable minutes. For example, tools like Buffer can help with scheduling social media posts on several platforms ahead of time, so you don’t have to waste time going into each individual account. If you’re focused on email marketing, a powerful marketing automation platform like MailChimp can assist with streamlining important campaigns and automatically gathering email performance data.
Don’t forget about delegating unimportant tasks as well. If someone on your team can easily handle marketing responsibilities that eat up your time, remove those things from your plate.
Step 5: Track metrics to see what works
This is a must-do to ensure that you’re spending time and money on only the most profitable marketing strategies. Track essential data such as the number of customers generated from social media or email marketing campaigns, and feel free to adjust your 30-minute-a-day marketing plan accordingly.
Are you working with a shoestring marketing budget? We’ve got you covered.