One of the challenges that small business marketers face is balancing new projects (install a new CRM system) with the ongoing, day-to-day marketing activities (following up with the people you met at a networking event).
To balance these activities, along with all of the other hats that small business owners wear, we often talk about the idea of “living by a marketing calendar” – or creating the habit of scheduling appointments with yourself to work on your marketing system.
One way to make good use of your scheduled marketing time is to identify and create systems that will free yourself from the redundant, repeatable, daily tasks that every business must perform. By creating systems to handle these type of tasks you can free yourself to focus on the high value activities that will grow your business while maintaining your piece of mind that the “grunt work” is still getting done.
My two favorite weapons for getting more marketing done are marketing automation software and my virtual assistant. What works for me may not work for you when it comes to specific tools and solutions, but one thing I do believe is key this – you have to have a system before you can automate or delegate it.
Therefore, the first step is to map out your process(es). You can then use your map to determine what tools and resources you need to automate and/or delegate the different steps in that process.
Using the networking example from above, your process may look something like:
- Decide whether to follow up with each contact
- Enter information into your contact database
- Classify them as a potential customer, a potential referral partner, or both
- Contact them for a 1 on 1 meeting
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
- Add them to your “Gain Top of Mind” sequence or process
- Add them to your “Maintain Top of Mind” sequence or process
You process map can help you determine what needs to be done, when, and by whom. Some tasks, like sending and email reminder, can be fully automated. Other tasks may only be partially automated but require a personal interaction to complete – automating the scheduling of a follow up phone call on your calendar.
When working through a process map, I find it helpful to ask the following questions:
- What action will I perform?
- What do I want them to do in response?
- What if they don’t?
- If they do, what’s next?
One hint, if you try to do this for your entire marketing system in one sitting, you will become frustrated and overwhelmed. Start with one set of processes, turn it into a system, automate and/or delegate as many of the steps as possible and repeat.
Live by your marketing calendar and use that time to build systems in your business and soon you will find that 1+1 can be >=3.
photo credit – Hubspot