Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. These days it seems you practically have to wear 50 hats, fill 20 positions, and know 100 technical languages just to stay in the game. Well, it’s actually not that bad, but close. It’s all so competitive, no matter what channel or platform you love. For me to stay afloat and not lose my marbles, I had to create shortcuts and work-arounds that help ease the craziness. And since we’re all in this together, I’m sharing. Read on to discover my secrets to increase productivity so you can stay on top of your marketing game.
First things first, marketing your business takes dedication, consistency, determination, a few tears, some frustration, and a lot of laughing at yourself. You won’t get everything right the first time you do it, but the key is NOT to quit and to keep moving forward. That’s what I live by. That motto for moving forward helped me get through six rounds of chemo and reconstruction surgery, after my cancer diagnosis 8 years ago. Even though marketing your business can be difficult, it’s not half as hard as recovering from cancer, so let’s get to it!
Color Block Your Calendar
I use Google calendar because I can access it from any device that’s connected to the internet. I was a longtime Microsoft Office user, but it became too clunky for me and I wound up with an Outlook and a Google calendar. So, I opted for the one that was easier and simpler to use.
With that being said, it’s imperative that you actually use your calendar and schedule everything. Realtalk, I use to think that was Kra-Kra, but I learned that if it wasn’t scheduled, it wasn’t going to happen.
The next step is to assign a different color to each activity. I keep it simple: bills are RED, payments coming in are GREEN and I have a variety of colors for different things like client meetings, strategy calls, researching my blog posts, and me-time. If you give everything a different color, you can glance at your calendar and know instantly what your day looks like without having to actually read everything.
Short on time? Download a PDF version of this blog post and go through it at your own pace.
This is almost a mantra for me, well it really and truly is. Every piece of content I create, whether its video, audio, an article, or a graphic can be and will be repurposed into some other form of content that populates onto another platform. You’re just too busy and the content machine is too ravenous for you to be obligated to create something new every, single time you need more content.
Take my book, UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Savvy Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting. Over 60% of the content was repurposed blogs, tweets, and other posts. Of course, I had to fix some things and expand on others, but for the most part, it was done before I ever put the actual book together.
And now all my content and programs come from the book. I went through the entire finished manuscript and marked up the paragraphs, sentences, chapters, and other pieces that I use to create new content. That book has been and continues to be such a blessing to me and for me.
You may not have a book to pull content from, but you can start with your blog. Each post can turn into 7 pieces of content.
- On this blog, each post is repurposed into a video of the entire post for YouTube.
- The content is automatically recreated into an audio file and reposted onto Alexa. I’m going to turn these audios into a podcast for iTunes in the next few weeks.
- A PDF is created which you can download and read for later.
- You can get notified via messenger when a new blog post is created.
- A PowerPoint of this blog is posted to Slideshare.net.
- Each of the subtitles are converted to Tweets.
- Each paragraph is used as post content on Facebook and/or Instagram
Oh, one more thing, I also create a gif using Giphy because people love to share animated memes. That means they may choose and share the meme I create and it’ll lead right back to my blog.
Multiply 8 pieces of content (including the blog itself) by 4 blog posts per month and you have 32 pieces of content to use for marketing every single month.
Read and Reply Only
One of the biggest “time vampires” besides surfing the internet is Email. Scanning, reading, and replying can take up so much of your valuable time, but it doesn’t have to. Set aside a designated time for these combined tasks to happen. To make sure you don’t get lost in the email rabbit hole, set a timer. You can download an app for your phone, I use the built in Clock on my phone. It acts like an alarm clock, stop watch, and a timer. It doesn’t matter how long, decide on a timeframe, put it on your schedule and stick to it.
Put Baby in a Corner
I love that line from Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze says, “No one puts baby in a corner!” But we’re not talking about “Baby,” I’m referring to your clients and prospects. More specifically, your strategy calls and client meetings.
One of my recent clients, Tara, had a strategy calendar, before we started working together, that gave me an instant headache when I viewed it. When you opened her availability area, you were hit with complete overwhelm because it showed every single, timeslot from 9am to 7pm, in 15-minute increments. No one needs to know that you have that much time available to chat with them, even if you do. Now, she’s trimmed that down something a lot more manageable.
What helped me tremendously was to set aside specific days and time intervals for both strategy calls and client meetings. I only do my Online WOW! Assessments and my Virtual Coffees on Thursdays. Tuesdays are set aside for client meetings. If someone has a conflict, I can make an exception here or there, but I keep to that schedule, so I know what to expect each week. And the client or prospect only has to choose between a few options, so they aren’t overwhelmed and they don’t think that I’m simply twiddling my thumbs waiting on someone, anyone, to schedule with me.
Create, Curate, Schedule
Content, in and of itself, is a time suck. But you can control what you do when, and how much time you allow for everything by setting up each task and scheduling it on your calendar.
If you’re not a designer, use a service like Canva.com to create your graphic posts. Lumen5.com and ContentSamurai.com are awesome for video creation. Easil.com works for creating great Instagram stories. I like all of the services, but since I am a designer, I found them limiting. I use Adobe Creative Suite for all of my design work.
Whether you are a designer or not, you’ll need to set aside at least 3 hours to craft your graphics. You’ll need more time for video, probably a couple hours more, depending on the complexity.
Set aside 2-3 hours to curate or find content that you can share on your social media platforms.
Check out my 15 Free Resources to find awesome, FREE content to share with your peeps.
Next comes the scheduling. Now that you have the content that you’re going to post, you need to schedule it all at once and be done with it. This will take at least 2 hours to schedule for the next 2 weeks, longer if you want to do it for an entire month. You be the judge.
Let’s say it takes you 6-9 hours to create, curate, and schedule your content for 2 weeks to a month at a time. You could set aside one day to get everything done for the month or split it up into 2 days. Either way, it will be done and you won’t have to worry about content again until the next month.
Short on time? Download a PDF version of this blog post and go through it at your own pace.
To-Do Lists Are the TRUTH!
Personally, I can’t live without my To-Do List. When I miss completing it, everything falls apart and I get stressed out. It’s the only way for me to stay on track.
I’ve heard so many people say this or that about To Do Lists and how it stresses them out to keep one, but I say do WHATEVER you need to do to stay on track, no matter what anyone else’s opinion is.
The To-Do List system that works for me is to list out at least 10 items, but not more than one page full, for what needs to get done. Then I tackle the easiest and quickest items first so that I can draw a big fat line through them and count them as DONE! At the end of the day, I transfer what’s left to a new list, with a new date. It’s OK if some items flow across several days, because sometimes they actually take that much time to complete.
What the To-Do List does for me is keep what I need to get done at the forefront of my mind. At 57, it’s extremely easy to forget something really important LOL
Saved by Automation
If I had to remember all the tasks that I need to do everyday to market and bring in business, nothing would get done and I would be in a home for the criminally insane.
Yes, there is a lot to do and to get done IF you want to have a successful business. Of course, the bigger companies and entrepreneurs have teams that take care of everything, but it wasn’t always that way. They had to start out just like you and me, doing it themselves.
Doing it yourself isn’t a bad thing, because you have to know how to do a thing before you hire it out. You can’t skip that part and if you do, you’ll be sorry because unless you show someone exactly how you want it done, they’ll make up, create, or use their own way. Which you may not like or want.
So what can you automate? I’m glad you asked. Here are 3 crucial marketing functions that you can automate easily and pretty much set it up once and forget it.
Mailist Opt-in and Freebie Give-Away
Use your maillist provider (Active Campaign, MailChimp, Aweber, etc.) to set up a form on your website to capture the name and email of your visitor and then automagically send them a series of emails. These emails not only welcome them, but provide valuable information on how they can further solve their problem by working with you and then even send them the offer, with payment link included. Does getting paid while you sleep sound like a plan to you?
Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
You are exceptionally awesome if you can remember the anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion for each of your clients and subscribers. But us mortals aren’t that fortunate. Lucky for everyone, you can set up a special email, complete with a discount to go out to those special recipients.
Stop Asking Them to Purchase When They’ve Already Bought
Clients are funny, they don’t like receiving emails to purchase once they’ve already spent the money with you. It’s kind of irritating. To avoid this unnecessary hassle, set up an automation that checks to see if they’ve already purchased something, BEFORE they receive another email. Problem solved.
There you have it. Put these power moves and marketing shortcuts in place and you’ll not only increase productivity, you’ll add more time to your day. And who doesn’t need a little more time to goof off a bit and enjoy the fruits of working so hard as a BOSS!?