Your Marketing Plan Needs Time, Talent, & Tools
As the year starts winding down, it is time to start building your annual marketing plan. If you are like many small business owners, your focus will be on the strategies along with the exciting ideas and tools you will use. All of that is important, but if your plan doesn’t include consideration of the “three ‘T’s”: Time, Talent, and Tools, your plan may never actually get off the ground.
Marketing Takes Time
Time to Execute Your 2018 Marketing Plan
Marketing doesn’t happen by magic. Every blog post, feature image, social media update, newsletter, landing page, conversion form, and email campaign take time to design and build.
Even if it is only an hour or two, over the course of the year, that adds up. As you are working on your plan, make a list of all the things which need to be done to make that successful. For example: How long does it really take to write a blog post?
- Research (1 hour) – Maybe you are writing from your own experience, but in many cases, you will need facts or data to support your arguments.
- Writing (1.5 hours) – These days your average blog post should be 500+ words. If you have a good outline, you should be able to knock out the post in the time allotted.
- Editing and SEO (.5 hours) – Assuming the post is fairly well written, editing should be just a few minutes. Then you will need time to check any links, write the meta description, and confirm that the headings and titles connect to the relevant keywords.
- Graphics (1 hour) – If you are going to share your blog post on social media (and you should) you will need a strong graphic for each post. Whether you use stock photography or create unique custom graphics, it will take time to select and edit the image to just the right size for your post.
- Scheduling social shares (.5 hours) – If you want people to find your content, you need to promote it on social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. You don’t need to be everywhere, but you need to be consistent wherever you are.
Go ahead, add it up. That single blog post will take about 4.5 man hours, 4 if it is a woman doing it :). So how many blog posts do you want to write next year? One a month? That will easily eat up 50 hours a year. If you think you want to publish one blog post a week this is going to take close to half a day each week.
Repeat this exercise for each of the marketing activities you have planned. Once you add up the number of hours it will take to get everything done you are ready to address the second “T.”
Talent – Do you have the right people
If you are only posting occasionally on social media, writing one blog post a month and sending a quarterly newsletter, you can probably handle your marketing by simply assigning tasks to your existing team. But if you are ready to step up your game, adding more frequent blog posts, case studies, landing pages, and drip campaigns you need to take a good hard look at your team and answer the following questions:
- Do you have someone with the time to do these assignments? If marketing is an add-on to other things someone is also responsible for, you need to accept that some of this work will not get done.
- Do you have someone with the skill to do this work? Not everyone is cut out for writing or editing.
If the answer to one or both of these questions is “no” you will need to hire someone or outsource the assignments. There are pros and cons for each choice.
Hiring is a long-term commitment.
The right person can be a tremendous asset to your team, but finding a great employee takes time. And it may be challenging to find one person who can write, design, edit, and update your website. Then there is training, supervising and coaching. Beyond the salary are a host of benefits and overhead expenses you will need to plan for as well.
Outsourcing allows you to set a finite budget for your monthly marketing.
Working with a firm which employs a team approach allows you to tap into the expertise of different people for different parts of a project. There is usually a learning curve and a six month or one-year commitment. So you need to be committed to the process before you head down this path.
Tools – Getting more done with less
From the right computer, a comfortable chair, and telephone, we rely on tools to get things done. When it comes to marketing, that list also includes software products. We live in an age where new software products are being developed daily. As you work on your annual marketing plan, take time to review the software tools you are currently using.
Just because you have used a program for years, it doesn’t mean it is still the best alternative for you. Once you have decided which programs are keepers and which need to be replaced you are ready to move on to find a few new tools to add to the mix. Looking for ideas? Check out a blog post I wrote recently about a few products I am thinking about adding to our toolkit.
Overwhelmed? We can help you build your annual Marketing Plan
If this all seems like too much, give us a call. We can help you build your plan, review your resources, and make recommendations on how to get it all done and still have time to take care of your customers.