We all get the same number of hours in a day. 24. Most of us have similar schedules for work time, too. 8-10. And yet somehow there are people in our circles who get so much more done than others. For all of us in marketing, it’s especially apparent that some people in the industry simply get shit done.
What makes these people stand out? How are they finding time to “do it all” in their marketing jobs?
Is it time management? Is it hustle? Is it the right tool set?
In most cases, it’s a combination of several things. We asked the Impulse Team for recommendations and advice. Here’s what we put together.
We’re All Working Toward More Efficient Work
Making time for marketing in your busy schedule may feel difficult, but it is possible. Combine a positive mindset, prioritization, organization and scheduling to get your marketing in shape and make your work life more efficient.
Stop working on things that don’t benefit your company and reinvest that time into new, measurable strategies. Once you achieve premier productivity, your marketing is sure to be more creative, effective and profitable.
A quick search for “how to increase productivity in the workplace” brings almost 95 million results. This is clearly a popular topic in business. We’re all working on becoming more efficient.
In marketing specifically, it seems like we keep getting tasked with more to do but no more time (or HR budget) to do it all.
What are we to do?
What the Impulse Creative Team Says About Productivity
Chris Zook: Set goals for yourself and work backward in terms of what you need to achieve to meet that goal — and ALWAYS keep it at the center of your work. Use hard deadlines and don't give yourself leeway if you miss them. Get to a position where you find yourself working ahead — to a maximum of 3 months — so that you can handle the short-term problems that come your way while planning for long-term success and allowing yourself time to react to important industry occurrences.
Much like a financial investment, inbound marketing is at its best when it earns compounding results. That means "working ahead" is a core (though often ignored) methodology behind successful inbound marketing. You don't need a suite of expensive SaaS tools to accomplish 99% of the goals you have. The main factor in success is whether you'll do what you know you have to do at the time you need to do it.
"Tyranny of the immediate" problems can threaten your ability to stay on topic; carve some time out of your day to respond to them, but don't let them completely derail your long-term focus. Start asking whether they're truly urgent and warrant your immediate attention when you're in the middle of progressing toward your goal. Start saying no, stop scrambling, and allow yourself to build what you've always known you could create.
Carissa McCall: I would say using a project management tool that fits your style of work is a major key to getting it all done. To me, knowing the state of projects, and planning ahead for upcoming projects - it all begins and ends with utilizing a good PM tool.
Dan Moyle: Make small but daily time commitments to each of your tactics like social media, blogging, analytics and others. These small commitments add up to weekly work. You have to find the time to make small “investments” in your marketing tactics.
Post organically on social media once a day. Then schedule a block of time each week to also schedule posts. Blog once a week by carving out time on your calendar to research and write. Set aside reporting time every week. Do whatever works for you and be realistic.
You’ll be amazed at what happens after a year. You’ll have sent thousands of tweets, hundreds of LinkedIn and Facebook posts, created dozens of blog posts, connected with lots of great people and learned more than you would have ever imagined.
Jennifer Villa: My piece of advice is just to figure out what you need to do and schedule time to work on it, incrementally. You “get it all done” by planning it all out and knocking it out bit by bit.
What Else Can We Do to Find the Time?
Here are other tactics, tools and advice to help you find time to get your marketing done in a modern business environment.
Use scheduling to ensure you get your marketing done. Way too many great marketing ideas fall by the wayside or die on the vine when the real world intrudes.
If your marketing activities remain as items on a to-do list or a set of goals, when the inevitable emergencies hit or client deadlines loom, you’ll push them aside in favor of seemingly more urgent needs.
Instead, schedule your marketing activities into your calendar just like they were an important client meeting or a project task. Because they’re that important.
And once they're in, hold those times sacred. Don't cancel or move them because something else comes up. Block off the time properly and schedule other things around them.
Here are four scheduling tactics to help you increase efficiency and get more marketing done in less time:
- Schedule a significant chunk of time to do marketing work at the same time week in, week out. Regularity breeds habit. And habit breeds success.
You might schedule all of Monday morning to work on strategy, planning and crucial marketing tasks. Start with reviewing your overall goals and current projects, then mark down all the tasks you want to get done this week. Once that’s done, schedule time during the week to do those important tasks.
Some tasks need a good chunk of time planned so you can “build up a head of steam” rather than trying to pick away at them a little bit at a time. Writing or other creative work is a good example of that. You'll make much more progress setting aside a couple of hours to write an article than trying to do it little at a time.
- Batch time for similar tasks that require a similar frame of mind. For example, brainstorming or mind mapping new ideas needs a different mindset than editing a document or providing feedback on client work.
When you batch together similar types of work and do them in sprints, you'll get more done than trying to repeatedly switch thinking modes between tasks within a session.
- Work in distraction-free bursts, then take a break. Check your email. Walk around. Talk to another human. Or your cat.
Humans aren't great at working solidly for hours without breaks. Our productivity tends to drop off after 20-30 minutes. So split up your big scheduled chunks of time into smaller bursts of concentrated effort.
- Use your “gap” time productively. Above we talked about how many marketing tasks need you to focus for a good chunk of time. Many others don't. These make great activities to fit in when you have “gap” time between other things you’re doing or you find yourself unexpectedly free for a few minutes.
But the key is that you have to be prepared otherwise that time ends up being wasted.
For example, whenever something unexpectedly hands you an extra 20 minutes, add notes to a blog post you’re working on. Or set up a few tweets to schedule. Or pick up work on that presentation you have to deliver next month.
Creating efficiency and getting more done is part mindset and part tools. Now that you've got the right mindset (you've prioritized your work so you're focusing only on the most important marketing tasks and you've scheduled them in to make the most of your time), it's time to actually do your marketing.
Your 3-step Process to Improving Marketing Efficiency
Obviously you want to be as efficient and productive as you can be as you perform your marketing tasks. That’s how you can improve the ROI of your marketing and drive even more revenue.
So to get started, stop wasting time. Seem harsh? It’s just the simplest way to say it. We’re all very good at wasting time. Which is why that phrase may be simple to say and even easier to read, it’s quite a bit harder to grasp and fulfill. How do you stop wasting time and work more effectively?
Focus on things that move the needle. Take a look at your current marketing efforts: are there activities that you keep doing despite never seeing measurable results? Quit doing those things.
When you focus on putting energy into the things that help your business grow, you'll see a vast change in the impact of your marketing. Your mentality toward it will follow.
To maximize time and marketing efforts, sometimes all you need are a few improvements to your process. Let’s look at three steps to help your marketing and ultimately, your time management:
- Organization: It makes sense that you need to keep everything organized. The question is how?
A CRM is a great way to get out of spreadsheets. When businesses have rapid growth opportunities, valuable leads may get lost along the way. This loss is not because of marketing or sales; it’s just because these teams are incredibly overloaded with a vast amount of information at one time.
If you’re not using a CRM system, you need to hop on this organization and relationship management tool as it will solve many challenges experienced through growth and scaling operations.
We recommend HubSpot CRM. They have a free option and will scale as you grow.
The bonus to HubSpot is that you’ll naturally tie the CRM to all your marketing information and collateral tidy, clean and branded.
- Completion: When you start something, finish it. Create a checklist to ensure project completion occurs. We understand that sometimes items get missed, or pieces of content don’t get published because of minor details when you’re collaborating. Utilize list tools such as Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneNote or Wunderlist.
- Efficiency and Effectiveness: Measure the engagement and leads that your marketing produces. Track engagement through call-to-actions, time on page, scroll depth, shares, or event comments.
When you’re able to track success over time, you can adjust campaigns that could be improved or eliminate strategies that aren’t working.
Think about options such as Google Analytics, or Databox, by creating efficient marketing tactics you’ll become more efficient and your time spent on them more efficient.
There’s a lot you can do to “get it all done” in marketing today. All the advice and ideas above will help. If you’re looking for a quick read on some ideas to get you started right now, here’s a good pick list to save.
Eight Ways to Find Time and Work More Efficiently
- Prioritize: One of the best things you need to do for your company is to prioritize your marketing strategy. Set dates and deadlines to do anything that you need to ensure the marketing projects get done promptly.
- Plan: Set a plan of action for your marketing strategy. Along with your priorities, create your project plan to ensure that you have the time to get everything done.
- Delegate: Make sure you have the right team members for the projects you want to create. Then, delegate tasks for marketing. Find those whose skill set will excel for a particular project. For example, ask your marketing automation person to write a blog about getting out of spreadsheets by utilizing a CRM.
- Make Small Commitments: If you’re short on time, commit a small portion of your day (maybe 10 minutes to post something) or a part of your week (4 hours-per-week) to work on marketing items. Start small and scale up.
- Use Your Calendar: If you need help with time limits, compose an editorial calendar to tell you exactly what you need to do and when. Don’t plan too far ahead. You never know what will change. We suggest making these quarterly or every six months to help your marketing efforts.
- Recharge: It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes rest can lead to greater efficiency. Don’t feel like you can’t take a break, relax and recharge. Sometimes the best ideas come when you’ve unplugged. Just remember to hop back on the bandwagon and get the marketing ball rolling.
- Don’t Multitask: Multitasking is a myth. When you’re flipping between two to three projects, you’re going to spend more time trying to understand each thing rather than creating efficiency. Sit down and hammer out one plan at a time or block off specific times during the day where you focus solely on one item rather than five.
- Get Technical: Don’t be afraid to use technology to your advantage! Employ marketing software or programs to assist you in your marketing tasks.
What about partnering with an outside expert in anything you can’t find time for?
Still not finding the time for marketing? Impulse Creative is a growth agency specializing in marketing, branding, revenue operations and general business growth. We’re ready to get your projects moving so that you can see value, growth, and unique content to generate leads.