It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of business and busy-ness, that it’s often hard to lift your head away from all the urgent things now to work towards the future.
However, it’s important to make time for it, as marketing will help to keep your pipeline topped up with work for the months and years ahead.
While you might occasionally find a marketing option that brings you instant business, in most cases marketing is more like baking than flash frying. You need to gather the right ingredients, mix them in the right combination and allow them time to work. And the more you do it, the more your marketing efforts will start to build. Like most habits, it’s also easier to keep going with small efforts regularly than to put in a whole lot of effort and then come back to it a few months later and try and remember where you are up to.
It’s easy to let advertising efforts fall by the wayside, especially when things feel busy enough not to push for more work. That said, building up a brand and creating connections is a slow, ongoing process, and it’s always a valuable use of time in terms of future investment in your business. It’s important to remember that your painting or contractor business is a brand in its own right.
With so many media choices out there, there are many budget friendly options available.
So how do you make time for it? Try these tips to keep your marketing goals from being placed on the backburner.
If you’re so busy that you don’t have a spare minute to market, it’s time to start delegating tasks.
That could mean hiring an apprentice, trainee or qualified tradesperson for your business, or simply handing over more work to the ones you have. Delegating is an important part of business ownership, but often one of the hardest steps to take as the brand grows. You can start by talking to your employees to find out if they are interested in taking on more roles or tasks, or even training some up to manage certain areas. Match their skills with tasks that are taking up too much of your day to start freeing up more of your own time.
Once you’ve created space in your schedule, you’ll be able to better manage your marketing efforts.
You might even find someone you already work with has a knack for writing or social media and they may be happy to take on some marketing tasks for you.
Instead of trying to fit marketing around a hectic schedule, pick a time of the week to put everything else down, switch off your phone and get through your marketing work.
Often, if a job isn’t given a specific time, it won’t get done at all, so you’ll need to carve out a slot and let others know that you won’t be available at that time for anything less than an emergency. Naturally, this will work best if you pick a time that is typically quieter than other days or hours of the week – for many people this may be a Friday afternoon. Where possible switch your phone to messages and turn off your emails to avoid distractions.
Pick a time and a day that you will spend on marketing efforts and stick to it.
There are plenty of marketing tools and apps out there to help make your efforts that much easier and faster. If you’re on Instagram you can connect it to Pinterest to automatically load your content from one to the other to speed things up.
If you’re finding it too time-consuming to manage your social media channels, sites such as Hootsuite can help you do it all in one place. This can streamline your social media by scheduling and posting content at once, and by measuring your ROI all in one place.
Another useful tool is MailChimp, which can help you manage your email campaign efforts. It will help you do everything from design your message to measure how it was received, making the direct marketing route that much easier. Or you can just email the normal way and bcc in clients to keep their details private.
Perhaps you’re finding it hard to keep up with your marketing efforts simply because you’re spreading yourself too thin.
If you’re managing social media, a website, email campaigns, a radio spot, a flyer drop and a refer-a-friend promotion, you may be taking on too much. Try sticking to a handful of main ones, then experiment with one new strategy outside of that at a time to keep it manageable. As you trial each new strategy you can add the ones that work well to your existing strategy or move on and try something else.
If all else fails, consider hiring a marketing expert to take over or help with your promotional efforts.
Not only will you not have to worry about this area sucking up your time, you’ll also know your business will be in good hands with a professional on the case.
If you’d still like to be hands on longer term, a marketing expert can get things set up for you and show you how to run them in the future. You can still schedule in a marketing check up with them every quarter to make sure things are on track and to consider new marketing options that may work for you.
The Resene Trade Blog
Information of interest for professional painters