Like any business without a dedicated marketing department, it falls on independent retailer owners to carve out time to market their businesses. In the last issue’s column, we focused on how to draft a marketing plan even during your busiest season: the fourth quarter. In this issue’s column, we want to help you build out that plan by sharing some time and productivity hacks to assist you in automating your marketing hustle. The idea is to set up systems now that will help you better-execute your marketing ideas, so that it becomes second-nature.
STEP 1: Decide On The Best System To Use: Analog or Digital
Before creating those systems, it’s important to consider what systems you use daily and find easy to use. This is key because no amount of planning will matter if the system you put into place isn’t already a part of your daily life.
For example, if you love Bullet Journal and use it to manage your day or projects, consider adding a collection so you can collect the ideas and follow the process. If all of your systems are digital, then stay digital. Digital options include Evernote, Microsoft Outlook, Streak for Gmail, Trello and Asana. Ideal systems are simple and easy, streamlined and specific.
STEP 2: Get Organized
Once you determine your system, it’s time to get organized. Again, planning is important so consider your best-case scenario: what do you love to do the most and what do you feel garners the most engagement and sales? If it’s social media, then your focus will be on pulling together ideas to support social media posts. If it’s your emails, then your focus will be on content to share via your email subscribers.
Brainstorm the marketing vehicles you want to use in the coming year and set them up as if they’re folders for now. It could look like this:
- Social Media
- Special Events
- Media Outreach
- Good Marketing Examples
STEP 3: Begin Filling More Than One Of Your Categories
Here is where you begin automating your marketing hustle. You want every one of your marketing efforts to do double or triple duty (or more, if possible). To get the most out of your marketing, everything you do must earn its spot in your marketing mix.
For example, the special event you have planned next month should inform the content of your email which can become content for your social media and maybe even attract a story in your local press. That one event could be marketed and promoted through at least five different platforms, increasing your odds that the event will be seen by customers and, therefore, increase your sales. A blog post shouldn’t be just a blog post. The link should be shared widely. Once you start realizing all of the places your marketing assets could be shared, keep brainstorming. Do you have a local chamber of commerce who might be interested in your material? Could you create flyers to share with other businesses, library or with local elected officials? Might the local newspaper be interested in including your blog post of great gift ideas for (insert holiday) as a sidebar or article on their website? Create a list of other people, organizations or places that might be willing to help you market your business if you simply ask.
STEP 4: Your Daily Lesson Plan
This is where the rubber hits the road. Commit to doing something marketing-related for 15 minutes a day – that’s it. If you’re on a roll and want to work more than that, super, but all you need is really 15 minutes a day to get the ball rolling. Why? Habit.
Part of the marketing hustle is acknowledging that actual need to hustle. It has to get done. Marketing doesn’t just happen. Sales don’t just happen. It needs planning, organizing, and nurturing. Collect good ideas, create a library of images, inspirational sayings you love, special event ideas you think your customers will enjoy. At the end of the day, if you were only able to get one marketing thing done, it was at least one thing. By the end of the week, you’ll have seven, and by the end of the month – 30!
STEP 5: Analyze and Celebrate
No marketing plan is ever complete, but you can analyze your outreach efforts and
celebrate your accomplishments. Build upon what you’re learning. And keep automating that marketing!