Small Business Marketing: Managing the Balance
The marketing department in a small business is usually a one-person show. All of the marketing responsibilities rest on the shoulders of one person and that can be overwhelming for obvious reasons.
As a small business marketer, you’re tasked with creating a work-life balance that’s indicative of a healthy physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Managing this balance is integral to running a successful small business marketing team. It also plays a major role in creating and leading a fulfilled personal life.
Let’s discuss why small business marketers need to take time for themselves. We’ll also tackle ways to optimize your marketing efforts when on the clock and how to take time for yourself while working unconventional hours.
Small Business Marketers Need to Take Time for Themselves
Small business marketing can easily turn into a 24/7 job. From answering emails to engaging with your followers on social media to going out and developing relationships with potential partners and neighboring businesses, the functions of a small business marketer are complex and quite time-consuming.
Small business marketers need to take time for themselves because they need to ensure their physical, mental, and emotional well-being is cared for extensively. You’ll be required to wear many hats, dedicate massive amounts of time to research and implementation, as well as consistently build relationships with customers and followers. Because so much is expected of a small business marketer, they must take adequate time to rest, rejuvenate, and recover to perform at a high level.
Not only do you need to take time for yourself, but you also deserve to. Although you could justify a 24-hour workday when it comes to marketing, it isn’t realistic nor expected. You deserve to take some time for yourself and create a work-life balance suitable for your lifestyle.
Optimize Your Marketing Efforts to Manage the Balance
Managing the balance includes learning how to optimize your job functions. Optimizing your marketing efforts ensures you don’t experience burnout while wearing many hats. It also helps you refrain from taking your work home. Here are five ways to optimize your marketing efforts to manage the balance.
Research your target market, competitors, and product/service
You’ll want to thoroughly research your competitors, target market, and product/service. Do this before you begin crafting your marketing strategy and do it consistently throughout the life of your campaigns.
- Identify as much as you can about your target market to construct buyer personas.
- Research what’s working and what’s not working for your competitors as well as what’s missing from their efforts.
- Market research regarding your product/service helps you to know more about the problems you’re solving with your product/service and who experiences these problems.
Knowing as much as you can before you dive into your marketing strategies saves you time, effort, and energy in the long run.
Use automation tools to put specific tasks on autopilot
Automation tools can make any marketer’s job easier, but especially the job of a small business marketer.
Social media marketing is a great example of a strategy that can benefit from automation. You’re expected to post content regularly and actively engage with your followers by responding to comments, liking posts, and sharing content with them.
It’s unrealistic to spend all of your time on social media marketing when you have other marketing strategies and platforms to maintain. Automating things like your analytics, your responses to direct messages, positive comments, and customer service inquiries can maximize marketing on social media.
Automation gives you more time to focus on nurturing high-quality leads and crafting the overall marketing strategy. You can also use marketing automation for:
- Auto-responding to emails
- Email marketing campaigns
- Social media posts
- Ad campaigns
- Interacting with website visitors
- Creating personalized content
Set a daily schedule for each workday
Having a set schedule each day can assist in maintaining a proper work-life balance. Small business marketing will offer a workday full of surprises at times. A structured day is integral to managing your time efficiently and ensures you’re getting the most production out of your day.
You know your day will need time for analytics, maintenance, research, creation, and implementation. Block out time for each of these tasks, but remain flexible to be able to adapt to the arising needs of your marketing strategies. You can chip away at your overall marketing goals while still accommodating new needs as they arise.
Set daily, weekly, and monthly marketing goals
Having clearly defined goals for your marketing campaigns makes it easier to accomplish those goals step-by-step. You’re essentially creating a map for what’s next in your approach to marketing.
How can you feel more productive and trust in the direction of your marketing strategy? Create measurable marketing goals by identifying key performance indicators closely aligned with your overall brand goals. These key performance indicators could include:
- Monthly website visitors
- Website conversions
- Blog articles published this month
- Increased followers on social media
- SEO growth for the month
You’ll also want to ensure you’re prioritizing your daily tasks. Instead of organizing your to-do list based on urgency, create it based on the importance of each task. Focus on the activities that support your overall business goals.
Lean on analytics
Unfortunately, marketing doesn’t shut down at 5 p.m. because we’ve shut our workdays down at that time. It is an ongoing job and it’s up to you to find ways to work your marketing strategies when you’re not there. Lean on analytics to track interactions with your marketing campaigns and provide suggestions on how to maximize your efforts on specific platforms during all points in the day.
Have a system in place that tracks what’s going on with your marketing efforts when you physically can’t. Analytics gives you insights into your marketing strategies that otherwise aren’t available if analytics aren’t being used properly.
You can analyze the data you receive and use it to see what’s working and what’s not working with your marketing strategies when you aren’t around. Shift your strategies when appropriate to optimize how well you connect with current and potential customers.
Take Time for Yourself While Working Unconventional Hours
Small business marketers rarely think about taking time for themselves because they’re entrenched in a career path consisting of crazy hours and even crazier responsibility. But it’s equally important to take time for yourself even while working unconventional hours and through huge workloads. Here are five ways to truly take time for yourself as a small business marketer:
Designate “me” time and commit to it
“Me” time is essential to all of us performing at a high level. Many of us have a hard time committing to the time we’ve set aside for ourselves because we feel we could be doing something more productive.
Yes, it’s important to be productive and accomplish your goals, but it’s also important to partake in self-care. Self-care initiates the relaxation and rejuvenation necessary to feel empowered to conquer your job duties. Commit to putting yourself first and catering to your personal needs at some point each day.
Completely “unplug” when you’re off
The best practice is to completely unplug from technology when you’re off. It’s tempting to continue answering emails, sift through analytics data, or engage with your followers on social media even after you’ve clocked out for the day.
When you unplug from technology, power down your laptop, and turn off your phone, you won’t spend your off time working. You must honor your hours after work with activities that fulfill you personally rather than keep you constantly engaged with job duties.
Take a flexible schedule if available
If it’s available, opt to take on a flexible schedule that consists of working from home as well as working from the office. It also may be beneficial to opt for a complete work-from-home schedule to find that consistent work-life balance.
Marketers have a unique opportunity in the work-from-home sector because most if not all marketing platforms and technology can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. Flexible schedules offer you the opportunity to still take care of family, attend appointments, and take care of any other personal needs throughout the workday.
Take an actual vacation
Take a vacation, or at least take weekends off or designate an off day for yourself. It’s common for small business marketers to work 16-hour days for years without ever taking an actual vacation. You’re exceptionally dedicated to the work you do and aware of the time commitment required to be successful in marketing.
Be just as dedicated to honoring your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Achieving your marketing goals is dependent on how well you take care of yourself because you’re the one ultimately performing each duty. Take an actual vacation, indulge in a staycation, or simply commit to a day off a week to refresh and reflect.
Train your mind to know it’s okay to take time off
It’s probably easier to say you’re going to take time off and enjoy it than actually doing so. It seems that once we get to the actual day or week we’re supposed to take off, our minds go crazy with how lazy it is to do nothing. So, you end up doing the work you swore you weren’t going to touch.
Be intentional about positively affirming that it’s okay to take time off. Train your mind to understand the benefit of taking time off and consistently remind yourself of these benefits when you’re itching to be busy.
Small businesses remain at the core of our thriving economy. It’s especially important to take pride in the work you do as a small business marketer as we navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. There needs to be a balance in your life as a small business marketer that consists of ample time for yourself as well as designated time for performing your job functions.