guide to successful marketing

The business owners’ guide to successful marketing in just four hours a week

Too many service-based, small business owners look at the concept of marketing and think, ‘I’ll get to that next week’ or ‘it’s not high priority right now’. Trust me, I get it. Doing your own marketing can seem like a large and complex task. When you are busy dealing with clients or customers it really is the first thing on the to-do list that gets bumped. The other problem comes when spending money on marketing just can’t be done right now. Cash flow problems are familiar for every business owner and they usually mean advertising and marketing spend gets halted.

The problem with these two thigns is if you don’t do something today, it isn’t tomorrow’s profit that will be impacted. It is your profit in three months that will suffer. So the more you delay it, the more your business will remain stagnant; it won’t grow and it won’t expand.

But my business owner friends, I have some GREAT news for you. With just four hours every week, you can cover all of your marketing bases for virtually no marketing spend. Honestly, that is all you need to get something rolling. With just four hours out of your week, your business will grow and thrive. That is just 10% of your standard work week and 5% of your total week (with a good eight hours of sleep each night accounted for).

Here is how you do it…

Firstly, allocate four hours. I prefer the end of the week – that way your revenue earning activities are out of the way and when the next week rolls around you don’t have to think about it too much. Friday afternoons are always my marketing happy time… Because with Friday afternoon comes a glass of rose and with a glass of rose comes great creativity!

Then you simply need to tick off the below tasks one-by-one and viola! You can enjoy a second (or third) glass knowing your marketing is taken care of.


NETWORKING: Book three appointments to catch up with people for coffee (30 minutes)

Right now, our lives are driven by electronic communication and social media. So, taking the time to catch up with people face-to-face can give you big returns for relatively small investment. Each week have three key people you’d like to connect with. Think about potential customers or potential referrers. Reach out to them, shout them coffee and get talking. Strengthen your relationship with them and you’ll see results whether it from direct business or referrals.


RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: Write two ‘thank you’ notes (30 minutes)  

Take time and write two thank you notes to clients or people in your network for something from the last week. Did you catch up for coffee? Have they sent a client your way? Did they reach out to you about something important? You can say thank you for anything – really!  Hand written notes are a fantastic touch in the digital age and I have some lovely note cards in my drawer, but if you don’t have the time to handwrite and post something, a personalised email is fine.


SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: Create and schedule your social media posts for the week (one hour)

Social media becomes a huge time drain if it’s not planned in advance. To save yourself the hassle of remembering to post every day, use a resource like Hootsuite or Plann App to schedule your posts in advance. Take one hour out of your day to do this and other than replying to comments and engaging with followers, you don’t have to think about it again! That said, remember Instagram cannot automatically post so you will have to do some manual labour each day you post – but you can prepare your photo editing, caption and hastags in advance.


BRAND POSITIONING: Write a blog (one hour)  

Grab a coffee and get writing. If writing is NOT your forte, don’t street because you can find someone who can write for you! There are some amazing copywriting agencies around that have a great reputation. Content is key and by sharing relevant, interesting and valuable insight with your network you’re positioning your brand as a leader in your space and creating a free value exchange in the process. Load it to your website and share on social media.


PROMOTION MARKETING: Send an email newsletter to your database (one hour)

If you have a design pre-templated, sending a newsletter is simple. Make the content interesting. It could include a mix of things like your blog, any business promotions, important reminders for your customers, product sales and industry relevant tips and tricks. Importantly, emails with personality and free value are the ones that have the best open rates and click through rates – just remember that. Schedule it to send on your preferred day and it’s done and dusted!


And that’s it! Give it a try next week and tell me what you think in the comments below. Make marketing manageable and you’ll start to do it well!

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Jill Brennan