By Patti Rowlson
I often talk with clients about the need for time and desire when it comes to taking care of marketing tasks like social media, blogging and in-person networking.
With enough time and desire, people of all ages can learn to do just about anything they set their mind to. They can learn to fly a plane, they can learn to swim or do yoga, they can learn to develop cool apps for smartphones…and they can learn how to use new tools and strategies to market their business.
In a perfect world we’d all have enough time and desire to get everything done each day. But that’s not the case. When either time or desire is lacking, people get stuck and companies have a hard time moving forward.
When lack of desire becomes a factor.
Sometimes business professionals have time to attend networking events, they have time to post new content and photos on their company’s Facebook page, and they have time to write a blog article for their website each month. What is actually missing is the desire to tackle those tasks with the skills they currently have, or the desire to learn how to do those tasks better if they are not confident in their abilities.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty rare for a building contractor to have the desire to tweet or write SEO-infused blog articles for their website when they don’t fully understand how to use Twitter, they aren’t sure what useful keywords to use in their articles, and they’d much rather be out talking with customers about a construction project or swinging a hammer on the job site. It’s natural to gravitate toward enjoyable tasks, and to ignore those that are not.
When lack of desire comes into play, the solution is to delegate marketing tasks to an employee, hire staff to handle the work, or outsource the jobs to a marketing partner so the tasks get done.
What if time is the factor?
Sometimes people have the desire to manage important marketing tasks and to keep up with the latest and greatest marketing trends and tools, but time is a roadblock.
Say an insurance agent has a degree in communications and a natural love of writing. Generating blog articles and engaging with people on social media sites may be easy and enjoyable for this person. But, at this point in time, they have a young family at home, they are coaching a youth soccer team on nights and weekends, and they are a member of industry trade organizations that require attendance at several meetings each month. In this case, carving out enough time to consistently manage the marketing tasks they enjoy is most likely the limiting factor.
When lack of time is identified as a challenge, assessing daily activities and reclaiming even a bit of valuable time is a good idea.
One solution would be to try a time tracking app like Komorian for a few weeks to get a clear picture of what activities are taking up the most time each day, and then take action accordingly.
If too much time is spent managing an email inbox, work to clean up unnecessary emails by unsubscribing from newsletters that are never read or adjusting notification settings on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Turning off email notifications does not mean users won’t know when activity happens on their accounts (notifications still appear when logging into each social site), it just means email notifications won’t be clogging up your inbox.
If traveling to and from business meetings takes up more time than it should, look into video conferencing software or try replacing an in-person meeting or two with a phone consultation or Skype video chats.
A few subtle tweaks can free up hours each month – that extra time can be used for continuing education, business development and marketing tasks. Sounds good, right?
So, what’s your roadblock? Is it time or desire?
Think about one marketing-related task you know you could be doing better. What is preventing you from tackling that task today? Is it a lack of time or desire?
Knowing the answer to that question can be empowering, and it can help business professionals make decisions that will move their business forward.
Patti Rowlson is a marketing consultant and social media manager at PR Consulting, Inc. She helps Whatcom County small businesses identify, implement and consistently maintain marketing-related programs. Learn more about small-business marketing by connecting with PR Consulting on social media sites or by visiting www.pattirowlson.com.