for creative entrepreneurs

Episode 54: Maximizing Your Marketing Hours

In our last episode we broke down all the overhead hours that we must spend working on our businesses rather than in them. The sober reality is that necessary overhead tasks will soak up at least 40% of your time. Since that’s such a significant portion—let’s make sure that we use that time efficiently. After analyzing the various roles and activities that make up our overhead we assigned a good half of that overhead to marketing. This week we’ll examine all the specific activities that go into your marketing time.

Marketing is the one role in running your business, that if neglected, won’t bother you about it. If you neglect your finances you’ll start bouncing checks, if you ignore your clients—they’ll let you know! But if you ignore your marketing nothing will happen. The only signal you’ll get is an empty new business pipeline—but by the time you get that feedback, it’s far too late, no amount of marketing frenzy will fill next month’s pipeline.

Marketing needs to be a regular and steady part of your work schedule. You have to be self disciplined because no one is going to make you do it. You need to devote 20% of your time to marketing. But what exactly should you do with those 7 to 10 hours per week? Since marketing is a long game, and results follow months later—how will you know if you’re doing it wrong—wasting all that precious time?

By now you know that PinPoint Positioning is the key to effective marketing—I won’t reiterate that today. But once you have a clear and focused statement of what you do, who you do it for, and how that benefits your clients—what do you do next?

Let’s examine a typical week for a creative entrepreneur, engaging in effective marketing efforts. Each week will require some time investment toward expressing your positioning through content production. If you write one or two posts per month, you’ll want to set aside 2 or 3 hours each week to work on those ideas. One week you might write the article, and the next week you might spend those hours doing final edits, finding featured images, and posting it to social media and sending it out through email. And speaking of featured images, in order to be efficient—as hard as it may be for you as a creative perfectionist—you’re going to have to dial down your instincts to find that perfect image. At the end of the day it’s much better to put out an article once or twice a month, every single month, than to belaber your posts because they’re not perfect yet.

You’ll also want to set aside about an hour or so each week, to create some social media posts for the following week, and queue them up for automated posting using a platform like Buffer.

This should leave you with at least 3-4 more hours that you’ll devote to your primary prospecting activity on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn activity will involve initially building a list of prospects that match your positioning. In the early stages you’ll need to use some of this time doing the basic data entry work of moving your search list off of LinkedIn and into a better prospect management system (I prefer AirTable for this, but a simple Google Sheet will do).

Next you’ll want to open up the profiles in your list in batches of 25-50 per day. Just open and close, that’s it—shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes of your day. Next you’ll spend another five or ten minutes looking at the list of who’s viewed you back in return, from your previous views. When you see someone look back, that’s the moment to send a connection request. And for those who accept, spend a minute or two updating your prospect list noting that this contact is now a connection. And follow that up with a more thoughtful and personal note thanking them for connecting and feeling out whether or not they might be interested in continuing a conversation about their needs. All in, this kind of activity, from viewing profiles, making connection requests, and following up with new connections should take about 30-45 minutes per day.

There may be other things to include in your marketing, but this rough sketch should provide you with enough direction, so that your valuable investment in marketing time will effectively plant seeds among your prospects that will eventually result in a harvest.

Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.

Are you ready to take the struggle out of finding new clients?