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How to Make Time for Marketing Versus Doing Client Work

This year has been busy, both personally and professionally, and at times, I’ve struggled with how to make time for marketing. I’ll look at my project and task lists, and I’m overcome with a sense of urgency. As a result, I’ll push aside some of my marketing tasks. 


Now, I’m a copywriter who owns a marketing agency. Obviously, I like doing marketing stuff, and I love writing. It always gets done, as I don’t find it a chore.


But I know plenty of small business owners who would rather do anything else. Take the car in for an oil change. Iron pajamas. Watch grass grow.


And then there are the people who don’t mind doing it themselves but somehow don’t make time for marketing. Ever. 


To the first group: If you really do not like to do marketing, outsource it. There are plenty of marketing agencies that would be happy to help you (like mine!).


To the second group: This post is for you.


Remember why you “do marketing” in the first place


Marketing is to the horse what sales is to the cart. One comes before the other. 


You do marketing to build relationships with people. Once people understand what you do, get to know you, and trust your expertise, they will buy from you.


Ask people to buy from you before they even know you and your brand? Well, that’s what I call sex with strangers marketing. Would you go up to a complete stranger, say hi, ask them to have sex, and think they’ll say yes?


No. They will not say yes, because they don’t know you!


And no one will be eager to buy from you if they don’t know you.


Have you ever been accosted by people selling stuff from a kiosk in the mall? It’s so weird, right? That’s sex with strangers marketing.

The weirdest sex-with-strangers marketing situation I was ever in happened a few years ago. I was treated to a very aggressive sales pitch at a networking event for an eye cream. I had never met this woman, I had never heard of the (MLM) brand she was hawking, and she basically insisted I had to buy it.


The next time I saw her, I avoided her like the plague.


It was pretty clear she didn’t care about building relationships, just making the sale. (Makes me wonder how many potential customers she has lost over the years. I’m betting the number is in the dozens, if not hundreds.)


Anyway, back to my main point: You do marketing to build relationships, and that takes time. If you stop building relationships, you choke off the flow of new clients. Business will slow, and your sales will take a hit. 


Streamline the marketing you are doing


As I recently wrote, you might not need to do as much marketing as you think. 


If you streamline your marketing strategy, you will automatically reduce the amount of time you need to set aside for marketing and free up more time for client work. 


My marketing is very streamlined, which is one of the reasons why I can make time for it even when I’m super busy.


I write a blog post every other week. I send a monthly email newsletter. I am active on LinkedIn. I reach out to one past client and one current client every week. I attend a virtual happy hour every month, and I schedule virtual coffees on occasion.


All told, I spend an average of two hours on marketing each week. Even with my four-day workweek, that’s a small chunk of time.


How to make time for marketing


Every week, I set aside half of Monday to work on my business. And indeed, it is mid-day on a Monday as I write this. I consider this time sacred. It’s for Jansen Communications, not clients.


However, I’m not rigid about it. During busy weeks, I might have to do client work to meet a deadline or schedule a call to kick off a project because that’s the only time the client is available. In that case, I may start the outline of a blog post and then finish it the next day. 


During those weeks, I will fiddle with my schedule. What has a strict deadline? What doesn’t? When can I tackle that marketing task? I will move things around on my task list, and I will push projects off to the following week as needed.


A lot of my client work doesn’t have a strict deadline. I place deadlines so my clients know when to expect something. And if I’m running behind – if it’s a cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs kind of week – I will let clients know something is coming a day or two late. 


Look at your schedule. When do you have the time and energy to work on your marketing? Maybe it’s first thing on Friday mornings. Maybe it’s one hour every Tuesday and Thursday. Maybe you’re a night owl, and it’s at 9pm on Sundays. 


I like mid-day on Mondays, because it gives me time to answer email, knock out a few client tasks, schedule other tasks for later in the week, and tackle my marketing while I’m still fresh off the weekend.


I encourage you to block that time off on your calendar. No client calls, no client work. If you find that day and time doesn’t work, move it. But don’t let it drop off your radar.


If you continually push something off your to-do list, it will likely never get done. And if that’s what you do to your marketing tasks, examine why. 


You have the same amount of time in the week that we all do. If you’re not doing something, it’s because you don’t want to. Do you not enjoy it? Do you now know how to do it? Maybe both?


Like I said at the beginning of the blog post, get it off your plate and hand it to a marketing expert. And don’t feel guilty about it! 


Now, get back to the client work you love to do. 


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