When it comes to marketing, most small business owners start off by taking care of it themselves. But what happens when your business starts to take off and things are getting busy? How do you scale your marketing when growing your small business?
The busier you get, the less time you have to do things by yourself – particularly when you’re doing everything ‘by hand’ without robust routines & tools in place. But with a little forward-planning, you can prepare yourself for growth.
Put these tips into practice to save time, streamline your workflows, deal with a higher volume of enquiries and ensure your marketing gets results as your small business thrives.
If you’re looking to scale your marketing, the first step you should take is to automate as much as possible. As your business grows, you won’t have time to do lots of manual tasks. So make things easy for yourself by letting technology do the hard work!
From social media scheduling to analytics reporting, there are lots of marketing tasks which can be automated. For example, rather than writing out a new e-newsletter every time you want to send an update, use a programme like MailChimp to create a template.
Then simply edit the relevant sections, add in the new content and schedule your newsletters in for a whole month in one go.
Spending a little bit of time setting up automations like these will save you hours in the long run. For more ideas on how to do this, have a read of my recent blog post on saving time and automating workflows for small businesses.
Build up routines & processes
Most tasks get quicker and easier to do the more often you do them – if you do them the same way each time. So instead of muddling through your to-do list every day, create routines and processes for all your regular tasks. Find the most efficient way to do something, then stick to doing it in this way.
As you scale your marketing and grow your business, this will ensure tasks are completed as quickly as possible whilst still adhering to your branding, tone of voice and standards.
Not only will doing a certain marketing task become second nature to you, meaning it’ll take you a shorter time to complete. It will also make it easy for you to hand over tasks for other staff members to complete, or outsource your marketing if you need to.
It can be helpful to create an ordered checklist to make sure your process is as smooth as possible. Then look at how different tasks fit together and create an overall process for your marketing activity. Together with templates and automation, it makes for great time savings.
Establish a baseline
It can be tempting to think you should be doing every type of marketing possible in order for your business to succeed. But this isn’t sustainable, especially when you’re a small business trying to scale your marketing.
Instead, establish your ‘baseline’, or the key marketing factors that will deliver enough new & repeat business to keep your business going. For example, you may want to focus on SEO, your blog, social media, and mailing list to regularly market your small business and get a constant influx of enquiries.
Then add these to your regular tasks to make sure it gets done whether you’re busy or not. Then, when you have a particular new product or campaign to promote, add other marketing activites into the mix to give you an extra boost.
This ensures that you have the time, money and resources to keep your baseline activities ticking over all the time. Then added boosts for specific campaigns can help your business grow without stretching your resources too far.
Create a marketing plan
If you don’t already have a marketing plan, now is the time to create one! It’s virtually impossible to scale your marketing well without having a proper plan in place. Take a look at how you want the business to grow, and how your marketing can help you achieve this.
Your marketing plan should lay out your ideas, goals and budget, as well as a timeline of upcoming campaigns and baseline activities. You can also use your plan to allocate tasks to staff or freelancers.
Just make sure everyone knows what’s coming up, and who is responsible for doing what. This will give your marketing a focus and help to keep you on track as the business begins to grow.
Be sure to set yourself measurable targets, and review your results regularly. Get an idea of what works and what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to change your marketing plan if something isn’t producing the results it should be.
Set up analytics on your website, social media, and e-newsletters so you can track the results as much as possible.
Even with automation and planning, it can still be tricky to scale your marketing when you’re a one-man-band. As your business grows, it might be time to outsource some of your marketing tasks to a professional. Or, maybe even hire a member of staff who can help you in-house.
Not only will you get the expertise of a marketing professional, but it’ll also free up lots of your time. You can use that time to focus on growing other areas of the business.
Find out more about the pros and cons of hiring staff for your small business.
Whether you choose to outsource or hire a member of staff, I’d recommend keeping your marketing planning and strategy in-house.
You know your business best so are in a great position to do the planning. And you’ll also be able to alter the plans as the business grows and your needs change.
But be sure to ask for help from a professional when you need it! I have a post defining 12 different design and marketing roles, to help you figure out who you need for what.
Over to you: Next steps
How much time do you spend on your marketing each month? What regular tasks could you automate or outsource? Do you have processes & templates in place for your main marketing activities?
Start by taking stock and making a plan, then make sure to track and monitor your work and results to find ways to optimise your marketing and time.
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
Your Small Business Marketing Plan: What is it, Why Do You Need it & How Do You Get One?
How to Save Time & Automate Your Workflows
6 Things to Consider Before Growing Your Small Business
How to Grow Your Small Business & Keep on Track