Marketing – and particularly digital marketing – is an essential task for any business owner. Without marketing, catching the eye of customers is incredibly difficult, especially given the fact that the internet has allowed people to a wider variety of companies than ever before.
However, while marketing is undoubtedly essential for any business, there is no denying that marketing is also a time-consuming and laborious process. You have to undertake research so that you can understand which customers to target; set up, manage and test every single element of your Google Ads campaigns; get to grips with the intricacies of various social media platforms, and that’s just the start.
If you have a huge marketing department you can outsource these tasks to, then conducting standard marketing activities is feasible. However, if you have a small team or are a solo entrepreneur, there is a severe risk of marketing taking more than it is ever able to return.
Question: If digital marketing is essential, how can it take more than it returns?
When conducting any kind of digital marketing campaign, you will have to ensure you receive sufficient return on investment. For the most part, this means calculating your spend on essentials such as Google Ads bids, and analyzing how much the ads bring to your business as a result of the campaign.
However, what is often not calculated in ROI is the amount of time you dedicate to researching, setting up, monitoring and altering each campaign. This can mean that even if your financial spend is relatively low, the total resources (including your time) dedicated to each campaign is extremely high. Given that managing your digital marketing campaigns can take you away from other areas of the business such as winning new clients or researching new, potentially profitable product lines, there is always a potential risk that your marketing campaigns will ultimately be a zero-sum game.
Question: What are the signs that digital marketing is demanding too much of your time?
- You have previously deferred essential tasks, such as accounting, or schedule management, in preference of working on your marketing campaigns.
- You dedicate more time to planning future marketing campaigns than to future plans to develop and grow your business
- If you think back over your business-related activities in the last week, you realize you spent far more time on digital marketing than on any other task.
Question: How can you reduce the amount of time you spend on your digital marketing?
The most obvious way to reduce the time you personally spend on digital marketing is to hire dedicated marketing staff. Unfortunately, for many small business owners, such a step is unlikely to make financial sense. Here are a few alternatives you can consider instead.
- Automate anything you can. There are services available that can allow you to automate a variety of different digital marketing-related tasks, ranging from complete Google Ads automation to smaller, but still beneficial, methods such as auto-scheduling your social media updates. Set a general rule that you will automate as much of your digital marketing output as possible in order to reduce the amount of time you have to spend manually managing your campaigns.
- Focus on the types of digital marketing most suitable for your business. There are countless different types of digital marketing, but there is really no need to focus on each type simultaneously. It is best to choose your digital marketing activities based on your target customer; for example, if you are targeting a younger demographic, focusing on social media marketing as a priority could be more likely to produce results.
- Be willing to nix campaigns that aren’t working. If you go to the trouble of researching and implementing a new digital marketing campaign of any kind, then it’s natural to become invested in the outcome of that campaign. If the results aren’t what you’d hope, it’s then tempting to keep testing, tweaking, and altering the campaign in order to try and see results. While testing is necessary, there is a certain point where a campaign will have demanded more of your time than it can ever possibly repay. As a result, it’s healthier to develop a willingness to abandon campaigns that have failed, learn whatever lessons you can, and move on rather than continuing to pursue a lost cause.
As a business owner, you know that digital marketing is essential – but it’s also vital to acknowledge that digital marketing should not dominate your time completely. It is therefore best to keep an eye out for the signs that digital marketing is demanding more of your time than it should, and if necessary, take steps – as suggested above – to rectify the issue once and for all.