We all have habits. Some good and some bad. The Internet is filled with articles about the importance of habits, how to establish habits, which habits make you more productive and so on.
I want to talk about small businesses establishing some marketing habits. Repetitive activities that are easy to perform but are essential to business growth.
We've been told that anyone can establish a new habit in 21 days. However, I've recently discovered some refreshed data on this subject. It appears that it actually takes about two months, or more specifically 66 days on average for people to start a new behavior that becomes automatic to them. Read more about that here in a fantastic article by James Clear.
Regardless of whether you're someone who needs 21 days or 66 days or somewhere in between, if you are responsible for running a business or handling the marketing for a business I bet you'd agree that it's not a long time for something that could greatly benefit your organization.
When talking about this subject it's hard not to mix in sales and customer service activities, so I'm trying hard to keep this focused on marketing activities. To that end, I've broken down my list into three broad categories:
There's tons of great information available today that is very easily accessible. This could be in the form of articles (my personal favorite), books, audio-books or even podcasts. I'll keep podcasts in the "read" category for now, even if that feels a little odd to some of you. The point is, what are the resources that are available about your industry or your client's industry? Choose your medium of choice and determine how you can read (or listen) about that for 15-20 minutes EVERY, SINGLE, DAY. It's not that hard. Trust me, I'm super busy, you're super busy, we are all super busy. I'm not talking about reading a new book every month (although, that's not a bad idea either). I'm talking about selecting some resources and picking a few times each day that you can focus on consuming the information they provide. Work it into your morning routine, or your lunch routine, however you can.
Catherine Winter writes in 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day several wonderful reasons. And while I agree with each of these, I'm focused on knowledge - gaining knowledge about my industry, my competition, my audiences needs - and stronger analytical thinking skills as "marketing" reasons to read every day.
The marketing world is changing at break-neck pace. The only way to stay on top of trends is to read daily.
This is a hard one for most people. I know that most of my team members really struggle with this. Also, I realize that this may not be ideal for some business owners. However, this is a must for marketers these days. You need to write about your business, write about how you operate daily, how you communicate with clients and partners. Darius Foroux says it perfectly too in one of his 5 reasons Why A Daily Writing Habit Improves Your Life. Writing improves your persuasion skills. Isn't that a primary goal of marketing? I think it is. Write. It helps improve your communication skills and it challenges you.
The issue here is, how and when to write. Unlike reading, I don't think you can set aside a specific amount of time each day for this. You do need to do it daily, I argue, so try to figure out how this is possible. You can load various tools on your devices where you can take notes, store ideas you want to explore further later. Then determine how often you want compose this writing into something bigger. If you want to share your thoughts on social media, then perhaps that can be done daily. If you want to write blogs, then you may need to write sentences or paragraphs at a time, then set aside a little more time weekly to compile those all into one larger piece.
Marketers are communicators. Write daily so you can keep your skills sharp.
Social Media Management
This is a little easier than reading and writing, although it combines both those skills. Set aside time each day to create social posts, read your competitor's posts and respond to people on social media.
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay...for a while longer at least. If you are in marketing, you need to embrace it. Sometimes it's hard to stop what you're doing and jump onto your channels. I suggest setting times or periods throughout each day - i.e. a morning time and an afternoon time - when you can perform certain activities on social media.
There are tons of tools to help you monitor social activity as well as create and distribute posts. I've discovered that people seem to be able to maintain their personal social activities with no problem, but they don't do as good a job with their professional social media.
If you're a marketer, you have to be paying attention to social media at all times. Work it into your daily routine and you'll be more productive with it and it will make a bigger difference in your organization.