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Find Extra Time in the Day With Smarter Marketing

True or false: when you’re running your own business, there’s no such thing as downtime.

Though a lot of business owners would tend to agree with this statement, it doesn’t need to be the mantra of the self-employed. Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages to being chief cook and bottle washer. Still, nearly every business owner I meet believes that the upside of the entrepreneurial life far outweighs the cons.

Yet when asked what one thing they’d most change about their work life, an overwhelming majority said it would be to squeeze an extra hour out of each day.

With this in mind, here are seven marketing shortcuts that will help you uncover extra pockets of time without sacrificing your business.

Analyze your marketing results. Take a closer look to see who’s really opening your e-mail and what they’re reading, forwarding and sharing. By analyzing results, you’ll get a better sense of what’s most effective so you can focus on those elements in the future.

Think and act in small increments of time. You don’t need to set aside hours each week to dedicate to your marketing efforts. Instead, break it up into several 15-minute bursts where you focus on one project at a time. This can include brainstorming content for your newsletter, engaging on Twitter or activating a survey on Facebook.

Limit your online presence. You may find that your customers are more responsive to your blog and Facebook page as opposed to your Twitter feed and newsletter. Instead of spreading yourself thin across a variety of marketing vehicles, penetrate the two areas where most of your audience gathers.

Make the most of downtime. While downtime is a foreign word to many small-business owners, think about the time spent waiting in line at the grocery checkout or dentist’s office, for example. Capitalize on these spare minutes to Tweet or think through a campaign.

Outsource. Consider bringing on a regular consultant or only hiring extra resources when needed. It’s very likely you’ll find the investment worthwhile in terms of freeing up your time.

Engage and recruit your fans. Develop campaigns that inspire customers to want to talk about your business. For example, group deals that offer an incentive to customers who bring a friend along, or special offers included in your newsletter will prompt your fans to help spread the word. While you don’t want to position your efforts as a quid pro quo relationship, when you present compelling offers, your customers will naturally want to share them.

Create shorter to-do lists. If you have a laundry list of marketing to-dos, consider breaking it up and assigning different tasks throughout your calendar. This way, you’re looking at a more manageable list of activities you can accomplish as opposed to a never-ending stream of ideas.

If you think the phrase work-life balance has become a bit of a cliché, you wouldn’t be the first. Yet to truly strike the balance requires tangible and realistic actions that do save time. The seven recommendations cited above have been proven to do just that. If you have more suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

By Rick Jensen

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