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The best piece of business advice I ever received was this, “Your Business is your #1 client.” Day in and day out we take care of our clients hand and foot, and fail to do the same for our own marketing, operations, and finances.

To grow your business effectively you need to be in the right mindset. You need to begin seeing your business as the top priority client and making time for your own growth. We’ve all heard the term “work on your business, not in the business” this is what that means.

Marketing in today’s digital landscape can be overwhelming. To ease the pain we must shift our mindset. Our company is a client and we must carve out time to satisfy tasks, just like we would any other client.

Set your business goals as a priority and manage your time wisely. A good rule of thumb to ensure that you hit your marketing goals, is a well-scheduled block of 5-7 hours. Within these 5-7 hours a sample schedule weekly would be:

content is important


Hour 1-2: Write three 300-600 word blog posts for the week

Hour 3: Find and schedule engaging content for your social channels

Hour 4: Send out a newsletter or network in LinkedIn groups

Hour 5: Check your performance stats to see what is/isn’t working

Hour 6: Identify influencers to build relationships with for your business

Hour 7: Call associations to schedule speaking engagements to local businesses

Once you write down a strict schedule of what needs to be done, as you can see above, 5-7 hours can really allow you to take control of your marketing and really hit the ground running!

New Marketing Environment

The environment has changed drastically from one where information was scarce, pre-internet, to information overload in our modern day. It’s very easy for a consumer to price shop and compare companies, which is why it’s critical that you have a professional website with lots of content to help the consumer make a decision to what is best for them.

Your goal in marketing is to be the resource to help them navigate the marketplace. And if you aren’t the best choice, refer them to one that would fit their needs. When you are consumer focused and transparent you will become a trusted source for your clients.

Marketing has evolved from a single department in an organization to one that encompasses all departments. Marketing is now the lynchpin in developing a company’s overall strategy.

Understanding your customer now means gathering as much data as possible on what drives their purchasing behavior, where they buy your type of product, and who do they trust as a source of information or as an expert in their field.

To keep up in this environment, it is critical that your organization is producing a steady stream of high-quality content that positions your organization as a trusted leader in the field.

Below are some other tips to help you stay on top of the new demands of marketing:

1. 10-4-1 Rule

For every 15 posts, 10 should be other people’s content, 4 should be yours (a blog post preferably), and 1 should be a call to action to download an e-guide or register for your webinar. 

This rule will keep you on track to optimize the use of Social Media the way it’s meant to be: Social! What many companies overlook is the power of building reciprocal relationships with key content partners.

Identify 10 organizations that complement your services and share, comment, and like their content using this rule (in the 10 part). Be sure to tag them when you share their posts so they know you are giving them a shout out. Soon enough, your content will be posted on their organizations walls, providing amplification to your posts to a targeted audience.

2. Schedule-As-You-Go

Like most people, you probably read some interesting articles throughout the week. Instead of tagging them to post later, why not use a service like Buffer to queue them up as you go? Just make sure you set the time to post spaced out enough so you don’t annoy people by posting 3 times/day. A good rule for Facebook is once per day.


If you get frustrated with having to wait for your designer to create a cool graphic, or you are used to banging your head up against the wall using Photoshop, have no fear, Canva is the answer to your design woes!

Canva is a drag and drop platform to quickly create compelling graphics to use on social channels and the web. You still have to pay to use some of their stock photography, but a few dollars is nothing compared to what your time is worth.


Terrible at writing, but know you need to be blogging to effectively market in the information economy? has over 6,000 professional writers that you can hire in a variety of industries.

For between $20-$30 a post, you can get well-researched and fabulously written blog content for your business. The turn-around time for a blog is usually between 3-5 days.

5. All-In-One Marketing Software

Social Media is one small gear in the overall machine. If you want to really conquer your marketing and get it all under complete control you need to invest in an all in one marketing software like Hubspot, Infusionsoft, or Marketo.

An all-in-one software will allow you to have a 360 degree view of your marketing. We have a lot of experience with Hubspot and is a great solution for small businesses up to enterprises.

Hubspot allows you to stay on track with SEO, Social Media, Competitor Analysis, Keyword Tracking, Managing Your Own Website content and design, e-mail marketing and nurturing, easy form creation and more. You can manage all of this within one simple drag and drop dashboard for your business.

As with everything, marketing should not be all willy nilly when it comes to execution. You need a solid marketing strategy before you embark on approaching any of the above.

Marketing Failure

What should be included In Your Marketing Strategy?

1. You need to have a very clear understanding of your buyer and what drives them to purchase. And when I say what drives them to purchase I don’t mean things like “grow their business”, I mean addressing the core psychological human drivers like success, freedom, and power. How can your company help them to achieve those things?

2. Brainstorm around what content your buyer would find valuable and start writing blogs around each topic. A good place to start is to write down all of the questions that you are frequently asked and go from there.

3. Repurpose content you already have. For every popular blog post that received great attention, create different pieces, like an ebook, or webinar, or infographic.

4. Find strategic partners to co-promote and co-create content with you.

5. Build a content marketing strategy that includes SEO, Social, PR, and Advertising.

6. Don’t ignore content amplification like content recommendation engines and re-marketing campaigns. Include those in your strategy.

7. Make sure you are collecting tons of data and integrating it all together to create a robust understanding of your customers. Use a platform like Hubspot to integrate your CRM with your website, and social media activities and ensure you are analyzing that data on a regular basis.

Find out how to generate more leads with Inbound Marketing by downloading our e-book: The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, and Tactics.


Article is written by: Barbra Bannon is the co-founder of Spark Evolution, an Inbound Marketing Agency that grow companies with rich, interesting, and meaningful content.


Formerly the founder and CEO of Cranky Creative Group, an out-of-home advertising and graphics company, she served clients such as Mercedes Benz, Lenovo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kroger.

Her work has been featured on MTV, Sports Illustrated, Boston Globe, and the NY Times.