How Often Should I…? The Ultimate Guide to Timing Your Marketing
Marketing is common sense. It really is. The most obvious way forward is normally staring you right in the face. Have you ever asked the questions: how often should I post on social media, send out newsletters or publish blogs? If this is something you’ve struggled to work out, the answer is actually obvious if you think about it.
When you’re taught marketing, you’re never taught algorithms. You don’t spend ages studying formulas. Formally trained marketers will never say something like “I’ve tried and tested this strategy myself so I know it works” or “good marketing practice is to post X times a week”. What you’re taught instead is to understand your market and understand your audience. The rest works itself out.
So how well do you know your audience? And I mean really know them. If you want to know the answers to your questions, then this is the place to start.
Let me share a couple of examples.
I’ve done a lot of work in the construction industry, and for two companies I worked for we did very little social media. My research demonstrated that our potential customers weren’t using social media for work purposes. They were on construction sites all day and they were incredibly busy. They liked phone calls the most, and they’d respond a bit to emails. But social media wasn’t even on their radar. So what was the point in spending all my time doing it?
Although all these companies had social media channels, the only person monitoring it was the marketing person. So it ended up being marketing people, with no buying power at all, chatting to other marketing people.
We still did some social media. It was good to have a presence as every now and then the odd person would check us out to find out a bit more about the company. But that was it. And understanding the client base told me that was all I needed to do.
What I spent the majority of time on was PR. We even aligned the company blog with a quarterly column in an important trade magazine. And we sent out newsletters just once a quarter to customers only, as repeat business was massive. For prospects I did a whole array of more inventive activities, mostly offline. I reached the customers where the customers were and the marketing was a massive success.
I have helped with the marketing of a few marketing agencies in the past, and this proved to be vastly more complex. Firstly, if you sell social media as a service, you need to showcase that you can do it. So putting everything else aside, that was a major reason to do it. This also meant the content plan had to be innovative.
Then we studied the customers. And we really studied them. We found they could be on social media at any time of the day, and they were looking to share their own posts, network with others and also gain knowledge. So we needed to like and share their posts, network with them and also give them the knowledge that they were looking for. Knowledge sharing came in the way of blogs, and we made sure that any newsletters were packed full of value so that people would actively want to sign up to them.
In terms of timing, we had our answers by knowing our customers. As soon as you start to think of posting as a schedule of events, you start thinking as a computer. Human to human marketing always works better.
If computers weren’t in the way and your newsletters, blogs or social media posts were leaflets you were handing out in the street, how often would you do it? I bet far less.
So what is the balance that’s right for you? How much do you have to say that’s of interest and how much time do your customers have to digest it? Figure that out and that’s the answer.
For the marketing agencies, we did more random posting. We worked out a range of monthly posts and a couple of blogs and we scattered them throughout the month. With no fixed schedule, it felt more natural to readers. It felt social, just as social media should be. The only thing that was more firmly in the calendar was the newsletter. By that going out regularly it felt more professional. But that was more formal marketing.
You should never start doing any marketing activity until you’ve worked out a strategy and you’ve got to know your customers. And I don’t mean find your ideal customer. As my recent Business Bulletin article explains, you need to segment your potential customers.
Tick box marketing never works. I’ve never ever seen it work. Don’t do social media marketing because you believe it’s the right thing to do. Know it’s the right thing to do. And then use this knowledge to work out how often you should be sending out those messages. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and decide what is best.
Knowledge is power. So if you want to execute powerful marketing, gain that knowledge and use it wisely.