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How Much Time do you Spend on Marketing?

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At least once per week I receive an email asking the same question: Chris, how much time per day do you spend on marketing? This is a very important question, but for the most part it is one that does not have a "set" answer.

Everyday is different in terms of marketing. For instance, one day I may send three query letters but the next focus on calling current clients and asking for referrals. While these are two entirely different tasks, they both help to drum up new business.

In terms of time, no two marketing tasks are the same. It takes me longer to research and write a query letter than it does to call a client and briefly talk about referrals.

Even though there is no cut-and-dry answer to this common question, I have formulated the following tips:

  1. Make sure you do something marketing related everyday. It does not matter if it takes you two hours or two minutes, when you are marketing your services you are putting yourself in position to land a new client and earn more money.
  2. If you have down time it would suit you well to turn to your marketing plan. There is bound to be time during your week when you are not writing. Instead of browsing the internet or slacking off, let your marketing plan guide you towards doing something productive.
  3. New freelance writers have more time for marketing. Since you don’t yet have a large client base, it is safe to say that your day will be far from full. If you want to change this in the near future, start marketing your services in as many ways as you know how.

Remember this: it does not matter how much time you spend on marketing. What matters is that your marketing plan is generating new clients and increased income.

12 thoughts on “How Much Time do you Spend on Marketing?”

  1. Interesting post, Chris, but what about when you reach a certain plateau or saturation point, for want of a better phrase, with your writing / clients?

    Should you still continue to market your services, even in a minor way, or put a temporary hold on any type of marketing until things quiet down?

    I was always on the assumption that you should be continually marketing your services, regardless of how many clients you have. Now I’ve got to a stage, however, where I’d struggle to fit any new clients in and I’m wondering whether it would better to continue marketing and turn clients away or stop marketing and risk becoming known less.

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  2. I can’t speak for Chris, but here’s what I do and believe:

    Yes, you should still market your services even when your client roster is saturated. If one of your clients were to suddenly disappear, you want that immediate and constant interest so you can fill that work time quickly with projects at the same pay level. It also gives you a chance to build up a waiting list. When clients find you or are referred to you, and they really, really want to work with you, they’re often willing to be put on a waiting list for non-urgent projects to be considered when you have openings. Right now, even if I lost most of my current clients, my waiting list is big enough that I have new prospects ready and willing to pay my rates — for everything from writing e-books and reports (big one-off projects) to firms wanting me to pick up regular work if and when I have the time. Some regularly followup with me to see if there are openings coming. That’s a very comfortable place to be as a freelancer, and continued marketing can help you get there.

    That said, I also believe you can tone it down a bit. It’s about staying visible more than being aggressive. For example, if you normally cold call prospects, you might stop that completely. But you might maintain a blog, comment on others, and write guest posts so your name is still out there and visible in your niche. That’s still marketing. That’s actually what query-free freelancing is all about (something I not only wholeheartedly believe in, but the topic of the book I’m working on).

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  3. Some marketing methods are more time consuming than others, but if you don’t market consistently you’ll eventually notice a decline in income. Believe me, I know.

    I agree that you should strive to do some kind of marketing each day.

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    • Kimberly,

      For some reason all of your comments here seem to get automatically flagged as spam by Akismet. I usually catch them, but just in case I don’t at some point (when there’s a huge amount of spam I sometimes just clear it w/o checking every comment) I just want to apologize in advance. And if past comments weren’t approved, that would be why — nothing intentional. While I can blacklist people in the admin area, it doesn’t seem you can whitelist people to get around the problem. πŸ™

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  4. Chris… somehow over time it seems that I spend about a quarter of my time on marketing… more or less on any given day or week, but on the whole… maybe even a third.

    I love the web because up to a point some of that marketing is passive… articles etc. are out there forever for people to stumble on.

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  5. Because my time is so limited, I feel like I never spend enough time on marketing. I need to do so much more, but it’s always been a challenge to balance that with projects and the rest of my life. Maybe this post has inspired me to do a bit more or at least think really hard about it for a while…maybe tonight during the commercials on DWTS I’ll make some quick posts. LOL

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  6. *Clarification! DWTS is the only show I ever actually find time to watch. And it’s recorded and usually around eleven PM before I find time in the day to watch it.

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  7. I know, I know – I’m worth it because I’m good enough, smart enough and dog-gone-it, people like me!

    I just clarified because it was pretty funny that I mentioned never having time and then in the same digital breath talked about sitting down to watch a two-hour premier. Transparency FTW!

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  8. Oh that’s nothing Rebecca – I go to my Mum’s for Sunday lunch and have a moan about how I’ve just worked a 70 hour week, yet I still manage to spend several hours there watching the football.

    @Jenn – I think that’s probably what I do, but subconsciously. When I have a bit of down time, I find I’m commenting on different blogs more often and participating in discussions, yet when things get a bit hectic, I tend to only check the blogs now and again, making one or two posts across the whole board.

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