Ep 159 | How to Use Downtime to Be More Productive Long-term

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When things are a little slower, like in the summer, we can go into panic mode. Instead, we can look at it as a way to get back to basics and clean up house. It helps to bring things back so that you can be more effective all the time.

What you'll learn:

→ how to review tasks to figure out what you need to clean up.
→ ways to keep more money in the bank by reviewing your tech. 
→ review where youre headed so you can double down on the tasks that matter.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:25] Make a list and review Make a list of all the tasks you are doing on a regular basis and who they are assigned to. Review those tasks to see if they will take you where you want to go. Review your software and tech to see if you are utilizing all of those tools that are available, or what tech you no longer need.
[6:36] Make a wish list Map out a plan of where you want to be both in the short and long term future. Make a wish list of the things you and your staff would like to have for the future of your organization.

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Summer can sometimes be a slower month for organizations, more people are on vacation, it's harder to book meetings with donors, we don't quite have as many events as we do in the spring in the fall. And so summer is a great time to really think about the systems and the procedures that you have in your business so that you can continue to go into the rest of the year in proactive mode, and not being so reactive all the time. So I'm going to give you some ways to think about setting up systems in your business and things to review during the summer months, that aren't quite as busy so that you can make sure that you're more effective and efficient as you move forward throughout the year. So that's what we're going to cover in this episode. And I'm going to talk about things like your email marketing, your CRMs, your communications, just ways that you interact and how you make sure that your team is moving forward together with your marketing activities. And just also some things to review to make sure that they're still relevant and in line with what it is that your organization has tasked as goals. Now remember, the point of systems is to make sure that everything is in alignment with the goals that you're trying to achieve. So make sure that you review your goals before you start walking through how you might be able to improve some efficiency, because if you don't do that first, then you're really going to be missing the mark. So that's what we're going to talk about in this episode. But before we get started, this episode is brought to you by our office hours. So our digital marketing therapy sessions are here to help you work through anything you need in the digital marketing space. So if you want me to review some of these systems, and funnels and or just things you have set up to help you and your team then go ahead and head on over to thefirstclick.net/office hours, book some time with me. And let's review it and make sure you're moving in the right direction. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so here's the thing about systems, everybody works a little bit differently, or we have somebody new come into the team or somebody leaves the team. And keeping up with those systems is tricky. What I have to say is, it's all about being consistent. And it's really about being rigid about making sure that everybody is using the same system. Now this comes around to change management as you kind of build and grow and add things in. But as a leader of your organization, it really comes to you to really make sure that you're continuing to drive home, this is where we put the things, this is how things happen. So that everybody kind of becomes inbuilt all of that into the culture. Some of the places where this shows up is how you utilize your CRM, how you're utilizing your email marketing, your social media, the tools, the resources, the tech stack that you have, that is going to come into play in your digital marketing. So what I want to do right now, because we're in the summer months, and a little bit quiet is kind of review first, where are we at? And where are we going?

So the first thing I want you to do is make a list of all of the digital marketing activities that you're doing. So are you emailing your list once a week? Are you posting to social media five times a week? Are you trying to do Tik Tok three times a week? Whatever it is that you're doing, make a list of all the things you're doing on a regular basis when it comes to your digital marketing. And then we want to assign people to that. So who's working on all of those different tasks? So we can really see, kind of, what the workload looks like. And then let's review those tasks towards our ultimate goals for our business. Where are we trying to go? And are the things that we're doing going to get us to where we're going, and I've talked about this a lot on episodes lately. So I'll try to link some of those up in the show notes for this episode for you. But once we kind of know what we're doing, and we know what our tech is, then we can start to pay attention to what we need to review that we put in there. So you may have put, I email my list on a weekly basis. Great. Then I want you to go to your email software and say, Okay, well, let's evaluate everything that's in here. What automations do we have set? What templates are we using? Now's a great time to be reviewing those to make sure that they are in line with where you're at now, we might have changed a few things, you might have changed the way that you communicate with your donors and you have that expectation set and an onboarding email. You may have added or changed the name of an event. So you need to go back to some of those templates and change them. So cleaning up all of that now is a great time to do that. The same is with your website. Going back through and reviewing everything that's on your website. and figuring out, what are we still doing? What are we not doing? And how is the language on our website reflecting that? So now's a great time to do that. I also love for you to go through your CRM, take a look at how you're utilizing it, is the data coming in clean? Is it coming in in a way that is useful to you? And if it's not, how can you change those systems in order to make sure that it is. It’s also a great time then to take a look at the benefits or the new features that maybe your CRM has added that you can then utilize to make things easier and more effective. Now, if you have a project management tool, it might be a good time to sit down with your team and say, how is this working? How could we do things better? What's going to make us more effective and efficient, okay, so these are the types of things that I like to go through and think about when it comes to creating systems in my business. So the review piece is really critical. We want to know where we're at, we want to know where we're going. Now, here's the beautiful thing, you might go through your tech stack and be like, Oh, we're not really using this, this and this. And this is where I like to get our financial team in line, because they can tell us, Oh, here's all the things that you're paying for on a monthly basis. We might not be using those. So it's a great way to review your expenses and potentially save some money on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis for your organization. It's also a good time to then say, Okay, well, now we've saved X amount of dollars that you know you can potentially invest into something new, that's going to be more effective and efficient for your organization. 

So once we've reviewed kind of all of the things that we have, what's working, what's not, we want to be in the present moment and just kind of sit for a minute and make our wish list. If we had all of these things, if we had all of these things in place, if we knew that we had no money, no, no money, objects, objections, that was difficult to say, for whatever reason, what would we want to add? And kind of make a list of those wishlist things before we kind of get into plan mode. Because they might come into play at a later date. And then the last piece is really just where are we going? So where are we going to be three months from now six months from now, a year from now? How do we need to be working as a business in order to hit those goals? Because we tend to operate kind of in like either where we are now or where we work two steps behind. So what I really want you to think about is what tools and systems do we need in place in order to be operating like we've already hit our six month goals? Or we've already hit our next year's goals, what things would we need? And start to put in motion the way to make that happen. That might be upgrades to some modules in your CRM that could look like it might be adding in a va, a virtual assistant, or maybe, you know, changing some of the software around our social media posting, it might be upgrading our website, but what are all of those things, we can start to put those in the budget and put them in line. Now remember, you just got rid of some software that you're not using. So how can we take the funds from that and move it towards what we need in order to be effective and efficient in future goals? So this is all really critical, because we tend to do all of these things in digital marketing that aren't necessarily getting us to our end goal. So reviewing what we're doing and how it's working, and then taking a look at our future goals is really going to help us cement into what it is that we need to happen, and how are we going to make that happen? And I like to keep this really actionable. I like to involve your team. Because as we know, if we add in a bunch of tools and resources that our team doesn't use, then it's wasted money. So going back to the review phase, if you have a CRM or you have a project management tool that your team is not using, the conversation is why. Why are we not using it? Is it because it doesn't give us the functionality that we need? Is it because it doesn't actually speed up the work that I need to get done in the day? Is it because I just don't know how to use it? Those questions are going to be critical and really understanding the tech that we're using to get our work done, and if it's effective or not. And you may love it, you may hate it. Your staff may love it, your staff may hate it. But until we ask them why we're not really going to understand how to make it work. So that buy in is critical. And change is hard. And I understand that. So that's why doing stuff and work like this during the summer months when it's a little bit quiet is so beneficial because you're having the opportunity to really kind of get back into pro active mode when everything is a little bit more quiet. So what I want you to do is spend the next four to six weeks and really hone in on some of these systems, some of these platforms, some of your tech stack, so that when you go into the crazy months like we know the holidays are giving Tuesday you're on giving, you have much more efficiency and you can move through it with a lot more ease. That is my goal for you with your digital marketing. Take the time right now to look at the data to look at the system to look at the way that you're operating, and figure out how you can uplevel and clean them up. Now, I hope this short and sweet episode was helpful for you. And just a reminder to step into your systems and love them. I love systems and something that I'm working on this summer as well. But for now, I hope that you will subscribe wherever you listen and thank you so much for letting me come to your ears every week. I'll see you in the next one.

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