How Much Time Should a Small Business Owner Spend on Marketing Each Week?

content marketing email marketing marketing activity planner marketing strategy networking reviews management search engine optimization seo small business marketing social media marketing weekly marketing planner Jun 14, 2023
Business owner scheduling marketing activities in planner.  How much time should a small business owner spend on marketing each week? Nikki Mutch Small Business Marketing Expert.

Marketing is an essential part of running any successful business. As a small business owner, especially one who wears all the hats in your business, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start, how much time to spend, and what activities to prioritize.

Listen, I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there, day in and day out in the trenches, running my own small business while helping my clients’ companies do the same. I know how hard it is to find time to promote your products and services while doing the actual work of providing said services.

But I also know that it is essential if you want to grow a thriving, successful business. So until you get to the point where you can afford to hire staff or consultants to take on some parts of the business that allow you can dedicate your time wherever you want, you will likely have to carve out time in your schedule for marketing.

Here I’ve pulled together very specific, actionable advice on how many hours to spend each week on online marketing activities, precisely what those activities should be and how they can help your business.

First let's talk about how many hours you should spend on marketing each week. For a small business, especially a start up, you should be spending at least 20 percent of your time on marketing. That means dedicating one full workday each week to marketing activities or splitting it up and putting in approximately 1.5 to 2 hours each day.

This may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that marketing is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and attention. Plus, the more time you invest in marketing, the more likely you are to see positive results in terms of increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and revenue.

Personally, I am a big fan of dedicating one full day each week and cranking out as much work as you can. There is something to be said about being in the zone and not having to switch hats throughout the day that increases flow and output. I also find it harder to keep that time sacred when you are booking clients and other tasks on the same day. It is much easier for other things to get in the way when you do that.

Now that you know how much time to devote to marketing each week, let's dive into what activities you should focus on. Here are some essential online marketing activities that can help grow your small business:


 1. Content Creation

Content creation involves developing relevant and informative content that attracts and engages your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media content. Spend time each week brainstorming new content ideas, creating content, and promoting your content across various channels.

Creating content is how you add value and build trust which can help persuade someone who is considering a purchase or booking a service.

This is where you will need to spend almost half of your time each week. That’s because good content creation takes time. It is also because content creation is the fuel for many of your marketing activities, like email marketing and social media.

Time allocated each week = approximately 4 hours 15 minutes


2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves optimizing your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). If content is the fuel for your marketing activities, SEO is the igniter. To get your content to spread far and wide and reach as many people as possible, carve out some time in your weekly schedule to put towards SEO.  

Spend time each week conducting keyword research, optimizing your website and content, and checking your analytics to see how your efforts are paying off.

Time allocated each week = approximately 1 hour 15 minutes


3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a highly effective way to nurture leads, build customer loyalty, and promote sales. Set aside time each week to create engaging email content, segment your email list, and track your email campaign performance.

If you are wondering what you could possibly be emailing your list about on a weekly basis, look no further than that weekly blog or podcast and other content you’ve dedicated time to create. Send it directly to their inboxes to increase the likelihood that they see it.

Time allocated each week = approximately 1 hour 15 minutes


4. Reviews Management

Managing your online reviews is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Positive reviews can help you build trust and credibility with potential customers, while negative reviews can damage your reputation and deter customers from doing business with you. Beyond claiming your business listing, you should spend time each week monitoring and responding to your reviews, encouraging positive reviews from current customers, addressing negative reviews, and learning from feedback to improve your business practices and services.

Time allocated each week = approximately 30 minutes


5. Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok are powerful tools for building brand awareness, engaging with customers, and driving traffic to your website. Spend time each week creating and scheduling posts, responding to comments and messages, growing your network, and analyzing your social media metrics to optimize your strategy.

Time allocated each week = approximately 1 hour 30 minutes


Weekly Marketing Activity Planning

Online marketing is an essential aspect of running a successful small business, and it requires consistent effort and attention. Based on this plan, you should aim to devote approximately 8.5 hours a week to online marketing activities.

These general timelines also don’t include your initial strategy development. This is strictly the time to execute each week once you have a strategy in place.

There might be times when you need more time or less time on certain tasks. However, these timelines give you a general sense of where you should focus to get the most out of your efforts each week.

To help you stay on track, I’ve created a FREE Marketing Activity Planner that you can download and autofill each week to schedule your marketing activities, identify goals and priorities. There are two versions to choose from based on whether you prefer to dedicate one day to marketing or spread it out across the week.

Total time allocated each week = approximately 8.5 hours


Offline Marketing Activities

We couldn’t wrap this up without addressing offline marketing activities. Many offline marketing activities don’t require ongoing weekly effort, which is why they aren’t included in my weekly marketing calendar.  

Take business cards, brochures, newspaper advertisements and flyers as an example. Once you’ve designed and printed them, they just need to be distributed. Personally, I feel like we should save some trees and stick with online marketing. I also think you can better target your audience with online marketing than you can with the spray and pray methods of print advertising.

The offline marketing activities that I think are highly effective and worth while investing time and money in is networking and events. Again, this doesn’t necessarily need to be added to your weekly marketing calendar because these types of opportunities don’t generally come up that often.

Networking is a crucial part of marketing your small business. You should make it a priority to attend industry events, join relevant online communities and connect with other business owners in your niche, as well as potential clients.

Set some monthly goals for offline marketing activities, like:

  • Spend some time each month researching events in your area.
  • Try to attend at least one event each month.
  • Look for opportunities to speak or present at least 2 events each year.
  • Exchange contact information with at least 3 new people each month
  • Find one new online community to join each quarter and spend some time assessing if participating will be fruitful.
  • Go for coffee with one new contact every month.

Networking can help you build relationships, gain valuable insights, and find new opportunities for growth. It is also a great way to boost your social media following.


Bottom Line

In conclusion, marketing is an essential aspect of running a successful small business, and it requires consistent effort and attention. Aim to devote at least 7.5-10 hours a week to marketing activities, and focus on social media marketing, email marketing, content creation, networking, and SEO. By prioritizing these activities, you can attract new customers, build brand awareness, and ultimately grow your business.

Remember to download your FREE Marketing Activity Planner and get started on implementing a consistent marketing strategy today!


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