As a former veterinary marketing manager, I know how busy the practice can get and how marketing can easily get placed on the back burner with other things occurring in the practice.
When I was first starting out as a marketing manager for my former practice, I was still working the floor as a Veterinary Assistant. I quickly found myself overwhelmed and scrambling to complete my social media marketing tasks in whatever time I had left when my shifts on the floor were over.
At the time, I was ready to take on more marketing responsibilities for my clinic and desperately wanted to make this work and be successful at both. So I asked myself, "What can I do better to manage the time I have each week to work on marketing so that I'm able to meet my goals more efficiently and be more effective?"
I did tons of research and tested a bunch of things! Here is what I found to have worked for me. Give the following tips a try, and let me know what works for you!
1. Make an appointment with yourself on your calendar
As simple as it sounds, I get that it is easier said than done. You need to set aside time to work on marketing. Please put it on the calendar and treat it like an appointment. Block it off even if you can only dedicate 30 minutes to an hour!
I know how easy it is to get pulled away to help on the floor or with another task in the clinic, but you have to protect the time you've scheduled for marketing work. Trust me; when you have 30 uninterrupted minutes to just focus on one task for marketing, you will see how life-changing this tip can be.
Over time, you'll see the quality of your work increase, and your confidence will skyrocket! Not to mention, stress and overwhelm will decrease, and your headspace will open up.
If you cannot schedule a dedicated time for marketing, then it's time to chat with your supervisor(s) or team. If marketing is a priority for your practice, you need the time to make it happen, and your team needs to support you in this shift.
I promise that even though it may be uncomfortable, it will help your overall job performance and ability to generate more results. If your management or team won't allow you the time, it's time to have a different conversation.
2. Be intentional with what you are working on
Now that you've scheduled time, it's time to get to work, but how? Your time is your most valuable asset, so you'll want to be intentional with your efforts and maximize your time. The secret is to set the tone and create boundaries before you start working.
It's hard to work with constant interruptions, so do yourself a favor and set boundaries that discourage your co-workers from interrupting you. This could look like closing the door to your office or room you're working in with a "do not disturb" sign on the door. Or finding a quiet spot away from the clinic to work on marketing, find what works for you. Then, clearly communicate your intentions and boundaries with your team.
If you find your team still attempts to communicate with you, then provide a way for them to leave notes or messages and let them know when they can expect a reply from you regarding their message.
My favorite tools to help make this possible are Slack, email, or good old fashion Post-It notes. I can mute or turn off Slack and email whenever I need to focus on work and address it when it is good for me. This alone cleared my headspace and helped me to feel less stressed.
Bonus tip: As my time expanded to 10 hours a week, I utilized time blocking and time batching methods to supercharge my productivity and increase my efficiency during my work hours.
3. Plan ahead and be proactive
Before I made time to plan out what I would post, I was publishing posts the same day or minutes before we closed because I didn't have time earlier in the day. This caused me to be even more exhausted and stressed out and flat-out pooped at the end of each workday. Sound familiar in your life?
By craving out 1-2 hours at the end of each month, I was able to plan out my content for at least two weeks in advance, if not four weeks. This allowed me to see from a bird's eye view what was coming up, what I needed to make it possible, and how I needed to proceed with my tasks, time, and resources.
By doing this, I felt more prepared and organized. I also gained back the time and energy I spent trying to think of something to post constantly.
Plus, it allowed me to increase the quality of my work and the posts I was creating and be more strategic in what I was posting and how I was posting it. As a result, I found that I was actually converting more business and posting less generic content or "filler content," which made my practice manager and practice owner very happy!
I personally love to use Milanote and Airtable to help me brainstorm my marketing and social media plans. You'll want to check out my other blogs if you need some inspiration for posts and overall social media strategy.
4. Create a backup plan
Things change; life happens, but that doesn't mean you should let that derail your plan for your marketing. I often found that my plan was shifting and moving to make room for things happening in "real-time" or simply cause something didn't work out as I had intended.
To avoid this from being a recurring habit, I created a library of content and post ideas where I could visit and draw ideas from whenever I needed a spot to fill or needed a backup plan. I also had days where I left open or empty for those last-minute requests, or I needed to shift days and posts around.
This is where I stored all of my favorite resources, great bits of information, or random ideas I wanted to consult later when I needed a creative spark or lacked content. This alone reduced the time it took for me to construct my social media plan Tools like Google Drive, Airtable, or Trello are great places to host your library or content and post ideas.
5. Automate tasks where you can
I often myself repeating the same tasks over and over again. Like creating the same version of an email or social media post and starting it over from scratch every single time. When I noticed this pattern, I started to create a template where I could make a copy and tweak it to fit the moment when the repeating task came up.
For the systems, processes, and checklists used consistently, I made repeating tasks in my task manager, so I could refer to them often and stay on track easily. This helped to speed up my productivity and find pockets of time wasted on simple, repetitive tasks, which helped me improve my performance.
I also set up reminders to help me consistently complete my tasks regularly. I like using project management tools like ClickUp or Trello to automate specific tasks and reminders and track other projects I'm working on.
Hopefully, these five tips will help you set boundaries, be more productive, and help feel more confident in your marketing.
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