Are you a freelancer trying to promote yourself and find new customers, or do you represent the entire marketing department of a small business? Being a “one-man-band” marketer can be a very daunting task as it feels like you have so many plates spinning at all once and no time to complete tasks properly or do them to the best of your ability.
Feeling like you’re underachieving can be really bad for morale and your mental health, and it’s so important to make sure that this doesn’t suffer. So, first of all – before you even read the rest of this post – sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing great! Try not to compare your “achievements” within your role to those of much bigger, better resourced teams – that’s not comparing apples with apples!
However – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, to improve and to reach new heights. What you need is to be able to achieve more in the given time available to you, and with whatever resources and budget you have. Whilst there will never be a “one size fits all” solution to this, because all budgets and situations/requirements will be different, this post will hopefully give you some new ideas on how to approach your conundrum for better results.
1. Be Organised and Schedule Your Time
Your key resource is your time, so make sure you squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of it so that none goes to waste. You know how you switch your phone to power-saving mode and turn off anything that’s not essential if your battery goes low on a night out? You need to think about your time in a similar fashion – it’s a finite resource that is gone once it’s gone.
Different strategies work for different people, but I find that using Google Calendar for regular weekly/monthly or quarterly tasks ensures that I don’t forget to do them. That’s less of an issue for weekly tasks, because it’s easy to think “right, Monday morning – coffee and then schedule those social posts!” but other things which are done less often can easily be forgotten.
To-do lists are also very important, and rather than writing on paper I’d use Google Keep for this. You can even create different lists for different categories of work, if you like. Whatever works for your situation. The great thing about keeping it electronic is that you won’t lose it by mistake, it’s easy to tick things off, and you can access from any device, anywhere. Recent updates to Google Keep mean you can now share lists and collaborate with others in your team, so if you’re using G Suite in your organisation then people who aren’t directly “members of the marketing team”, such as a sales manager or even the boss, could work with you managing and keeping track of your To-Do list in a really easy, efficient way.
If you don’t already use the Google productivity tools alongside Gmail for your business email, I’d recommend signing up for a 14-day free trial of G Suite. If you want to sign up, we can also give you a 20% discount code for your first year’s subscription, so contact us for that (we don’t even mind if you’re not a customer of ours!)
2. Automate as Much as You Can
Do you write out every single social media post and click “Share” or “Post” at the time it goes out? Or manually send a welcome email to every new sign-up on your website? I hope not.
The great thing about technology is that it can automate mundane tasks for us so that we humans don’t have to bother doing them. You may already be using MailChimp to manage your company’s email lists, but did you know they also offer some powerful Automation Tools?
Want to run a competition to promote your brand? Check out Gleam – it’s a great tool which runs and manages the competition for you, and helps you increase your social following because entry methods can be things like “follow on Twitter”, or “retweet this tweet”, etc. Or for smaller, simpler promotions where you might just ask people to retweet a Tweet, look at Tweetdraw (which is free).
For scheduling posts across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, look at tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Social Pilot. If it’s just Twitter you want to use, there’s also TweetDeck.
By making use of these tools you can save a considerable amount of time throughout your week, by not having to think about posting once before your mid-morning coffee, once before lunch, once mid-afternoon, etc. etc. You simply schedule all your posts for the coming 7 days in one go, and then sit back and let the app do the posting for you when specified.
That’s all well and good, but what if you’d rather not spend a whole morning every week scheduling hundreds of posts across all the social media networks? That’s where point 3 comes in…
3. Grow Your Team by Outsourcing
If you’re completely on your own running your marketing department then I bet you’ve often thought how great it would be to have a helping hand now and again to take some of the pressure off your shoulders. However, there’s simply not the budget to employ a second member of staff on a full-time or even a part-time basis…
Outsourcing is great for when you have extra work that needs doing, but not so much that it would be worth employing someone full-time to do the work for you. Or maybe it’s not a long-term or permanent need, or at least not one you feel able to commit to, to the extent of actually putting someone on your payroll.
We offer a Social Media Management service where we will work with you to create a large bank of posts including copy, links and imagery for your brand or business. Then, using a bespoke system developed in-house (and exclusive to us, ooo err!) we will generate scheduled posts across all of your social accounts, at varying (but optimised) different times of day throughout the week.
The great thing about our service is that your accounts won’t be posting at repetitive and predictable times of day, and the copy (ie. text) on the posts won’t always be identical. This is because we worked with you initially to create a large bank of text and images that our systems choose from and then schedule using one of the automating tools from step 2. Sure, you could do that yourself, but we take it on for you so you get back a whole morning each week – result!
Of course, you still retain full control over all your social media accounts so you can share your own posts and special offers/competitions whenever you like, as well as reply to your customers and engage with the wider community.
4. Set Realistic Goals
You know that really big, crazy idea you had the other day which would be so cool to do, if only you had the budget and resources? Don’t give up on it – write it down somewhere because you never know what might be possible in the near future if your other, smaller campaigns bear fruit!
What I’m getting at is that ambition is a good thing – but you also need to be realistic about things like your budget and resources (and time). In the short and medium-term, focus on what you can do, which will help the business to grow to the point where your more ambitious ideas might seem less crazy and out-there.
So, make detailed and realistic plans of what you want to do for the next week, month, 6 months and year. Attach goals and desired outcomes to all of those, and if they’re realistic and achievable there’s no reason you shouldn’t smash those targets if you knuckle down and do the hard grind. It’s a much better feeling to have a sense of achievement from achieving realistic goals than to be reeling from failure to achieve something unrealistically ambitious.
What does your business do, and how can your marketing facilitate that? Do you want more downloads, more sales, awareness of your brand, more phone calls or what? Tie that into what you do on a day-to-day basis and don’t lose track of those desired end-results.
5. Track Results & Tweak Continuously
When you achieve those results from the previous point, make sure you tally them back to the tactics you employed in your marketing strategy so you know whether something worked because it actually worked, or just because you got lucky that day.
If you got lucky once, you might do again – but don’t bet the farm on it! It’s really important that you know when things didn’t work, especially as your time and resources are so limited so you don’t want to be pouring them down the drain.
If your aim is getting more visitors to your website, then use Google Analytics to track different campaigns and how people are finding your website. Don’t forget to use Google Webmaster Tools as well, in conjunction with the analytics. If it’s a YouTube channel you’re running, or using to market your company’s products/services, then learn how to use their very powerful analytics to best effect.
Keep on top of things – especially if it’s paid advertising which costs money daily. You want to know ASAP if something’s not working so you can tweak it before it empties your bank account. If you employ all the tactics throughout this post, you should have freed up enough time to really keep on top of things, leaving no excuse not to keep your finger firmly on the pulse.