January 18, 2020
If you are out there looking for the fifth or sixth week of the month, you are not alone. Talk to any professional in today’s busy-driven environment, and they’ll likely have a story of how they rushed to work in the morning, struggled to keep up with their inbox, or came home too exhausted to spend time with friends or play with their kids.
For marketers operating in a constantly changing landscape, often serving audiences and teams in multiple time zones, it feels harder and harder to keep up with the clock and deliver powerful results for management along the way.
But it does not have to be this way. There are practical strategies you can implement to take back control on both your time and ROI.
Understand Your Core Audience and its Needs
The number one-way marketers can save time and improve results is to get back to the basics, and really get to know the people we serve or want to attract. The better we understand them, the better we will be at tailoring experiences to their preferences and goals, which means the less time we will spend on content, channels and campaigns that don’t work.
According to the 2019 Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs B2C report, marketers use a wide variety of tools to learn about what their audiences need to convert and thrive. These tools include social media listening, website analytics, keyword research, database analysis, primary research, sales team feedback, secondary research, and customer conversations and panels. You do not need to use all of them. Choose the ones that make the most sense for you.
Source: 2019 Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs Report
Of course, to make sure you get the most impact for your audience and bottom line while saving as much time as you can, track your activities and measure results. This way, you keep your audience’s responses to your efforts top of mind and adjust as you go to serve everyone better.
We know all this can sound overwhelming at first. We have been there too. But once you implement a few strategic processes and tools, it makes your work life easier. Let’s dig deeper into that.
Get Ahead of Your Marketing Schedule
Chances are, you ran into this time waster once or twice. You know your company hasn’t published a blog post, Instagram story or LinkedIn status update, and you start researching for ideas. You invest time in one that seems great, only to find disturbing information, doubt yourself or get objections from team members, and start the process all over again.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.
The ad campaign keeps waiting for you to find a freelance designer. The email copy you approved yesterday has not been incorporated into your autoresponder.
And that’s before we even mention the word inbox.
When we’re behind, it’s easy to feel so overwhelmed, we might as well take an hour-long coffee break. There’s no way we can get any of it done anyway, right?
It’s very human.
Yet if you use that coffee break, or another dedicated time slot, to take control of your schedule, your day to day life could become easier.
If you publish content on a regular basis, get yourself a Trello board or an Excel spreadsheet, where everyone on the team can throw ideas into a collaborative space when they come up spontaneously, and provide feedback on a regular basis, instead of spending too much time coming up with a good idea when they’re stressed to hit “publish.”
To help you out, here’s how the team at CoSchedule, a platform that helps marketers stay organized, does it:
Even better? Create an editorial calendar and start producing content in advance. Creating a calendar can make it easier to come up with strategic ideas, such as aligning content with National Coffee Day, product launches and the step by step process you want your audience to go through this year, to continuously grow educated enough to buy from you.
This, too, is about putting your effort into what can generate the biggest impact, and saving time on what cannot. Producing content in advance gives you the peace of mind that you’re not running out of time, and helps you develop ongoing processes that ultimately streamline your work and make it faster.
Make More Use of the Content You Already Have
Have a game plan to repurpose the content you produce. Chances are you already have stats, quotes, images, and little nuggets of storytelling in your longer-form content you can repurpose for social media. Or you’ve given 20 tips on Instagram about a topic over time and can now combine them into one blog post.
SheIn, for example, presents clothing items in multiple ways on the same site, displaying them in different order under different categories. Women looking for workwear might find certain blouses by casually searching for blouses…
… other attire by searching for “urban elegance” under “Trendy 2019″…
… and completely different suggestions under “What to Wear to the Office?” under “Explore.”
All these options could be relevant to the same woman yet might not be discoverable without repurposing product photoshoots.
And since we’re talking about workwear, let’s talk about other choices you make for work.
Make Strategic Choices About Your Team
It’s likely that, at some point, you will need to hire an in-house team member or bring in a freelancer, a consultant or a software provider.
When you spend your marketing time on social, carve out time to get to know experienced professionals and leading tools in your industry. Connect with people who already know and love your audience ahead of time, so that, once a need comes up, it’ll be easier to reach out to a person you already trust, instead of researching tens of websites of new faces.
Bringing in people who specialize in your industry means it will take you less time to train them and to see results.
That said, consistently investing in the education and professional growth of people who are already on your team can also help your schedule stay sane as your marketing operations grow.
First, professionals who are on top of industry trends and skills can be more agile as needs change. Second, according to Training Industry, “personal and professional development is an important focus area for modern employees when seeking employment, as well as for deciding to stay with their current employer.” In other words, consistently investing in your team equals less time spent on recruiting and training new folks.
Showing your teammates, you care about them and sharing a costume with them also helps, of course.
Unify the Platforms and Tools You Use
Now that you have got your strategy and your team figured out, let’s go back to the whole “being everywhere and doing all the things” situation we tapped into earlier.
First, you do not need to be everywhere. That is a very easy way to waste time. Get clear on your goals, get clear on your audience’s needs, and test everything out. A strategy and a channel need to prove their efficiency for you to continue to invest in them.
However, as demands increase and platforms multiply on the daily, many of us do need to show up in a lot of places. That is basically how our company got created in the first place. You might know that our company was created by merging two companies, Zoomd and Moblin. But back in the day, Moblin was a performance agency. We served a bunch of big brands, including Coca Cola, Always, Ikea and… even ICQ. Yes, that’s how far back we go. And as you might imagine, we were swamped. We had to check so many platforms and ad networks for each client. It was thrilling, but exhausting.
So we built our own unified platform that combines over 600 ad networks into one simple dashboard, and when we offered it to clients, they managed to save 70% of their campaign work time thanks to that. Not to mention that, as a bonus, they’re also the new favorites with their finance people. If you want to make your accountant’s day, send her one invoice instead of the 600 she used to get.
But on a more serious note, you do not actually need to go all out and build your own software. The MarTech world is only getting better, and there are plenty of unifying options for marketers. There are platforms that let you handle all your campaign creative in one place. There are social media management tools that spare you from logging into 10 platforms every day and getting lost in a sea of hashtags. There are team management tools that combine email-like communication with task management and collaboration.
And those are just a few examples.
How Marketers Can Maximize Their Time-Saving Efforts and Set Themselves to Success
As you see, there are many ways to get underneath that mountain called your to-do list and make a bigger impact. We highly recommend not overwhelming yourself by trying to explore all of them at once, as sometimes you need to invest some time upfront – say, when onboarding a new tool or getting your team used to list down content ideas – in order to save time down the line. Start with one or two strategies, master them, then add more.