Budget isn’t a marketer’s most valuable asset—it’s time. Who has enough hours in the day, especially these days, to achieve the optimal balance of campaign planning, testing, iterating, and further optimization? In an ideal world, companies would have entire teams devoted to these efforts. But often, companies are lucky to have just five marketers—or even two or three.
How do you make the most out of your hours in your day? Instead of wasting time on routine operational efforts, save time. Free up brain power to do more creative things that you enjoy. Here are 6 easy ways that you can save time:
1. Every time you need to do something, create a template
Writing a blog post? Creating an infographic? Drafting a whitepaper? Launching a PPC campaign? Running a report? Every time you do something, save it as a template. That way, you can get up and running faster the next time you need it.
Reinventing the wheel will only hold you back. Even this blog post can serve as an example: you can use the format to articulate different ideas. Here are some other tools for which you’ll want to create templates:
- SlideShare presentations
- Blog images
- Cold email templates
A template can even be a process that you design and apply to different marketing contexts. For an idea, check out this step-by-step guide to driving more leads from your blog.
2. Stop taking notes: Record and transcribe conversations instead
You have limited time in the day. The last thing you want to do it spend your valuable marketing hours sifting through notebooks for information (and scrambling to capture every last detail).
Record your conversations—in person, using your smartphone and on calls using your conferencing software. Hop on UpWork to find freelance transcribers who can put your conversation on paper (just make sure that you talk to your company lawyer to see if you need any NDAs in place).
If you’re looking for more detail to guide your process for recording and transcribing calls, check out this resource on the BuzzStream blog.
3. Plan as much as you can in advance
Running a company blog? Don’t plan your editorial calendar on 1-month sprints. Instead, come up with a content strategy that will carry you through the several months or quarters.
By planning in advance, you can make sure that you’re not rushed or stuck making hasty decisions. This very subtle process adjustment will help you work smarter, too. For instance, when you’re planning out a series of blog posts, you can plan them out as part of a series that you can bundle into an ebook.
Work smarter to accomplish more with fewer steps and less investment in time. Here are some free or inexpensive tools that can help you organize your planning:
Use these tools to organize your thinking, and invite other team members to collaborate.
4. Delegate specifics to experts
It’s rare, these days, to be a full-stack marketer. Given the level of intricacy that distribution channels require for success, it’s tough to master every single channel out there. And if you spend all your time testing? It can be very easy to get stuck in a hamster wheel.
Get more stuff done by delegating tasks to people who know their marketing channels of choice well. These individuals include content marketers, Facebook marketing specialists, designers, AdWords experts, etc. You’ll save time doing what you do best by bringing your puzzle-pieces together. Here are some ways to bring experts into your marketing planning processes:
- Host user groups in which you interview customers
- Hire a freelancer or consultant with expertise in a particular area
- Become acquainted with the unique talents of your team in-house; ask your colleagues for input
- Interview smart experts for blog posts that you’re publishing (i.e. if you’re looking for expertise, tie your search into your influencer marketing strategy)
5. Stop creating things in piecemeal
If you’re creating blog post, Facebook ads, and e-books, make sure that they all link up in some way, shape, or form. Think of your marketing investments as part of a sequence rather than a series of independent tactics.
From PR to content creation, you have multiple channels that you can leverage to build a narrative about your brand.
For inspiration, take a look at this ebook from EveryoneSocial. It was originally published as a series of blog posts, over the span of months. In this regard, the production of the content asset was essentially automated. Even better, the company incurred minimal additional costs to turn the series of blog posts into a comprehensive resource.
By waiting to publish the resource in full, EveryoneSocial was able to collect data at every step of the production process, making iterative improvements with subsequent blog posts. The end result? The ebook launch set a company record and materialized into a set of viable leads.
6. Join communities to improve your learning
Continuous self-improvement is the key to success in business and life. Consider Ben Franklin, as an example. This early American visionary used to spend a significant portion of his day immersed in communities of like-minded high achievers who sought to improve themselves. Here’s an article from Inc that walks through his daily routine, in an nutshell.
In other words, be like Ben Franklin: join a community of marketers like you. Find people who are striving to become the best in their craft. Commit to learning and growing alongside your peers.
If you’re looking for potential communities to join, check out this list here. Feel free to be a lurker or active participant: browse information casually, or be an active discussion participant. Offer brainpower, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You can save time with your marketing with small decisions that you’re making every day. There’s no need to make sweeping process improvements. Just focus on little ways that you can make more out of your time and budgetary investments. Sweat the small stuff, and the time that you save will really start to add up.