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Hi and welcome to episode 21. Today we’re going to be talking about organizing your marketing efforts. A while back, we talked about how to create a marketing plan. Marketing plans are critical to helping you grow your business and become profitable. But, you know what’s harder than creating a marketing plan? Actually executing it. Aren’t we all guilty of making plans in our lives and then struggling to get them done? It’s super easy when you’re running a business or managing a marketing team. There is always, literally always, something else that seems more important than getting one of the tasks done associated with your marketing plan. So, how do you stay on track? The answer is setting up systems to keep you organized and efficient. Let’s dive in.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a networking call with a group of women and I explained what I do: help business owners and small marketing teams get their marketing strategies in place and then create systems and branded templates to make executing against those strategies easy and efficient, one of the women was like “wait, I always think of marketing my business as something that takes a lot of time and energy, you’re telling me it doesn’t have to be?”

And the answer is yes. Let me tell you why: it’s because you can put systems in place that help you manage all of that activity. 

When I worked at my corporate job and before I reported to my most recent boss, we didn’t have a system in place to manage our marketing. We had marketing plans that we executed against and somehow I managed all of the requests that came in to the department. I honestly can’t even really tell you how. We averaged about 10 campaigns a year that consisted of 6-7 different components or channels where they were deployed. So, about 60-70 marketing pieces a year. That’s a ton of work! And each of those pieces needed to have writing done for them, graphic design, disclosures, proofreading, you know, work! Each person on my team had their own part they were responsible for and I was lucky to have a team of highly accountable people, so we all knew what pieces we needed to take care of. But, there’s a whole bunch of coordinating that had to happen to get everything put together, so that’s what we spent most of our time managing. The day to day stuff. What we didn’t have time for was the bigger strategic goals we wanted to accomplish. The marketing initiatives that would really move the needle for the organization. Because we were always stuck in the weeds managing the day to day things.

When you’re running a business, things aren’t that different. You’re responsible for all the things that have to get done and there’s always a little one-off project or emergency that pops up you have to take care of. So, even if you have a marketing plan in place, or some goals you’d like to accomplish, it feels like you never have the time to get them done. 

My team was revolutionized, and no, I’m not using that word ironically or lightly, we were legit revolutionized when I put an organization system in place. When my most recent boss, the CMO of the organization started, he had no way to understand how much work my team and I did. He asked me to put some kind of tool in place that could help him visually see our output. At the time, I wanted to hire two new staff members, so I was highly motivated to prove my point about how much work we really did and how necessary those two staff members were. He suggested using Trello or Asana, I picked Trello and ran with it and the revolution began. 

I took each of our marketing plans (we had several because we supported all the products and departments within the credit union) and plugged them into Trello. From there, I was able to break down each piece that we had to create into small actionable steps and assign those tasks to someone on my team with a deadline in place. Suddenly, getting a campaign through production and out the door took about half the time. Why? Because everyone could see the entire process, the time it would take and where their part fit into the process. Campaigns that took six weeks to create, now only took about three to get out the door because we could ask questions and make comments about the materials throughout the day rather than waiting for the next team meeting to talk things through. When everyone could see the process, we could identify additional steps and tasks that needed to happen in order to get the project done sooner. We were blindsided less because using Trello forced us to look at something from start to finish early on in the project. 

This system allowed us to get so efficient that we went from producing ten campaigns a year to producing ten campaigns a quarter in 2019. Our efficiency showed when the organization closed the year with their highest level of sales in the history of the organization. 

I still use Trello today to keep myself organized and make my marketing efficient. I set quarterly goals for myself, which come from my marketing plan. For example, one of my marketing strategies this year was to get my website worked on by an SEO professional. I went from not knowing who I wanted to work with, to a completed scope of work in two months because I broke it down into small, bite-sized tasks. Instead of starting each day staring at my computer feeling overwhelmed about having to look for an SEO company, evaluate them, evaluate my own needs, agree on a scope of work…you get it. Instead, I had small tasks that I could easily accomplish. I set deadlines for myself too. This is how I was able to knock it out so quickly. 

And once I’d hired an SEO expert, she created a Trello board for me so I could see all the work she was doing and could assign tasks to me as she needed things from me.

My point is, systems are necessary to have in place if you want to accomplish your goals and execute your marketing strategy. Without them, you will likely be bogged down by the day to day stuff or the emergencies that pop up. Or, if you’re not a native marketer and you’re managing marketing in addition to a lot of other responsibilities, you’ll be left feeling overwhelmed by getting your marketing done. 

Today, I use my organization system to help me plan my social media, my website strategy and my marketing strategy. 

I take my marketing plan for Authentic and plug it in to Trello. I break down the strategies into the small tasks I know it will take to get them done. I look at my website and think about how I want to improve it, then I create a list of small tasks to start chipping away at those improvements. And, as I’ve talked about in the past, I use Trello to break each of my podcasts down into smaller pieces of content that I can plug in to emails and social media posts. This keeps me making forward progress even on days when I’m chasing two kids around the house and dealing with a newborn. When I do have time to sit down and work on my business, I don’t have to think about what needs to get done. I pick my priorities and I get going on them. I’ve already set a pace for myself, so checking things off the list allows me to end each day feeling like I’ve made progress on some things, even if it’s not as much as I had wanted to get done. 

It’s a fluid system. What I plug in for goals and deadlines today, may have to shift two months from now because my kids are suddenly home 24/7 (thanks covid), or I re-prioritize for any number of reasons. With a system in place though, my goals are ultimately getting accomplished. I’m not left trying to get everything done at one time, I have the confidence to know that I’ve planned appropriately and can manage small tasks on a daily basis. 

Using an organization system is a large part of what I teach my clients when they work with me. It’s great to have branded templates. It’s great to have a marketing plan. It’s amazing to have a way to keep yourself organized and constantly making progress toward a big goal. That’s where the real growth for you and your company comes from: achieving your goals.

So, my friends. If you don’t have a system in place, what are you waiting for? Not sure where to start? Download my seven favorite business tools to stay organized at getauthenticbranding.com/resources. If you’re ready to maximize your time each day and start accomplishing big goals to grow your business, visit my contact page and schedule a free 30 minute consultation. I’ll show you how I keep myself organized and we’ll talk through what it would take to get you operating at a higher level.

And of course, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please rate, review and subscribe to Startup Marketing to help other business owners like you find this podcast.

Until next time!