Marketing involves so many moving pieces and different tasks, it can be hard to keep track of what’s happening day to day, let alone month to month. Add to that multiple people working on separate but sometimes related projects, and things can get unwieldy quickly. Marketing teams become more effective when they account for the scope of work in their planning and ongoing assessment and create workflows that support productivity.
For instance, marketing is interdisciplinary, so its success requires a collection of people with different skills, knowledge, ways of communicating, and work styles. Getting the team to work together is necessary for success, but that requires attention to meetings, project management, and tools. Here are some ways to make your marketing team more productive.
Use data to make marketing decisions
Ideas for content marketing can come from brainstorms and individual inspiration, but sometimes the best ideas are gleaned from data. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about content performance; use this information to determine what your next marketing moves should be.
A couple of ways to do this include looking at high-traffic posts, low-traffic but high time-on-page posts, and low time-on-page posts to figure out what works and doesn’t work for your audience and look for ways to increase time spent on site. Also look at what content plays a role in conversions.
The more marketers understand the data their content and campaigns produce, the better decisions they’ll make.
Cross-train marketers on analytics
Using data can be done with the addition of an analytics expert to the marketing team, but as we just said, the more marketers understand this data, the better.
Get that analytics expert to sit down with the rest of the marketing team and walk them through the various reports they use so marketers can reference useful information on the fly. Make sure the analytics team member has the business knowledge to help other team members connect actions and goals with data and outcomes.
One way to do this is to set up workshops within the team. Another way is through Google, which offers an Analytics Academy that marketers can complete on their own.
Capitalize on all the content you create
One common mistake marketing teams make is to assume more content = better marketing. A smarter approach is to make every piece of content you produce work harder for you by distributing, repurposing, and measuring. Content marketing is proven to have excellent ROI when done well.
There are many ways to approach content distribution, including republishing on platforms like LinkedIn, sharing on social regularly, and using content distribution networks like Outbrain. A good content distribution plan will take into account which channels are most suitable, consider the characteristics of your desired audience, and document all your decisions so you can effectively evaluate when it comes time.
Capitalizing on content also requires SEO activities like optimizing pages, creating stellar subject lines, and creating good internal linking. Do these things once and they’ll continue to serve your marketing efforts over time.
Optimize project management
Any work that requires multiple skills and team members requires project management, and marketing is no different. Marketing teams can spend a lot of time emailing and talking to keep up on what’s happening with projects, or they can use tools to streamline communication and make it easy for all team members to see where things stand with all their projects.
There’s no shortage of tools for this, and the best one for you will depend on your particular team’s needs. Here are some good options to consider.
Set a clear strategy
This seems obvious, but lack of a strategy is surprisingly common. If your team doesn’t know what they need to accomplish, how can they decide what they need to do? A strategy needs to involve workflow, budget, tactics, goals, customer profiles, competitor analysis, and plans for promotion. Need one now and don’t know where to start? HubSpot is a great resource for inbound marketing; they have a guide to building a strategy in 24 hours.
If you don’t know how to set goals, use the SMART model: Goals should be specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely. Some examples include growing an email list by 10,000 by the end of the year, increasing lead form inquiries by 15% in the next two quarters, or increasing publishing frequency on a social platform by 3 times this month.
Remember that strategy is not static. You should be returning to it again and again as you execute campaigns to add and adjust.
Head off burnout
We all know that effective marketing is a lot of work that requires juggling different skills on a daily basis. Marketing requires both left and right brain work: It’s part creativity and part logic.
As studies have shown us, downtime is fuel for creativity. If your team is really struggling to come up with ideas or get along with each other, it might be time to take a vacation. Even a CEO needs to take a break every once in a while to relax and discover new inspiration.
Support the marketing team in taking breaks with generous PTO packages and flexible work hours. More rested marketers are better marketers.
Run better meetings
Learn how to manage meeting times and frequency. Studies and surveys show that excessive meetings are a major problem in workplaces. Unproductive meetings don’t just waste your team’s time; they demoralize them, too.
So how do you run better meetings? Create an agenda for every meeting and share it with the team ahead of time. Set shorter periods, like 15 or 30 minutes instead of an hour (even if you don’t use the full hour, that’s time your team members have to block out on their calendars). Marketing team leads should embrace a proactive facilitation stance and keep people on track during meetings, encouraging matters that are between two members to be discussed outside the meeting itself and holding to the agenda.
Another way to tackle the problem of meetings is to have the team schedule one day a week without any meetings. This time can be used for strategy and production that is better done individually and with uninterrupted time to focus.
Set midpoint goals
More sales, bigger audiences, and increased brand awareness are almost always the big goals, but what are the milestones along the way that will show your team you’re on track for those? A team that can achieve some of its goals rather than always falling short will maintain better morale and motivation.
When you’re setting goals, let your past performance inform you to make sure you stay realistic. If your email list is 5,000 and has grown by 2x per quarter over the past year, a goal of a 50,000 list by the end of the year does not to set the team up for success.
Get the right tools
Marketers need to keep an eye on competitors, trending topics, website performance, project costs, and company calendars. They need to create email campaigns, throw together page mockups or imagery for blog posts, write concise and accurate copy, survey consumers, and collaborate with each other and clients.
The point is, marketers do a lot of different things. Help them succeed by giving them useful tools. For example, Buzzsumo shows content performance—your own and your competitors’. Many people swear by Trello for organizing projects. Sketch helps marketers design images quickly. Ahrefs is ideal for competitor research. The list goes on; there are so many tools that it’s simply a matter of finding the best ones for your particular team.
Most of this work can be done the manual way, but that takes a lot more time and brainpower than using tools designed for the tasks.
Never stop training
Marketing changes fast. Someone who’s been in the profession for five years already has outdated knowledge and methods. The most effective marketers stay on top of industry changes through ongoing reading and education.
Give your marketing team members time and encouragement to complete professional training. This will help them deepen their existing skills and build new ones, as well as stay abreast of changes. Look for local workshops in bigger cities, as well, and skills-specific training through other online programs like Lynda.
Managing and effective marketing team requires attending to both people and processes. You need to keep people motivated and in sync as well as giving them processes that work. Consider time off when it’s needed, evaluate the tools available, and remember that every plan is a work in progress and needs to be continually updated.