If you’re like many small business owners, chances are your marketing team may not actually be a team. In fact, it may be only one person—and that person may be you.
Regardless of the actual size of your marketing team, having limited time, personnel or other resources can be taxing on a small business, especially when the initiatives they undertake are pivotal to growth.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be accomplished. With the right tools and knowledge, there’s still plenty you can achieve without compromising the assets you do have.
So, to help you navigate the complexities of establishing effective marketing with limited resources, here’s a short list of powerful shortcuts, so you can manage your efforts as efficiently as possible.
Shortcut 1: Get a comprehensive CRM
If you’re a well-established business, you may already have a system of managing communications, purchases, and more between your business and your clients—but that doesn’t mean you can skip this step.
Elements of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are often embedded in inventory or sales management systems, but having a truly comprehensive version can make all the difference in streamlining your processes—and improving your conversions.
In fact, many of the best CRMs on the market also include (or at least offer) a Content Management System (CMS), which means you can host your website and manage your digital assets from it as well. Plenty also come loaded with other features that eliminate the need for disparate solutions that often require costly, laborious integration down the road.
For example, HubSpot offers their CRM for free to small businesses. With it, you can track customer data, set and manage meetings, live chat, and set notifications. From there, you can expand into further marketing efforts like automation or email, or add on their CMS so you can host and edit your site, generate blog posts, track visitors, and so on.
Long story short, an all-in-one hub to coordinate sales, marketing, and asset management will go a long way in tracking, integrating, and leveraging everything available to you without costing you an arm and a leg down the road, all while saving plenty of headaches.
Shortcut 2: Templatize routine processes
No one loves to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to marketing. Plenty of people only create one-off assets for what’s necessary in the moment, without realizing that down the road, every iteration of that process will likely take just as long.
However, if you design elements of your efforts to be recycled, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and money in the long run—and you’ll be creating consistency to boot.
To put it in perspective, tons of businesses have a newsletter they push out to their audience on a regular basis. But to do that, it takes formatting and designing the email, sourcing images, and writing the copy, among others. Completing every one of those tasks every time you go to write an email will undoubtedly take a lot of time. But you can shortcut the process by creating templates.
For example, even if you don’t have a CRM/CMS, there are plenty of email clients and embeddable editors that allow you to create email templates you can reuse over time. You can choose the size, formatting, and layout, include branding and contact information, and more, all within the template, leaving just the content, images, and subject, preview lines, and recipients to be filled in whenever you need to send your newsletter out.
Shortcut 3: Maximize free tools
While there are still plenty of responsibilities professionals should handle directly, there are tons of online tools that have been developed in recent years to help simplify and streamline tasks you may normally have to outsource.
In fact, when it comes to marketing, there’s a free tool for just about everything.
Need to generate blog ideas? Resize an image for your site or email? Get an idea of your website or page performance? There are free tools for all of these, and more commonly than not, there are multiple options for each depending on how and what you need done.
While it’s not as streamlined as having all these tools in one place, you can create a pretty comprehensive marketing stack for free if you’re willing to spend the time sourcing them all—and depending on the task, may even allow you to better balance your financial and temporal resources. And as you know, in small business, flexibility is the name of the game.
While there’s no perfect, free, all-in-one solution for effective marketing, learning how to leverage shortcuts is one of the best ways to grow in a cost-effective manner, so when you finally do add that full team, you’ll already have plenty of good processes, tools, and habits in place to help you continue on your path.