As inbound marketers, online marketers, social media marketers, call us what you like (within reason!), we’ve all encountered task overload and confusion. It’s no wonder. There’s not only many things to do, we have to make sure they’re all integrated. Whereas we might see the discrete parts of the process, to those experiencing it, it needs to be a smooth, unbroken journey, whether a conversion occurs the first time a prospect performs a search, of after several months or even years of repeat website visits, emails, cautious contact and free trials. The more complex the product or service you sell, the longer the time it’s likely to take to get your prospects all the way down your funnel.
So how do we easily prioritize what we should be doing and when? That depends upon the size of your human resource. If you’ve a plethora of great people, you can assign each person or persons to each stage of the process. So you’d have one person looking after website structure and hosting, another doing SEO, another doing social media marketing, yet another doing opt-in email marketing, and hopefully all of them sharing the blogging. That’s a great situation to be in, where every person can play to their strengths, but it’s not affordable or practical for most small or medium size businesses, nor is it a fit for many inbound marketing agencies.
So if you’re doing all this alone, or with just a couple of helpers, you need a plan to make sure you don’t drown in the confusion and in the sheer volume of task that need to be done. So here are some suggestions:
Step 1. List the steps to your inbound marketing process. For example, “Get Found”, “Nurture” or “Analyse”.
Step 2. Make a list of outline processes that need to be done to implement and keep each step of your inbound marketing process running to perfection. So for social media it might be daily tweets, Facebook updates and so on.
Step 3. Break each of these processes into discrete tasks. For example “Write a blog with 600 words”.
Step 4. Decide how often each of these tasks needs to be performed, so that no part of the whole inbound marketing process is kept waiting on other tasks. So maybe, tweet daily, update Facebook twice weekly, build links weekly, run a webinar monthly, etc.
Step 5. Calculate how much time is needed for each task, for each and every time that it is performed.
Step 6. Take this list of tasks with time requirements and line them up in the order they need doing for a whole month. If you need to do a task every day, have it there 20 or so times. If it’s required weekly, have it there 4 times, and so on.
Step 7. Take this chronological list and apply it to a month’s calendar.
Does it all fit with time over? Great, you have a list of tasks to do each day, with the time you should spend on them. This is your task list that you can work against and still be secure that you’ll be doing all you need to when it needs to be done.
What if it doesn’t fit? It means you need more time or more people, and since time is limited – unless you want to fail through burnout – you need to get some help in, whether through more staff or through outsourcing to others who are perhaps more experienced in these areas.
It’ll take a bit of planning and thinking through, but you’ll have a detailed plan of action that you can use to make sure your inbound marketing function is doing all you need it to do, and when you need to get it done, to provide your prospects with a seamless journey.
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