3 Tools and a Tip for Making Your Online Marketing Easier
I'm going to tell you a secret. Are you ready?
I used to hate marketing.
Yes, I realize that a huge part of my job is helping clients market their businesses and organizations. And I love that. But marketing SMCO? Bleh, no fun... So, I completely sympathize when clients tell me they're overwhelmed and stressed out by marketing priorities, options and and how to string it all together.
But last year, something clicked for me with regard to our company's marketing. I hated doing it because I was doing all of it. I didn't have tools and systems to make it easier and while I saved money on paper, it actually wasn't cost effective with regard to my own time. I was doing exactly the opposite of what I tell clients to do.
As you probably know, I'm a big believer in the power of distinctive original content in marketing. You can advertise all day long, promote, promote, promote, but your original content will speak to the right clients in a way that straight promotion will not. You can bring your voice—the company's voice—to life via blogs (which also have amazing SEO benefits when done correctly so people can actually find you), newsletters and engaging social media posts. And, you can tie them all together to make them do the heavy lifting for you.
The secret to making it all a whole lot less stressful? Streamlining.
That meant two things.
- I cut back on trying to do all the marketing. It sounds obvious, but I love just trying stuff out and seeing what sticks. But committing to all the things is silly, so I prioritized this blog, my newsletter and Instagram. My data told me that these were all very distinct audiences so this was the way to achieve the farthest reach.
- I invested in apps to make implementing these efforts easier and less time-consuming.
I'm going to dig into the second of these points a bit more and share what I'm using.
MissingLettr - I mentioned MissingLettr in my February newsletter, but this application is a workhorse. Do you have a blog (and you should!)? Then MissingLettr will redistribute your blog content on social media in really creative and engaging ways. The thing I love about it is that MissingLettr scans your posts and pulls the most shareable content out as previews and quotations. It's really, really cool. Here's a look at one of my "campaigns."
Posting on Facebook and LinkedIn is just not a huge life priority for me. I realize it's necessary, but I also find that it's a way to lose half a day, and I need to focus on client work. So, a few minutes on MissingLettr saves me so much time. Since I've loaded my favorite old posts into MissingLettr, I've seen a 22% increase in engagement on Facebook—it's still not high, because of the way Facebook handles organic content from pages, but the reach is definitely higher than it was. My audience still spends a lot of time on Facebook and LinkedIn, so this saves me so much time crafting evergreen posts for those platforms. I can't say enough good things about how this app is doing some hard work that I dreaded doing.
Bonus: It will also post to Medium for you (without being flagged as duplicate content), expanding your blog's exposure.
(There's an AppSumo deal for this right now, and I have to say this is the best AS deal I've ever purchased.)
Later App - I have mentioned this in newsletters in the past, but Later's photo and hashtag storage is just great—and the free tier is probably enough for a lot of users (unless Instagram is your main marketing platform, for example, if you're an interior designer). I'm stepping back from daily Insta posting on the SMCO account, because I like to only post original content and it's hard to come up with daily original posts. But, if there's something that I want to be sure to post, I schedule it in Later, populate it with my stored hashtags, and the app nudges me when it's time to post. With Instagram opening up their API to outside apps, it may become even easier—fingers crossed. If the 'gram is a big part of your strategy, this is a tool you can't miss, and I think it's a much better value than Planoly, unless you're a store, in which case the shoppable posts on that platform may be a smarter move.
MailMunch - No one gets why I love MailMunch so much but it's the bomb dot com, you guys. The concept is simple, MailMunch lets you create simple forms and landing pages and connect them to email marketing services. This is not a full-scale landing page service like Unbounce or LeadPages—it's a lightweight option if you have lots of forms you're using. It connects to loads of email marketing services and what I really loved was how freaking EASY it was when I moved from MailChimp to ConvertKit, all I had to do was change the service my forms and landing pages were associated with and move on with life. I didn't realize how valuable that was until I was faced with dealing with that mess. (I will write soon about why I made that switch.) Even on the free tier, there are some sophisticated options, including opt-in bars, exit detect, and logic (ie, only displaying forms on certain pages—for Squarespace users, this is particularly nice, since the system's built in pop-up forms don't have that kind of capability).
Here's an example of a free landing page with a newsletter signup I made in about 30 seconds. Obviously, it could be more beautiful with a bit more work, but it's an accessible way for you to begin experimenting with simple lead pages and forms as part of your strategy without investing the big bucks in premium services. I'm a big fan of low-risk experiments to determine the potential of various strategies.
Note: If you're a Squarespace user and not grandfathered into an old pricing plan, you will need the business plan or above to use MailMunch.
Sometimes when I recommend tools to clients, they'll run full speed ahead and try implementing all the things all at once, but I don't think that's the best strategy.
I recommend testing (free trials are awesome) each tool thoroughly to see if it will make your working life easier or harder.
The risk with rushing into implementing all the things is that you can actually create more work for yourself. So, if the idea of intelligently redistributing your content makes sense in your overall marketing strategy, take Missinglettr for a spin and see if it makes your life easier. Then, if you want to test out streamlining to your forms for your email marketing, test out MailMunch. Or, if you're in a visual industry and you're customers are on Instagram, dive into later and see if it will help streamline your posting.
Be smart about these technologies—they should be working for you, not the other way around.
If you try out Later, MailMunch or MissingLettr, pop back over here and let me know in the comments what you think. I've found all three have saved me loads of time, but especially if something doesn't work for you, I'd love to know why!
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