The challenges of being a one-person marketing department

The challenges of being a one-person marketing department

Having a one-person marketing team is typical for a small business with one_person_marketing_teamlimited resources, but if you’re that one person it can be overwhelming.

Luckily we’ve picked up a number of tools, tips and tricks that you can use to keep your marketing strategy on track. Take a look:

Defining your role as ‘the marketing department’

A “department” suggests that you should have lots of people working under the marketing banner, and indeed HubSpot claims a successful marketing team needs seven people:

  1. The visionary
  2. The project manager
  3. The story teller
  4. The editor
  5. The creative
  6. The technical director
  7. The analyst

But how are you supposed to be seven people at once?!

Create a workable marketing plan

The starting point of any marketing plan is to identify the goals you want to achieve and then work backwards to determine your KPIs and their timeframes. For example, you might decide you want to gain 5 new clients by the end of the quarter. Working backwards, you may calculate that you need 25 new leads to achieve this, if your conversion rate is 20%. You now know that your marketing plan needs to attract enquiries from this number of prospective clients.

How to achieve this will be your key challenge, and you will most likely want to test out a range of ideas and marketing channels, to see which ones generate the quantity and quality of responses you need. And to do this you need … a budget!

Pitch for your budget

They say money makes the world go round, and that’s certainly true in the world of marketing. It’s difficult to achieve much visibility for your brand without a decent budget to help you make that impact, and one of your biggest challenges will be to persuade your boss to fund your one-person marketing department.

The first objection you can expect is “How do I know it will work?” Small businesses fear nothing more than throwing good money after bad, so your job is to present a solid business case for your budget, and give your boss the confidence that money for marketing is money well spent.

We’ve written a separate guide to pitching for content marketing budget, but in short, you’ll need data to back up your claims.

For example, you can pull conversion rate data from your Google Analytics, and even run some A/B tests on your email campaigns and web pages as a pilot exercise. If your boss can see evidence that you know how to run tests, iterate and improve, he or she will feel more confident about funding larger-scale campaigns.

Get organised

Organisation is the key to keeping your head above water if you’re a one-person marketing department, so don’t go off-plan unless something really important happens – i.e. a major industry development that requires an urgent response. Otherwise, map out your campaigns and content, and stick to the plan like glue!

Make a weekly checklist of all the content that goes out on your website, blog and social media channels – and then create a realistic work schedule so you can create all of this content in advance.

Wherever possible, make sure your content is evergreen so you can promote it over and over again.

One handy tool to have is a media/design style guide. This will focus your brand identity and will allow you to create templates that you, or anyone you outsource to, to work quickly and get it right first time.

Eliminate, automate, delegate

This phrase is the main takeaway from one of our favourite books – The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Follow these steps and you’ll be an unstoppable one-person marketing department!

1.     Eliminate

Identify all the jobs that take up your time and produce little in return. Then scrap them.

So for example, instead of posting individual bits of content to 25 social media sites, look at your analytics to identify which ones your clients use and target those. Limit your activity to the platforms that actually generate a response and you’ll get rid of a lot of wasted effort.

2.     Automate

There are hundreds of tools out there to help you, you just need to know where to look. Whether it’s to help you schedule your social media posts (Hootsuite) or send out email campaigns (MailChimp), there is a tool out there for you.

You can even employ full marketing suites such as HubSpot and Marketo, and these will help you tremendously! They even include the ‘automated workflow’ function that does half your work for you – you can set triggers that send out after a visitor has completed an action on your site, for example a ‘Welcome’ email if they sign up to your newsletter.

3.     Delegate

To whom do you delegate if you’re a one-man-band? That’s easy – an expert in every field in which you are not an expert (budget allowing!). By outsourcing to high-quality agencies and freelancers, you can build a virtual department of people who are leaders in their field.

Outsourcing gives the one-person marketing team more time to oversee the marketing strategy and keep an eye on results. No longer will you have to write blog after blog, or fool everyone that you’re a photo shop wizard.

So there you have it – being a one-person marketing department doesn’t need to be as daunting as it seems. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your marketing goals.