How to Market — and Save Time Nicci Troiani For most small to medium sized businesses, learning how to market themselves is a daunting task. The time and money that it is expected to take is overwhelming… but it doesn’t have to be. If you are spending a lot of time or a lot of money (or both), on your marketing efforts, you should re-evaluate your process. There are many tools and methods out there designed for business owners who don’t have the dough to shell out to big marketing agencies or don’t have the time or experience to spend to do their own marketing. 1. Social Media Schedulers Social media is a must for marketing. Not only is it FREE but it’s also where consumers are most influenced by brands. If your business is not utilizing social media, you are missing out on leads. Because it’s new to some people it can be intimidating but learning how to use social media for business doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of resources out there to assist. Part of the struggle with using social media for business is scheduling posts for the right time, possibly multiple times and scheduling it for time that the most people will read it. Depending on your price range, there are many options out there to help you schedule your posts. Here are a couple of popular tools that will help you save time: Hootsuite– This program has a free or pro version (9.99/month). The free account allows up to 5 social media profiles, which is usually sufficient for a small business. Additionally, there are some free reporting features so you can analyze how each post is doing. Sprout Social– Sprout social is a paid option with plans ranging from $39-$99 a month. The $39/month plan allows you to have up to 10 profiles, publish and schedule messages, access reports and analytics, brand monitoring, and customer engagement tools. 2. Blog Writers For many, the hard part of content marketing is the biggest necessity– the content. There are many options out there to help businesses create content on a regular basis: Zerys— Zerys is an online writer marketplace. Price varies based on the project and word count. There are writers available for every industry and any content based project that you can imagine. Blogmutt— For about $80 a month you can actually have the Blogmutt writers write a weekly blog specific to your industry and preferences. The service sends multiple selections and you will get to pick the favorite, send edits and reject the rest. 3. Marketing Automation Software Now that you have your content and your content posting to your social media platforms, you should also be sending your content out via an e-mail campaign. One easy way to do that is to use a marketing automation software. Set up the e-mail templates and put the content into a campaign, let it run on it’s own and check the stats. Using a software like this saves you from sending e-mails one by one or copying and pasting addresses into the Bcc box. It also saves you from retyping e-mails that instead can be housed as templates. Creating campaigns that you can reuse, even a simple following up e-mail and phone call for a sales lead can be a huge time-saver.