You don’t actually have to build a computer, or any other machine. In fact you don’t actually have to build anything. But you should think like you’re building a machine.
Correcting a lie about the Internet
Despite the rumors, the Internet is not a place of quick and easy solutions. Don’t get my wrong, they’re advertised everywhere. And computers do make a lot of things faster. But it’s not beacuse computers have created some shortcut from A to C while bypassing B. You still have to go through all the steps. The only reason computers and the Internet have sped things up is that, at some point, someone took the time to automate the middle steps.
Stand on the shoulders of giants
We all have a finite amount of time, especially in business. You don’t want to spend all day, or even an hour each morning, scheduling Facebook posts or following up to generate online reviews. No. You want to spend your time focusing on the important things.
This is where the Internet excels. The Internet is full of tools that other people have built that allow you to be incredibly effective and efficient, if you know where to find them and how to use them. You can stand on the shoulders of giants, using the tools others have created to build your business faster. This is especially true in online marketing.
Automate wherever possible
Here are only a small selection of the incredibly powerful tools you can use to automate your online marketing:
- HootSuite can be used to schedule a week’s worth of social media posts in a single sitting.
- A basic MailChimp account can be used to build trust and credibility with prospective clients before you even have a personal conversation.
- My marketing tool, Online Review Management, handles all your client follow-up to generate online reviews in about 5 minutes work per month.
- Boomerang for Gmail can even automate parts of your email, including scheduling emails to be sent later, and automatically sending regularly scheduled messages.
Measure twice, cut once
But don’t just go automating all willy-nilly. You’ll end up with a tangled mess of systems and solutions that end up doing more harm than good. It is crucial to have clear goals for your online marketing. Understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. Then, and only then, select the best tools for the job – the tools that accomplish everything you need them to, without being cumbersome to use or overly expensive due to a slew of unecessary features.
Hitting the sweet spot
There’s no magic number, but most local businesses should be able to take care of their online marketing in about an hour a week. And this doesn’t mean an hour of the business owner’s time. They will, naturally, want and need to be involved at some stage – they’re usually the expert and the person who has to sign off on marketing decisions. But they should be largely insulated from day-to-day online marketing tasks. Having a clear goal, a solid plan, and choosing the right automation tools, makes this possible.