Most marketers are under a lot of pressure. Not only are expectations high, they also often have to accomplish huge amounts of work on a shoestring budget. As a result of these and other factors, many of them are working harder and longer than ever before. In fact, according to a recent study by global information services group Experian, almost three-quarters of marketing professionals report having to work longer hours than ever before.
Trends like these underscore the fact that marketers need to find ways to be more productive. The good news is that there are plenty of tools that can help, many of which are either completely free or at least offer a free version. They’re tools that can help you get work done faster and easier, and with fewer headaches. In this post, I’m highlighting three of my all-time favorites:
Trello is a free organizational and workflow management tool that lets you keep track of a variety of projects. Effectively, it allows you to create boards for the projects you’re working on, which are broken down into a series of individual tasks that can be assigned to the members of your team.
With its ability to upload and share documents, leave comments for other team members, and get notifications as projects progress, it’s a great tool for organizing your most complex initiatives. The best part is that it lets you do everything all in one place so that you’re not constantly jumping back and forth between project plans, email, instant messenger, shared drives, and all of the other places where you might otherwise go to manage your work. That saves you time and a lot of hassle.
Piktochart makes it easy to create the visual content that’s in such high demand right now (for some insights into why visual content is essential, just check out these stats). I especially like it for creating infographics and banners.
The way it works is that the software gives you access to a library of really interesting templates that you can populate and customize with your own data and text. That means you can create tons of visual content without having to wrack your brain trying to come up with a great design or burn through your budget working with a designer. Admittedly to get the most out of Piktochart you do need to be a paying customer (accounts start at $29 per month), but there’s still a fair amount that you can do for free once you sign up as a user. It’s definitely worth checking out.
When it comes to becoming more productive with social media, I’m a big fan of HootSuite. It may not be new or novel, but it is effective. It’s basically a master dashboard from which you can manage all of your social media accounts. Not only is that far more convenient than having to check each one individually, it also gives you much better oversight of what’s happening across your social networks.
The real advantage is that you can also pre-schedule all of your social shares, which is a real time-saver. I like to sit down and pre-schedule all of my shares for the week every Monday morning. That frees up a lot of my time during the rest of the week because I more or less am able to set it and forget it. Here again you can do a lot for free, but if you want to get all of the functionality, you’re going to have to pony up $8.99 a month.
Start Making Your Life Easier (and More Productive)
You’ve got a lot on your plate. To get everything done without driving yourself crazy, you’ve got to work smarter and not harder. The three tools that I’ve outlined in this post are ones that I highly recommend, but there only a few of the many options that you have.
My advice is that you take the time to figure out what tasks you’d like to automate so that your life becomes easier. Then start doing your homework to see what tools are out there that can help you get things done. We’re often so busy that we don’t make this a priority even though in the long run we’ll be much better off once we do. Happy hunting and good luck!