Person pointing fingers at the camera with Space Invaders background

5 Ways to Win as a One-Person Marketing Team

For when there is only the ‘me’ in team

Imagine you are a soldier trying to protect Earth from an alien invasion. It’s what you’ve trained for your whole life. Noise and fire engulf the night sky. As the aliens advance, you take aim with your cannon and fire. Some of the ships are destroyed but are quickly replaced by others. The same thing happens over and over again. What do you do?

It’s exactly the same dilemma that faces the solo, in-house marketer. Alright, so it’s not exactly the same. But sometimes as the only marketer in an organisation, it can feel like you’re constantly playing Space Invaders – and losing. Here’s how to win:

1. Seek focus from above

No, I’m not talking about a religious experience here but I am referring to a ‘higher power’: Your boss. When you’re an in-house, solo marketer requests for assistance will come at you from all angles. Now is the time to focus and refine.

You will need to focus your marketing efforts on what will get your organisation results both in the short term and long term. It is critical to get guidance from your boss on exactly what your organisation’s priorities are.  Without it, you’ll be spread too thin and won’t have enough marketing ammunition to really achieve much of anything.

2. Style guides are your friends

Create a brand style guide for your organisation to get everyone on the same page. It means that anyone in the organisation can produce material that is consistently on-brand (which means you don’t have to – time saver!).

Things to cover in your brand style guide

  • What you stand for
  • Why you’re doing what you’re doing
  • An ‘elevator pitch’ for the business
  • Your logo variations
  • Official brand colours and fonts
  • The tone of voice you use
  • Your brand personality

3. Team Memo: “We’re all on the same side here”

Many non-marketers don’t understand what a marketer actually does and how it adds value to your organisation. You’ll need to show them what you’re worth.  Not in a braggy, ‘Look at me, look at me’ kind of way but let people know what you’re working on, what you’re trying to achieve and most importantly, what’s in it for them.  It helps rally people to the cause and increases understanding for what can realistically be achieved by a one-person marketing team. With everyone on side, you’re also more likely to get content ideas from across the team which is invaluable to your marketing efforts.

Back to the Space Invaders analogy, when you’re super busy in the middle of trying to save the world, it feels like there is no time to stop and update the team on your latest exploits but building morale and rallying the troops is exactly what is needed to win the war.  

4. It’s good form to set up a Marketing Request Form

When all the work requests start flying at you, it helps to have a process that will save you time and also get better results for the team. How? Ask team members to fill out a short, simple form if they need marketing assistance (e.g. I need a flyer by next Wed to help promote our new sale).

Asking team mates to fill out a form helps them clarify exactly what they need, means you’ll be interrupted less with last-minute requests and is an easier way to filter through and keep track of requests.

Make it super easy for your team to fill out by creating a free, people-friendly online form at Typeform. Simply send the form link to your team and you’ll get notified by email when a new request comes in. You can even set it up so that the notification email also triggers a new task entry in Asana (or whatever project management system you use).

Questions to put on your work request form (keep it short!)

  • Name? (Who needs the work done?)
  • What do you need? (e.g. Print flyer, email series, new page on the website. Ask them to include dimensions/size requirements)
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What would you like it to achieve? (Helps them and you focus on what really is the best form of communication to achieve the goal. E.g. Instead of creating another poster to change office behaviour, maybe what’s needed is an education and training session.)
  • When do you need it done by? (Set out a reasonable turnaround time guideline for typical tasks to help manage expectations)

5. For the sake of humanity, outsource to save your sanity

If you’re a one-person marketing team, chances are your marketing budget is fairly slim. But you can’t do it all by yourself – trust me. Outsource time-sucking tasks like:

Consider using quality freelancers (like me!) as a way to quickly and inexpensively build up your marketing armoury, as and when you need it. You get the expertise you need without having to hire a new employee or to try and take on all the work yourself.

Get in touch with me today and let’s arrange a time to chat about how I can help you win the marketing war. As a former member of an in-house, one-person marketing team, I’m on your side!

Green question shape surrounded by yellow writing paper with three scrunched up paper paper balls in the middle to represent what a copywriter does.

What is a Copywriter? And Why You Should Even Care

Here’s a quick quiz. What is a copywriter? Select true or false for the following statement:

Copywriters work with trademarks and secure your ideas from being stolen.

T or F?

If you selected ‘True’, congratulations on joining the majority of people in the world who’ve gotten the answer wrong.

And why would you know what a copywriter is unless you’ve binge-watched Mad Men a few too many times or worked in that magical place called ‘Adland’.

A copywriter uses words to sell and persuade

Now, we’re getting closer to the mark (and away from trademarks). The modern copywriter was born in the 1950s. I use the word “born” metaphorically. Otherwise, it would be more reasonable to say that the modern copywriter was born sometime around 1930 and then entered the profession in 1950. Anyway, I digress…

The modern copywriter convinced us all to buy the bright, shiny household appliances that would give us back more free time to relax (haha!). The copywriters wrote the words that went with the pretty pictures in the ads.

If you build trust, they will come

These days we’ve all become wise to old-fashioned, in-your-face copywriting techniques. We’ll no longer fall for promises like “buy this. It will change your life”. The selling philosophy used to be ‘build it and they will come’. Now it is the job of copywriters to ‘build trust and they will come’.

As modern marketing guru Seth Godin says, it’s all about earning trust and that “being trusted is the single most urgent way to build a business.”

How can a copywriter help build trust?

Well, let’s stick with Mr Godin. Once again, he has the answers. Copywriters can help build trust for their clients by “creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread.”

In the past, brands mostly used paid advertising to tell their stories. Now you can also use your website, blogs, emails, social media posts, videos, brochures, newsletters, articles, and press releases.

Good writing takes time

Writing authentically and in a way that will resonate with your audience takes time. The day-to-day demands of running a business or a marketing team can be overwhelming enough without adding the stress of writing as well.

Those three hours you were going to set aside for a website re-write? Gone! You had to respond to an urgent client request instead. I know, I’ve been there.

So, the website copy just sits there, never to be updated. That next blog article never gets written. Your monthly newsletter starts going out every other month. Meanwhile, you miss out on building more valuable trust with existing and prospective clients.

Take it away

A freelance copywriter can get the time-consuming writing done for you, as and when you need it. You get the expertise you need, without having to hire a new employee or try to take on all that work yourself.

Get in touch with me today and let’s arrange a time to chat about the writing needs of your organisation.

Image of Kellogg's Corn Flake Boxes from 1920s. Example of Advertising in Recessions.

Winning a Recession With More Advertising—Could Your Small Business Pull Off a Kellogg’s in 2020?

It was the breakfast cereal war of The Great Depression: Kellogg’s vs Post. “Who is Post?” you might be asking yourself as an Australian? Well, exactly—it was Kellogg’s who won the war by doubling their advertising spend in the middle of a crippling recession to become the market leaders by 1933.

The story was highlighted in a New Yorker article from the last recession in 2009 which also said: “numerous studies have shown that companies that keep spending on acquisition, advertising, and R. & D. during recessions do significantly better than those which make big cuts.”

I was curious to know more as I’ve seen the Kellogg’s example touted by numerous marketers on social media lately as being clear evidence that more ad spend in a recession is the key to business success. So, what exactly does the research say?

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps…

Often cited in favour of increasing ad spends in a recession is a paper by Tellis and Tellis (2009). Of the forty reports they reviewed, only ten were actual empirical studies. Based on these ten, their findings suggest “firms that increased advertising during a recession experienced higher sales, market share, or earnings during or after the recession.”

Similarly, Dekimpe and Deleersynder (2018) reviewed 31 marketing studies from 2001 onwards and found “research has repeatedly shown that maintained, or even increased, advertising spending during economic contractions often results in long-term managerial and social benefits, which can be in the form of better firm performance.” But, when you look at the three articles cited to support this quote:

  • The first paper looked at 26 of the firms listed in the top 50 global advertisers between 1986–2006, their advertising spend and whether it impacted long-term share price (not profit). I’m not sure how applicable their findings are to the majority of small and medium businesses;
  • The second paper focused only on the impact of ad spend in one country (Turkey) during one recession (2001); and
  • The third paper looked at a sample of 275 large, publicly listed U.S. firms during recessions between 2000–2009 and found that family firms outperformed non-family firms which is partially due to family firms exhibiting more proactive marketing behaviour in recessions. The researchers’ firm performance metric uses a form of Tobin’s q to determine company market value which can be problematic when used as the only indicator of firm performance in marketing studies (For more see Bendle and Butt 2018).

Ok then. Who is a small business to believe? Well like most things that are researched, the results are mixed.

The ‘Name of the Game’ Matters

In looking at past research, Graham and Frankenberger (2011) reiterate that there is a “notable convergence of findings” in studies looking at whether increasing ad spend in a recession improves company performance. Srinivasan, Lilien, & Sridhar (2011) also found that results are mixed on whether increasing recession ad spend increases company performance. So, both sets of researchers decided to analyse some data themselves.

After reviewing the annual accounting and stock market data for over 3,200 publicly listed companies in the U.S. between 1975 and 2003; Graham and Frankenberger found that “on average, compared with nonrecessionary periods, greater earnings effects result during and after recessions when expenditures are maintained or increased rather than decreased.”

But (there’s always a but in research), the earnings impacts of increasing ad spend in a recession depends on what type of industry you’re in. For consumer and industrial products firms, the effects of increased ad spending in recessions ranges from two to three years. For services firms, there are no effects.

So if you’re in the business of “selling intangible products to other firms or final consumers”, like many small businesses, increasing ad spend in a recession may not be worth it.

Not Too Heavy, Not Too Light: How to get Recessionary Ad Spend Just Right

In the case of recessionary advertising spend on company profits; Srinavisen, Lilien and Sridhar, found that ad spend in past recessions for business-to-consumer (B2C) goods, business-to-business (B2B) services and B2B goods firms was just about right.

For B2C services firms, it was a different story. In this space, there’s a tendency for firms to overspend on advertising in recessions.

The study authors even recommended B2C services firm managers consider “decreasing their advertising spending in recessions to improve their profits.”

Consider Lower Cost Marketing Strategies Instead of More Advertising in Recessions

While the research suggests that B2C goods, B2B services and B2B goods firms could improve earnings impacts by maintaining or even increasing recessionary ad spend; for many small businesses the budget may just not be there to spend.

Paid advertising is one marketing strategy but there are other lower-cost options that you can consider. Most of these involve ‘inbound’ and content marketing strategies: Drawing or pulling the customer towards you with helpful and engaging information instead of pushing them to your products and services through paid advertising only.

To learn more about content marketing and other digital marketing skills, check out my previous blog post here: 5 Ways to Learn Digital Marketing for Your Small Business in Brisbane.

Now might be a better time to focus on brand building through content so that when your customers are ready to spend, you’re more likely to be ‘top of mind’.

Image of coffee mug saying "begin" to encourage small business owners to learn digital marketing skills

5 Ways to Learn Digital Marketing Skills for Your Small Business in Brisbane

And the best part is, they’re all free – let the learning begin!

There is a lot of helpful digital marketing information floating around online that’s free to learn. Especially if you’re new-ish to the whole digital thing and you want to learn the basics. Here’s a quick round-up of the five options I think are worth looking into as a small business owner in Brisbane:

1. Google’s Digital Garage

Want to know everything about digital marketing from woe to go? The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by Google’s Digital Garage is forty hours worth of video tutorials covering all of these skills:

  • Analytics and data insights
  • Business strategy
  • Content marketing
  • Display advertising
  • E-Commerce
  • Email marketing
  • Local marketing
  • Mobile
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Web optimisation

Phew!! That’s a lot but it’s a great place to get started. If you haven’t got a spare forty hours up your sleeve, another option for more “on-the-go”, quick, bite-sized sessions (but also free) is the Google Primer app. Do you think that counts as an extra way to learn digital marketing? (please say no as I don’t want to change this article’s headline now).

HOT TIP: If you’re writing your own content, they say odd numbers perform better in list articles than good ol’ even numbers.

2. (also known as LinkedIn Learning) through the Qld State Library

There are some really high-quality digital marketing courses available for FREE here.

In fact, the site offers over nine hundred marketing courses that you can do all from the comfort of your own home. For access, sign-up for membership with the Queensland State Library (also FREE). To do this, you have to be a Qld resident. C’mon Brisbanites – make the most of this marketing treasure trove that’s right at your fingertips!

3. Charles Sturt University – Free Short Course on Digital Marketing

A five-week short course with pre-recorded webinars. The course guides you through preparing your own digital marketing strategy and comes with templates, links to useful resources, information on the Australian Privacy Principles and the truth about Search Engine Optimisation: being that nobody really knows how Google’s algorithm works but there are tried and tested methods to use that are more likely to get positive results.

4. Hubspot Academy

Chock-full of info especially about inbound, content and social media marketing. A lot of focus on using Hubspot’s software (they be running this free training after all) but nevertheless, some solid digital marketing principles are covered here.

5. Facebook Blueprint

Ok so not wholistic digital marketing training (the pressure was on to get this list to 5) but very helpful when you want to know how to run your first Facebook or Instagram ad yourself.

As you would expect, free courses by the likes of social media and tech giants are focussed on their products. But like any expert advice, take what you want from it and know when to take it with a grain of salt. With or without salt, there’s still plenty of gold to be had with these five learning options for the D.I.Y. small business marketer.

If you don’t have the time for a forty-hour in-depth course or just want a hand with some of your digital marketing, that’s what I’m here for. Send me an email now and let’s chat about ways to get your business out there for more clients and customers to see.