Being a one-person marketing team can be both exciting and stressful.
You have a high level of control over the company’s creative messaging, which gives you the power to truly launch a brand.
But you’re responsible for building and executing a company’s entire marketing strategy, which can feel overwhelming given the sheer amount of effort it takes to be present in the right places at the right times.
Whether you’re a solopreneur, the first marketing hire at an early-stage startup, or the sole marketing employee at an emerging business, these tips are for you.
Keep reading to learn how to build a multichannel marketing strategy as a one-person marketing team.
Step 1: Align with executive stakeholders on a business plan
Being efficient as a one-person marketing team is all about precision and scalability.
Adopting an “action first, planning later” mentality may be tempting – especially for early-stage startups – but this approach will only cause more headaches later when you’re forced to make time-consuming changes to a large number of pages or delete entire projects en masse.
You also risk losing revenue if you launch marketing campaigns without understanding your target audience. Your business objectives and the goals you set as milestones toward meeting those objectives will be the north star guiding all your marketing efforts.
Before embarking on your marketing journey, make sure you align with executive stakeholders on these business plan essentials:
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Unique value proposition or selling point
- Target audience
- Perceived competitors
- Business goals and objectives
- Brand guidelines (including voice and tone)
Step 2: Establish your online presence with your company website
After you’ve outlined your business plan, your next step is to make sure your online presence:
- Is consistent with your brand guidelines.
- Speaks to your target audiences.
- Reflects your brand’s mission, vision, core values and unique value proposition.
Start with the company website.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget to hire a designer, don’t worry about having all the bells and whistles. Many CMS platforms come with built-in templates that can be customized with your brand logo and colors.
The most important part of your website will be the content on its pages. Make sure your site provides an accurate representation of your brand and the products/services you offer.
Your content should speak volumes about your brand or product using as few words as possible. Write in the language of your target audience, not the language you use internally.
As a one-person marketing team, you can’t be everywhere at once no matter how badly you might want to be.
Maintaining an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, X and Pinterest will lead to burnout with minimal results to show for all the additional effort.
If you haven’t done so as part of your business plan (see step 1), you’ll want to create buyer personas for each of your target audiences and align your marketing efforts to guiding those personas through each stage of their buyer journey.
Identify your personas’ favorite social platforms and focus your efforts only on the platforms with the highest engagement potential.
If your business doesn’t have an established social presence yet, look to your competitors:
- What channels do they have the most success with, and how do they interact with users on those channels?
- What are their most successful posts, and what type of content do those posts contain?
Your initial attempts at social media marketing might require a bit of trial and error, but identifying what works and focusing your future efforts on tactics with proven business value will help you grow your following (and revenue) enough to make room for some of your more experimental ideas.
Step 4: Create a multichannel content calendar
Once you have your business’s foundation in place (your website) and have identified your target audience’s favorite social channels, your next step is to scope out your content marketing strategy.
If you’ve ever tried looking for online resources about building a content strategy, you’ve probably read that you should be posting on social media at least once a day every day as a bare minimum.
As a one-person marketing team, posting every day might not be viable, and that’s OK. The key is to post consistently, and to consistently provide value.
Start by posting valuable informational content once or twice a week on the same day(s) each week (finding the best days might require some testing).
A few additional tips for creating a content calendar as a one-person marketing team:
- Keep a running list of ideas: Maintain a spreadsheet for any content or campaign ideas that may pop into your head throughout the month. On that spreadsheet, add columns for the type of content or campaign you’ll be posting as well as the keyword focus, audience persona, and marketing funnel position the piece of content will be targeting.
- Adopt a hub and spoke model: Beginning with a few pieces of pillar content (your hub) and expanding on the pillars with related content (your spokes) is a great way to naturally scale a content strategy by providing valuable information related to a topic your audience cares about.
- Don’t be afraid to reuse content: By human nature, attention is fleeting. The upside to this is that you can repost a piece of evergreen content you wrote three months ago and still gain new engagement. As your content library continues to grow, reposting your most successful pieces of content should become an integral part of your content marketing strategy.
- Make curated content and integral part of your strategy: Content creation is a full time job in and of itself. As a one-person marketing team, you won’t have the time to consistently write valuable thought leadership. The good news is you don’t need to continuously post your own content to create value for your audience. When done right, curated content can save time, build industry connections, and extend your social reach. (Just don’t forget to give credit to the original creator.)
- Don’t jump into paid advertising until you have cohesive messaging: Paid advertising is a great way for new businesses to quickly build brand awareness. However, launching an ad campaign with a half-baked landing page or an underdeveloped product runs the risk of leaving users with a bad first impression. Ads may generate brand awareness, but if your brand story or product purpose aren’t clear to new users, you’ll lose money without generating conversions.
- Leverage your fanbase: Businesses with larger marketing teams or bigger budgets might join an influencer network, but as a one-person marketing team, you’ll probably need to be a bit more creative. Consider asking your current customers to be influencers. Whether you’re a more established brand or an emerging business without a large social following, having real users proselytize about your product will build audience trust and brand awareness.
- Leverage your coworkers: You may be a one-person marketing team, but expanding your share of voice doesn’t need to be a solo effort. Involve your coworkers from other departments in the process. Have ongoing conversations about what motivates them to do what they do, and make their passions and interests part of your content strategy. Involve them in the sharing process, too. Ask them if they’d be willing to share your posts throughout the week.
- Scale your strategy with automation and scheduling: Once you get the ball rolling, invest in a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Loomly. Set aside an hour or two every Friday and schedule your posts for the following week. Create an automated email newsletter and include a few recent pieces of content every month or quarter.
- Build audience interaction into your strategy: It’s not enough to just post new content on a variety of channels. You’ll also want to set aside time to interact with your followers. Because today’s users expect prompt response times, you should make user interaction a daily practice, even if you only post once or twice a week.
Step 5: Master the art of time management and task prioritization
Ruthlessly prioritizing your time is one of the hardest parts of being a one-person marketing team as you’re often juggling competing demands from different departments.
Yet, expending effort on tasks that don’t clearly align with the business goals you’ve outlined with your executive stakeholders will only lead to problems down the road when you fall behind on your project roadmap.
Organization-wide communication about the tasks you plan to complete, how those tasks will contribute to the business goals, and how long it takes to complete them is vital for operating at peak efficiency.
A few suggestions:
- Invest in a project management system with built-in time tracking: When you’re just starting out with marketing campaigns and asset creation, gauging how long different tasks take might seem difficult, but continuing to track your time will help you identify trends. You can then block off time to complete these tasks in your calendar and initiate realistic reprioritization discussions with your boss if other projects or emergencies come up that must take precedence over your planned activities. If your company doesn’t have a project management system already, you can start with the free version of ClickUp or Hive.
- Use hard data to optimize your day: As marketers, we love our data. We optimize our campaigns around it, so why not optimize our days around it? Consider your project management system your virtual assistant, planner, calendar, and to-do list. Obsessively document everything you do and track how long it takes you to do it. At first, this practice may feel counterproductive as it will take time and effort to develop the best system for you, but once you do, you’ll find the time you save by optimizing your day far outweighs the time you spend documenting your tasks. Try to work on your high effort tasks when you have the most energy and save the smaller, less thought-intensive tasks for your low-energy time periods.
- Block off “distraction time” each day for conversation and collaboration: Whether it’s a boss who needs frequent status updates or a chatty coworker, encourage anyone who regularly disrupts your workflow to set up regularly recurring meetings with you at a set time and cadence that works with both your schedules. You may need to reinforce your need for uninterrupted “deep work” hours from time to time, but inviting your colleagues to a regular meeting will demonstrate that you care about what they’re saying enough to ensure you can give them your undivided attention. Scheduling regular collaboration meetings is another great way to move projects forward in a more efficient manner.
- Define what is and isn’t an emergency: If setting up regular meetings with a frequent interruptor isn’t resulting in your desired outcome, your work relationship may be suffering from a miscommunication about what constitutes an emergency. Sit down with the person and come to an agreement on what types of conversations require immediate attention as well as topics and line items that can wait until your next 1:1. If your project requires status updates, come to a mutual agreement on when and how frequently you’ll provide those updates.
Being a one-person marketing team is an exciting, sometimes stressful opportunity to level up your skill set across a variety of marketing disciplines.
Clear communication and thoughtful planning will make your role feel a lot more manageable.
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