As 2020 draws to a close (thankfully!) and 2021 looms on the horizon, you may be tempted to curl up and nap for a week. This feeling may intensify as you realize how much planning you have to do as your business enters a new year. We’re here to tell you you’re not alone, and to gently remind you that there are simple and, dare we say it, fun ways to organize yourself and your team around manageable goals and non-threatening timelines.
With a little help from your friends
When it comes to getting and staying organized, there’s no shame in asking for help. Luckily, the tech gods have taken pity on us mere mortals and bestowed upon us a cornucopia of project management tools. Asana, Casual, and Monday are three of our favorites, with easy-to-follow workflow diagrams and satisfying status update buttons (Asana will celebrate your completed tasks with flying unicorns and yetis). If you could do without the multi-user interface, Todoist and Evernote are great for mobile list-making and reminders. Google Calendars can sync with the calendar apps on your phone and desktop, so you’re never stranded without an agenda. Last, but certainly not least, our absolute favorite, can't live without, creative organization tool is Milanote. Milanote is an easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards. You can visually plan your social media calendar, create mood boards, share your website content plan - it is a must-have for creatives.
Talk it out
Never again will anyone on your team claim they didn’t get the memo. Workplace communication apps are thick on the ground these days, and there’s no excuse for staying off them. Apps like Slack and Flock contain multiple functions such as document sharing, video chat, and thread organization, but their main draw is professional-as-casual (or vice versa) messaging. And apps like these shouldn’t be limited to office workplaces; they’re a great way for retail or food service businesses to share schedules and hold virtual staff meetings.
Finding the Right Words
Keywords that is. Our new favorite SEO tool is KWfinder, - the only keyword tool in the universe you will ever need to make sure your website is optimized and organized. But, if you're looking for help with competitive research or digital marketing training, there are some great videos, ebooks, guides, templates, and more to help you grow your traffic over at Neil Patel.com.
Break it up
It’s a known fact that breaking tasks into bite-sized chunks makes them less scary up front. By dividing the coming year into quarters and marking off all major holidays, you’re well on your way to drafting a road map for promotions, sales, and product launches (Even if you or some of your client base don’t celebrate major holidays, much of the population does, and they are typically spaced out pretty evenly throughout the calendar year). Lay out a promotional schedule for the first quarter, culminating in a goal. Use this as a template when planning each subsequent quarter, and customize according to the season. Get started today with these helpful calendar templates from SmartSheet.
Social media scheduling tools seem too good to be true for the busy business owner. Posts can be scheduled far in advance, down to the minute they deploy. It’s recommended that the average business post three times a week on social media, which sounds like a lot, but trust us—social media feeds move so fast that any fewer posts than that may get lost in the shuffle. Use the set-it-and-forget-it tactic of scheduling posts a month or two out, and use that handy calendar app to remind you when it’s time to schedule the next batch. Behind-the-scenes analytics are readily available to account administrators, so you can even see what kinds of posts receive the most attention and engagement.
While three social media posts a week might seem like overkill, moderation is key when it comes to other forms of digital communication like blog posts and email newsletters. One blog post per month should do the trick; since you’re communicating semi-daily in short blips with your followers on social media, blog posts allow you to expand upon a topic and provide more in-depth information. Don’t take it personally, but most people are far less likely to read a 500-word article than they are to skim a ten-word caption that accompanies an eye-catching image. The same goes for email newsletters: limit it to one per month, or even one per quarter. If you spread out the long-form communication, you can compile more information, so you’re not at a loss of what to say when the time comes to fill an entire page.
Armed with these readily-available tools, we hope the coming year feels a little less intimidating. When it comes time to execute your 2021 marketing game plan, you know where to find us!