Strategic planning in marketing is an essential skill for anyone who is juggling multiple projects at the same time. As any digital business owner or freelancer will know, the time spent micromanaging projects, communicating with clients or colleagues, and simply maintaining the workflow organized can take up a huge part of the workweek.
In digital marketing – a field that can involve dozens of different activities ranging from running advertising campaigns to branding on various platforms simultaneously – staying on top of tasks can be daunting. Luckily, a number of operations tools are available to assist you in reducing the time spent organizing your work through automated tasks, pre-programmed actions, and scheduling software.
That’s what we will talk about in today’s article: the best operations tools for strategic planning in marketing that will help you keep a clear vision of all steps involved in a project while allowing you to focus on what matters the most: coming up with innovative ideas to market your products or services.
What are strategy tools exactly?
“Strategy” is a broad term that we use to refer to the way a vision is put into practice to reach specific goals in a digital business. Operation tools, therefore, are all those software that can help you streamline processes and simplifying how things are run.
Simplifying here is a key term: there are hundreds of apps, plugins, extensions, and project management software out there; but often, trying to use all of them just because they seem functional can become counterproductive. Each business has itsr own needs, and that’s why one should carefully select what is essential as learning how to use each software can require some time.
We have divided our strategic planning tools into four categories – task and project management, content publishing and promotion, internal communication, and marketing automation. Let’s take a look at which software can be used to make work in each area more efficient and effective.
Project and task management tools for digital marketers
Project management tools include a variety of solutions ranging from the simplest collaborative task management tools to more advanced systems to enable teams to manage workflows, organize tasks and activities in a shared environment.
These tools will help you keep track of deadlines, take notice of bottlenecks and assign activities to the right people. No need for big budgets: some of the best tools for strategic planning in marketing are free to use. Here are three project management software we recommend you to check out.
Trello is one of our favorite pieces of software here at Mowgli. We use it to manage clients’ projects, our editorial calendar, and social media scheduling all in one place. Trello allows you to create Kanban boards – the digital equivalent of post-it notes – that you can place in positions and orders that best reflect the status of those tasks.
An example would be blog curation: each article has its own card, with an author assigned to it, a deadline for completion, a concept pitch and SEO keywords all together in one locationThe card will be moved from stages such as “Idea” to “Writing”, to “Editing” and then to “Uploading” on the website.
Asana is a project management software that enables teams to easily organise tasks, visually stay on top of workflow, get important updates, and communicate with each other. Asana is used by individuals, teams, and business organizations of all shapes and sizes, who trust it to help them grow their businesses.
The software is similar to Trello in many ways, using boards to keep every part of a project, from tasks and schedules to files and conversations. The free version allows up to 15 users to collaborate on a project, visualizing the tasks as lists, bulletin boards or on a calendar, with time tracking functionalities and external integrations that can be easily added.
Notion is a free cloud-based project management and group collaboration tool that allows you to visually organize, track and manage your tasks, projects, and ideas. Notion is one of the easiest software to capture and share team knowledge and get work done in one place. You can create projects, add tasks, assign them to people, but also build document libraries that the team can use as a knowledge base to learn and proceed independently.
Notion also has a great community of independent developers who share templates that one can duplicate and integrate into the workflow with a few clicks. The free version allows teams of up to five people to collaborate.
Content publishing and promotion tools
Creating and publishing content has become fundamental for businesses in order to stand out from the crowd and gain the trust of potential customers. If you don’t take the time to produce quality, helpful and engaging content, people will miss out on your services and products.
The benefits of investing in content marketing campaigns are significant; however, creating good articles, photos or videos is not enough. It is essential to distribute such content in a timely manner in other to reache your target audience. Here are the tools to plan and execute an effective content strategy.
Facebook Business Manager and Creator Studio
Facebook’s Tools for creators have improved greatly in recent years, and many social media managers have dropped third-party services. Instead, they use these native tools to plan and publish their content on their accounts. Creating, scheduling, and analyzing the performance of posts for Facebook and Instagram has never been simpler.
If Facebook and Instagram are not the only platforms you work with, Buffer can come in handy. This social media management tool allows you to be present on multiple social media platforms at the same time: schedule months’ worth of content in advance for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, all from one centralized tool.
Social media are not the only channel where you can reach your audience. If your content strategy involves search engine optimization, Yoast SEO will help you optimize your content to rank higher on Google. This simple WordPress plugin will highlight flaws present in your content and help you improve keyword density, readability and metatags.
Strategic planning and open communication: the best tools
Every business has a unique structure, and every team has different ways of exchanging thoughts and ideas, depending on its size and internal hierarchy. While email remains popular and everyone has gotten used to video calls during the pandemic, other tools can make communication more efficient in specific situations.
Slack has become to most commonly used messaging app for teams. Simply put, it allows discussing work-related topics without clogging up inboxes. It integrates with all sorts of services, including Google Mail, Dropbox, or GitHub, and makes instant sharing easy. Setting up different channels based on projects or departments allows you to interact with people working on a specific task without disturbing others, and receive feedback quickly.
Zoom is our favorite video calling software, offering endless applications to communicate in a team. It can be used to conduct real-time video conversations between coworkers based in different locations, to give remote employees feedback on their performance, for live Q&A sessions, training, and brainstorming sessions.
Ensure your customers are satisfied with marketing automation tools
All business owners want to get a maximum ROI on their marketing efforts. Task automation focuses on providing more value to your customers with less effort. The more successful your business becomes, the more you need to automate it in order to keep up with new requests and maintain the standards people have come to know you for. Here are some tools that will help do exactly that.
Integromat is one of the most powerful automation software available on the market. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, Integromat will come in handy. It contains more than 350 solutions to automate your processes: from accounting to customer support, document management, and social media posting, Integromat covers all your automation needs.
Zapier is a simple yet powerful tool that allows you to easily automate repetitive tasks and avoid doing the same work manually over and over. Like Integromat, it can be used to automate sales, invoicing, sharing files, social media, email marketing segmentation, and more.
Connecting different software with Zapier lets you create new business contacts in Salesforce when new cases are created in Help Scout, or send new subscribers’ emails to MailChimp when they sign up to your blog on WordPress.
Need help with your digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy isn’t always easy to define. But it’s something you need in order to grow your online presence. It’s the cornerstone of your business plan, but with so many tools and possibilities available it can be overwhelming to connect the dots. That’s what Mowgli is here for. Get in touch today to discuss your project with us and find out how we can make sustainable growth a smooth process.