You gotta work hard to succeed.
There’s no escaping that fact. The most successful entrepreneurs and marketers attribute their success to plain, hard work. Elbow grease.
“Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
– Stephen King
Ok, point taken!
But who wants to work harder than you have to?
Come on, I can’t be the only lazy bum around here.
So are we doomed to a life of failure? I doubt it. We can still get things done and reserve our energies for the things that really count. The things that really matter.
After all, success also requires some smarts:
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”
– Thomas A. Edison
It’s only common sense to take the easier, faster, more efficient way, if it’s available, right? This is why even the most hard-working among us are always looking ways to become more productive.
In this post, I’ve compiled a list of all the ways we can “work smarter, not harder.”
5 Ways To Get More Done With Less Effort And Time
Automation is the first thing most people think of when they want to get more things done. And why not? It works! Push a button and you get a steaming hot cup of coffee. How lovely! Hit publish on your blog, and an announcement gets published on your Twitter account. Automation is everywhere that we’ve gotten spoiled for doing things manually.
Some things you can automate in marketing:
- Signing up to your mailing list
- Delivering messages to your subscribers
- Delivering gated digital content
- Discovering online content based on parameters you’ve set. Feedly automatically finds relevant online content and displays them on one page for you to preview, post to your social media accounts, or schedule for posting
- Welcoming new followers on Twitter, and following back
It’s easy to get carried away with automation. When it comes to marketing, remember that people prefer the human touch. I for one don’t like those automatic DMs I get when I follow people on Twitter. They’re tacky and I don’t feel warm and fuzzy inside at all. But if someone were to send me a personal message, no matter how simple, then I take notice.
Simplifying is different from automating. When you simplify, you still do things manually, but you make the entire process easier. Usually it’s by reducing the number of steps you need to do to complete a task. For example, with my old laser printer, I had to put a document on the faceplate to scan it. My new printer has a document feeder. I simply drop the document into the feeder then press Start to scan or copy it. Old printer: 4 steps. New printer: 2 steps. I win!
Some things you can simplify in marketing:
- Sending frequently-used messages, such as inquiries, welcome messages to new social media connections, and the like. Use templates you customize, so you’re not starting from scratch every time.
- Posting to your social media accounts. Tools like Buffer let you post to different platforms from a single dashboard, eliminating the need to log into each one separately.
- Creating content. Having templates and boilerplates for things like blog posts, videos, and press releases helps you concentrate on the substance and spend much less time and energy on the form.
To accelerate means to speed things up. We used to send letters by post. Now, we send emails. They’re much faster. My hand-held mixer can whip egg whites in 5 minutes. But my KitchenAid stand mixer does it in 1. Doing things faster means freeing up more time to do other things. (And by the way, simplifying also often leads to acceleration. But not always.)
Some things you can accelerate in marketing:
- Delivering content. Digital communication lets you deliver your content in real time, compared to traditional media. That said, there’s still a time and place when analog media work best.
- Consuming content and learning. Learn how to speed-read so you can consume more information in less time. I’ve been trying to learn this for years! Let me know if you have a speed-reading system that works for you.
- Writing. Practice, practice. And discover when you tend to be in the groove for writing.
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By amplify I mean getting a bigger impact from something you do. You do what you’ve always done before, but without exerting more time or effort on it, you get more and better results. It’s like using a microphone instead of shouting. You get more volume with the same effort or even less effort.
Some things you can amplify in marketing:
- Reaching a wider audience with your blog posts. Get your blog syndicated on other blogs and you’ll reach a wider audience without having to write more. Guest posting on blogs bigger than your own has a similar effect.
- Your opt-in forms and sales pages. Tweak them to keep increasing your conversion rates.
- Copywriting and persuasion. Learn the techniques that will improve responses to your marketing communication materials. [Or hire a copywriter to do it for you But I’m getting ahead of myself]
Finally, another way to get more things done in less time is to… not do everything yourself! Even if you’re a bootstrapping one-person business, realize you can’t do everything yourself and get them done well. You shouldn’t. It’s just not efficient. And you end up losing more time and money in the process. Think of outsourcing as one of the costs of doing business. Because it is.
Some things you can delegate in marketing:
- Anything you’re not good at. Transcribing my webinars is one of them. Bookkeeping and accounting are others.
- Anything you don’t enjoy doing. For me this includes doing anything web techie.
As you can see, there are plenty of things we can do to complete our marketing or business to-dos, even if we’re lazy.
Did I miss anything? How do you work smarter? Do share!
PS: Some things are worth taking the time for. For example, I still write cards and notes, and I still mail them out by post. Even though my handwriting sucks now, this makes me stand out and the people who receive them love them. Don’t you love getting something in the mail ? So yeah, fast and easy is NOT always the best way to do marketing