A workflow is a series of tasks that need to be completed in a specific order to achieve a certain business goal. In other words, a workflow explains how work gets done.
Marketers may follow dozens of different workflows for social media management, content creation, SEO efforts, and other marketing strategies. Following these defined workflows helps marketers stay organized and produce consistent, high quality work.
However, many marketing workflows are filled with repetitive, manual, time-consuming tasks. Fortunately, there are workflow marketing automation tools that can remove these manual tasks to increase the efficiency of your workflows.
What are the benefits of workflow automation? How can you build and automate your workflows? Here’s what every marketer needs to know:
What Are the Benefits of Workflow Automation?
There are many reasons why marketers should consider automating their workflows. Some of the benefits of workflow automation include:
- Reduces errors. Research shows that people are more likely to make errors when they perform manual, repetitive tasks. Automating these tasks can reduce the number of errors your team makes, so you won’t have to pay for costly mistakes.
- Improves productivity. Manual, repetitive tasks take up a lot of time. Removing these tasks may lead to a significant increase in your team’s productivity.
- Better use of resources. Repetitive tasks are typically low-skill tasks, which means they don’t require a lot of skill to complete. The more time your team spends on these tasks, the less time they will have to spend on high-skill tasks. Therefore, automating manual tasks can ensure you use your resources wisely.
- Easier to grow your business. The only way to scale a manual workflow is to hire more people to handle the additional work. But it’s much easier to scale automated workflows so you can continue to grow your business without needing to increase labor costs.
- Keeps projects moving forward. Automation will keep your project moving forward from one task to the next so you can meet your deadlines and exceed your clients’ expectations.
How to Build A Marketing Workflow
The first step in automating a marketing process is building a workflow. Follow these steps to build workflows that meet your team’s needs:
- Identify Processes
- Outline Tasks
- Estimate the Time Needed Per Task
- Assign Roles and Determine Responsibilities
- Create A Visual
- Test the Workflow
- Train Your Team
- Revise the Workflow
Before you can dive into automation, you need to determine what processes need documented workflows. The general rule is if it’s a process that your team must go through a lot in order to perform their job duties, it probably needs a documented workflow.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to build a workflow for every task that your team works on. A process may need a documented workflow if:
- It involves more than one party.
- The result of the process is a client deliverable.
- It consists of multiple steps.
- There is usually a deadline.
Some examples of processes that may need documented workflows include:
- Content creation (blogs, infographics, videos, landing pages, etc.)
- SEO efforts
- Social media management
- Link building/blogger outreach
- Paid search campaigns
- Website design
Every marketing team is unique, so it’s important to work with your team to identify which workflows to build.
Now, you should have a list of processes that need documented workflows. The next step is breaking each of these processes down into tasks, or in other words, outlining what tasks need to be performed in order to complete the process.
It’s important to list every task, regardless of how small, that is required to complete the process. To ensure you include everything, invite the team members who typically work on the process to assist with this step. They can guide you through the steps they usually take to complete their work.
Every team may perform different tasks to complete a specific process. But in general, here’s an example of what the tasks involved in content creation might look like:
- Assign topics to writers
- Write content
- Edit content
- Writer edits, if needed
- Add images and links
- Send to client for approval
- Writer edits, if needed
As you can see, these tasks are listed in the order in which they need to be completed. Make sure you do the same when outlining your tasks.
Estimate the Time Needed Per Task
Next, work with your team to estimate how much time is needed to complete each task involved in a process.
Take another look at the content creation tasks listed above. How many days will it take for your writer to write the content? How long will your editor need to review and approve it? Make sure your estimates are realistic.
Estimating the time needed for each task will help you determine how much time your team needs to complete the entire process. This makes it easier to manage your clients’ expectations.
Assign Roles and Determine Responsibilities
Then, determine who is responsible for completing each task involved in the process. For instance, the writers on your team are responsible for writing content, whereas the editors are responsible for editing it.
Next, outline each role’s specific responsibilities in the process. The writers, for example, may be responsible for more than simply writing the content. They may also be responsible for other tasks, including:
- Conducting relevant research
- Citing their sources
- Adding primary and secondary keywords
- Writing meta titles and descriptions
- Including calls-to-action
- Meeting a specified word count
You need to clearly outline these responsibilities for each task so every party who is involved in the process knows exactly what is required of them.
Create A Visual
Now you have successfully built a workflow. The next step is documenting it by creating a visual diagram. Marketers often skip this step because they assume that it’s unnecessary. Don’t make this mistake.
Sometimes, creating a visual diagram of your workflow will help you identify issues or errors that you otherwise would not have noticed. You may realize that your tasks are out of order or you are missing an important step in the process.
You can create a simple visual diagram that shows the basic process flow or get more creative by using different shapes and colors. Some marketers use a unique color for every party involved in the process. For example, every step that involves a writer may be color-coded green, whereas the steps that involve an editor may be colored red.
There is no right or wrong way to create a visual diagram, so find a method that works for you and stick to it.
Test the Workflow
Your workflow is now complete. Before you invite your entire team to use it, it’s important to thoroughly test it. Even if the workflow seems perfect, you could still discover issues or errors once you test it.
You shouldn’t test your workflow on your own. Instead, invite several members of your team to participate in the test. The people who participate in the test should be the people who are typically involved in the process. They are the ones who will be able to quickly pinpoint issues or identify ways to improve your workflow.
Instruct the participants to use the workflow to run through the process. Ask them to document their experience throughout the process. Then, solicit their feedback once the process is complete.
Train Your Team
You can introduce the workflow to the rest of your team once it successfully passes the testing phase. You should take the time to train your team on when to use the workflow and what processes it covers. Then, take them through each step of the workflow so they can see how it works. Show your team the visual diagram you created earlier. This will make it easier for your team to visualize what you are talking about.
Make sure your team understands what role they will play in the process and how using these workflows will benefit them.
Revise the Workflow
No workflow is perfect. Even if the workflow successfully passed the testing stage, you may discover additional issues once your entire team is using it. For example, someone on your team may suggest a way to improve the efficiency of your workflow. If something like this arises, you may need to go back and revise your workflow.
If you revise your workflow, make sure you go through the process of retesting and retraining your team so they are aware of the changes.
How to Automate Your Marketing Workflows
Now you are ready to automate your marketing workflows. Gryffin is a workflow marketing automation tool that is designed for digital marketers by digital marketers. No two teams or clients are alike, which is why Gryffin allows you to create and automate custom workflows that meet the unique needs of your team and your clients. Use the drag-and-drop feature to build countless workflows–no coding skills required.
Use Gryffin to eliminate manual tasks, improve your team’s productivity, and keep your projects moving forward at all times. Learn more about how Gryffin can help by starting a free 14-day trial today.