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Small Budgets and Automation

How to Make a Budget Go Further? 

If you have a small marketing budget, then you want to hear what Sarah Noel Block has to say on making your budget go as far as possible with automation. Leveraging automation in your marketing processes can actually help you bring costs down or even make money. How? Because you aren’t spending time on a $25/hr task when you could be out there making $150/hr.

If you prefer the audio version, listen here:

Ruthie: So for our third episode in Sarah’s interview series, I wanted to talk about something that is definitely in her wheelhouse. Sarah is an expert at making marketing budgets go extremely far. 


So Sarah you’re used to working with these tiny marketing departments, and typically that means they don’t have the most luxurious marketing budgets. Over your years of experience, what are some tips that have bubbled to the surface that make a marketing budget go further in terms of effectiveness? 

Sarah: Use a tech stack that integrates and is inexpensive. You can find tools you can afford, that will make everything a lot more smoother and go further. 

For example, I always recommend that smaller businesses use MeetEdgar for social media automation. And the reason I’m obsessed with MeetEdgar is because it recycles your posts; you put one post together and it’ll create 4 more posts based on the content that’s in that link. And then you can set it to recycle. So it goes so much further. 

You can pull content from RSS feeds. So let’s say a publication has the same audience as you and relevant information; it’ll pull from there. I love it. 

Secondly, use other people’s audiences. When you’re trying to gain an audience, start guest posting in other publications that your audience reads, podcast interviews, webinars that you’re co-hosting with somebody, etc. Get in front of other people’s audiences that might overlap with yours, so you guys can help each other. And it’s free! 

The Value of Automation and Integration

Ruthie: That point about tech stacks that integrate sounds like it’s not a big deal at first, but if you spend some time copy-pasting things that are automated in other systems, you’re wasting a ton of time. 

I think smaller companies and businesses are thinking, “How much would I have to pay somebody like Sarah to manage my marketing?” Or, “What a hassle it’s going to be to migrate to a different system, even though it integrates.” They’re not calculating the value of the time spent doing things like data entry, when it could be completely automatic.  

Sarah: Yes. If you just use the free HubSpot account, it’ll integrate with your Outlook/Gmail and create a new contact for any email you send. You don’t have to do anything else. It’s so nice and easy! 

We Both Love Trello

Ruthie: Another great example is Trello. You and I are both Trello fans. I love how my Trello boards connect with my Google Drive, so I can just select any document and pop it right in there. People just underestimate the value of automation. If you track your time, you can find out exactly how much time and money you’re expending on tasks that aren’t in your area of brilliance. 

So if you’re wondering if you should automate more, work with someone like Sarah, bring on freelancers or anything like that, track your time. See where you’re wasting the most time, and you’ll know how much your time is valued at. Like if you make  $200/hr doing something, but you’re spending a whole hour doing data entry…

Sarah: …yeah, it’s a waste of time. Speaking of, I use Trello with Slack integration for managing my virtual assistant too. Anytime she changes a card, if she needs to comment on something, I’ll get an alert on Slack. She knows all of the things she needs to do for the week and I know her progress on them because she’s moving them to “doing” and “done”. I love that project management tool. 

Ruthie: I do too. It integrates with everything. I think actually I remember getting a notification that they purchased JIRA, which is good because I hated JIRA. 

Sarah: So maybe they’ll make it better! 

What’s a Common Mistake Marketing Departments Make? 

Ruthie: When you’re surveilling marketing in general, what do you feel is a common mistake that marketing departments make? It doesn’t have to hold true to size. 

Sarah: I think the most common misstep is creating something and then leaving it alone. You don’t promote it or integrate it with your other items. 

For example, if you create a business blog, you can’t just have a business blog and think that people are going to find it. They probably won’t. You need to push it out through promoting it on social media. You need to create emails and ads around it. Everything should be multichannel. You can’t just create something and think that it’ll attract people. They need to know it exists first. 

Ruthie: That’s a fact. And I hate to say it this way, but unless you’re Gary Vee, you can’t just drop things and expect everybody to scramble to pick it up and examine it. With our tiny marketing departments, people don’t know us. 

Sarah: I think that even if you’re someone big and you just put it on your website, it would drown with everything else. 

Ruthie: There is a lot of noise out there! Neil Patel’s probably a really good example. He’s considered an SEO giant, but he promotes his stuff on all of his channels. He runs ads. 

Sarah: He does do multichannel for everything, including his blogs. He does good things. He has the podcast “The Marketing School.” 

What Are Your Thoughts on Content Repurposing?

Ruthie: I have a bit of a surprise question. I realized we can’t talk about making marketing go further without talking about content repurposing. So I’m interested to hear your perspective on it. I’d really love for you to share your thoughts on it and how you implement it in a systemic fashion. 

Sarah: I actually, I can’t take credit for this idea. I saw it from Megan Minns, a productivity consultant. It was just so brilliant, I took it for myself. It’s perfect for these tiny marketing departments. 

If you create a video on Zoom, you get both the video and audio file, so now you have a podcast and you have a video for you to create an article on. You can just have a writer watch the video and create the article for you.

Then create at least 3 posts on your social media around that article. Every article pretty much has 3 sections, and you can create a brand new post on each of them. That’s 6 different pieces of content from 1 hour of work. 

Introducing Automation for Content Repurposing

Ruthie: We do a lot of content repurposing. One of the things I do with my podcast episodes is I take the transcript, and I pay a freelancer to clean it up. So she takes out all the “ums”, she’ll throw in some links for me, and she’ll fact check for me if we talk about something specific. 

I actually take the transcript from an automated program, so she’s polishing up any of the mistakes there. This drastically brings down the amount of time she has to spend on it. After that, I SEO it and make it look more like a blog post with the proper headings, formatting, and paragraphs. 

I actually used to be the writer that would take a client’s video and turn it into an article. Once I started running the videos through a transcription software, it saved me a ton of time. 

Sarah: That’s a good tip! 

Ruthie: I guess that would be the one thing I’d add in there. I use an app called Designrr. It started out as just an ebook app, but it became so much more. You can take Facebook Live audio clips,  videos, podcast episodes, and all sorts of stuff.

They have a transcription software that lets you export it as an SRT file, so you can use it to create captions on your video or export it as a text file. We insert the text file into Google Docs, so it can be cleaned up. 

Sarah: I like that! I’m going to take that. I haven’t used that program before. 

Ruthie: I’ll be sure to link that in the comments. I’ve been with the company for a while, so it’s great watching how they’ve grown and how they’re always getting constant feedback from customers. It’s a really good app to be tied to.