The number of tools, services and software that we use for marketing these days has increased exponentially. From publishing to analytics to creating images and lead generation and plenty of other categories.
Really quickly there starts to be some overlap and we start accumulating logins and monthly fees for tools that we don’t necessarily need or use. And some tools just don’t work out, and need to be replaced.
Every year I do an audit of the tools and software I am using. The goal is to identify the tools that are working and force you to deal with the ones not quite making the mark.
As we went through the process this year, I realized this is something a lot of marketers and businesses need to do more often. If you have never done a software/tool audit for your marketing or even just for the management of your business, you should do one now.
1. Add Tools
First add all the tools and software you are using to a spreadsheet, free and paid. I used some dummy tool and software names in the spreadsheet layout I use to review the tools we use for Social Fresh. Here is the template if you want to use it yourself.
2. Include Context
After adding in the tools, work out all your monthly and yearly costs, how often you currently use each tool, and the category of the each (to help find overlaps).
3. Decide the Tool’s Status
Label each tool as either 1. Keep (what’s working), 2. Replace (we need a better option), or 3. Drop (no longer a need, failed test). Focus on finding the Keep and Drop tools first.
That middle part, Replace, is always the challenge, when you decide you still have a need but your current solution is not getting it done, it takes some work to find an alternative. And sometimes, there just is not a great alternative.
Don’t be scared to label a tool as Replace though. It does not mean you have to replace it overnight. It might take you a while to find an alternative. But starting to look is the first step.
Pay special attention to tools that you are spending too much money on, tools that overlap with others (eliminate one), tools that you simply are not using enough, and tools that are not producing results.
4. Set Next Steps
After you finish with labeling each tool, decide what your next action is for each. Some of the Keep tools might need some changes. The Drop tools need to be canceled. And your Replace tools need some research. Add these to do items to your calendar or task manager and get to work.
This simple process can be completed in a couple hours but it will save you time, save you money, increase the success of your marketing, and give you a little more sanity.