Automation or Delegation? A Framework for How to Figure Out What Processes In Your Agency Should Be Delegated vs. Automated

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As an agency’s owner or leader, you have multiple responsibilities. So, finding tasks and processes that other team members can do or that you can automate is essential to allow you time to focus on your most critical tasks. 

Delegation can free up your and your leaders’ time so you can focus on more high-level, critical tasks while empowering team members to take on tasks at the next level and building team confidence. Delegated tasks are often those that need a person’s input to ensure they’re done correctly.

Automation also frees up time. But automation is often used to reduce your or team members’ workload by reducing or eliminating repetitive tasks.  

Yet, sometimes it can be challenging to know what tasks to delegate versus automate. Here are some strategies and tips to help you embrace and strike the right balance between delegation and automation.  

Get Clear on Your Agency’s Goals and Needs

Clearly defining your agency’s goals and needs is essential to help identify optimal time management and workflows for your marketing agency. Additionally, this step can help you determine which tasks are better to delegate and which are best to automate. 

Here are some strategies to help you evaluate whether tasks should be delegated or automated.

  • Identify core and non-core activities. Activities that directly contribute to your agency’s goals and growth are crucial tasks. These types of tasks are often best performed by you or your leaders. However, automating or delegating non-core activities can free up your and your leaders’ time and resources.
  • Evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your team, their experience levels, and what they do best can help you determine which tasks to delegate and those to automate. For instance, automating repetitive tasks can help improve your team’s productivity. Additionally, knowing your team can help you determine which team member to delegate specific tasks to so the work is done effectively and efficiently. 
  • Consider task complexity. Repetitive tasks can often be easily automated, while more complex or creative tasks require a more hands-on approach.
  • Consider the importance of time and energy management as well as skill gaps in decision-making. Another element to consider is balancing your time and energy, so you stay passionate about what you’re doing — not feel run-ragged. This helps you do more things on your own terms, so you’re spending time on the tasks that matter to you and delegating or automating tasks that are tedious or better done by someone else.

When to Delegate

Delegating tasks is an essential strategy so you can focus your time on higher-level strategic planning, increase your efficiency, and focus on the tasks that you enjoy. Additionally, delegating lets your team grow in confidence and develop key skills. 

Delegation typically involves trusting team members with tasks that require a personal touch or that are complex or creative. Also, look for tasks that aren’t in your zone of genius since those tasks will likely take you more time than someone else on your team who may have expertise or special skills in that area.

Tasks that Require Human Expertise

Content strategy

Successful content marketing requires a solid content strategy. However, it takes time to develop a focused content strategy that aligns with the brand, personality, and addresses the target audience’s needs, questions, and wants. 

Delegating some or all of the tasks involved in creating a content strategy for your clients and your own business can help free up your time for the tasks you need to focus on. 

When delegating content strategy tasks, you’ll want to:

  • Be clear on what tasks the team or a team member is responsible for. 
  • Clarify situations when they should contact you or another leader.
  • Set up a process that fits your agency’s workflow. For instance, have time frames, identified responsibilities, outline tasks, and a set deadline for you (or another key leader) to review the strategy before it goes to the client. 

UX/UI design

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are important parts of a successful digital presence. However, this area takes experience and expertise to do well, which may be better delegated to a team area with those specialized skills. 

Additionally, crafting an intuitive, visually appealing interface that’s tailored to the client’s needs and brands requires a blend of empathy, creativity, and technical expertise — making it a good role to delegate instead of fully automating.

When delegating UX/UI design tasks, you’ll want to:

  • Utilize team members who have the specialized skills and creativity needed. 
  • Provide a clearly defined project scope and timelines to ensure it aligns with check-ins and the needs of the client.
  • Establish a process that fits this portion into the overall client plan.

Graphic design and visual content

Graphic design plays a key role in brand identity and communication, including logos, websites, blog images, and social media. Done well, it can reinforce the brand messaging and help the target audience quickly identify the brand’s content based on images.

Yet, it can quickly take up more time than you expect, especially if it’s not your primary area of expertise. So, it’s often beneficial to delegate these tasks to design specialists like graphic designers. They have the knowledge and expertise to provide a cohesive, brand consistency, and quality across mediums efficiently.

When delegating graphic design tasks, you’ll want to:

  • Ensure open communication across team members working on different creative elements for the same client.
  • Consider creating brand style guides to ensure consistency and improve efficiency and productivity.

Video editing

Video editing is a powerful tool that can help improve content storytelling and increase engagement. However, editing and creating high-quality videos for marketing campaigns and client presentations requires a blend of technical proficiency and creativity — making this an ideal job to delegate to someone with experience.

When delegating video editing tasks, you’ll want to:

  • Outline the purpose, key messages, and target audience so the editing is aligned with the larger project goals or campaign.
  • Provide the editor with raw footage, a storyboard, and any specific requirements.
  • Create a process that shows how video editing fits into the larger campaign or client workflow to increase efficiency and communication.

SEO Strategy

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for online visibility and driving organic traffic. While aspects of SEO can be automated, developing the overall strategy and ensuring the strategy is working requires a human touch. 

Ideally, you want someone with a clear understanding of the latest SEO trends and algorithms combined and who understands the target audience driving the overall strategy.

When delegating SEO strategy, you’ll want to:

  • Ensure clear and open lines of communication among other specialists working on the same project or campaign.
  • Establish regular performance reviews, so adjustments on key strategies can be made as needed.
  • Consider creating a workflow or process for the SEO strategy creation so all key steps are followed, which can free up the specialist to focus on planning and strategy elements.

When to Automate

Automation is a powerful tool to streamline your operations and boost efficiency within your marketing agency.

Tasks that are repetitive or don’t require a lot of decision-making or problem-solving are often good candidates to automate. By using key automation, you can save time, increase productivity, and reduce human errors on some types of repetitive tasks. 

Repetitive and Time-Consuming Tasks

Sending automated emails

Email can take up more time than expected. So, automating as much of this process as you can is helping to increase efficiency, especially when sending out regular updates, newsletters, or follow-up messages.

Additionally, using automation, through features like HighLevel AI Workflows, can ensure emails are delivered promptly without manual intervention, providing you and team members more time on strategic aspects of client communication.

Here are some tips for email automation:

  • Create templates of commonly recurring emails.
  • Create targeted email lists based on client preferences or other key segmentation qualities.
  • Establish triggers to automate emails when possible, such as when a client signs a contract.

Calendar bookings and reminders

You can eliminate the back-and-forth of scheduling by using calendar booking links and automated reminders. This process can also reduce the chance of human error and increase efficiency.

Here are some tips for automating calendar bookings and reminders:

  • Use a marketing platform, like HighLevel, that has calendar links built into the platform. 
  • Create automated reminders for clients and team members to reduce no-shows or miscommunication. 
  • Synch automated bookings with team calendars so bookings can integrate seamlessly with the availability of team members when group calls are needed.

Scheduling social media or blog posts

Consistent content distribution is essential to maintaining a successful online presence, whether on social media or through a blog. Fortunately, automation tools can help you ensure posts are going up as desired by using a scheduling tool and automation designed for social media platforms and blogs. 

These tools can also save your team valuable time and reduce the chance of scheduling errors.

Then, create a content calendar to help plan the content in advance and ensure you’re getting the most out of the tool’s scheduling features.

Generating and sending proposals

Automating proposals helps streamline the proposal process, ensuring a consistent and professional workflow — where no steps get missed. 

Here are some tips for using automation with your proposal process:

  • Create a template for your different packages or services so it’s easy to update for new clients.
  • Automate the inclusion of personalized client details for a more tailored proposal.

Data entry tasks

Automation is perfect for repetitive data entry tasks. It reduces the chance of human error, can ensure all systems that need the information are updated, and increases data entry efficiency. Automation is especially useful for large volumes of data entry.

Here are some tips when automating data entry tasks:

  • Create automated checks to ensure the data is accurate and consistent.
  • Talk with various team members to see what repetitive data entry tasks they may have that could be automated.

Monitoring SEO metrics

Using automation can help increase the efficiency of monitoring SEO metrics for your company and your clients. Automation can provide real-time updates that allow you to adjust SEO strategy quickly so you have better online visibility.

Here are some tips for SEO automation:

  • Schedule regular automated reports so you get a clear picture of the SEO performance at specific periods.
  • Set automated alerts so you’re quickly notified about significant changes in SEO metrics that may require attention.

How to Balance Delegation and Automation

Delegation and automation also aren’t mutually exclusive. They can work together to help you optimize your workflow efficiency, especially when you find the right balance between the two.

Here are some best practices to help you create the combination of delegation and automation that works for your agency.

  • Ensure that delegation and automation efforts align with the project’s and your agency’s overall strategic objectives. So you know the two components are working together to contribute to growth, client satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.
  • Foster a culture of open communication within your teams and between your teams and leaders. This can encourage clear feedback on the effectiveness of your processes and increase employee satisfaction.
  • Conduct regular assessments of your agency’s workflows, ensuring tasks and processes are working as intended and provide a chance to identify any changes based on evolving needs or team members’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make core competencies a priority and ensure that in-house experts are completing the tasks that contribute the most to your agency’s success and vision.
  • Review automation solutions regularly to ensure the tools are working as intended or if there are better solutions, especially since technology and products continue to evolve.
  • Tailor your automation to fit your agency’s workflow and processes.
  • Provide ongoing training in systems and skills to ensure your team is equipped to handle delegated tasks and use technology tools and automation efficiently.

Marketing agency owners can effectively navigate and establish a balance between automation and delegation by following best practices — especially when maintaining open communication and listening to feedback.

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