Can Technology Replace Missing Roles In Small Businesses?

Most small businesses can’t afford to hire in highly specialised roles, as useful as those roles might be. While your business might have a website it probably doesn’t have a full time content creator, and despite your healthy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence you aren’t likely to employ a social media manager. But have you ever considered using services, rather than people, to fill those knowledge gaps?

One service operating in this mode of thinking is Writally — a startup created by a Brisbane entrepreneur that helps small business owners write quality blog posts in a shorter time frame by generating post ‘recipes’. While other services exist to help small business owners keep their blogs full of quality content, hiring a ghost writer is likely to be expensive while post templates just aren’t specific enough. Instead, Writally gets the would-be blogger to fill out a short questionnaire, creating a customised ‘recipe’ from those very specific needs.

Writally’s creator Cas McCullough told Startup Daily she’s seen many people have great success with the system. “We’ve been able to prove that even a first-time blogger can create a 500 word first draft in 20 minutes. This shocked even me; most people take up to four to six hours to write and publish a blog post. At our last event, a small business owner created and published his post in 40 minutes. Several participants have written blog posts within 30 minutes.” With a monthly subscription to the service coming in at $19.95, later to become $47 upon the full launch of the product, it’s certainly a lot cheaper than hiring extra ‘muscle’ to provide this valuable content for your small business, or wasting the time struggling through a tricky blog post alone.

Also in the content sphere is Postie, though this service focuses more on making use of your best content than creating it. Postie is a marketing tool developed by startup Astronaut Lab that can both pick up a brand’s best Instagram content (based on follower engagement) and then use that content to create a beautiful, custom EDM.

Where putting this kind of campaign together from scratch can take time and effort a lot of small business owners don’t have, Postie both knows what your best content is and does all the hard work putting it together into something cohesive. Of course, like every good automated system, you can customise these generated campaigns as much as you like — but Astronaut Lab says its system “typically” has small business owners spending as little as 15 minutes to put their new, aesthetic EDMs together.

Another company, Sensis, is looking at simulating the marketing team of a much larger business with its Sensis Digital Display platform. This platform enables small teams to design professional-looking ads and the targeting plans to go with them — no marketing experience needed. With its focus on digital, especially mobile-first advertising, Sensis also aims to level the playing field between small businesses and the larger players in the online marketing world.

“The Sensis Digital Display platform has been designed with the first-time digital marketer in mind,” Danny Gravell, Sensis’ Executive General Manager for Product and Technology told Inside Small Business. “The interface is simple to navigate and the platform does all the work, giving SMEs access to customers who are searching online at a scale and accuracy previously only available to big marketers.”

Do you use services like these to run your business smoothly with a small team? Tell us about it in the comments!

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