One of the biggest challenges with online marketing is using your time effectively.
There are so many options and distractions it’s easy to find yourself wasting an hour (or even two) a day on unproductive activities. And then the really important, strategic actions get ignored or pushed back.
Some of my own key time guzzlers include:
- checking Google Analytics too frequently
- reading lots of blog articles
- doing an online survey for someone I don’t know from a forum or twitter
- Twitter – so easy to spot something interesting but distracting.
- Forums & LinkedIn groups – ditto. It’s too easy to get absorbed in an interesting but irrelevant discussion
- checking the cricket scores
I like to think I’m pretty disciplined and a good time manager, but every so often I fall into the trap – I caught myself on a website about dog rescue today and I don’t even like dogs.
So what are the keys to making time for the good stuff and weeding out the time wasters?
Set aside chunks in your week for marketing activities. Use Outlook calendar or a productivity tool like Toodledo to schedule these.
List all the activites you need to do.
Then categorise your activities and allocate time accordingly. I use the following:
The strategic one-off activities
Planning a new product range, preparing a workshop, creating a video for your website.
Schedule these for your most productive time of the day – mid morning for me. Close down your browser, email and anything else which might distract you. Only go online if you have to research a specific item.
The regular important activities
Writing your blog, preparing your email newsletter. Get all of these onto your schedule. I like to write several blog articles in a session and then publish according to a predefined plan so although I publish weekly, I schedule writing sessions fortnightly.
The regular monitoring activities
Decide how often you need to check/review things like analytics, website links, pay per click campaigns – and stick to it. You may need to adjust the frequency occasionally – such as when you start a new campaign – but be disciplined and don’t keep checking all the time.
The daily social media activities
I schedule 3 short social media sessions per day for Twitter, forums, LinkedIn and keeping up to date with the latest articles. I’m not a big fun of automated tweets (although I do use them occasionally) but productivity tools like Hootsuite, Google alerts and RSS readers are great for getting to the important items quickly. When the time is up – stop. Twitter will still be there in a few hours time.
The “unimportant but make your day more pleasant” activities
Chatting on Facebook, checking your favourite non-industry blogs – I’m sure you have a good list! Grab a coffee and keep these strictly for your break.