Three Tips for Making Your Life Easier as a Digital Marketer
Everyone who works in marketing will tell you that the word “multitasking” can often be used as a synonym for the term “digital marketer.”
For those who are just starting in this industry, multitasking may seem like a colorful, dynamic, and productive way to spend your day, but practice has shown that it’s usually quite the opposite. In one of their biggest studies, the University of Michigan has found that people respond negatively to multitasking. When their test subjects attempted to do more things at once, their productivity dropped by around 40 percent.
All marketers wear more than one hat at their office. Each day, they are faced with numerous tasks and challenges which need to be taken care of in record time. Deadlines are often tight and rigorous and clients are in constant need of detailed feedback. That’s why most digital marketers frequently find themselves in situations where they have to juggle numerous balls at the same time.
Speaking from experience, it’s easy to get lost in all that noise and feel overwhelmed with everything that directly and indirectly influences the overall efficiency of your work. However, there are still a couple of tricks that you can use to help you rise above all the clutter, stay sharp, and always on top of your responsibilities. In the following segments of this post, I’m going to share some of the things that will surely help you effectively manage your workflow, so you won’t have to permanently move your bed and clothes to the office:
1. Set Time Limits and Eliminate All Distractions From Your Environment
Time is every marketer’s worst enemy. It’s a battle that most of us keep losing over and over again. That is why it’s so important to develop good time management skills. When you dedicate a specific amount of your time to a task, you’ll instantly recognize that you’re more productive.
As mentioned above, multitasking doesn’t work. The more things you try to accomplish at the same time, the likelier it is you’ll get lost in all the mess.
However, you cannot allow yourself to drift away and let a single task devour all of your time. The key here is to come up with realistic estimates, set limits, and eliminate as many distractions as you possibly can from your immediate surroundings.
Let’s say you have to come up with a new blog post for your company’s website. Allow yourself 3-5 hours for such an activity, then set a countdown timer on your mobile to create a sense of urgency. You can use a tool like Time Doctor for that. This will surely help you focus on the task at hand, and thus – it will positively affect your efficiency at work. Single out your most important task and try to do it in an optimal number of hours/minutes. Each time, set less time for the same type of activity and try to beat the timer.
2. Optimize Slow Processes with the Right Tools
No matter how well organized we feel we are, there is always something that drags us down. Almost every single marketer, regardless of their experience and stature in the industry, is often a victim of long and boring processes. They rob us of our valuable time and force us to waste our energy on activities that we don’t really want to do, over and over again.
For example, as a seasoned digital marketing freelancer, at the end of every month, I find myself in a situation where I have to craft extremely detailed reports for my clients. I need to gather all the data from my tools, copy-paste them to my Excel sheets, double-check all the numbers to make sure I haven’t missed a column or two, then work on the design and provide commentary.
Every month is the same report with slightly different numbers. Even though reporting is extremely important for client retention, it was still a process that kept me from doing actual work. Each month, I used to waste 5 or more hours per client on reporting. When I was working for an agency, I had no choice but to follow procedure, but when I started offering digital marketing services on my own, my time started to feel more valuable, so I looked at different tools to help me save it wherever possible. There are numerous reporting utilities out there that can help you automate this boring process and free yourself up for more important tasks that demand your expertise. The key is to find the one that really suits your needs.
For me, that tool is Reportz. It’s saved me a bundle of time on client reporting, especially for SEO reports. The beauty of this software is that it makes it possible for the user to create one and done reports. Once I finish crafting a report for my client, all I have to do is send them a link, and the tool will keep automatically updating the numbers. Thanks to its custom date range settings, my clients can see how specific segments of my work are performing in all time periods on their own.
Of course, this is just for reporting. I also use numerous other tools for optimizing other processes. I use Evernote for content development, Trello for project organization, Grammarly for proofreading, etc.
3. Learn How to Communicate Effectively
Bad communication doesn’t only concern those who work in digital marketing, but everyone who works for a living.
Statistics have shown that more than 280 hours per year are lost to poor communication at work. Managers waste 3 or more hours every day tending to interruptions at work.
There are numerous different reasons why bad communication happens at work. Unclear goals, cultural diversity, poor leadership, personal issues – the list is endless.
But poor communication doesn’t only happen within the company. You can also have a tough time communicating with your clients as well. One of the most common reasons why freelance marketing professionals and agencies struggle to communicate with their clients is because they are often forced to pitch their ideas to employees who cannot really speak for their company.
This, of course, leads to terrible briefing and hours and hours wasted on unnecessary emails and meetings.
In order to improve the overall quality of communication, we need to focus on removing the unnecessary jabber and communication tampon zones from the equation. Try to empower your employees and teach them the importance of creating detailed briefs for those whom you collaborate with on a regular basis.
Also, be sure to practice your listening skills. Learn to turn off your internal dialogue and actually focus on what’s being said to you. Collaborate, don’t dictate. Regardless of whom you’re talking to, business communication is always about give-and-take, not just dictating what needs to be done. Use the right type of tools for communication and collaboration. Try giving Slack and ActiveCollab a chance. Both of these tools are perfect for managing a team of remote/freelance associates.