There are three main factors dealing with time and online marketing and each one is critical to successful online marketing campaigns:
When I ask most people why they are not using social media more, most answer that they do not have the time. On the other hand, many complain about how much time is wasted online using these channels. Most poorly performing online marketing campaigns; whether social media, online marketing or PPC advertising; seem to be failing because the manager has either put very little time into planning the campaign, or has spent a lot of time setting up a campaign and getting it started but has then left it to ‘flounder’.
Establish a schedule of when you (or those in your company working on your online marketing campaigns) will work on online marketing activities on a day to day basis and for the longer term: week to week, month to month and for the future. Making a commitment to such a schedule will:
- ensure that your campaigns are well planned out, with all of your online (and offline) marketing activities working together and inline with the other activities of your business – and, more importantly, inline with the activities/needs of your prospects;
- make it more likely that you keep your campaigns up to date;
- bring better results from consistent efforts over the long term rather than sporadic activities here and there;
- reduce the amount of time wasted on poorly timed activities.
Example of a 12 Month Plan for long term planning:
Click to download a blank form for your planning your 2011 campaign (pdf)
Be in the Right Place at the Right Time
One of the main issues Twitter users have is getting people to follow links posted and getting those posts retweeted. Often posts on social media channels go unnoticed because they are badly timed, whether posted at a time when your key connections are offline or when there is such heavy activity on the channel that your posts are pretty much lost. I first started looking into timing when working on improving open rates of email marketing campaigns. Like your social media efforts, an email newsletter delivered at the wrong time is more likely to end up lost amongst a number of spam messages.
Identify the best time for your online marketing activities. In my post “Get Focused for a More Effective Online Marketing Campaign” I discuss the importance of thoroughly identifying your target market, which includes determining when they are likely to be online so that you can ensure that you are active at those times.
- When are your key followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Post your updates during these times. Use a social media app where you can schedule posts, like Hootsuite so that you can post at the right time, even if it is inconvenient for you to be online at that time. Make it a point to be online during some of this time so that you can properly interact with your connections at the best times.
- When are those on your email marketing list most likely to be checking their Inboxes? Schedule your email marketing campaigns to be delivered at these times. If you aren’t sure what time is best for your market, divide the list and send at different times and see which have the best result.
- When is your audience most likely to be using search engines? Schedule your PPC ads to be shown at these times to improve your ROI.
Time is Money – so treat it that way
As it is free to participate in most social media networks, and it’s become easier and easier to manage your own email marketing and PPC campaigns, many business owners forget the real cost – the cost of your own time to manage your campaign. It’s important to carefully monitor the amount of time that you are spending in all of your social media marketing activities and compare to the results you are achieving by looking at your analytics.
If you are not getting a sufficient return on the time spent, then you need to review all of the activities and see where you can improve. A few common concerns:
- Are there certain social media channels that are bringing no return and may be best to leave out of your campaign?
- Are you spending too much time interacting with ‘friends’ on social media channels, but not getting to speak to decision makers?
- Do you need to spend more time writing articles for the site, because once a month is not enough?
- Would you get a better ROI to hire a professional to manage your PPC campaign?
At time is such a valuable commodity, use it wisely – plan, observe, review – and see the great return you get from your online marketing activities.