Marketers I work with complain of not having enough time to do it all. It’s a complaint I hear again and again. Heck, it’s a complaint I make myself!

Marketing teams and professionals struggle under the pressure of tweeting every day, maintaining a Facebook community, writing blog content, responding to comments on Twitter, finding great images to post to Pinterest, trying to create interesting YouTube videos and the 101 other things they could be doing…

Unfortunately, the list of things to do in digital marketing seems to grow by the day…

  • Should you start using Snapchat?
  • Should you have a Tumblr account?
  • What do you post to Instagram?
  • Are you going to have an App or not?
  • Is the website really optimised for mobile or not?
  • Etc, etc, etc…

Many marketers feel stressed, confused and overwhelmed by it all. There’s a sense amongst many marketing people I work with, that if they’re not using every digital platform available to them, then they must be a failure!

To make matters worse, not only do marketers have to conduct their digital marketing, they’ve usually got many other work commitments to meet: such as designing a direct mail brochure, chasing the exhibition company who are building the stand at a forthcoming trade show, as well attending company briefings by HR and supervising the Intern.

No wonder so much coffee and cake is consumed in marketing departments.

The pace of change also causes anxiety. The other complaint I hear is that, ‘it’ “…all changes so fast!” It being, of course, digital marketing.

As soon as marketing people have got their heads around how Facebook works, Facebook go ahead and change things. Pinterest re-jigs its algorithm and Twitter stops doing what it was doing, does something else and then stops that too.

And don’t get me started on Google SEO updates…

The stress of modern marketing

Now, don’t get me wrong. Being a modern marketer ain’t all bad. You get to go to groovy marketing conferences and say words such as ‘dashboard’ or ‘millennials’. And digital marketers are currently more in demand than plumbers you can rely upon.

Nevertheless, the impact of these concerns is corrosive.

Many marketing teams fear that they are falling behind. Competitors seem to ‘get it’ and understand what to do with all of these tools. Although, believe me, your competitors are as confused and as stressed as you are!

There’s also another fear that there’s probably some new digital platform coming around the corner that will change everything. It seems inevitable that a new, as yet unknown and unthought-of online service, is bound come along to upturn the marketing apple-cart all over again! Exhausting isn’t it?

How to keep up

How do you manage it all? Indeed, can you or any marketing team do it all?

Yes, you can. You CAN do it all. If you are, of course, a mega-corps with loads of cash and loads of people. And some more cash. And lots more people. Like a Coca Cola or IBM perhaps.

These guys can run several websites, Google Adwords campaigns, Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages all at once. And they can do so because they are so big and have so much money.

Yet, even if you’re a small team – and are able to commit large chunks of your day to digital activities – then, again, it IS possible to manage lots of different things online.

Most of us need to be more focused

However, if you’re like 99% of organisations I’ve ever worked with, you’ve actually got limited time, limited money, few people and virtually no resources to speak of.

These constraints mean you must learn to focus your digital marketing efforts.

  • Start by asking yourself several questions, such as: What are we trying to achieve with our marketing?
  • What do we have to produce in terms of tangible results for the business?
  • Are we about ‘getting our name out there’ or are we trying to generate lots of sales leads in the shortest period of time?
  • Do we want to slowly build a large online community or generate buzz via Influencer Marketing?
  • Are we looking to target a few key decision makers or reach the world?

Answering these types of questions will help you choose which activities you should engage in and in which order.

For example, if your business needs orders today then you might want to consider paying for targeted visitors via PPC. You could focus on driving those visitors onto specific offer pages that you can keep tweaking and improving.

Or, if you’re looking to build customer insights from within your industry, then you could consider the long, slow and patient effort of launching and managing a LinkedIn Group.

What resources do you have?

Another way to focus, is to be realistic about what you can achieve.

How much time per day, week or month can you commit to digital marketing? Are you able to give it the time it deserves or, perhaps, should you be asking for more support?

Should you outsource activities to external partners? Can you realistically do it all or would you be more effective if you paid for some of it to be done for you?

Know your customers

Conduct customer research and check which platforms they are actually using. Which ones do they spend the most time on and which ones are important in their decision-making processes?

You might enjoy the creative effort involved in using Pinterest but if your target audiences aren’t using it then why are you?

Once you’re clearer about where your audiences spend their time online, you can then focus your efforts with confidence.

Do Less, Do More

My final suggestion is that the best way to focus is not on WHERE you should be online but WHAT you should be doing. If you have limited time (and who hasn’t) then the greatest impact you can have is by spending more of it producing quality content.

Instead of spreading yourself too thinly across multiple websites, focus instead on being helpful on your blog. Focus on being valuable on your Twitter account. And cull all the other places you’re wasting your time on.

Spend some serious time and effort producing a really in-depth white paper that your prospects will devour.

Go to town on a series of instructive YouTube videos for your key customer groups.

Gather together the key web resources in your industry and create a detailed list that you post to your LinkedIn account.

By focusing on quality content rather than on the quantity of activity, you’ll discover that you don’t need to be everywhere on the Web after all. Quality content spreads quickly across the Web and jumps from one online platform to another.

You don’t hear it said very much these days but it’s called the ‘World Wide Web’ for a reason. The clue is in the Web bit.

  • If I find a great article you’ve produced, I’ll tweet it for you.
  • If I stumble across a cool infographic you’ve put together, I’ll email it to my contacts.
  • And if you produce a gripping series of videos on YouTube, then I’ll tell my Facebook friends.

So, take a breath.

Take another one. Put that coffee down and pick up a calming herbal tea instead (you can keep the cake).

With Zen-like calm, focus your time, money and resources on doing a few things online really well. Lose your anxiety. Lose the overwhelm and give your content the proper attention it deserves.

The Web will do the rest.