As marketers, we delight in having many channels to reach potential consumers. But sometimes we forget that we, too, are consumers. And beyond goods and services, we are consumers of information.
I enjoy using Twitter to learn interesting tidbits, Facebook to keep up with my friends, family and favorite brands and Google Reader to keep up with news and blogs. And Google+ to … well, whatever Google+ is supposed to do. And, like many of you, I listen to radio and podcasts, read magazines, receive marketing materials in the mail and see banner ads on the websites I visit. Some I choose; some I don’t. But if I consumed it all, I’d do nothing else all day. (And some days, I don’t.)
While many of us crave information, there are a few simple things you can do to give yourself a little more of your own time back.
1. Set inbox rules. You signed up for Chili’s coupons, Michael’s rewards emails and Pottery Barn sales announcements — and who wants to give up their Target discounts?! But if you stop to look at your inbox each time one of these emails comes through, you might go mad. Create a folder in your inbox and set some rules, so the marketing emails YOU WANT go into this folder. (And if you don’t want them, unsubscribe!) Then, on a set day every week, comb through them and print the coupons you’ll use and mark sales dates on your calendar. Alternatively, you can have a “junk” email address. I have one account that I use only for these types of marketing emails.
2. Manage your Facebook news feed. You have friends who are over-posters. We ALL have those friends. And you don’t want to un-friend someone you truly like just because she happens to spend too much of her time online. Every so often, you’d like to check in and see how she’s doing. You don’t, however, need to know what she had for breakfast today. Remember — you can hide people. They won’t know, and your news feed will be more pertinent. You can also rely on Facebook’s “Top News” feature to filter your feed for you.
3. Choose your marketing messages carefully. On Facebook, I follow a lot of things — friends’ businesses, TV shows I love and brands I’m loyal to. But every so often, I revisit that list. Is their content enriching? Coupons from Neutrogena? Free shipping from Origins? I’ll take it! New content and updates on the cast from Grey’s Anatomy? Not giving that up either. On the other hand, while I’m a huge fan of Disney, seldom do I learn anything here that I won’t learn elsewhere. And since I don’t have a season pass to Disneyland, I can probably stop following the theme park — even though I real-world “like” them.
4. Eliminate repeats. Smart content marketers know the value in re-purposing content. For example, I subscribe to Women’s Health magazine. I also get emails from them — daily. And I follow them on Facebook. I promise you that the content, while valuable, is being repurposed. The fat-burning breakfasts article on their website is — but it’s coming to me via Facebook, Twitter and email. Time to dump the repeats and reduce the clutter.
If you love information, I don’t blame you. But we simply don’t have an infinite time supply to do everything we need to live our lives AND get all this great content. As a consumer, you have some control. And as marketers, we have a responsibility to continue to create valuable content that people actually want.