There’s no doubt about it! Pay per click search engine marketing is a time-intensive career. Look at the Wall Street trading floor. Pretty hectic, right? Now, consider a 24 hour, 7 day a week Wall Street. That’s pay per click in a nutshell. All of us in pay per click have faced the challenge of time. We never have enough time to get it all done. Moreover, our job often permits very little personal time which is just not sustainable in my opinion. Today, I’m going to go through 10 tactical tips with the goal of saving you time immediately. In my opinion, the 40 hour work week is not only possible in pay per click, but it’s preferred if all 40 of those hours are passionate, high energy, and high leverage.
Tip 1: Outsource Manual Work, Spend Your Time on PPC Process
There are certain routine manual (yet extremely valuable) PPC processes that can be well defined with the right manager who’s passionate about good documentation. Leverage the global business economy to find cost-effective resources to focus on your well-defined processes. This is quite possibly the best way to quickly gain more leverage for your entire pay per click team! (Side Note: Documentation is a cornerstone of solid pay per click people management. I’ve written a few hundred pages of documentation during my various gigs and have gotten tremendous leverage through documentation. What’s the ultimate leverage? It’s when you can leave the equation and your team continues to function smoothly thanks to your flawless documentation.)
Tip 2: Build, Buy, and Leverage Free SEM Technology
I learned this very early on: Automation and leverage through technology is everything. In my early SEM days, I spent half my time product managing complex internal bidding and campaign management solutions. The good news: Times have changed and the off the shelf solutions are absolutely amazing and better than what most organizations could build internally these days. Moreover, the desktop editors available today make free what many companies have invested significant time and money building. The end verdict: Stay on top of the technology and leverage it to your advantage.
Tip 3: Reports and Alerts Are Your Friend
Tired of cycling through all of your campaigns and adgroups every morning just to make sure everything’s ok? Even more tired of knowing that your entire team is doing this as well? Invest some serious time building reports and alerts. While you’ll spend more time up front, it scales rather quickly. Another tip: While you’ll be able to leverage free alerting and reporting (Google’s alerts are great), I highly recommend talking to your internal Engineering and operations teams for more robust intra-day solutions.
Tip 4: Leverage Your Search Engine Reps
I view my Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft reps as extensions of my internal pay per click team! When I report on my team’s priorities, I include my reps side-by-side with my internal team. Make sure your search engine reps always have a full meaningful queue of work and your leverage will reach a new level.
Tip 5: Get Sleep and Exercise: Make Every Hour High Impact
I’m a huge proponent of the 40 hour work week. It’s absolutely amazing what you can accomplish when you’re firing on all cylinders. How do you accomplish this? Get sleep and exercise. You may even want to consider a personal trainer. My wife and I see our trainer regularly and it’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made!
Tip 6: Proper People Management and Delegation Is Key
What’s the number one pitfall I’ve seen in the world of search engine marketing people management? Improper delegation. Why? In my opinion, there are two reasons. First, most SEM people managers are young and aren’t formally trained in management and delegation. Second, we’ll often face such complex problems that it’s “easier” to solve it ourselves. As someone who takes people management very seriously, I encourage you to delegate and invest time training your team. Otherwise, you’ll rob your team the ability to learn and you’ll rob yourself the opportunity to manage and leverage your time.
Tip 7: Prioritize Your Queue of SEM Work Effectively
You arrive in the office a ton of stuff is thrown your way. You just jump into the action and start doing stuff. Sound familiar? This is a very common scenario in the world of search engine marketing because our job is incredibly real time and complex. While it may sound counter-intuitive, I strongly encourage you to spend at least 10% of your time planning. The ramifications on your productivity and prioritization will yield incredible results.
Tip 8: Audit Your Time Allocation Regularly
I’ll admit I don’t follow this SEM productivity tip too often. I’ll perhaps audit my time allocation once every year or two, typically when I find myself in a rut. My advice to you: Invest the time in this one. Seriously! Keep a log of everything you do throughout your workday for two weeks. You’ll oftentimes be absolutely amazed at the stuff you’re wasting time on and how little time you’re spending on the important stuff.
Tip 9: Leverage Every Excel Shortcut Imaginable
Excel shortcuts really add up. If you can save second here and there throughout your day, all of the sudden you could find yourself saving 15 minutes or even a half hour per day. That’s some serious time. Moreover, you just can’t call yourself an expert search engine marketer without leveraging every Excel shortcut out there! Side note: If you’re managing a team of pay per clickers, this is one of the first things you will want to teach them because it immediately streamlines their work by getting rid of the tedious stuff.
Tip 10: No SEM Project Should Take More Than 2 Hours
Rewind 5 years, Ian’s first day of work in search engine marketing. I received some incredibly valuable advice that day: never spend more than 2 hours on any analysis. There are exceptions to every rule. However I strive every single day to hold myself to this rule. The rationale: If something’s taking more than 2 hours, it should be automated, outsourced, completed by someone who can do it quicker, or approached in an entirely different way.
Bonus Tip 11: Change Your Location of Work
I really enjoy my current job because I’m splitting my time between two different offices. This change of location is really helping my productivity and focus by keeping things fresh and interesting. My advice to you: make sure to change things up. If you’ve got a flexible employer, try to spend some time working on your laptop at Starbucks one or two days a week (a strategy that really helped at my last search marketing job)!
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