Dealing with Information Overload

Dealing with Information Overload

Information overload annoys me. As much as I try, there is always a steady stream of facts, tips, opinions and trends headed my way.

When I attend a conference session or a webinar, my goal is to get one thing  out of the experience. It’s like a trade. I trade my time for knowledge.

I sign up for many industry newsletters and websites and can’t keep up with all of them. But I find a way to track the best ones and get the most pertinent information that makes sense for my business. Inevitably, I will miss something.

In my case (and maybe yours), I look for tips and tactics that will help me with my business today and for long-term planning. I also keep an eye out for information that may benefit clients – an apt quote, a business book, productivity tools, etc.

You just have to continuously come to terms with the fact that you can’t do it all. And that’s OK – or should be fine with you.

Given all of the demands on your time and expertise, you just need to fight through it and make some calculated decisions. Some of them will be dead wrong. The sooner you realize your mistakes, the sooner you can address them and spare your company pain, aggravation and financial loss.

If I had 10 business owners in a room – and they all had horrible websites (a prevalent problem), I’d say something like:

“You’re website isn’t doing its job. You need to fix it. It’s going to cost you. You can go with one of those cheap services and get something better not much money (less than $100). I’m not joking. Your website is so bad off that even $100 for some template will be a great investment. Or, you can find a way to pay $2,000 to $8,000 and get a decent website that reflects your brand, values, expertise, culture and much more. Notice the price range. It depends on who is doing the work and what you need to accomplish.”

My point is that you start with your biggest problem and attack it – right away or gradually.

For me, I’ve established some credibility over the years by writing guides, articles, white papers and studies. I’ve been speaking at national conferences since 2005. But some of that tapered off the last few years while I worked for other agencies and committed my time to clients.

I’ve made a time choice – working on an SEO book based on multiple marketing and lifestyle goals while not doing some other things – everything like not spending some time with family and friends (the precious stuff) to missing some TV shows or movies (I will survive).

As I’m writing this post, I’m working with a very small business owner (one guy) with an e-commerce store. He knows his stuff. Unfortunately, he has no one to help him. He’s toiled countless hours to create an online store that is barely acceptable from a user perspective. Some wouldn’t be that generous.

After a couple months of talking through his situation, he’s finally reached the point that he’s going to cut into what little money he makes and redo the website.

His conversions are subpar, but a redesign and better e-commerce technology will get him the profits he’s been seeking.

My new client won’t succeed just because I will help him. Here’s what I didn’t tell you. He gets a ton of natural traffic every month (thousands of visitors). He’s just not converting. The design is inconsistent. Visitors clearly don’t know what to do in many cases.

He has traffic – it’s a great asset he can leverage. But the website update is going to cost him.

I told him repeatedly not to hire my firm for a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. I’m just making some minor updates. In fact, even though I’m a big fan of how-to guides for lead generation, I told him to hold off. Wait until the website is ready. That way more people will make purchases or at least download his guide when he publishes it.

I often talk about the importance of understanding your strengths and weaknesses and making your best decisions based on that knowledge.

What are you going to do?

Are you going to dive into e-mail marketing, update your website, learn search engine optimization or make an infographic you hope everyone shares across the globe?

If you’re profitable despite online marketing shortcomings, that’s awesome. Bravo. If you want to make more money, it’s time to make some decisions.

How are you going to spend your time? Be honest about where you fall short and embrace those key personal and business attributes. If you do that – and don’t give into making choices with blinders on – you’ll be fine.