As a digital marketer, do you constantly feel the pressure to complete the tasks on your to-do list and learn the latest new skills in this ever-changing online world? Do you want to free yourself by achieving more with less? If yes, you need to take a serious look at the 80/20 Rule. In this blog, I will talk about what is the 80/20 Rule, why you should care about it and how to apply the 80/20 Rule to your digital marketing so that you do less with more.
The 80/20 Rule is also known as the Pareto Principle or the Pareto Law. It says that in many situations, about 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. It is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. In 1906, Pareto observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth and land was controlled by 20% of the population. Then he carried out surveys on several other countries and had a similar finding.
Though the ratio found in Pareto’s research is roughly 80/20, it is not necessarily 80/20 all the time. In many cases the ratio can be different, for example, 70/20, 60/5, 90/10, 95/5 or even 99/1. The actual number doesn’t really matter. What matters is to understand is that the relationship between the cause and effect is not always 1:1. There are certain activities you do in business and in life that account for the majority of your results.
80/20 examples are ubiquitous in business and in life. Let’s take a look of some examples around us.
80/20 examples in business:
- 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your sales.
- 20% of your problem customers give you 80% of the headaches.
- 20% of your products or services contribute to 80% of your profit.
- 20% of your time produces 80% of your business results.
- 20% of your web pages attract 80% of your website traffic.
80/20 examples in life:
- Your smart phone has many cool features but you only use 20% of them.
- You use 20% of the tools in your toolbox for 80% of the tasks.
- You only need to read 20% of a book to get 80% of the value.
- You wear 20% of the clothes and shoes in your wardrobe for most of your events. The rest of them are simply taking up your closet space until one day you decide to donate them to Goodwill.
Now you know the manifestation of 80/20 rules in business and in life. So why should you care about 80/20 rule? How to apply it to your digital marketing?
The 80/20 rule is extremely useful in solving complex situations and problems. The 80/20 rule enables you to see the big picture, and identify the 20% activities that truly matter and focus on them. It simplifies the problems and helps you make an intelligent decision especially when you have a limited budget, time and resources.
Richard Koch, the author of The 80/20 Principle, says, “The key is to work out the few things that are really important, and the few methods that will give us what we really want.”
For example, one of my students has an eCommerce store with hundreds of product pages that need to be optimized for Google search engine. It is a lot of work to go through each page to add proper keywords and descriptions. I suggest him take the 80/20 rule approach. Check his eCommerce reports and Google Analytics reports to find out the product pages that bring him the most sales and work on them first. After that he can work on the rest of his product pages.
You can also apply the 80/20 Rule to your social media marketing. People use social media networks to socialize. Never, ever try to spam your fans and followers with your promotions or hot deals. Use only 20% of the content to promote your brand by sharing product information, promotions and discounts, etc. Keep the other 80% of the content personal, emotional, interesting, inspirational, and educational. When your fans and followers are engaged, entertained and educated, you get their attention. They will listen to what you have to offer.
Focusing on the 20% activities that are most important allows you to achieve more out of your digital marketing. You do less with more.
I have been applying 80/20 rule to my digital marketing training for a couple of year. I want to share 4 suggestions with you to help you improve your productivity in your digital marketing.
- Achieve more with less
When you look at a list of tasks from 80/20 rule’s perspective, it actually lifts the pressure off your shoulder. Instead of running around trying to do everything, you only focus on a few key tasks that bring you the most results. For example, if writing a blog post is the key task for you, you do it first. Once it is done, sharing it on social media, emailing it to your list or creating a video on it becomes easy. For some trivial and time-consuming tasks that you are not good at, you can even hire someone to do them for you.
- Focus on the core skills
Digital marketing is a field that requires a wide range of skills. For example, content creation, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), PPC, email marketing, copywriting, Google Analytics, etc. It is a lot of work to keep up with the latest development of digital marketing. You don’t need to be crazy about every new thing that comes out each day. But you do need to master the core digital marketing skills that bring you the sales. For example, the skills to create compelling content and skills of persuasion.
- Use your time wisely
The output of each hour is not equal. When you are tired or not at your best mood, you productivity is low. Instead of trying to beat yourself up, just relax and do something else. Take short breaks and mini-vacations to keep you motivated and productive so that you can focus on things that really matter.
- Be disciplined
The 80/20 rule is not magic. You have to be disciplined to stick to what you decide to do that is most important for you. For example, if writing blogs and emails is the task that generates most of your income, you have to be disciplined enough to set a block of time each day for writing. Don’t check social media before you finish your writing.
Go ahead to apply the 80/20 Rule to your digital marketing. Spend some time to have a deep thinking and thorough analysis of your digital marketing activities. Find out the 20% activities that produce 80% of your digital marketing results and focus on them. You’ll achieve more with less, and live an enjoyable lifestyle.
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