Slay the Time Vampires!
If you're serious about success on the Web, you must learn
how to defeat the time vampires: all those little "jobs" and distractions that
suck up your valuable time.
It's very easy to get distracted with the whole Web to run
around. You're reading an article about a new development in web advertising... and in the
next column there is a big, bold link inviting you to find out the latest on the
impeachment trial. A flurry of clicks and an hour that you could not afford to lose later,
you have caught up on the football scores, and checked the value of your portfolio.
I'm sure this scenario is all too familiar. But many other
time vampires are less easy to spot. You're going to have to go looking for them, then
stamp them out!
You sit down to check your email and there are half a dozen questions waiting for you,
about your product or service or about your site. You fire off a barrage of replies, but
before you have time to empty your inbox another wave of messages comes pouring in.
The worst time-wasters are people who (for whatever reason)
cannot or will not read your carefully drafted FAQ (I assume you have one readily
available). Each answer that you send is followed by another question, until you spend
half the morning answering questions about the features of your $25 software product!
You have to be firm, and learn when to draw the line and
reach for the "delete" button. While you should always try to keep existing
customers happy, browsing shoppers can be treated with thinner velvet gloves. Stop before
the value of the time you spent exceeds any possible revenue you can gain from completing
the transaction! If the questions become too involved, just delete the messages.
"And lose a potential client?" Sure. If the
questioner was not willing to buy your product from the outset, and half a dozen messages
later is still uncertain, concentrate your energy on the next prospect!
I have a simple policy for dealing with time-wasters who subscribe to the PR2 mailing
list: I go straight to my administration tools, and remove the offenders from the list.
A vast majority of readers (over 99%!) are happy, and are a
pleasure to have on board. But a few people just waste my time:-
- They receive the newsletter and see it as an invitation to
mail me junk adverts [UNSUB!]
- They accuse me of spamming [UNSUB!]
- Their anti-spam filter asks me to resend the newsletter to a different address [UNSUB!]
- At least two consecutive newsletters generated automatic replies from the same email
Harsh, perhaps, but with a readership of 6,300 it's crazy
for me to waste 50% of my time on a couple of dozen people. Take my advice, and learn to
apply the same tests to your own work.
Every day, I get business proposals that seem to have been tailored to my site.
"Since I enjoyed your site, I was wondering if you would like to add our product XYZ
to your front page, we will pay you 15% of all the sales you can bring us."
Many of these proposals are actually cut-and-pasted
verbatim from the partnership/affiliate information pages of the originating sites. I
haven't been singled out for special attention; the offer is no more attractive than if I
went over to the site and signed up myself.
These kinds of messages go straight into the circular bit
bucket under my virtual desk.
To survive life at Internet speed, you may need to develop a slightly thicker skin. It's
very important to make sure your business projects a good image, but it's better to
project a good image towards a thousand prospects than a great image towards half a dozen!