Summer is here. Trying to keep my brood of three from just sitting around Netflix bing-watching seems to be the daily challenge. Sure, there are a million camps we can register them in. Does anyone want to give me a million dollars to make that dream come true? No takers? Ok, then I guess we have to just get creative.

My kids sometimes need a little nudge to spark their creativity. One of the things they seem to really enjoy is trying to bake. Sure, there might be a little mess that needs to be cleaned up later, but the process of learning, trying, exploring, trying are all worth it to me.

They just need flour. And lots of it. If I buy them some flour in bulk, it will keep them entertained for a long time and will allow them to try even more options than they had before.

Bear with me, but I find a close parallel to our usage of digital marketing software today. Tools for email like MailChimp and Constant Contact or tools for social media management like Hootsuite and Hubspot are incredibly powerful. For many of us, we don’t realize the potential that we have at our disposal with the tools that we are currently using (and paying for!)

We’re sitting there with a huge amount of flour (to stick with the analogy) and yet aren’t really baking yet. We also could use a little nudge.

Often times I ask clients how competent they feel in the tool they are using and it’s usually met with a response of “if I had more time I could really dig in”. Multiply that by probably a half-dozen different tools that are currently in use at one time (these days) and you have a massive problem brewing. Beyond the waste of money, your business is not going to get the value of the investment.

My advice is to focus. If you haven’t used a tool in over a month, get rid of it. Cancel your subscription. It will free your mind, much like a garage sale does. Clears the clutter.

Pick one tool for the next 6 weeks. Watch every video tutorial they have for you. Read every bit of documentation you can. Research “tips and tricks” people have posted online (there are ALWAYS people blogging or posting videos with good stuff for you to think about). Then try stuff. Work through every option you can find. Then try to go deeper and really get into the tool.

Just do it for 6 weeks. Take 30 minutes a day (everyone has that or at least can block that off). You will be amazed at not only the hidden secrets you uncover, but the direct tie back into your business will be amazing.

If you are in the online/digital marketing space, there really is no better time than right now to have some crazy power (data-driven) at your fingertips. You can completely dazzle your co-workers and boss by just tapping into the power that you are paying for.

Photo credit: gozalewis

With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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