Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 26 , 2022

As digital marketers, these tips and tools are a big part of the secret to our success.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Time-saving tactics
  • Why carving out “focus time” is important
  • How to prioritize continued learning
  • Our favorite marketing magic tricks

Working in digital marketing is anything but boring. Whether it’s another algorithm shakeup or a new social media platform taking the world by storm (looking at you, TikTok), the industry changes often — and fast.

When you’ve been a marketer for long enough, you develop your own methods and tactics for juggling all the plates you have spinning at any given time.

With that in mind, we rounded up a handful of tips from our dozens of experienced digital marketers. Read on for our go-to tools and best-kept secrets that help us get it all done.

person looking at their smart watch

Saving time is huge in an industry where it seems like plans and strategies are always changing. (Image: Rawpixel)

Time-saving tips

As Parks & Recreation’s April Ludgate once said: Time is money, money is power, power is pizza, pizza is knowledge. Does all of that apply to marketing? No, but I believe in it just the same.

Seriously though, saving time is huge in an industry where it seems like plans and strategies are always changing. Here are just a few ways we add extra minutes and hours to our workdays.

1. Bookmarks and reminders for Slack

As an all-remote team of employees spread across the country, the HawkSEM team primarily communicates through Slack. This platform has been great for keeping us connected, making it easy to collaborate, and allowing our personalities to shine through creative emoji and GIF usage.

But with dozens of employees and Slack channels that cover both work- and hobby-related subjects (the #pets-of-hawk channel is predictably popular), lots of messages are posted daily. This means, inevitably, that some can get lost in the shuffle and missed.

When it comes to important docs or folders that are shared via Slack, one time-saving tip we use is bookmarking these files so they’re pinned to the top of a certain channel for easy access. 

We also love the “Remind me about this” option that Slack offers, so you can be reminded to come back to a message at a later time. (If only our smartphones had the same feature for texts…)

2. Keyboard shortcuts

Do you remember where you were when you realized you could hold down command+K to add a hyperlink? I do. (That’s because it was last week and my life has already improved drastically. Don’t judge me.)

Keyboard shortcuts can be a game-changer for your efficiency. Along with the hyperlink one, here are a few others we use to shave time off tasks:

  • Command + C for copying
  • Command + V for pasting
  • Shift + command + V for pasting with no formatting
  • Command + { or } to correct indentation for bullet points
  • Command + F to search a page
  • Shift + command + X to strike through highlighted text
  • Command + A to select all items on a page
  • Command + shift + T to restore your last closed tab

3. “Star” or “Favorite” frequent folders and files

Along with Slack, our team is constantly creating, moving, and sharing files via Google Drive. As a result, it’s natural that documents get lost in a sea of folders and subfolders.

The “Blogs” folder I often work out of is nested within multiple other folders such as “Marketing” and “Content.” To save time, I’ve starred the Blogs folder so I don’t have to fall down the rabbit hole each time I want to access it.

You can use the Star and Favorites features in tools like Google Drive and Asana to mark the files, folders, and projects you frequently use for fast access.

4. Color code your calendar

Color coding your virtual calendar is a great way to quickly get a bird’s-eye view of the day or week ahead. Sorting duties like client calls, internal calls, focus time, and other meeting types by color gives you an at-a-glance look at what you need to prepare for without having to click through all events to refresh yourself. 

This can also help you to gauge the prep work needed to do in the days leading up to upcoming events, whether internal or external. It can even act as a weight system of sorts, showing what days are meeting-heavy and which are a bit lighter.

Playing cards, gambling addiction. Free public domain CC0 photo.

Who doesn’t love a little marketing magic? (Image: Rawpixel)

Marketing magic tricks

We swear by the human touch when it comes to managing campaigns here at HawkSEM. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love a helpful program, feature, or tool. Here are the tricks we use to make day-to-day account management just a bit easier.

5. Google Ads Editor

If you’re a PPC ad manager, you may feel like you live inside Google Ads. One of our paid search pros saves time managing campaign builds by leveraging Google Ads Editor.

To increase efficiency, build your Google Ads out in a spreadsheet and import into the Editor. This allows you to create a large amount of new ads in bulk. From there, you can also edit elements such as URLs, location, demographics, and even remove things like UTMs in bulk.

6. Semrush Keyword Manager

We love the Semrush tool because it makes so many SEO-related tasks in particular more efficient and streamlined.

Using the Semrush Keyword Manager to build keyword lists quickly is one way we use this tool to make life easier. This way, you don’t have to download full CSV files or copy and paste data. Rather, you see only the terms you want to in your spreadsheet.

7. Google Analytics Annotations

Have you ever worked on a Google Analytics report and tried to remember or understand what happened at a specific moment in time? It can be a bit frustrating. 

The good news: You can make puzzles like these easier on yourself by tracking updates, changes, issues, and more with Google Analytics annotations and Google Ads notes. 

These features create comments within the platforms to help give context to the data. If an algorithm shake-up temporarily affects your traffic, making a note of it not only helps make sense of confusing data, but it adds helpful transparency for your client and/or others on your team.

woman sitting on the couch with her laptop in her lap stretching her arms up

It’s important to carve out dedicated time for continued learning. (Image: Rawpixel)

Productivity tools

Why work harder when you can work smarter? Of course we work hard, but working smarter is what gives you the space to be creative, think outside the box, and avoid burnout in the process. These productivity tools help us do just that.

8. Block off “focus time”

It can be tempting to hit the ground running each morning to start checking off your to-do list. But many of our team members have found that penciling in “focus time,” ideally at the beginning or end of the day, creates an opportunity to take a step back and focus on your professional self.

Having a recurring block of time on your calendar dedicated to focus can allow for anything from creating your weekly task list or catching up on email to continuing education courses or reading the latest industry news. 

Whatever it is, this is one of our top tools because it serves as uninterrupted time for you to dedicate to yourself which, in turn, helps make you a better employee.

9. Use Screencastify to record meetings

Our team members are big fans of Screencastify. This Google Chrome add-on makes recording and sharing meetings, trainings, and walkthroughs a breeze. 

With a tool like this, you can record client meetings upon request when certain members can’t attend or share helpful video how-tos with clients (instead of writing lengthy emails).

We also use Screencastify for internal trainings and information sharing amongst our team.

10. Leverage Google Drive for Desktop

These days, most teams (particularly all-remote ones like ours) work mostly off of cloud-based tools, drives, folders, and servers. This way, others can more easily access and modify files as needed than they could if someone was working off a doc they simply saved on their personal computer.

With Google Drive for Desktop, you can sync all your work files to the cloud. This application is stored on your local computer but allows you to access your drive and the shared folders via File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

The best part: with this program, you won’t have to worry about losing your work files, even if your computer crashes.

11. Prioritize continued learning

It can be easy to put your professional growth on the back burner in favor of the must-dos that have to happen week to week. But it’s important to carve out dedicated time for continued learning. That’s where this tip comes in.

No matter what you want to learn or improve upon, you can make it happen by blocking out time regularly to focus on it (this can overlap or be separate from your regularly scheduled “focus time” mentioned above).

Whether it’s enhancing your understanding of your industry, expanding your knowledge of a new channel, or fine-tuning soft skills like communicating with confidence, prioritizing this time to focus on your goals and dreams is just as important as your work-related tasks. 

The takeaway

You may have noticed that our tips above focus not just on accomplishing work duties, but achieving proper life-work balance and personal happiness as well. 

We know the best employees don’t just have the industry knowledge, skills, and know-how: they also feel valued by their companies, create helpful boundaries, and prioritize self-care. 

By leveraging these helpful tools to save time, you can find more minutes in your day to do what makes you happy and find joy, both on and off the clock.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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