10 Ways to Rock Your Marketing in the New Year
By Jenn Clark
We love marketing, but it can be a handle to keep up with. From trends to algorithm changes to new online advertising tools, it’s difficult to follow at times. However, it is what we thrive on doing for our clients and readers, like you.
If you are worried about being on the struggle bus with your marketing this year, don’t be; we’re here to help. Check out these 10 ways to rock your marketing in the new year.
Ways to Rock Your Marketing in the New Year
Conduct a website audit.
Your website may be the first impression someone gets of you so you need to make it count. Think of it as where your business lives online, and all other avenues (social media, display ads, etc.) are tools that help to bring people to your online home. Therefore, you need to ensure it is not only up-to-date but effective as well. Does it have curb appeal (a great layout and design)? Is information about your company easily obtainable for site visitors? Can search engines easily find what it is about (SEO-friendly)? Does the design and content translate well to mobile devices? These are all things you need to keep in mind as you look at where improvements need to be made to your website, especially in 2018.
Video made a big impact on marketing in recent years and will only continue to do so. In fact, contributing Forbes writer Mike Templeman noted this fall that by 2019, video traffic will account for roughly 80% of all internet traffic, and Facebook reportedly generates 8 billion video views on average per day. Not to mention, Facebook launched their TV-like platform called Facebook Watch in late 2017, and they will continue to favor video content moving forward beyond 2018. So, without a doubt, videos will need to be a part of your marketing strategy to stay on top of the digital game.
With all this talk of websites and video, one may think that face-to-face interactions are dead. However, this could not be further from the truth. As humans, we are social creatures and still value interactions with people. While door-to-door sales may not be effective in this era, there is still much to be said of that impression you can make on someone with a simple handshake and a friendly “hello.” At the end of the day, we believe people still want to buy from people, especially when they know their story. So, get out from behind that screen and share your story with someone new.
Don’t give up on Facebook.
With all of its periodic and constant changes, we know first-hand how frustrating Facebook can be as a business. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach our targeted audiences without paid advertising. Despite this, we know that Facebook still reigns as king as one of the most widely used social network platforms and refuse to give up on it. According to CNN, Facebook maintains a steady growth each year, with 1.86 billion users at the end of 2016, up from 1.59 billion the previous year. This proves opportunities are still waiting for many on the platform; it just means we have to start working harder for them (and possibly paying more). When you compare the cost of traditional advertising to Facebook, though, the savings are still quite significant. Plus, the platform does enable targeting and goal-oriented features for your ads, which is much better than blindly putting an ad out into the world and hoping it sticks to someone who cares somewhere.
Engage on social media.
Of course, if you aren’t throwing in the towel on Facebook and other online platforms (and you shouldn’t), then you need to be engaging with your followers. This includes other business pages as well. They’ll especially appreciate your interacting with them. The key is to be genuine and not to comment on something simply to get more “likes” to your page. People typically see right through you when you are disingenuous, so be real and be you.
Want to know how to get the most of social media? Check out our blog post about this topic here.
Create an email marketing plan.
Believe it or not, email marketing remains a strong form of communication with potential and existing clients. If you have yet to dive into the world of email marketing, now is as good a time as any, Online advertising platform WordStream shared that the number of email subscribers is “forecasted to rise to 2.9 billion by 2019.” Although many companies see success from sending consistent emails, you still need to have a strategy in place before you start hitting that “send” button. Do some research about what makes your consumer tick and determine how many times per week you should actually be sending out emails for your industry. We recommend a site like MailChimp to start. They offer free automated emails and pop-up opt-in forms for your website even as a free member.
Nail down your marketing budget.
Try not to let another year go by without a determined marketing budget in place. Marketing helps to grow your business, generate consistent leads, and builds trust among your audience, but not if you don’t actually dedicate any spending toward it. As a range, many would advise from 2-10% of your gross revenue, but keep in mind, it may be more starting out as you invest in your initial branding. Then, divide this allocated amount to promotional items throughout the year, advertising costs (and where y0u’ll advertise) and the like. If you are beyond your first year of business, this will be somewhat easier to figure out as you’ll have the previous year to compare. Allow some flexibility, but this is why it is important to be strategic about your spending and ad content. Perhaps you were advertising in the right media but the message was completely off. Consider consulting with a marketing agency, like us, to see what may work best for you.
Develop a plan of action for your SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) changes more often than what we would like, but for good reason. When done correctly, SEO tactics help to show individuals the information they are searching for online through keywords. And, unfortunately, some marketers can be dishonest with their keywords, focusing only on ranking on search engines rather than providing quality information. Combining distinctive subject matter plus fitting keywords to appropriately tell search engines how to navigate your website and its contents is the route you’ll need to go in order to not only be effective but also to avoid the penalization of your information. Thus, having a plan of action for SEO will be extremely important for your marketing in 2018.
Hone in on your brand strategy.
Strengthen your brand this year by honing in on your brand strategy. Does your packaging make a lasting impression? Are you sharing content in publications that match your own values and mission? Does your messaging align with your overall objective? Likewise, does your look match the tone and emotion you are trying to convey? Does it make sense for you to start a podcast? Some ways you can see where you need to make adjustments is by conducting polls or surveys either online or through focus groups. With a few simple questions, such as words people think of when they see or hear your brand, you’ll be able to verify what is working and what isn’t. Branding is a major piece of the puzzle, and one you don’t want to fall short on or miss, especially in the growing digital world where it is increasingly harder to not get lost in the shuffle.
Evaluate your marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel is a series of steps a customer will take, as determined by you, before they purchase a product or service from you. For example, perhaps it starts with following you on social media, and the posts you create lead them to your email, which you then use to sell your latest online course or product, which then leads them to your website to finalize the sale. Another example would be a potential consumer visiting your website, viewing a product on your product page, adding it to their cart, and finalizing the purchase. This is referred to as a funnel because as people make their way through the steps, many more drop out than continue forward. You’ll always have more people initially interested than you do actually making purchases. Think about your goals as you evaluate your marketing funnel. How can you lead consumers through to this goal with the marketing tools available to you? This funnel does not always have to lead to a sale though; in fact, you can have multiple funnels for different purposes. Perhaps you have one to increase web traffic or another to grow your email list. An organized and determined set of channels will keep you focused on your goals and potentially improve your customer’s overall experience.
These are jus a few ways to rock your marketing in the new year, and the possibilities are truly endless. From artificial intelligence to voice-activated technology (a blog post for another day), there is a world of possibilities just waiting for you, and we can’t wait to see you succeed incorporating these efforts.
Do you have any concerns regarding marketing tactics? What are you looking forward to trying the most?