As another year draws to a close, digital marketing sites and bloggers have filled the last month with analyses of 2015’s trends, as well as expectations and predictions for 2016. While the crystal ball approach to strategic planning makes for some enjoyable reading, we’re stripping those suggestions down to brass tacks.
Here are six immediate actions to take this week to improve your digital and content marketing for the entire year.
Evaluate (and improve) your site speed
From the introduction of site speed as a ranking factor to the mobile-geddon rollout in April, Google has continually pushed webmasters to focus on speedy sites that load well on mobile. There is no doubt they will have the same focus in 2016.Google has continually pushed speedy sites made for mobile - so how swift is your site? Click To Tweet
To improve the performance of your website as a marketing tool, you’ll want it to load as quickly as possible (within your resources). Start by testing your site with the Google PageSpeed insights. The tool will provide you with specific recommendations to improve loading times –and, in some cases, how to implement those solutions.
If you’re site is built using WordPress, consider using caching software, moving heavy files to a CDN such as Amazon, and implementing a few other tricks (lossless image optimization, lazy load for images, minify) to bring those load times down even further.
Total time: 3-5 hours depending on your site’s structure
Revisit email marketing
The more things change, the more they stay the same. While the digital marketing landscape is in constant flux from new products (Oculus Rift! Periscope!) and mobile adoption habits, savvy marketers know email marketing is a tested tool that continually delivers results when done right. That said, your email marketing setup might need an overhaul.
Take some time to evaluate:
- Your 2015 campaigns – what worked well, what can you improve?
- List growth or decline – how’s the health of your recipient base? Can you make additions from other campaigns conducted in 2015?
- Your email newsletter template – what can you tweak to make it more effective?
- Mobile view – do your email newsletters load correctly for mobile?
- Are you registration forms working correctly? Are they mobile friendly?
- What you can test – how about some split testing to see how to improve your performance?
The Litmus blog offers some great tangible examples on how to improve. The time spent promises a big payoff – some simple changes here can mean big benefits for all campaigns you plan to send this year.
Total time: 2-3 hours for evaluation, a few more hours to tweak templates or conduct split testing
Identify (and repromote) your 2015 top content
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, it only takes a couple of minutes to stroll through the results and identify the top posts, according to traffic, from your site in the last year. Once you’ve identified the top pages with content that’s still relevant, it’s time to schedule those posts for promotion again.
You can schedule your posts manually across the various social networks using the tool of your choice, or you can simplify this process by using bulk scheduling in HootSuite. Even easier, for WordPress users, is the Revive Old Post plugin. This plugin connects to your social profiles, allows you to include/exclude specific posts or categories for promotion again. Once configured, it will promote your posts via Facebook and Twitter, complete with shortened URLs. Pro users can also post to LinkedIn and configure other options such as images.Popular posts persist: Breathe new life into old top posts, making them shareworthy again. Click To Tweet
Bonus tip: If you’re top content isn’t up to date, it’s worth refreshing those posts. Popular posts often continue to garner a large share of a site’s traffic, and keeping those top performers up to date, content-wise, can be an easy way to breathe new life into older posts, making them shareworthy again.
Total time: About an hour, especially if you use WordPress
Automate where possible
According to Hubspot, “marketers today are spending at least 50 percent of their time on content.” Automation options include making it easier to “schedule emails, segment contacts, automate social media posting, manage your content, and track the lifecycle of customers in your digital marketing funnel.” The goal is to trim time spent on routine tasks without harming the quality or results.
Any number of different social media tools can aid you in your quest to cut back on busy work, but here are a few of our favorites:
- HootSuite Bulk Scheduling, especially for evergreen content
- Buffer for collecting and scheduling third-party content
- Streamlining your Google Analytics and adding campaign tracking data for actionable reports
- Feedly Pro features to identify, aggregate and post third-party content efficiently
Total time: 1-2 hours depending on which tools you choose
Adopt relationship marketing
Relationship marketing – the concept of building longer-lasting, ongoing communications with potential customers and eventual brand advocates – is music to the ears of marketers working in B2B or in B2C markets with a longer sales cycle. Finally … an approach that doesn’t focus solely on immediate sales funnels or e-commerce sites.
To implement this in your digital marketing plan, adopt a few of the cornerstones:
- Focus on niche segments of your larger target market and use personalized messaging and micro-strategies to address their specific interests
- Think long-term with goals such as brand loyalty, repeat engagement and unsolicited recommendations of products and services
- Use big data to think small, drilling down larger market findings to identify focused groups that would be ripe for targeting
- Promote trust and transparency between brands and consumers – it’s called relationship marketing for a reason
Total time: 2-3 hours to combine this element of digital marketing to your existing plan
Pick a keystone goal
Amid a wash of myriad goals, KPIs and metrics, it’s easy to lose focus on the big picture behind your digital marketing program. Progress toward a big goal can be difficult to estimate, track or measure for ROI on a regular basis, so we fall back into the minutiae of things more easily measured and calculated.
While ongoing analysis and projections have a huge value, we need to see the forest for the trees. Picking a single digital marketing goal for your year – a keystone to cap all others – ensures you won’t lose focus while tallying all those new email subscribers, LinkedIn shares and potential sales leads on a monthly basis.
Total time: 1-2 hours for brainstorming, another hour or so to get buy-in from management and the marketing team
Enough to keep you busy this week? What other marketing resolutions are on your docket as you kick off 2016?