It’s that time of year again when companies are looking at their goals and digital marketing strategies. I have lots of ideas about this but it’s a bit of a case of “the cobblers children wear no shoes,” since I’ve been so busy with my clients’ marketing needs that I am neglecting my own.
Clearly, that is not a long-term viable strategy. So, I’ve created a list of the things I and you and should be thinking about as we’re doing our 2016 marketing and business plans.
Some questions to ask include:
1) What are your goals for sales and marketing this coming year and how does that compare to years past? What would you like to do differently or better?
For myself, one of my goals is to attend and present at some in-person networking events, and being more regular with blog posts of my own. I plan and execute content for my clients, but I need to turn some of that effort towards my own business in order to grow.
2) How are your current lead generation tactics working? Maybe you have some strategies that are doing pretty well but have you taken a look recently at how many leads these generate vs. how many close? Maybe there is room to improve. Maybe it’s time to put some new content out there. Many of my clients are in the technology industry, where if you have been doing anything for more than a year, you may need to consider whether market interest in those efforts has already reached its peak. It might be time to move on.
3) Your marketing channels – What and how are you doing in these areas?
Website – Your website is one of your most important marketing assets. When is the last time you took a good look at its performance? How successful is it for you as a lead generation opportunity? Do you have any lead capture set up, such as a download form for whitepapers or ebooks, or a sign up form for webinars? How are these working?
Mobile – A lot of companies are missing the boat on this right now. The majority of people now use mobile devices to access the internet, yet many companies are still using old, unresponsive design templates for their websites and campaigns. Are your website and other digital communications responsive? If not, this might be a good goal for 2016.
Blogging/SEO – What’s your strategy here? How’s it working? Maybe you have a great website but it’s just static content. Maybe you have a blog but it never gets updated, is updated randomly, or nobody ever visits it. We can do better! Blogging can be a great way to optimize your site for search results (SEO) because when it is done right, it provides two things search engines are looking for: regularly updated content and multiple pages of in-depth content on a variety of related subjects. The SEO best practices for blogging include: creating a regular publishing schedule, producing great, shareable content (so, don’t beat that sales drum too loudly) and optimizing for your keywords and search terms. That last one is critical – by targeting more specific keywords and phrases, you can capture potential leads who are further along in the buying cycle. Speaking of buying cycles, some form of unobtrusive lead capture or subscriptions should be part of your overall blogging and SEO strategy. Blogging also can be a great community building exercise when you give readers a chance to provide feedback, enhancing your online reputation and ultimately positioning you as an authority in your industry.
All of this does take some work, so if blogging is one of the digital marketing strategies you want to pursue but it sounds too difficult or you simply don’t have time, this is where you can hire a content marketer to give you an assist, with a strategy and plan to get this channel working for you.
Content Marketing / Lead Generation – You’ve got a blog and a great website. Now your goal is to use your awesome content to capture leads. There is a whole strategy around how to nurture the leads that are captured from your website, from email campaigns to individual outreach. Take a look at how this is being handled. Do these leads go into any kind of email campaign? Should they? The goal here should be to create a system that feeds good quality leads into your sales funnel so that over time, you can eventually turn some of them into new customers. It’s not enough just to produce content without a system in place to convert them to customers.
Social Media – Your strategy here should also not be about beating people over the head with a sales message, but rather, it should be about providing value and a behind the scenes peek at what makes your company special. How does your social media presence measure up?
Digital Media (presentation downloads and the like) – So you presented at that big trade show or event, or made an awesome presentation to a client. What are you doing with that content next? Making this available and searchable on the internet can be a great way to drive web traffic to your site, generate leads and showcase your expertise.
Whitepapers – If you’re a consulting or service company of any kind, you should be doing these. They can be product or service oriented, or more high level like about methodologies such as Agile development, or even a survey. The possibilities are endless.
Events/Networking – Your online presence may be great, but are you also taking advantage of real world networking events such as industry trade shows or even local business associations? These can help you build contacts–from specialized service providers to potential customers and referral sources.
Seminars/Webinars/Speaking opportunities – What are you doing in this area? If you really want to get some bang for your buck out of networking events, try presenting. You can do it! Again, this can be trade shows or local events. For the big tradeshows, you’ll want to plan early and submit your proposals so that you can be considered for these awesome opportunities to show off your expertise.
Advertising/PPC – Yes, you should still be doing this. A great way to incorporate this is in combination with highly valuable whitepapers. Got a great piece of content? Put some lead capture around it and advertise it with a pay per click ad. Just make sure you know what your benchmark is for performance.
Referrals – Personal networks are big for most of us in the service industry. What are you doing to generate referrals from your current network? Do you have a strategy in this area such as monthly email newsletters?
Member websites for your industry – Many industries have members only forums that can be a good way to develop relationships online. Are you participating in any of these? Should you?
Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking. Digital marketing strategies can be built around any of these areas – the key is developing a system of followup so you can achieve measurable results.
What are your goals and digital marketing strategies? Tell what you’re thinking about in the comments.