As part of our New Year’s coverage, here is a list of marketing tasks to tackle in 2017. Every business has digital marketing problems and bugaboos that might benefit from a little TLC. It’s easy to lag behind the cutting edge or get buried under an inordinate to-do list. Potential areas of improvement might involve capitalizing on new trends and finally getting around to things that really should have been done ages ago. These are the goals that make for ready-made New Year’s resolutions.
Without further ado:
Embrace Online Purchasing. We’ve written about the importance of going mobile. Many times. The time to design your website around the mobile experience has passed. The time for improving the purchasing experience is here, and has actually been here for a while now. Purchases are being made from cell phones at a clip that seems to be rising by the day. Google announced more than a year ago that the majority of searches are conducted from mobile devices, rather than PCs.
Developing an E-commerce site from scratch isn’t cheap, but it’s a goal worth working toward if you have a conducive retail business. For some, this step may simply mean creating a Facebook Store. The answer will be slightly different for every business, but, one way or another, every business with the potential to convert online sales should be bending over backward to make themselves operational in this capacity.
Mobile Friendly. Period. Online purchasing is important to consumers, but the most basic availability of your brand, products, etc., is still one of the very most important steps for any small or fledgling business to take. People like using tablets and cell phones for search. We know this. Again, we’ve written about the importance of embracing mobile device users many times.
Re-Evaluate Your Business Plan. Either that, or take the time to sit down and write it out for the first time. Writing, not to mention marshaling one’s thoughts, can be difficult and time consuming, but that is still outweighed by the importance of having an explicit business plan. Even if you’ve never needed one before, an up-to-date business plan can keep your efforts on track and save you the trouble of ever having to write one from scratch again.
Scrutinize Your Budget. With marketing platforms getting increasingly trackable, there is no excuse for wasted budget. ROI is becoming less and less of a guessing game. Make sure your marketing spend is working for you. Scutinize. You might just find a better way of doing things!
Size Up The Competition. Conduct your own competitive analysis. Find out what everyone else is doing. Are they doing more or less than you are? Is their strategy working better for them than yours is? Not only can you find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie relative to your competitors, you just might gain a better understanding of what your target market is seeking.
Be Strategic With Social Media. Like your overall business plan, a social media plan should inform everything you do with your social media accounts. Don’t be mindless in your postings, know what you want to achieve, know how often you want to post, and know what types of posts you’d like gracing your pages. Having a strategy in place will reduce your chances of going off the rails, and let you recover more quickly when you do.
Expand Your Reach By Adding One New Social Platform. Just a bit of self-improvement; if social media is something of a mystery to you, then learn about it! Expand those horizons in the name of improving your business. Start by expanding your presence to one new social media platform and right in to soak up the nuances. If you’re not on Pinterest yet, take a look at our downloadable guide:
Establish Consistent Branding. This one speaks for itself. Inconsistent branding in different corners of the Internet will undermine the confidence potential customers have in your brand.
Re-Evaluate Your Communication Channels. Effective communication takes many forms within a business. Take a look at areas in which you company could improve over last year. Where did the breakdowns occur? Were there problems relating to customers, or were they more of the inter-company variety? Communications and support are among the crucial unsung elements of any business.
Give Your Website A Facelift. Take a look at some of your favorite websites. Now look at your company website. If you say to yourself something like, “mine doesn’t look as good as the others, but I’m okay with what I have,” then you probably need a new website. Don’t automatically assume that a modern, professional-looking site is beyond your reach. User-friendly tools for creating small-business-friendly websites are improving constantly, but if you are on the wrong end of a “website gap,” then don’t settle for less!
Freshen Your Company Logo. Aside from your company name, your logo can be one of the most important pieces of your branding puzzle. Some are blessed to have the perfect logo, and some of us are not. If your logo falls short of perfection, then don’t be afraid to tinker with it. Small tweaks may be all you need, or you may decide to go in an entirely new direction. Either way, make sure your logo is everything you need it to be.
Dabble In SEO. Titles. Descriptions. Keywords. Headings. URLs. These are the basics. Learn what they mean to your quest to ascend to the top of the organic search rankings. Similar to social media, SEO could prove crucial to your business and is worth dabbling in. Here’s a free downloadable guide:
Claim All Directory Listings. This is one of the more mundane items on this list, but the inconsistencies that crop up from directory to directory can be maddening. You’d be surprised how often a website may be promoting your name next to an incorrect address or outdated phone number. Tackle these as they crop up or at least keep a list of changes to be made all at once in the near future. Don’t give a potential customer any reason to doubt that your information is correct.
Tell Your Story. Even though many are less eager to pick up the phone to call a business these days, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel a connection to the companies they patronize. Emotional connections matter. Put your picture on your website, include employee bios and other personal touches that will help your target market become familiar. Whatever you chose, the tone can be as professional or informal as you need it to be. When in doubt, remember this:
Start A Company Blog. Content has been king for a while, but its highness continues to ascend. Again, this can be as professional or informal as you like it, but for any modern business, there is an opportunity to write about what’s happening in your world. When done optimally, blogging boosts your credibility with your target market, and gives people more reasons to check out your site, even in-between purchases. Blogging nourishes your website, as it is a potentially easy and cost-effective way to add fresh content, and even provides an SEO boost.
Embrace The Mighty Pen (Or Keyboard). And while you’re at it, write more, whether it’s writing for business, organization, or recreation. Technology does not replace the need for simple human communication. Reading and writing are still valuable tools in civilized society and we should not rush to abandon them. All the better if you can use this to your advantage in business.
Find Your Muffins. At Jemully Media, we love muffins. This may sound like a silly thing to “pounce on” in 2017, but this can mean different things to different companies. Find what does for you what muffins do for us. It’s the thing that helps you take a moment to enjoy life and embrace how far you’ve come. Don’t stop working hard, just learn to appreciate all the good work you’ve already put in. Then get back to it!