Jan 1, 2014 3:25:00 PM
Posted by Lauren Totin
The New Year is upon us – and like so many others, you may pondering changes you’d like to make for 2014. But have you considered changes you might make to your marketing campaigns? If you’ve picked up some bad habits across 2013, now is a great time to think about breaking them and setting yourself up for the most profitable year in marketing you’ve ever had.
We’ve analyzed dozens of inbound marketing campaigns and found three key changes marketers and business owners could resolve to make:
1. Resolve to Take Content Audits Seriously
If there’s one step that businesses usually skip as they invest in inbound marketing, it’s the content audit. Content audits illuminate the pieces that have worked and failed, but they do so much more, too!
A great content audit will take into consideration the buying cycle of your customers and analyze your existing assets to see which stages lack the proper support from content. An audit highlights areas your customers may be dropping off, getting lost or feeling like you’ve abandoned them, giving you the opportunity to plan new content pieces to plug holes and help push buyers into the next stage of the content cycle.
But one content audit isn’t enough. In fact, content audits should be done yearly to gauge the effectiveness of what’s been done and bring to light areas that may need to be developed further.
In 2014, resolve to invest time, budget and attention to having a thorough content audit done, brushing out the cobwebs and forging a path forward for better customer engagements.
2. Resolve to Build Better Personas
Much to our dismay, one of the most overlooked stages of an inbound marketing campaign is persona building. Businesses often jump straight to the content creation stage with little to no planning – and little to no consideration for who their market actually is. You might think you know your customers inside and out, but if you’ve never invested the time (or had an agency invest the time) in learning about the demographics, psychographics and average buying cycle of your customers, you’re shooting arrows in the dark!
Personas shouldn’t just be slapped together off of assumptions and stereotypes; they should be carefully researched, grounded in data and refined over time as you learn and gather more information to support your campaign.
If you’re wondering why your campaign isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it’s time to check whether or not you’ve really invested the proper effort into defining the people you want to reach.
In 2014, resolve to build true-to-life personas – and then actually use them. Bring personas into your editorial calendar, content strategy and content promotional efforts.
3. Resolve to Give Content Promotion More Attention
If you change nothing else about your campaign in the New Year, make it this. For years, inbound marketing has focused heavily on content creation: “What should we create? Can we create enough? How can we maintain quality?”
But in 2014, promotion needs a refreshed look. Getting your content in front of the right people doesn’t just happen – and waiting for your audience to just stumble across your content and share it far and wide is idealistic at best and downright stupid at worst. Inbound marketing DOES bring visitors in naturally, but that doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax, doing nothing to promote all the fantastic resources you’ve built.
In 2014, resolve to spend serious time developing a plan for sharing your content across paid, owned and earned media. Invest in tying your sharing efforts to personas, and identify the hubs, influencers and hangouts where those personas will go to get information like the kind you want to share.
Make This New Year a Happy One!
Don’t get complacent – your competitors aren’t! As you enter into another calendar year, don’t shy away from spending some time thinking critically about how your marketing efforts could improve and the areas of inbound marketing you could stand to do better in.
And if you haven’t started in inbound marketing yet, make 2014 the year you finally take the plunge and invest in your own bottom line. The results are there – they’re proven, they’re attainable, and they could change your outlook for the coming year!
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