It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean that your marketing strategy has to remain frozen. Here are 8 things you can do to thaw it out and get the most from marketing in 2014.
1. Analyze to Strategize
Every good marketing strategy begins with understanding where you are now. That’s why it’s vitally important to look at analytics.
Using analytics will give you a snapshot of how people are interacting with your website, your social media profiles and any other content you produce so you know what’s working and what’s not. It’s a good way to ditch those strategies that were working for you last year and spot the trends that will help you nail marketing this year.
To do this:
Install heat maps on your website and see where people are clicking
Dig into Google Analytics and check out what your top content is.
Check out social analytics tools to see what kind of engagement and reach you are getting.
Use this information as the basis for your strategy, which should also include the following points:
2. Blog More and Better
There are multiple studies to show that companies that blog get more leads and sales. So if your company blog is gathering dust, now is the time to revive it.
It’s worth noting that SEO has changed, so instead of creating short, keyword-based posts, you’ll need to add content with more depth into the mix.
That’s because Google’s latest search algorithm updates focus on long-form content and semantic search. Make sure your blog posts have great titles, tell an enticing story and finish with a clear call to action—good practice for any kind of content you create.
(For more tips, click here to read Bill Hazleton’s advice on creating great content.)
One more thing: Get even more from blogging by extending your efforts beyond the company blog. To build authority and quality inbound links, offer yourself as an expert to high-profile blogs in your niche. This will improve your online reputation and increase your reach.
And whenever you blog, claim authorship of your work.
3. Be More Social
Around 73% of Americans use social sites every day, says Pew Internet, and a sizeable number use more than one site daily.
You are probably already using Facebook and Twitter (if not, then those are good places to start, as the potential reach is huge). But don’t limit yourself to those—check your analytics and demographics and see where the rest of your audience is hanging out.
One good bet for 2014 is Google+. Google has invested a lot in this network and is gradually winding in all its products into it (or maybe winding its other products into Google+, who knows?) So it’s a no-brainer to be on this site and to use it effectively.
If you’re looking for help, check out Jaana Nystrom’s Google+ posts.
4. Go Mobile
You’re probably already tired of hearing this, but if you are not investing in mobile content marketing then you might as well give up now.
Recent research shows how important smart phones are in researching products and services and completing sales. And many people are using mobile devices as second screens throughout the day. Including a mobile component in your marketing strategy isn’t optional anymore.
While you’re at it, make sure that your website and any resources you are sharing are easily accessible and viewable by mobile device users. Check out Underwater Audio’s responsive website design for inspiration!
5. Get Visual
Two trends reveal why it’s important to have a visual component to your marketing in 2014. Images are among the most shared content on social media and Forbes is predicting great things for visual social sites in 2014.
And then there’s video, which is hugely popular, especially among mobile device users. That’s why it’s a good time to add strong images to blog content, and memejack, create a product video or encourage your customers to share images on social media when they use your products and services.
6. Repurpose Creatively
While fresh content is always a must, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of creative repurposing. It’s a strategy the Content Marketing Institute and others recommend.
Let’s face it, you already have reams of great content, most of it in the form of white papers, presentations and blog posts. There’s a lot you can do with that content to target some of the areas above:
Consider turning your best blog posts on a topic into a podcast or video series.
Use your presentations on SlideShare or create a webinar from existing information.
Extract the best examples of your thought leadership and make images which you can share on social media.
These are just a few ideas for how you can use this strategy.
7. Shake It Up
Above all, do something different. Yes, it’s fine to focus on what you already know is working, but how will you find out if your customers respond to something new if you don’t try it? Things to try include:
Image: Farmers and Fishers
Creating a contest or giveaway and branding it using the same hashtag across social media sites
Experimenting with content curation sites to improve your reach
Looking for examples of marketing innovation and seeing which ones you can replicate for your business
8. Connect the Dots
Is your marketing relevant to the audience you are trying to reach? If you’re sitting in an office and coming up with strategies without checking what’s happening out there, then your marketing will fail.
Check out trending topics on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ or a social search engine and use these as a hook for your content. That’s a sure fire way to be relevant and get more attention.
Final Thoughts: Identify the Payoff
The payoff here is not for you but for your customers. Identify what they want (information, entertainment, something to share) and deliver it.
Successful marketing answers WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for your audience. That brings us full circle back to the need to analyze to find out what people are looking for.
But before you do, how are you planning to shake up your marketing in 2014? Share your thoughts in the comments below.