The time has come. It's 2014. You've likely considered a number of resolutions you want to follow through with in the New Year. Maybe it's to spend more time with family, or run more on the weekends, or try to cut pizza and other greasy foods out of your diet for a while (that's one of mine -- I doubt it'll last long, but I digress).
Take a second to think about what you've resolved to accomplish in 2014. Are any of your resolutions marketing-related? Maybe you've thought of ways to better manage your time or come up with fun ideas for team outings, but if you don't have a list of resolutions to take your marketing to that next level, it's time to start developing one -- and we can help.
The one thing the resolutions listed below have in common is, they all revolve around the inbound marketing methodology, which means they require some in-depth data analysis to ensure you make the right adjustments and alterations to your marketing strategy.
So take the time to crunch the numbers, discover what is and isn't already working for you, modify your campaigns accordingly, and your 2014 is bound to be just as -- if not more -- successful than 2013.
1) Focus on mobile.
As Google Chairman Eric Schmidt outlined in this recent Bloomberg TV video, 2014 is going to be all about mobile. Don't believe him? Well, believe this: As of February 2013, there were 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions, the International Telecommunication Union reported. (I'll give you a minute to drink that one in.) Now, just imagine how much that figure has grown since then.
Smartphones and tablets are increasing in popularity by the day -- and we don't just mean in terms of sales. Consumers are using mobile devices more and more to conduct transactions, research brands, visit their favorite sites, and read and reply to emails.
While we're on the topic of mobile, this is as good a time as any to talk about responsive design.
Making the look and functionality of your site the same on both desktops and mobile devices can go a long way in bringing in new visitors and leads and bettering your bottom line. And with17% of global web traffic coming from mobile, as Statista reports, you'll want to make your site is completely optimized for smartphones and tablets.
That stat is bound to grow more each year from here on out, so if you've still got precious budget invested in billboards, print, radio, and the like, it's time to consider reallocating those funds for better use.
For instance, given the importance of content marketing, you could double-down on content production and hire a full-time writer or some freelancers to develop blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and other viable types of content for you.
What you'll see from this modification to your marketing is tangible data in your marketing analytics that shows your efforts' effectiveness. It's a lot better than having to guess if those newspaper ads did the trick, wouldn't you say?
Because of this, it may be smart to evaluate a variety of types of content that could work for your inbound campaigns. You can determine what's best for your efforts in several ways -- chiefly, going over your analytics from the past several months and engaging in continual A/B testing. This post will help you get started with the former, and this one, the latter.
5) Adjust your social and email strategies as needed.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram -- these are the undisputed kings of social (at least for the moment).
While new, flashy social sites are bound to pop up over the course of the New Year, you'll first want to ensure you master these aforementioned platforms that have proven to bring substantial ROI for marketers worldwide before putting all of your eggs in a new-and-unproven social media basket.
In other words, we advise you resolve to fine-tune your prospecting on these sites before diverting efforts to the "next big thing."
Similarly, it may be wise to make one of your first priorities in 2014 to comb over your email marketing metrics to see what may need to be adapted or revised. For instance, if your workflows are out-of-date, set up new ones with the help of this lead nurturing ebook. Of course, to know which workflows to update, you may need to ...
6) Take a look at your buyer personas, too.
What good are all of the resolutions above if you don't know for whom you should be creating inbound campaigns in the first place? There's likely no better time than the start of the year to reexamine your buyer personas.
Be sure you don't put the cart before the horse in 2014. Truly understand your audience by conducting thorough research on them. Heck, you could even do some online surveys or focus groups to get a better, updated grasp on who they are and what they want (old school, perhaps, but still effective even in this day and age).
The bottom line is, you'll need to comprehend as much about your target demographic(s) as possible to know how to develop your content production, offers, and email and social strategies, among many other efforts.
Although you may have already put in a great deal of time, effort, and resources to making a top-tier homepage, a change in buyer persona could mean it's time to give it a facelift.
Even if you haven't altered your persona, it may have been a while since the last time you made sufficient changes to your homepage to account for marketing new products or services, or even rebranding your company.