I always look forward with anticipation to all the possibilities the new year will bring to my marketing efforts. But before I look forward, I take a quick look back at any learning opportunities gained from my marketing mistakes of the past year.
Digital marketing in 2018 will bring many challenges and opportunities, such as keeping our customers’ attention, staying ahead of our competition and learning the ways in which technology can assist our efforts. Not being afraid to conduct experiments and take risks can be lucrative. But be cautious — big mistakes are often costly.
Don’t move forward without clear campaign goals and measuring tools.
Learning from past mistakes means that you have at least one year of data under your belt. I like to use that data to develop clear analytics goals for 2018. Plug in some numbers for projected sales, calls, signups, appointments, form completions and whatever else you want to measure.
Next, review your plan for tracking leads and determine how you will measure the results. Once my overall campaign plans are in place, I measure the results against the cost of the campaign and weigh the return on investment.
Don’t gloss over the impact of mobile devices.
Using analytics, you can determine how many visits are coming to your site from desktops or laptops and mobile devices. Mobile devices tend to be more active in the evenings. This is a good time to send out ads and notifications. Mobile is also a good place to put in some extra effort with tracking analytics. Learn as much about your customers as you can — age, gender, services interest and relevant life events.
Don’t forget that social media is supposed to be social.
Social media platforms are places where people go to engage with others online. It’s not enough for marketers to create social media pages. It’s not enough to post random articles, images or events. Social media platforms are viable places to engage with your customers. Get a conversation going with them. Build a relationship with them knowing that relationships take time to build. Customers who trust in the relationship will buy your goods and services.
Avoid spending all your marketing dollars on one strategy.
It’s best to spread your marketing dollars around. Digital marketing takes on many forms, so even if you’re having great success with one campaign, continue to develop different strategies so your prospect base has a larger reach. I leave myself a small budget for doing A/B split testing and other marketing trials. Take advantage of fads and trends when they’re hot. When fads die down, move your marketing efforts and budget to a marketing strategy that offers a better return.
Avoid posting content without a purpose.
Search engines still like content. Customers like content more than seeing ads. When consumers are interested in a product or service, they want to learn more about it before they invest their money. Customers in 2018 want content that’s relevant and teaches them something they didn’t know before. With that in mind, I keep our site continuously updated and fresh. I know that consumers are skimming over it looking for something to grab their attention, so it helps to keep content interactive. Pique their interest with a link, post a video that expands on your written content and lead them to the next step in the customer journey.
Avoid a myopic approach to digital marketing components.
Most digital marketers wisely take a multifaceted approach to their campaigns. Digital campaigns do most of the marketing work, but nondigital marketing campaigns also have a place in your overall plan. The key is making sure that they work well together and that you maximize the results from both. One of the best places for soliciting feedback is from your sales department. They’re the people who get in front of your customers and learn which of your marketing efforts appealed to them. Our sales team is eager to share which of our marketing efforts led to qualified leads and which attracted people who weren’t necessarily ready to buy.
Avoid choosing ineffective influencers.
Influencers are people who already have a lot of followers. A strategically placed ad on their site places your products or services in front of scores of potential new leads. But if the influencers’ followers are entirely the wrong market, your ad is a waste of time and money. An influencer who has a smaller number of followers but the right audience is often the best bet.
Don’t forget that marketing is a process.
Digital marketing is a plan and a process. I make my plans and work toward implementation, following my marketing calendar religiously. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to grab the attention of potential customers who express interest but don’t think they’re ready to buy. Draw in those warm leads by engaging them with various media and educating them about your services. Keep your company’s name and brand in front of them to encourage them to revisit your site to see what’s captivating and new.
My marketing efforts aren’t complete until we’ve done outreach for referrals. Our best leads come from satisfied clients. An overall marketing plan has many working parts, each with the potential to discover new clients from promotion to referral.