What? This post is about 28 days late? I know. I’ve been busy fulfilling my personal resolution to live a little this year and got caught up in vacation planning, closet cleaning and building snow people. Not to worry, there are still around 337 days to make the most of your inbound marketing this year.
Here are a few inbound marketing resolutions you can still make for 2014. You can do this; I believe in you!
1. Pick a real goal.
What does a real goal mean? A real goal, unlike its nemesis the “kind-of-a-goal”, is a goal that is based on measurable data, is realistic, has an end date. A real goal is also ideally something your team can get behind. Some example real goals:
- Reach 1,000,000 unique site visits by December 31
- Average 50 new leads per month by December 31
- Increase average landing page conversions by 10% by Q2
- Blog an average of 3 blogs per week by Q2
2. Live a little.
When is the last time you brainstormed a new product, clever campaign, or new inbound content topic? It’s a new year and time to grow some excitement around your brand. Pull together some team members, get some snacks and hash out a list of ideas. Then take a deep breath and TEST ONE OF THEM!
3. Plan ahead.
Were you racing to the finish to get a campaign out the door before that big conference last year? Reduce your stress and build your plan early.
Every inbound marketer should have in their toolkit:
- Content calendar at least one month ahead
- Campaign calendar for the next 6 months that includes conferences, product releases, events, partnerships, seasonal messaging and discounts/promotional offers that have buy-in from senior management
- Budget plan for the whole year, with wiggle room for emergencies and testing
- Personas and the content that appeal to them throughout the buying cycle
4. Have a mobile strategy.
This is a hot resolution for any CIO, program manager and marketing manager out there today. Mobile is not going away.
Not sure where to start? At a minimum, schedule for Q1 some initial research with your primary personas and staff to review what users expect your brand to provide on the mobile platform.
5. Get into a reporting routine.
Any good inbound marketing program is driven by analytics. Get agreement on the key performance indicators internally, then carve out time in your schedule to review it regularly.
Some reporting tools we recommend for inbound marketing:
- Google webmaster tools – to keep a close eye on how Google views your website content.
- Google analytics/omniture/other – to review trends in site visits, popular content, browsers and devices used to access your content.
- On-page SEO reporting tools like Moz & HubSpot – to perform regular health checks on the search engine friendliness of your content.
- Email, landing page, blog and campaign analytics like HubSpot, email service providers and other CMS tools – review trends in your funnel and performance of individual tactics.
- CRM or sales feedback channels – set up a reliable feedback channel so you know who’s converting and who are the best leads coming out of your efforts.
6. Learn more about your customers.
This is a given: the more you know about your ideal customers, the more content you can write to appeal to them and drive conversions!
Hold a focus group, actually sit in the audience during conferences your customers attend, read their trade publications, engage with them on social media, and/or invite them to guest post on your own blog! Share your insights and curiosity with your entire team.
7. Trim the fat.
Are you in a panic because your brainstorm netted some great ideas you don’t have in the budget plan? This is the fun resolution: to trim the fat.
Here are some ideas on how to optimize your marketing program for 2014 - by switching out an outbound tactic with an inbound one.
- Cut low exposure, low return advertising placements and replace with more social media engagement
- Cut 3 hours of cold calling and have a salesperson brainstorm blog post ideas
- Cancel your email list purchase and instead partner up with an industry trade publication to create a killer whitepaper
Do you have any other 2014 resolutions for your marketing, sales, or web teams?