Travel more. Hit the gym. Stress less. Sound familiar? We’re only a few days into the New Year and many are on a mission to keep their resolutions for a full 365 days. With personal resolutions set, what marketing resolutions should you be making to maximize returns in 2018 and beyond?
Put your audience first
While you may be eager to write a whitepaper about the benefits of long-term investment planning, the big question is – does your audience want to read it?
Oftentimes, businesses and nonprofits find that the stakeholders they engage across various platforms vary widely. For example, your LinkedIn company page may be followed closely by those who have attended your speaking engagements at conferences and events while your Facebook page may draw your network partners, business associates and some friends. The needs of these audiences are unique, as should be the content they are served. When mapping your 2018 content plan, prioritize creating the content your audiences are craving. Unsure what to build? Email surveys and amassing a list of FAQs from your team are both good places to start.
Commit to quality
Quantity vs. quality – the eternal debate. Let’s settle this once and for all: less really is more.
If your marketing bandwidth allows you to maintain two social media channels well, while executing an ongoing email marketing program, focus on delivering strong content across those three channels. While it’s tempting to expand your marketing toolkit, it is ill advised to do so at the cost of consistently generating high-quality content.
Some topics are inherently technical. Others, overly emotional. And, some…well…a bit dry. Regardless of which aligns most closely with your products and/or services, embrace opportunities to apply a little creative packaging to your content.
Whether you turn a highly detailed product overview into a visually-compelling infographic, or develop short animated videos to build the case for purchasing your product or service, find ways to make your content more accessible and grab audiences’ attention as quickly as possible. (Remember, the human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish!)
Keep an eye on the competition
This is not to say that the best allocation of marketing resources is to chase the competition on the marketing channels which they are most successful, but to say that maintaining awareness of how and where the competition is marketing their products and services is vitally important. Remember, great marketing doesn’t happen in a silo and that applies both internally and externally.
Maintaining competitive awareness allows organizations to:
- Take advantage of gaps in the marketplace (think establishing a presence at a vertical tradeshow that reaches the right audience but at which none of your competitors are speaking or exhibiting);
- Employ defensive marketing strategies in response to heightened competitive threats; and,
- Allocate budget and resources to the marketing channels with the opportunity to make the greatest impact. (For example, if your competitor has a $2 million budget for media buys and you have less than $100,000, a statewide billboard campaign along major highways/interstates may not yield the strongest returns.)
Measure, measure, measure…and, measure some more
How do you know if your marketing channels are delivering ROI? Measure the results! In a digital era, we have the benefit of being able to measure marketing returns at a very granular level. Tools such as Google Analytics, various social media publishing tools such as Hootsuite, and built in analytics in various email marketing platforms from Constant Contact to MailChimp provide a wealth of data to help inform and refine your marketing strategy. Take advantage of these opportunities to let quantifiable data inform your next steps on an ongoing basis. Remember, December 2018 is not the right time to find out that you allocated the majority of the year’s budget and resources to the channels that generated the lowest returns.
A New Year is an opportune time to make marketing resolutions that will allow you to improve the performance of your marketing channels across the board. When you can refine your marketing program to improve engagement, bolster retention and generate new leads, the opportunities to amplify your marketing ROI are nearly limitless.
How will you resolve to improve your marketing in 2018 and beyond?