Tuesday, December 31, 2019

4 New Year's Marketing Resolutions You Should Make

Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? Maybe you're resolving to lose some weight, change your look, or get more exercise. But what resolutions have you made concerning your business -- and which of those resolutions involve your marketing efforts? A new year should offer  fresh opportunities for boosting revenues and attracting new clients or customers. Here are some New Year's marketing resolutions that could help you achieve your 2020 goals.

1. "I Resolve to Update My Digital Marketing as Needed."

When you first created your company website, you probably heaved a sigh of relief that the work was done. Unfortunately, the work is never really done. Businesses change, brands and industries evolve, and target audiences seek their products and services in new ways.

One prime example is the explosion of mobile search as a key shopping tool. When people are looking for help with something in their area, they search for those things by location on their smartphones. This means two things for your digital marketing: (1) Your web content needs to be optimized for your location, and (2) you need a responsive or mobile website that will look good and function well on smartphones and tablets. Commit to making those changes now.

2. "I Resolve to Keep an Editorial Calendar for Marketing Content."

How many times did you miss a blogging or other social media posting deadline in 2019? When you're bogged down with tons of other worries and tasks, falling behind on marketing content creation may seem inevitable -- but it doesn't have to be.

Creating an editorial calendar, with specific type of posts scheduled at recurring intervals over the course of the year, can help you stay on top of that content creation so that you're never caught with your marketing pants down. Still stumped as to how you're going to get all that content made? Contact some freelance copywriters, graphic designers or videographers. Explain your goals, send them your calendar, and let them do the rest.

3. "I Resolve to Create (or Tweak) My Buyer Persona."

How accurate is the buyer persona you're using in your marketing strategy? Did you even have a buyer persona in 2019? This "imaginary customer" is central to your efforts to attract and persuade your target market. You build your buyer persona on all the data you can get your hands on about this target market -- from location, annual salary and other demographics to poll responses that reveal your customers' challenges, needs and preferences.

Even if you created a detailed buyer persona in years past, that buyer persona may not be paying off for you now as well as it once did. Maybe it's time to update your numbers, adjust your demographics, and feed some fresh customer input into your creation.

4. "I Resolve to Focus on Marketing Strategies Instead of Just Tactics."

Some business owners will look back at their lack of marketing success in 2019 and protest, "But we made so many [fill in the blank: brochures, blog posts, website updates, YouTube videos, brochures, direct mail pieces....]." The thing is, working hard isn't always the same thing as working smart. If you were throwing out marketing pieces and content updates here and there, without any attempt to pull them into the Big Picture, then you're guilty of relying on tactics instead of strategies. You need both, of course. A marketing strategy without tactics won't do anything for you; neither will individual marketing tactics that don't support an overall strategy. Resolve to fix this disconnect in 2020.

Whatever New Year's marketing resolutions you decide to make, don't just make them -- stick to them. Best wishes for a prosperous year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Expertise That Sells: Why Original Marketing Content Matters

Once upon a time, a consultant contacted me about possibly ghostwriting some informative articles that he could post online to display his industry expertise. He explained that this would be a relatively easy job: "All we'd really have to do is take some existing articles we like and change the verbiage a little so we can post them as ours."

Well, no. Apart from the (I hope) obvious ethical considerations of simply dressing up someone else's article and sticking your name on it without that person's permission, a generic article simply won't do you much good. This is the Internet era. We have online articles coming out of our ears. Your readers don't want more anonymous information -- they want your information.

Here are a few tips for promoting your expertise:

Write your article. Not someone else's, and certainly not everyone else's. You can create a piece that works for a general audience and still bears your individual stamp. That's the point of posting an expert article -- you're the expert. 

Sure, being the expert means relaying general industry trends and observations, but it also means interpreting them for your readers. I don't need a financial expert, for instance, to relay the latest stock reports or unemployment numbers; I can get those myself from Google or Yahoo or wherever. What I do need, since I'm not an expert in that field, is my trusted advisor telling me what, in his opinion, it should mean to me. 

When I have industry experts in various fields explaining things to me and advising me on how to respond and strategize, I'm receiving the direct benefit of these advisors' expertise, and I begin to rely on them for all my needs in those areas.

Keep it short. Boiling a thorny topic down into something understandable to the public also means delivering the least we need to know. Give us a few good pointers, provide a brief rundown, or ask some leading questions to get us thinking in the right direction. If we need more information, we can contact you. The whole point of inbound marketing is getting that phone call.

Brand yourself. It's no use writing an expert article if a first-time reader has no idea who the expert is. Always include a sentence or two about yourself in a little blurb positioned somewhere near the article (most web-based article directories require this before they'll post the article). If possible, include your company email address or website link. Make it easy for the reader, once he's dazzled by your insight into his problem or question, to click a link and start a conversation that might lead to business.

Writing an expert article doesn't necessarily require expert writing skills on your part, by the way. An experienced professional copywriter can communicate your ideas, expertise, and insights in your own words, only better. Want proof? Contact me today!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Year Is Winding Down -- Don't Let Your Marketing Do the Same!

As another business year comes to a close, you'll notice that people start turning their attention to other things, from holiday vacations and gift-buying excursions to dealing with a houseful of school-aged children. It's only natural to say, "Well, this year's done, so let's just button this one up and take a breather." You've certainly earned a rest, after all. But does your marketing campaign has to go on hiatus as well -- and can you afford to present your target audience with the sound of silence?

Smart marketers know that promoting a business is a year-round concern. The marketing you do right now will have a direct impact on your Q1 sales (and beyond) next year. Feel free to put December to bed if you wish, but don't neglect January in the process. A new year represents a new opportunity for fresh initiatives, changes in your corporate direction, re-branding efforts or any other kind of "face lift" you may want to give your enterprise. Schedule those meetings with your copywriter, graphic designer, or marketing strategy team so that you can roll those changes out to great fanfare right on schedule.

Does your company actually experience its peak activity between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day? Many seasonal businesses and non-profit organizations have more work than they can handle right now, with products and services flying off of the proverbial shelves to accommodate holiday demands. It's all too easy to look around during a particularly profitable time and say, "Well, who needs marketing when the money's rolling in?" That's when some marketing departments and business owners slack off on their marketing efforts -- only to wonder why they have no revenue coming in once the seasonal dust has settled.

The good news is that you don't have to labor away at your desk like Bob Cratchit through the end of December -- not if you plan your marketing content creation wisely. Create an editorial calendar to ensure that you always know what marketing content you need for each week, month or quarter. Your marketing pros can then produce that content in advance so that it can be released automatically at the appropriate intervals. When the holidays come, you all get some well-earned time off, secure in the knowledge that your pre-built marketing engine continues to chug along in your absence.

By the way, it's still not too late to produce that much-needed web page content, blog article, sales letter, press release or other piece of marketing content. Even this close to the end of the year, you'll find us freelance copywriters happily working away like Santa's elves to help our clients enjoy the most profitable season possible. So don't be shy -- what do you want for Christmas?