Seven Marketing Tasks to End 2018 Strongly
By Jeremy Knauff
Reposted with permission from constructionexec.com, November 20, 2018, all rights reserved. Copyright 2018.
Digital marketing is an ongoing process, but as the year draws to a close, it’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate the results produced throughout the year and use that information to plan for the following year.
This is essential to growth—especially in competitive industries or geographic markets. Companies that fail to take these steps will stagnate, while those that do will outgrow their competitors. While they may seem trivial and easy to overlook, they are absolutely critical—and should be performed at least yearly.
1. AUDIT THE WEBSITE FOR SEO ISSUES
While a website isn’t a physical object like a tool or vehicle that can break or wear out, it does still require regular maintenance. Failing to do so can result in visitors being unable to properly access a website and Google being unable to properly crawl, interpret and list it in their search results.
There are a variety of reasons for this, including:
- content (including web pages, blog posts, images and video) on a company’s website is improperly added, edited or removed;
- content on other companies’ websites is edited or removed;
- wordPress and plugins are updated, or fail to be updated; and
- web protocols change, such as migrating from HTTP to HTTPS—as recommended by Google.
2. PRUNE EMAIL MARKETING LISTS
It may sound crazy to actually delete people from an email marketing list, but there is a perfectly valid reason to do so. Statistical data is available in all modern email marketing platforms, which includes open and click-through rates. Marketers should evaluate these stats at least once each year to see who isn’t opening their emails. In some cases, subscribers may have been on the list for years, but have never opened a single email.
These people are perfect candidates for deletion because if they aren’t opening the email, there is no reason to continue sending it to them.
Before deleting them, however, it’s important to evaluate the email messages that have been sent throughout the year. Was the content actually useful or was it purely self-promotional? If it was useful, was the subject line both compelling and short enough to be displayed in its entirety? The answer to both questions may seem obvious but, in most cases, it’s wise to seek an outside opinion from someone objective.
If the answer to both questions, with absolute certainty, is yes and a subscriber hasn’t opened a single email within a reasonable range of time, then they should be deleted from the list. A reasonable range of time may vary from industry to industry and even from list to list, but a good starting point is if they haven’t opened any of the last nine emails, they should be deleted.
3. IDENTIFY TOP-PERFORMING WEBSITE CONTENT
What is measured can be improved. Google Analytics allows marketers to track all activity on their website. One of the most important pieces of data this collects is a website’s top performing pages.
This tells marketers which pages visitors are engaging with most, how they get there and what they do next, along with a tremendous amount of other data.
Smart marketers use this data for several purposes, including:
- to identify what kind of content their visitors want to see more of;
- to figure out how to improve their content to produce more exposure, leads and revenue;
- to identify opportunities to create new content to reach a larger audience;
- to figure out what kind of content to stop wasting their time producing; and
- to find opportunities based on holes in their business model.
It’s important to break top content down into two main categories: organic and paid traffic. In some cases, if there are various marketing campaigns in effect, it may be wise to further break down paid traffic by the campaign by which it was driven.
4. IDENTIFY TOP-PERFORMING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
As with website traffic, identifying top performing social media posts will enable marketers to determine what worked well and what didn’t. This information is essential in refining social media campaigns to deliver the highest return on investment (ROI) possible.
All social media platforms that matter today offer analytics, which provides the valuable data needed to improve performance.
5. REVIEW WEBSITE CONTENT
The industry, customers and a company’s business model all change over time. Often, this happens more frequently than a company updates their website. To stay relevant, authoritative and trustworthy in the eyes of customers, it’s critical to make sure the company’s website is up to date.
This requires someone with in-depth knowledge of the industry as well as the company’s business model and marketing objectives. From here, they must manually review each page on a company’s website to make sure all content is relevant and accurate, including:
- all text in web pages and blog posts;
- videos; and
- PDFs and other downloadable documents.
Some websites are small, making this job fast and simple. Other websites may contain hundreds, thousands or even millions of pages, which makes this job significantly more time consuming and difficult. In the case of the latter, all top-level navigation pages should be reviewed first. Then, all pages linked to from those pages should be reviewed. Finally, any remaining pages can be reviewed.
6. IDENTIFY NEW PR AND LINK-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
Public relations (PR) is about much more than just getting mentioned in the media to feed a business owner’s ego. It creates exposure for a company while helping to present an image of expertise, trust and authority. This helps to reach new customers, streamline the sales process and even foster new partnership opportunities.
Link building plays a similar role, but this also has a tremendous impact on search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, according to Google, it’s one of the three most important aspects of modern SEO.
PR and link building require constant ongoing efforts, and the end of the year is a great time to identify new opportunities – especially considering editors and publishers often run into a challenge filling their editorial calendar during the holiday season.
PR requires a similar approach, but instead of targeting websites based on SEO value, a marketer targets established publications based on the size and relevance of their audience. PR expert Cheryl Snap Connor explains this process in great detail in Forbes.
It’s critical to follow the proper process because failing to do so can turn off an editor or publisher, forever destroying any opportunities with their publication.
7. PLAN NEXT YEAR’S DIGITAL MARKETING
A solid plan of action enables marketers to hit the ground running as soon as the new year begins. This is a time when most companies are still trying to get back up to speed after slowing down during the holidays.
This plan should include specific details about:
- the ideal prospective customers a company wants to reach;
- where the company will get in front of them;
- exactly what must be done, and by whom, to reach and persuade them;
- how much it will cost;
- how long it will take;
- what specific key performance indicators will be tracked.
The key is to be realistic and specific. Most people greatly underestimate how long their digital marketing efforts will take and how much they will cost. Many also fail to identify and track worthwhile metrics, so they can’t objectively tell if their efforts are generating a positive ROI.
This plan should not rely on just one idea or even just one channel; that’s a blueprint for failure. Instead, an effective plan should use several tactics in digital and offline channels. For example, offline channels may include:
- outbound sales;
- radio and television;
- print advertising;
- fleet vehicle wraps;
- event marketing; and
- strategic partnerships.
Online/digital channels may include:
- search engine optimization;
- pay per click;
- social media (paid and organic);
- email marketing;
- content marketing; and
- banner advertising.
Conducting these seven marketing tasks will help contractors end 2018 on a strong note and prepare for a successful 2019.