It's that time of year again - resolutions time. Whether your personal goals are to hit the gym, read more books, or travel more, don't forget to think about your business resolutions, too.
It's the perfect time of year to reset and move forward with a strategic plan for your business and your marketing. So, here are our top 20 digital marketing resolutions (because it has to be 20 in 2020, right?!)...
1. Look at the right numbers
If you're reporting on vanity metrics like traffic, likes, and shares, it's time to step back and rethink your approach. While those numbers are helpful to see progress, and you should keep an eye on them, they're not the numbers that truly matter to the business. When you report your numbers, look at the things that represent tangible value - factors that affect the bottom line - like cost per acquisition and lifetime customer value.
Grab our marketing metrics ebook for a full guide to which numbers are the best for reporting your marketing successes.
Whether time or money, make this year the year you really invest in your marketing. It's not an afterthought - only 19% of people are ready to talk to your sales team before they've already researched your product. So, if your content marketing isn't up to scratch, you're missing out on a huge percentage of your potential prospects.
Marketing budgets are usually around 6-10% of your revenue, so take a look at how much you bring in and how much you want to bring in. Your marketing budget should align with your ambitions - so if you want to grow your revenues, it's time to invest in your marketing.
3. Work out your key goals
What do you want to achieve in 2020, revenue-wise?
What's your conversion rate from leads to customers? And how much is an average customer worth?
What's your conversion rate from visitors to leads?
What percentage of your revenue comes from website visitors compared to other sources?
With all those numbers in mind, you can now work out how many visitors you need to get to your website in order to meet that revenue goal. Is it achievable? Do you need to implement new strategies in order to get there? Do you need to invest more?
4. Align your sales and marketing teams
Do your sales and marketing teams get along? If they do, great! If not, this is the year to build those relationships. Well-aligned sales and marketing teams can be greater than the sum of their parts, but traditionally there has been friction between the two. It's time to put that aside and see the benefits of collaboration.
Sales are on the front line - they can tell Marketing what customers are asking, what they need to know, and where the gaps are that could be filled with better content.
Marketing have all of the information at their fingertips - they can produce content to help Sales convert leads, from social proof like case studies, to technical product documentation for credibility.
By working together, sales and marketing can elevate both teams - which, ultimately, is better for business.
5. Test and measure
If you haven't tried A/B and multi-variant testing yet, this is the year to get stuck in. Just because other people's research shows that, for example, titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic, doesn't mean that will always follow for every business. Test what works best for your traffic.
When you decide to start testing, put together a proper, robust testing plan. There's no use in comparing a couple of different blog posts and coming to a conclusion. You need data that has a level of confidence before you start making decisions based on it.
Some of the most common things to test are:
- Headlines and subheads
- Colours and spacing
Check out VWO's guide to A/B testing to get the most out of your test and measure activities.
6. Be smarter with keywords
We come across this a lot - you have a bunch of keywords you want to rank for. You work hard on getting those rankings, putting in the time and effort to get page one results. But your conversion and sales numbers aren't going up.
This year, spend the time doing comprehensive research - both into your keywords and your buyer personas. Are the keywords you're targeting the right keywords? How many people are actually searching for them? Are you targeting the terminology that your ideal buyer uses?
High intent, short tail keywords may be hard to get, but are there niche, long tail searches that your target audience is likely to be using? They may not get as many hits, but they'll deliver more engaged and more qualified traffic.
Keywords aren't dead, but they're definitely harder than they used to be.
7. Focus on content
Once you've got your keywords properly defined, you'll need content to get you there. 81% of B2B companies use blogs as a content marketing tactic, but it would be a mistake to consider blogging to be the only type of content marketing out there. Video, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, landing pages, and even images are all types of content. Given that people all learn and consume information in different ways, utilising different content methods gives you more opportunities to attract visitors.
In HubSpot's State of Inbound, 48% of marketers stated that they were adding YouTube to their marketing plans in the coming year.
8. Move away from vanity metrics
Ok, so we've already talked about using the right numbers to report on - the ones that affect the bottom line. But it's not just about reporting, it's also about choosing your activities wisely.
While it can be fun to see growing likes and follower counts, for example, don't let these numbers go to your head. You might be working super hard on increasing your Facebook followers, but if your revenue comes from Google Ads, those follower counts are meaningless numbers.
9. Rationalise social media
Once you've got the real facts and figures at your fingertips, you can see where your time is best spent. See which social media platforms are working for you and ditch the others - with your audience in mind, of course. Many businesses set up profiles on every new platform when they pop up, but trying to keep up with all of them can be a hell of a time suck. And if you're not getting anything back from it, what's the point?
If your business is doing great on TikTok or SnapChat, you might find keeping up to date on LinkedIn doesn't get you in front of your target audience. Rationalise your accounts and use your time to properly engage on the ones that matter.
10. Focus on conversions
Conversion rate optimisation has been around for a little while now, but many businesses still aren't focused on it.
At the simplest level, take a look at a page on your website. Can people easily see the information they need? Do they have an easy way to get in touch with you if they want more? How easy is it for them to convert (whether that's making a purchase or sending an enquiry)? Are there clear paths to follow? What do you want someone to do on this page, and is it clear?
At more involved levels, we start to look at A/B testing (see above), changing up the content on your pages, and making edits to things like forms and CTAs. For example, reducing form fields can increase conversions - like in this case where conversions increased by 120% when the form was reduced from 11 fields to 4.
If your website doesn't have an SSL certificate, get one. Now. You're already pretty far behind the curve on this one, but we know there are plenty of people out there who aren't secure yet.
Not only does having SSL make a difference to your search rankings - Google prioritises secure websites over unsecure ones - it also affects how willing visitors are to do business with you. In fact, GlobalSign found that 84% of users would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an insecure connection. That's a huge proportion of your potential customers walking away over something very simple to resolve (call us if you need help).
12. Use video
If you're not already using video in your marketing, now is the time to start. If you are, well done, but can you do more?
If you're not sure whether it's worth the effort, think again...
- Over 50% of people want video content from brands they like
- Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs
- Having a video on your landing page can increase your conversion rate by 80%
There are tonnes more statistics out there supporting the value of video in marketing, but the fact that it increases traffic and conversion rates should be pretty compelling alone!
13. Segment your emails
If your email campaigns are sent to your entire mailing list, make 2020 the year you start segmenting them. There are plenty of ways to segment - by persona, by lead status, by geographic or demographic information - the most important point is that you do it.
Just as not every visitor to your website wants the same thing, not everyone who receives your emails has the same needs. If you can segment them into groups, you can start to be far more targeted in your messaging. Mailchimp in 2017 found that segmented emails got 100% more clicks and 14% more opens than non-segmented campaigns.
14. Consolidate your data
We've mentioned metrics a couple of times now, but the key to getting this information correct is to have all of your data consolidated. If you have to log in to six different platforms to get the information you need, or you have seven spreadsheets with different types of data, you'll never be able to properly see the big picture.
At a minimum, you need to create a dashboard that has all of the key information within it so you can start to see how those stats relate to one another.
Alternatively, you could look at changing up your software suite. One of the reasons we started using HubSpot is because it keeps all of our data together. We can see how everything interacts, how our traffic, social media, ads, and inbound strategies are all connected, and how our conversion rates are faring across everything.
15. Review and revise your Ads strategy
Are you using paid ads? If so, it's worth taking some time to assess how things have been going and if you want to make some changes this year.
Amazon is becoming more and more popular as an ad platform. Obviously it won't be suitable for every business, but it's another option to add to Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Its advantage compared to those players is that people on Amazon are already looking for products, so their buyer intent is much, much higher.
On top of new platforms to consider, you should also look at which types of ads you're using. Have you tried Google's responsive search ads? They use AI to choose from a range of headlines and descriptions, based on the target audience's search terms and browsing behaviour.
Keep a close eye on your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). How much does it cost to acquire a customer from each of the different platforms. While CPC might be higher on one platform than another, that shouldn't be a concern if the more expensive clicks are delivering better quality traffic.
16. Write like a human for voice search
More specifically, write like a human speaks. With voice search becoming more and more prevalent - 65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day - writing in a conversational tone is the best way to respond.
The thing about voice search is that it changes the way we ask questions. Instead of typing in "weather forecast", we're more likely to say, "what's the weather going to be like today"? When you extrapolate that to your industry, there are no doubt plenty of new long-tail keywords that come up, based on how people ask questions out loud.
Optimising your content to match these sorts of queries is key. And if you want your result to be the one chosen for voice search, you need a concise and useful answer to the query. Think of the results like the verbal version of featured snippets - quick answers.
17. Be selective with influencers
Influencer marketing has been a big thing, and we're all used to seeing #sponcon in our feeds. But 2020 isn't about the huge celebs or professional influencers. Now, it's much more about being picky and choosing based on audience type rather than size - or even searching our local influencers.
Rather than looking at follower numbers, look at the type of audience your prospective influencer engages with. If you want to target tech lovers with a new product, for example, there's no point in paying huge amounts to a Jenner or Kardashian. You'd be better off finding a niche influencer with a smaller, but much more relevant, audience.
It's not about throwing money at influencers (or avoiding them entirely), it's about finding the right ones for your business, even if they're not 'big' names.
18. Be authentic
The consumer of 2020 is just as savvy and brand-weary as last year. To keep our customers on side and engaged, we need to be genuine and authentic. People are naturally suspicious of advertising and 'being marketed to', whereas authentic engagement increases brand awareness and loyalty.
Having a genuine voice that doesn't sound like it's run by a corporate robot is a good place to start - you can be professional without being stuffy. Depending on your business and market, you might need to be more or less formal, but you can still be human and engage with people naturally.
Today's consumer is globally aware, concerned about values, and buys with a conscience. So share your credentials (and make sure they're legit - people aren't hesitant when it comes to calling out hypocrisy or lies).
19. Personalise, personalise, personalise
The more personalised an experience people have with digital marketing, the more engaged they're likely to be. Personalised homepage promotions influenced 85% of consumers to buy and 87% of consumers surveyed say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand.
Personalisation isn't just a bonus, it's becoming more and more necessary to engage with consumers and provide them with the digital experience they expect. So, whatever level of personalisation you currently have - across web, landing pages, emails, and ads - increase it. And if you don't have any yet, now's the time to start.
20. Enjoy it!
It seems like a cheat, but digital marketing is a fascinating and engaging area of business. And so, we think everyone should resolve to fully embrace and enjoy the opportunities in 2020. Sure, there are plenty of parts that are difficult or less exciting - link building, anyone? - but that's true of every job.
The more we enjoy marketing, the more fun we can have with it, and the more creative we can be. And when we're being creative and engaging, we're connecting with our customers. So, it's not just a silly end to the list, in fact, it might be one of the most important resolutions you make.