Was your inbound marketing strategy a little bit of a work-in-progress in 2012? That’s okay, we forgive you. Research has indicated that inbound marketing works, and companies of all-sizes are beginning to shift their marketing budgets accordingly. In 2012, the average budgetary spend on telemarketing decreased from 10% to 5%, while blogging and social media budgets increased 12% over the previous 2 years. Many small business-owners are just getting started with inbound marketing, and that’s fine. But there’s no excuse to not resolve to double your effectiveness in the coming year. Your ROI will thank you:
1. Not Having Buyer Personas
Who are you writing your blog content for, anyway? If the answer is “My Mother,” “Google,” or “I don’t know,” that’s not a very good sign. You need an in-depth profile of the buyer personas you’re trying to attract through content marketing, which delves deep into understanding their pain points, priorities, demographics and level of sophistication. It could feel a little loony, especially when you slap an alliterative name like “Perky Patty” on the profile and start referencing your personas like real people in work meetings, but it’s going to be one of the most valuable tools you adopt. Profiles are key to developing an understanding of your clients and writing content that’s so relevant and helpful no one can help but share it on their Facebook profile.
2. Not Tracking Analytics
If you’re turning a little red in the face, realize that you’re not alone. Less than half of social media marketers are tracking their success, and only about 1/4 are even looking at anything more than vanity metrics. You don’t need an advanced degree in actuarial science to take a hack at calculating your inbound marketing analytics, especially if you’re using a marketing software like HubSpot that does most of the work for you. Start tracking where your traffic is coming from, whether you’re ranking for keywords and if visitors are converting to leads. Data doesn’t lie about your failures and successes, so make it your new, honest BFF in 2013.
3. Not Having a Content Calendar
It’s all too easy to forget to update your content calendar when you’re busy blogging, writing eBooks, monitoring social media and closing sales. All of a sudden, you realize you’ve got 24 hours to release your next eBook and you’ve written about email marketing 8 times in the last 2 weeks. There’s a lot of reasons to love content calendars, but understand this: they’ll really save you if you’re ever sick, feeling uninspired or need to scale your content marketing efforts.
4. Not Scheduling Tweets
One of the biggest whoppers about social media marketing we’re aware of is that scheduling Tweets is an all-in, or all-out thing. Let us put this rumor to rest for once and all. Even if you schedule content to post 24/7 or while you’re on vacation through HubSpot or HootSuite, you can still log on and post Tweets. In fact, you’ll likely want to spontaneously post if any major news stories in your industry drop. If you’re trying to connect with consumers who use the internet outside the hours of 9-to-5, it’s high time to start publishing while you sleep.
5. Not Having Content in Store
Every business blogger should be at least one week ahead on drafts at all times, no excuses. Having a content calendar and an aggressive approach to scheduling doesn’t mean you need to stop newsjacking and covering current events. It just means you may need to do some last-minute shuffling. How easy is it if you’ve had a rough week or just don’t feel like writing anything to kick your blogging schedule to the curb? Your readers and Google want consistent, frequent updates.
6. Not A/B Testing Your CTA Buttons
What if you were receiving 1300% less leads than you could have been? If you’re not A/B testing the design, color, copy and placement of your call-to-action (CTA) buttons, it’s high time to start. HubSpot research has found that conversion rates can increase by well over 1,000 percent by making simple adjustments to CTAs.
7. Not Segmenting Your Email List
Experts estimate that the average consumer saw as many as 20,000 marketing messages each day in 2012. Talk about information overload! As mobile marketing, personalization, and gamifaction are on the rise, consumers are losing interest in anything that’s not custom-tailored to their needs. The least you can do is break your email list into segments by buyer personas. Your unsubscribe rate and click-throughs will reflect the fact that no one has time for irrelevant marketing in 2013.
8. Not Optimizing Pinterest for Business
If you have the bandwidth to Pin for profit, the network could be well worth your time. The 3rd-largest social media network rolled out new pages in mid-November that are optimized for businesses, and if you haven’t taken the time to switch over, it’s time. For one, the change takes around 90 seconds. Second, business users are now able to optimize their profiles with contact info and access exclusive, educational content from the Pinterest team.
9. Not SMarketing
Hey marketers. How long do your company’s leads typically spend researching before they make a sale? If you need to check with your sales department before answering, that’s a problem. Smarketing isn’t just a portmaneau for smarter marketing, it’s a term coined to describe the alignment of your sales and marketing departments. If you haven’t already, it’s a really good idea to sit down with your sales team and figure out how you can map your marketing messages to the actual, real-life decision processes of your prospects.
10. Not Reading Other Blogs
Will bloggers in your niche ever convert into customers? Unlikely. There’s a great deal of benefit you can gain from building real relationships with others in your field. Start by making a resolution to comment on a few blogs and share the content of other’s each day. Move up to genuine friendships and swapping guest posts. Not only can networking with other bloggers increase your knowledge, it can expand your social network and boost your SEO.
What are your marketing resolutions for 2013?