Roughly 45% of American’s make New Year's resolutions, committing to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking or drinking, save money, spend time with loved ones, and more. In short, they start off the year with new personal goals to better themselves or improve their lives. Marketers should do the same, so below is a list of website and digital marketing resolutions (action items) to begin the New Year and make 2020 a success.
Measure and Analyze
Start 2020 out right by measuring what worked and what didn’t in 2019. Commit to periodic reviews and measurement, either monthly or quarterly, for your website, social marketing, and email (at a minimum). It is amazing how many businesses still never look at their Google Analytics. And if are already using Google Analytics consistently, consider trying Google Tag Manager - it allows you to easily track conversions without having to code. Remember, your website is the face of your business. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if it’s effective?
When’s the last time you did a competitor review? Start the year out by checking your competitors’ websites and social sites. Who knows, you might learn something useful. If you are a small, local business, check out what similar businesses are up to in other cities. It’s a great way to get some new ideas that local firms haven’t latched onto yet.
Quicken the Pace
Is your website fast enough? Don’t know how fast your site is, then look back two paragraphs and start there. You can also use various tools including Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix to measure your site speed and page load times. In 2020 it is critical that your website loads quickly or people simply won’t stay on your site. Various studies show slower sites equate to higher bounce rates, with some showing as many as 57% of visitors will leave a site if the pages take over 3 seconds to load. In the past year or so, Google had stated that sites should load in 5 seconds or less (at 3G), but recently lowered their recommendations for page load time to 3 seconds or less on both mobile and desktop. So if your site is slothful, resolve to speed it up this year.
According to recent studies, marketing automation enhances sales productivity (14.5% average increase) and reduces marketing costs (12.2% reduction on average), while increasing leads (80% of marketing automation users saw an increase). Recent software enhancements (from various vendors) allow businesses to improve their processes, by automating repeatable tasks on the web, including across platforms via integration. Marketpath, for example, just launched website workflow automation (via Zapier), allowing simplified marketing workflows and data distribution to over 1,500 other platforms. Potential uses are endless, but a few beneficial use cases include the ability to automate website content (a blog post for example) to your social media sites at the same time you publish to your site, to automatically post data from a web form to your CRM, or to start a drip campaign based on a form submission. Leveraging website automation not only reduces manual tasks but it also significantly increases the value or web conversions.
If you still don’t realize the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), I don’t know what to say to you. Maybe this one stat will help - Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic. So if you don’t know what keywords you are targeting, why you are targeting them, and whether you are successful ranking for them, please, please take a step back and figure it out. And if you went through this process three to five years ago, it's time to do it again. Google has changed, and so has your business, so how you want to be found and by who you want to be found, has probably changed as well. Also keep in mind that if your SEO plan is outdated, your content and social marketing initiatives are probably not as effective as they could be.
Plan Your Content
If you don’t have a content plan and content calendar, make 2020 the year you get them. An effective content strategy is critical to enhancing your business credibility, as well as driving SEO results and visibility. A solid plan will also allow you to leverage strong content across channels from your website to social to email and more, benefiting your marketing ROI. If you want to read more on this topic check out my Rules for Effective Content Marketing.
If companies often fall short in regards to website marketing, the same can also be said (probably more so) for social marketing. Even in 2020 it is still very common for companies to create social sites, but to then do little with them. If that describes you, start with the basics. Connect your social media plan to your broader content plan and start to measure your progress. First, figure out which social sites make the most sense for your target audience. Then start by leveraging content across platforms. If your organization has limited resources and budgets for content, share and syndicate that web content to your social marketing sites. Social sites are the perfect venue for sharing your content, so make it part of your process to post new website content (blog posts, case studies, white papers, etc.) to social. If you are more advanced than this, consider identifying influencers for your market, that can add value syndicating interesting content you produce.
If you are already proficient regarding the items above, your next step in advancing your marketing effectiveness may be to dip your toes into the world of personalization. With the right data and tools, website personalization can provide a unique, better overall experience for a visitor, increasing their satisfaction, while also improving your conversion rates. Instead of displaying a traditional, one size fits all experience, a personalized web page or site will display different experiences based on certain visitor characteristics. For example, if you have previously clicked on a certain page or downloaded a whitepaper, next time you visit the site, we might want to present you with content different from the general audience, because we already know some of your interests. Or maybe we know something related to your demographics that are being passed on from your email registration, and based on those characteristics, it allows us to provide content that is more valuable to you. Personalization is definitely more difficult to execute than general, shotgun marketing, but it allows you to provide more relevant, beneficial content and offerings that visitors value. And that leads to increased conversions!
Evaluate Your Tools
To be an effective marketer in the digital age, you definitely need the right tools to support your work. When it comes to your website, do you have a content management system (CMS) that is fast and flexible? Will it allow you to build unique, custom solutions, automate processes, and take your marketing to the next level with personalization? Does the company provide the support you need to be successful? Do you have the right tools to support your other digital initiatives including social management, email and more? If not, make a resolution to find what you need to take that next step in your business.
Resolve to Succeed with Your Marketing Resolutions
Unfortunately, studies have shown that roughly 88% of personal New Year's resolutions fail. I don’t want to see that happen to your marketing resolutions as well. As an old marketer, I want to see you improve your website and digital marketing effectiveness in 2020. So start the year off right, beginning with the list above. And if you need assistance, please let us know how we can help.
- "New Years Resolution Statistics - Statistic Brain". statisticbrain.com. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018
- Norcross, JC, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 58(4), 397-405, 2002
- Blame It on the Brain: The latest neuroscience research suggests spreading resolutions out over time is the best approach, Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009
- 3 Seconds: How Website Speed Impacts Visitors and Sales
- The Rise of Marketing Automation – Statistics and Trends [Infographic]
- 85 Fascinating Content Marketing Statistics To Make You A Marketing Genius