18 Aug 9 Effective Marketing Projects to Tackle Now for a Stronger Year Ahead
Yes, I know it’s only August. Heck, I’m writing this out on my deck on a gorgeous sunny day. But it’s time to start prepping for the new year and tackling the best, most effective marketing projects that will position you for a strong year ahead.
I last wrote a blog post on this topic way back in 2016. Some of my advice has changed, but most has stayed the same – which goes to show you that marketing fundamentals (and their success rates) do not change.
This article goes a lot deeper than the old one, and it includes plenty of new information. Ready for it?
1: Be diligent about gathering testimonials, recommendations, and reviews
Do you read reviews before dining at a new restaurant, booking an AirBnB, or buying a car? Do you ask your friends for recommendations? Of course you do – we all do.
And it’s no different when it comes to your business. People will read testimonials on your website, recommendations on LinkedIn, and reviews on Google to hear what other people are saying about you.
Take 15 minutes and make a list of the clients you worked with this past year. Email them individually and ask for a brief testimonial for your website, review on Google (send the link) or recommendation on LinkedIn (also send the link).
To make it easier for them to write it, ask them the challenge they were facing, why they liked working with you, and how you helped them.
If you are more focused on Google reviews, ask your web developer to add a widget on your website (perhaps the home page) so new reviews are automatically shown.
Oh, and don’t forget to share all those kind word about your awesomeness on your social accounts and in your email newsletter.
Of all the effective marketing projects that are still to come, this ranks high on the list.
2: Create a come-back email campaign
We all get busy, and even emails from brands we love can slip through the cracks. For anyone on your list who hasn’t opened an email or made a purchase in the last six months, give them a reason to stay engaged. Send them a come-back email.
A comeback email is short and sweet. It goes something like this:
We noticed you haven’t opened our emails in a while. That’s OK – we’re busy too.
<Insert alternative or offer – see below for more.>
If we don’t hear from you, we’ll remove you from our list in two weeks.
We hope to see you soon!
The ABC Company Team
The offer could be a discount code towards their next purchase or a reminder that they can stay connected on social media if they prefer.
3: Create valuable lead magnets
Continually capturing emails of potential clients and anyone who shows some interest in your brand is one of the smartest things any business – big or small – can do. I know we are all over-saturated with emails, but they do allow you to push out messages (rather than waiting and hoping your list will see it on, say, LinkedIn or Instagram).
One of the ways you can capture emails is via lead magnets, aka, free downloads. In order to get this high-value information, people need to submit their name and email. Boom – you just grew your list.
So, what is valuable? Well, whatever your audience can use (I know, such an annoyingly broad answer). Here are a few ideas based on lead magnets we have created for clients:
- An ebook on how to trade a bear market
- An insider’s guide on how to successfully buy your first home
- A one-pager of advice for new teachers, from Teachers of the Year
4: Segment your email list
Almost done talking about email! My final email-related project for you is to segment your main newsletter list.
Breaking your list into segments fuels campaign success, because you’ll be sending each group targeted information that they care about.
Let’s say you’re a financial advisor. Young professionals have different needs than parents with children, who have different needs from retirees. Someone who is just starting out in their career may want to know what percentage of their salary they should save for retirement, while someone who is about to retire may appreciate advice on how to tamp down the effects of inflation on their spending.
Though I’m not ranking these, this also goes high on the list of effective marketing projects.
5: Invest in consistent visual branding
Your website, email marketing campaigns, social media posts, presentations, lead magnets, business cards, postcards, etc. should look visually cohesive. Sure you can DIY this, but how good will it really look? (I know good design when I see it, but I cannot, for the life of me, “do” graphic design.)
Make your life easier, and work with a graphic designer. If your web designer isn’t up for it, ask for a reference to someone who can create templates for email, social posts, etc.
I know this may sound like a lot of work, but trust me, consistency in marketing is so important.
Don’t let people wonder who that email or postcard is from – and why it looks nothing like your website.
And definitely don’t let them get the impression that you cut corners. If you cut corners on marketing, what else do you cut corners on?
6: Pay for an SEO audit
As I wrote a few months in this SEO in 2022 post, search engine optimization has changed a lot recently. For example:
The major change to SEO in the last few years is the addition of video and imagery into the Google search algorithm; it’s not purely text-based anymore. (People still think that SEO is about keyword stuffing, which hasn’t been true for 10 years.)
Based on those two sentences alone, it’s time to have an expert audit your website for SEO. Do you have videos and images on your website? Are they optimized for search?
And what about the keywords you are using – are they still relevant to your audience and being used in searches?
What content are people looking for? Do you provide it? And do you provide enough of it?
Answers to these questions and more will be found in an audit. Get one.
7: Review your analytics
Most small businesses do not bother looking at Google Analytics for their website, let alone their email and social media channels. If you’re not paying attention to the data, you have no idea what content is working.
If you spend 10 or 15 minutes with it even once a month, Google Analytics will tell you how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing once they get there.
If bounce rates are really high on one web page, is a link broken? Is the content on the page not aligned with the page name? Of if one blog post has amazing traffic, you’ll know that people LOVE the topic.
Likewise, if an email has a higher-than-average open or click rate, make a note on the subject line and the content that got clicked on. Same with social.
You might not love data (I’m in the same boat), but trust me, this is too important to ignore.
8: Create a content calendar
I use a content calendar for Jansen Communications, and we create and use one for nearly all our clients. It’s the only way to stay organized and keep various marketing campaigns aligned across all channels – your website, email, social, and in-person events.
Put together a calendar, and:
- Your big promos (book launch!) and sales (buy one, get one) will have a greater impact.
- You can plan ahead, which is especially important if you have a busy season, like the holidays (retailers and restaurants) and tax season (accountants and CPAs).
- Your messaging will be consistent everywhere.
- You won’t waste time scrambling to fill in the blanks.
- Your topics will be more organized and thoughtful – and therefore more relevant and interesting to your target market.
- You can share it with everyone on your team so they’re all aware of what’s happening now and what’s coming down the pike (especially important if a customer mentions something to them!).
9: Or go big – get yourself a content marketing strategy
If you have a lot going on – upcoming book launch, speaker series, new service or product offering, etc. – I highly recommend working with a pro to create a content marketing strategy. You will learn so much, including how to do more with what you have and what opportunities to invest your time and energy in.
Plus, it’s results oriented. A strategy is a roadmap. You’re here, but in order for your business to grow and thrive, you need to get down the road to there, which is exactly where your goals are sitting. A content strategy is tied to specific goals, not abstract ideas. You want results? You need a strategy.
If you want to really go for it in the months and year ahead, let’s set up a time to chat about your future plans and where a content strategy fits in among all these effective marketing projects. Shoot me a note, and we’ll get a time on the calendar.