Happy New Year! I know it’s that time of the year that every blogger tries to put out a holiday-themed blog; well this is mine. As we head into mid-decade, the state of online advertising and communication continues to be constantly evolving. As a demand generation firm, we are consistently reading about new technology, strategy, and tactics that contribute to a client’s lead generation efforts. The multitude of tools, platforms, and techniques can be overwhelming at times. In the last two-three weeks, I participated in 3 webinars and 5 software demos, with more planned this week. I have an RSS reader with 150 or so blogs to stay up to speed on the ever changing world of demand and lead generation. Major categories for me are content marketing, marketing automation, SEO, paid search, analytics, online display (programmatic and retargeting), mobile, conversion optimization, social media marketing, and social selling. It’s exciting; and also a challenge to balance the continued learning with client work, staying healthy, and raising a child as a single father.
So here are a few 2015 New Year resolutions for me, but some can pertain to you as well.
- Create an editorial calendar. We do this for clients, but for NuSpark Marketing I am not consistent enough with my own blogging. Following an editorial calendar with topics and deadlines will keep me focused. Blogs within your website domain is a big SEO ranking factor. Get to it!
- Write two more ebooks. I did my last one on online display in the fall. This year look for one on Marketing Analytics and an update on social media lead generation. White papers and eBooks are excellent lead generators.
- Be helpful and compelling. Continue to be helpful to prospects. It’s not about quantity but quality of thought leadership. Content marketing is about sharing insights that can one day lead to new business.
- Combine SEO with Conversions. Our focus at NuSpark Marketing is lead generation. Yes we can increase website traffic. Yes we can improve keyword rankings. It means nothing if you don’t have a website that can capture leads for your sales team. In 2015 we will continue to evaluate client and prospect websites for proper conversion optimization, otherwise you’re throwing away SEO retainers.
- Perform a Keyword audit. We constantly review keywords that prospects use on search engines to find our services. Remember with search, it’s not what you do, it’s what Googlers want. Therefore website content should be updated based on these keyword audits.
- Link Building becomes Relationship Building. We will be enhancing our outreach with more influential bloggers and editors. Sharing our own unique blogs can help connect our content with new audiences, and tell good stories that contribute to problem solving. By building a robust guest blog outreach program, and being genuine, links will increase as will referral traffic.
- Plan search campaigns within the funnel. People use Google for two reasons: I want, and I need. Your Adwords campaigns need to be as relevant as possible, but we know sometimes it’s not easy because of how people search within the sales funnel. Continue to test content offers (Top of funnel) with trial/demo offers (bottom funnel).
- Understand programmatic display advertising and retargeting. The industry is constantly in flux. Display advertising is more than just Google. Evaluate other advertising options and understand how online display contributes to lead generation. We negotiate hard with publishers and custom display platforms, and investigate creative opportunities to promote content and offers. Mobile and app advertising is the future (and present), including mobile retargeting. How do your landing pages look on mobile? Ready to reduce form fields so mobile conversions increase?
- Increase conversion rates. Use A/B tests and test offers, headlines, and email subject lines, for example. If your landing pages do not easily explain a problem-solving solution with benefits, you’ll lose conversions. We take conversion optimization seriously, and so should you. Otherwise your advertising efforts will not work as well as they should, and your prospects visit competitors instead.
- Engage and network with prospects online. Our buyers are there and so are yours. Social media is social networking. Networking means conversation and sharing insights. Build a trustworthy relationship with prospects before asking for the sale please. It just works better. There are many tools out there to manage relationships and curate content to share. We use a few, and can suggest ones that fit your needs.
- Make LinkedIn your personal home page. Think about it, if you’re engaging with a prospect on LinkedIn and they want to learn more about you, they will visit your personal profile page before they find your company. If you’re in sales, your LinkedIn profile should promote yourself as a problem solver with compelling content; a sales letter rather than a resume. It’s first impression that engages audiences further.
- Combine engagement with advertising. LinkedIn is an excellent medium to target landing pages towards very specific audiences. Sponsored posts are an effective method to promote content within your targets’ newsfeeds. Using Twitter’s lead generation and app install cards via their promoted tweet program should also be tested. We have clients doing very well with Twitter lead generation programs. Now if LinkedIn can build an app-install ad program as well in 2015….
And finally a few quickie resolutions:
- Do a better job of measuring your lead generation efforts; clicks, conversions, opportunities, sales.
- Use marketing automation to build prospect relationships via email, and have unique automated programs by audience segments so that content is relevant to those segments.
- Consider performing a buyer persona audit to ensure your content and message resonates with your customer’s needs
- Realize you now have at least three in-boxes: email, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Make it a habit in 2015 to manage all your communication.
- Get some sleep; work out; eat right; and spend time with the family. I promise you’ll be more productive in the long run.
What are your resolutions for 2015?