It’s that time of year again, when you start looking forward to some all-important time off, and all you have to worry about is who left the empty wrappers in the box of Celebrations! But this is no ordinary new year; it’s the beginning of a brand new decade. An opportunity to review all that you’ve achieved in the past ten years and a chance to start the next ten with renewed purpose and a battle plan for world domination.
Now we can’t tell you how to organise your spreadsheets, or how to explain to your aunt why you’re not wearing that rather fetching jumper she knitted you for Christmas, but we can shed some light on the key components of your marketing that, with a little investment, can bring you commercial success in 2020.
Chances are that new business is going to be hard-fought in 2020 and your website is your shop window. Whether you like it or not, most people will be forming their opinion of your company based on your website. So you need to make sure that it looks great, engages users with quality content and functions intuitively. For example, it’s no good positioning yourself as a high-end service or product if your design looks dated and your site is really slow. Website performance is central to converting visitors to customers.
With Google bringing in new rules to penalise poorly coded sites, it’ll be more important than ever to have a site that is well-built and optimised for search engine performance, as well as mobile devices.
Does your brand truly reflect your values and showcase your services? Does it connect with your target audience? Does it have the versatility to work across a wide range of print and digital media? Does it look tired and crap?
A good brand should encapsulate your company culture and ethos. It should be a living, breathing thing that can evolve with the business and the needs of your audience. You need a hell of a lot more than just a logo; that is just the full stop in a good brand. Consider your tone of voice, market positioning, internal communication strategy and consistency. Do you have your logo in a vector-based, editable format? Do you need brand guidelines to iron out inconsistencies in the use of your brand among suppliers, staff and franchisees? Do you know what your brand fonts and colour values are? Don’t be afraid to make a change. Your brand underpins all that you stand for as a business and is central to how you are perceived by your customers, peers and colleagues.
They say that content is king, and it certainly plays a major role in any successful marketing strategy. Are you producing content that is insightful and adds some value to your target audience? Is it engaging and interesting? Does it have a branded feel? Good quality content can help raise brand awareness, boost your search engine ranking, bring your social media presence to life and generate, qualify and nurture leads. There are a multitude of content options available, from blog articles and infographics to podcasts and Instagram posts.
But it needs an underlying strategy and achieving a good mix is key. Time and resource are often an issue with content creation, so make sure you have a good plan in place and the right partner to support you. Putting an editorial calendar together will give you structure and nicely branded templates can help save time and give your in-house team ownership.
It’s time to spread the word! But how? A good place to start is evaluating your current digital footprint. Is our website in a fit state to receive visitors? Do we have any data, such as Google Analytics, that we can analyse? Try Googling yourselves and seeing what comes up. You need a thorough understanding of your target audience and their search patterns. What motivates them and how do they search for your kind of services? Planning and market research is key, otherwise you’ll be burning through cash with a rudderless Adwords campaign before you can say ‘cost per click’!
Your proposition may be more suited to content-driven SEO, social media advertising, Google Adwords, or a combination of them all. The important thing is to get good advice that focuses on strategy and your individual circumstances. What works for one company, may not be right for you. So avoid anyone selling a ‘one size fits all’ package.
So there you have it, a few tips to help focus your new year planning and get your marketing ducks in a row.
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