Updated for 2017
Right now it’s mere hours before we say farewell to 2016. Have you made your New Year’s resolution? I hope not. Really. If you’re stressing over what your New Year’s resolution is going to be – lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, be nicer, go to bed earlier, give up chocolate (whoa, let’s be realistic here, huh?) then I give you permission to stop obsessing. You don’t have to make one. In fact, all that indecisive energy you’re spending on how to better yourself in 2017 can be much better spent on setting goals for your online strategy instead. We’ll help by giving you some internet marketing tips that you can achieve early on in 2017.
Like many people on New Year’s Eve I look forward to a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. I do really good on January 1st and 2nd, but then I throw it all out the window. I think because we sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking that we can just erase everything that happened the year before, even though we know it’s still a part of us, and start over to become exactly who and what we want to be.
There’s a lot of truth to what people say: resolutions are made to be broken. You are sort of setting yourself up for failure. Why? Because resolutions are fluffy. They lack any hard substance. They are bad for business too. They might make you feel better as a person, but they’re horrible for your online marketing strategy. What you need are so some good old fashion measureable and attainable goals.
Whether you're just starting out learning about marketing your business online, have a lone website and nothing else, or are blogging 5 days a week, in most cases you are better off using what you have and setting goals to move forward then resolving to start over completely. This is because in Google’s view something is better than nothing.
In layman’s terms you may not have fed the search engine giant much, but it has at least given you a glance at some point. Google just doesn’t pay much attention to you, but it will if you set some simple goals. Emphasis on simple because just a like a New Year’s resolution, internet marketing goals can feel overwhelming. Set yourself up for success by lowering your standards in a sense. Here are some ways you can do just that.
1. Start Learning
If you’ve been hearing a lot more about this thing called internet (or online or inbound) marketing it’s because it’s not going anywhere. It’s the new frontier of marketing. People are going online for everything these days and if you aren’t online promoting your product or service, your competitors most likely are! You don’t want to get left behind, so it’s time you start understanding what it’s all about. Now, don’t just tell yourself “I’m going to learn about marketing my business online.” Instead, set goals like this.
- Take one hour to familiarize yourself with online marketing basics – We just so happen to have an “Essential Guide to Internet Marketing” that makes great reading material.
- Read one online marketing blog post each morning BEFORE checking email – like the one you’re reading right now! (Shameless plug: you can subscribe to our blog by typing your email in the box to the right. We won’t send you spammy stuff!)
- Interact on the blogs you are reading by choosing one to comment on at least once a week – not necessarily on every blog post you read, but if you have questions leave a comment and ask! You will most likely get an answer.
2. Evaluate your website
Try your best to be objective. If you were coming to your website for the first time, what would you think of it? How does it make you feel? Irritated? Overwhelmed? Calm? Happy? There are a lot of things that can contribute to these emotions, such as overall design, colors, fonts, navigation, and images.
Your goal -- Take 30 minutes and jot down some things you notice. Consider:
- Where your eye goes to first
- If the company contact information is easily found
- If the site loads fast or slow
- If the product or service information is up to date
- Whether the navigation bar makes sense or not
- Broken links
There. That was easy. Now you have to decide what to do about it. I suggest asking a friend or perfect stranger to evaluate your site too. Someone who is honest and you trust. Because sometimes we think something looks good, but we’re wearing rose colored glasses. Once you have a second or even third opinion, it may or may not be time for a re-design.
3. Begin Blogging
Blog. Blog. Blog. You’ll hear us say this over and over and over again. You have to be blogging on a regular basis because it is the center of any successful internet marketing strategy. Blogging has multiple benefits that you can read in detail about here, but in a nutshell it allows you to:
- Have fresh content and more indexed pages on your website – Google likes this A LOT.
- Blogs help you get found online by potential customers – there is a method to this blogging madness that involves thoughtful planning and strategy, but remember that whole feeling overwhelmed thing? Yeah we don’t want that to happen today.
- Provide helpful information to your customer base. If you have an active blog that is providing good, quality information to your target audience, they are going to keep coming back and maybe, just maybe, turn into a customer.
The frequency at which you post your blog content really depends on your industry, your competition and of course, your budget and resources. A good starting place is to post twice a week.
Your goal: blog twice a week
Having a hard time getting motivated to start? Here’s what you do:
- Schedule time on your calendar to write
- Actually use that time to write
- Set a timer to write for one hour…okay fine….30 minutes
- Just write. What do you write about? Here are some ideas.
- Nothing coming to you? Then just sit there. Right now it’s about building a habit. Research if you want to get ideas…but no email for Facebook!
- When the timer goes off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. It will get easier – we promise!
Blogging will become your bread and butter. You know how people can get cranky when they don’t eat. Well, you’ll need to keep feeding Google or else it will get cranky with you. But think about when you’ve had a really good meal with someone. They are so happy and relaxed – and Google will be too. So much so, that you’ll start seeing results – what kind of results depends on your personal online marketing strategy.
These 3 goals will help get you started, but there is much more to a successful internet marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn more and find out how we can help you, we’d love to chat. In the meantime, Happy New Year and cheers to a great 2017!