Tips

Go Confidently into the New Year with these 5 Marketing To-Dos

Every January I see posts on posts about future marketing trends: How will SEO change in the new year? What social media platforms do you need to be on to succeed? What crazy thing will Google do to make us finally want to throw in the towel!? It’s overwhelming and bound to change by February. I thought it would be more helpful to make a checklist of five things you can do now to start your 2015 marketing efforts off with confidence.

Deep Dive Into Your Data

At the end of each year, you typically have a historic spreadsheet of the most important metrics to prove your site gets traffic. But it’s also nice to take a closer look at the random stats you don’t generally focus on. For example, you might consistently report on organic search visits, bounce rate and new vs. returning visitors. Why not dive deeper into things like average time on site, pages per visit, referring domains, browsers used, devices used, etc. You might look at these periodically throughout the year when the questions arise, but it’s a great time to really take a closer look. Also, think about your filter settings and how your dashboards are set up. Are there opportunities to use enhanced features in your software, or if you use Google Analytics, have you ignored things like campaign tracking that you could integrate into your 2015 plans?

Give Your GWT Some TLC

You should be fixing broken links as you come across them, but if you have a laundry list of 404s in your Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), now is a good time to reevaluate them. Maybe you need to talk to your website developers about your site architecture, or you have missing 301 redirects to fix. Spend some time in your GWT looking at crawl reports and server errors, and make sure your sitemap is up to date, robots.txt is working as expected, and your 404 page and HTML sitemap are current.

New Years Marketing Tips

 

Read it Again

Pull a list of the top 20 pages of your website. Now, go page by page and review all the content. Check for spelling errors, outdated facts, broken links, and optimization opportunities. Make sure the page titles show up in search and the meta descriptions are rendering. Check the images and text in all browsers and on mobile devices and tablets, and check for any missing alt tags. These are your top pages; make sure they continue to be in 2015.

Make Some New Friends

There are tons of SEO, social, and monitoring tools out there; there’s also a lot of expertise. Do some heavy research and talk to other marketers about what tools they rely on most and what they’d recommend trying out in the new year. It’s hard to move away from a tool you are comfortable using; but there might be something out there that could change the game for you entirely if you just knew about it! Open your eyes and see the possibilities. You might not find anything, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around. Some game-changing tools we’ve discovered this year (and they are not necessarily new to the world, just to us): Moz, Screaming Frog, Canva, and Buffer App. Influencers we rely on: @MarketingProfs/@AnnHandley, @SocialSavvyGeek, and @RandFish.

 Clean Up Your Social Act

Don’t wait for spring cleaning; now’s a great time to clear out old followers, find new followers, and sign up for any new social sites that are relevant and growing. On Twitter, if you haven’t already, set up some Lists to organize your connections. Update your LinkedIn profile with your resume and check for any new recommendation opportunities. In conjunction, deactivate old accounts and most importantly, make sure you update your passwords and check privacy settings. If you’re not sure what social channels to be on, read our recent post on the subject.

Happy New Year!

– Rach

5 Simple Things for a Marketing Newbie to Try

In my eight years as a grown-up lady professional, I’ve dabbled in the arts of editing, writing, public relations, social media, email marketing and blogging. Which means I know a little about a lot and a lot about nothing at all. Now I am moving toward the field of search engine optimization and by gosh I will know everything. My knowledge going into the SEO arena was nada zilch and now I know a bit more than that; so I wanted to share 5 simple things that have helped me out along the way and that I would strongly suggest for a newbie to do to get ahead in the game:

1. Set up a Google Alert for terms related to your area: SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, etc. At quick glance, this will give you a good idea on what are some hot topics in the industry. Another thing I do (because I have trust issues about Google Alerts’ full disclosure with me) is search for the term, in my case “SEO,” and filter by News. That way I can scroll through all the recent articles and blog posts about SEO. I do this twice a day at least and there are usually some decent to really useful articles. Don’t forget to share them on socials after you read them.

2. Join relevant marketing groups on LinkedIn. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, then don’t both with what I am about to say and worry about signing up pronto. OK, signed up? Rewind. Join relevant marketing groups. You can read what other professionals are saying about the industry and people will often share some great tips and articles. Make sure you set up email alerts, otherwise if you’re busy like me, you’ll forget to proactively check the group, and you’ll miss out on some great stuff. Disclaimer, you’ll get more than you want, but that’s what the handy trash bucket is for or set up a rule to have them go into a special folder that you can check later if you can’t handle the inbox influx.

3. Follow the influencers on Twitter. I follow people from Moz, Search Engine Land, Forbes, Hubspot, Search Engine Watch, etc., because they always post great articles. I tend to follow more people upfront, and then go back and weed out those that don’t post enough relevant information, or only retweet articles, or post/retweet 100 times an hour, or post once a month (I also like a bit of humor or personal tweets sprinkled in for kicks). Read the articles, retweet them, tweet your opinion @ them and let them know if you enjoyed it. It’s important to start building your following and connections early and use them as mentors along the way.

4. Start a blog, any blog. I love writing and wanted to come up with an outlet for more creativity. I live and breathe marketing 9-5 every day, so the topic came pretty naturally, thus Dinnertime Marketing was born. Your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be about marketing, but pick a topic you like enough to write about. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not an SEO expert but there’s no better way to educate myself than by researching for a post. I challenge you to pick post topics that are a bit out of the box for you. You’d be surprised by what you might learn in the process, and if you can share that knowledge with others and help them solve a problem then you have realized the power of blogging. Kudos for you. (If you haven’t read Fighting the Blog Title Blues, check it out for tips on starting your blog.)

5. Go to a conference. There’s nothing like throwing yourself into the fiery pits of awkward conversation with strangers who know (or at least act like they know) more about a topic than you do to make you feel like a rock star! Am I right? Conferences are great for getting out of the office and seeing new cities, but even greater for networking with people like yourself. You’ll meet people at all levels in their careers, make industry connections, and maybe meet some lifetime friends. Conferences are invaluable for the knowledge packed into a short amount of time. In fact, I’m going to my first marketing conference in July (#MozCon) and am super excited (like, childhood-giddy-glee-because-I-just-got-a-new-bicycle excited). I’m ready to learn, eat, and mingle! If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you try to get yourself to one of these marketing conferences soon.

This post was paired with chicken, portobello mushrooms and onions sautéed in garlic and lemon, served on top of kelp noodles. Surprisingly delicious. No recipe link tonight — I whipped this bad boy up myself.