We're rolling into 2011. At this time of the year, we do a few things: we look back, we look forward, and then we look around at the mess we've made while pursuing life and business with a passion. Here are some ideas for cleaning up at least one area in all that: your marketing.
Improve Your Email Newsletter Template
First, remove the following from the topmost part of your email newsletter: "Having trouble viewing this? Click here to view it in a browser." This comes through in our email preview pane and it screams, "THIS IS NOT PERSONAL OR IMPORTANT." Remove it. Throw a tiny link near the bottom that says "view in browser." We all understand how this works.
Second, add social sharing functionality to your email newsletter. If you're using a decent provider (I use Blue Sky Factory), they have this technology already. This includes things like allowing you to share your work into Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. This stuff really gives your newsletter juice.
Finally, slim down your newsletter to cover only one or two topics per message, unless you have a huge constituency of people who love your super long email. The rest of us? We don't. We're reading it on our mobile phone and we want it brief.
Revisit Your Keywords
Are you paying for search traffic? If so, review your keywords. Now, look and ask yourself whether your site and your blog and your social media presence all use those same keywords. If you're not creating useful organic content around the same topics that you're spending to get traffic from, then you're missing the big opportunity. Think of your paid search as a crutch to get your site found, but then think of all the organic content you make as your way out of spending that money.
Clean Up Your Goals for 2011
2010 was your "okay, now what?" year. You decided to take the plunge with some of this online stuff. You moved from just having a website to trying out something like Facebook or Twitter. Now, it's time to put some solid goals out there, to build a sales challenge into your 2011 plans, and to see what this stuff can really do (or not do) to improve your sales efforts. Talking back and forth to people on Twitter isn't all that interesting, if it doesn't contribute to your bottom line eventually. Put it to the test. And if it doesn't work out well, decide if it was your attempt, or if maybe there's just not a lot of "there" there for you.
Make 2011 About Growth
All in all, 2011 will be about growth. The U.S. economy is slowly coming back. If housing would get its butt in gear, we'd have even better proof of it, but in the interim, note that many small businesses are now ramping for more clients. As you look at your marketing plans, this will be a year for growth, experimentation, and core execution. And maybe this clean-up will help.