The Holiday Season is here, full of end of year wrap-ups and final planning for the new year. If you are going into 2015 with an ineffective, brochureware website, fear not! I'm going to give you your top 5 priorities for the new year as a small business getting started with Inbound Marketing.
1 - Define Your Buyer Personas
You already know on a broad level who your buyers are. They may be manufacturers that buy your components, or health care institutions that buy your supplies. Do you know them on a more micro level though? If you do, all of your marketing efforts will be easier.
In general terms, Buyer Personas are the profiles of a company's ideal buyers based on market research current client data. Each profile is then turned into a fictional person that fits the behavioral characteristics of one of your buyers. This is not as simple as identifying their job title and company size. We're talking about identifying their demographics, buying patterns/habits, goals and motivations. This data will help us to really know who we're selling and marketing to and tailor our approach accordingly.
If we can identify the personas of our best buyers we can make more informed marketing decisions and reach each persona in a more effective way. For more on Buyer Persona's here are more posts we've written about them:
- Before A Website Redesign, Identify Your Buyer Personas
- Website Personalization Yields Higher Conversion Rates
- How To Plan Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
I want to emphasize the importance of this step! It shouldn't be an hour long discussion. You should be digging into the details of your actual buyers. Not the companies. The person. Who are they? Doing this will allow you to create content and target your efforts to the right people. If you're writing a blog post, you should be asking yourself which persona(s) the blog post is speaking to. If you are sending an email campaign, you should be identifying which persona(s) is/are receiving the campaign.
Don't breeze through this one.
2 - Identify 10 Large, High Quality Content Assets To Release Throughout The Year
Attracting high quality visitors (those that fit in to your buyer personas) is the key to generating online leads and growing your sales. The best, most effective way to generate high quality visitors to your site is through consistent content that speaks directly to your buyer personas.
By identifying 10 larger, high quality content pieces, you are effectively setting the theme for content for the whole year. To clarify, your high quality content pieces are what we consider gated content. Meaning, the visitor should be required to at least provide their email address in return for this content. You should however write supportive content around these 10 bigger content assets that pulls in your visitors and leads them to the more detailed larger content asset.
3 - Blog, Blog, Blog!
According to HubSpot's 2013 State Of Inbound Marketing report, 57% of companies that blog monthly have gained customers because of their content and 82% of companies that blog daily have generated new sales because of their content.
If you don't have a blog as a small business, you are missing the boat. You know you want more high quality visitors to come to your website, so you need to give them something more than your about page. You also need to give Google more than your About page.
Additionally, if you want to grow your natural links (which help your SEO), you need to have link-worthy content. Most of the time, your About page is not worth linking to from an outsider's perspective.
4 - Make Sure Your Site Works Well Across All Devices
According to a Nielsen Digital Consumer report, the average number of digital devices owned by Americans is 4. These devices obviously include smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even smart TVs. Increasingly, people are using their phone as their primary web browsing device. We've all experienced how terrible it is to use a website on a smartphone that is not optimized for a small screen. It kills your opportunity to build trust and pull in leads.
The bottom line here is that your website should be using responsive design to render correctly across the most common device resolutions. Here are some additional resources on responsive design:
- Does Your Website Design Build Trust?
- A Mobile Friendly Website Is Not An Option, It Is A Necessity
- 10 Signs Your Website Is Ready For An Update
5 - Collect, Review and Improve Your Data
I've repeatedly written about how valuable data is in Inbound Marketing and that it's clearly one of the biggest advantages of web marketing over traditional marketing through radio, print, etc... If your site doesn't already use an analytics package such as Google Analytics, stick out your arm and smack the hell out of your wrist. There's no excuse. Google Analytics is free and shows you more information than you even need to make sound decisions on how to improve your marketing.
The data available to you online will help you stop wasting time and money with your efforts. Use it!
More resources on data:
- 3 Ways to Use Google Analytics Demographic and Interest Data to Your Advantage
- What Aren't You Tracking On Your Website?
- 4 Simple Web Marketing Metrics To Measure
Are There More? Of Course!
I could go on and on with this list, but if you get these 5 under control, you will almost be where you should be. If you'd like a guiding hand in the process, give us a shout, we'd be happy to help!