It’s that time again (somehow!). Do you know what you’re going to focus on in the new year? What are your online marketing resolutions?
This article will make you rethink your New Year’s Marketing resolutions - whether you’ve made them yet or not.
I recently read an article from Amy Porterfield, in which she interviewed marketing thought-leaders, asking them their goal-setting strategies. Michael Hyatt’s response set me back on my heels slightly. Rather than the off-hand response of ‘come up with a mission statement’ or ‘invest more time on Twitter’, Michael responded simply: ‘scare yourself’.
Michael argues that unless you’re uncertain, fearful, feel inadequate and out of your depth, you’re not going to grow. He states that ‘you should set your goals outside of your comfort zone because that is where real growth begins, where solutions are, and where fulfillment resides.’
This really hit me. Am I growing? Or have I fallen into a marketing rut of doing the things I like (writing), the things I know I need to do, and avoiding the things I find unpleasant or don’t know much about. And then I go home again to watch Homeland on Netflix.
Am I learning? Am I developing into a better marketer? When was the last time I was truly out my depth? When was the last time you were?
Let’s switch it up for 2014.
Let’s set goals we’re not sure we can reach. Goals that scare us. Goals that are high enough that, if we stand on our tippy-toes and use a broom handle we can maybe, maybe, reach them.
Even if we tip over and come crashing to the ground, we’ll have learned something. We’ll have stretched our limits, and next time we might be able to do something special. And if we do manage to reach these goals we’ll be genuinely better for it, and so will our businesses.
Get out of your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to stay in our safe online marketing cave. It’s warm and we know where the light switch is.
That’s not how our business works. Every week there’s a new thing to try, a new thing we don’t know. As of this week, for instance, Facebook has started allowing auto-play video ads on the news feed. Are you going to try them out? Did you even know that was happening?
Here are three ‘Get out of your Comfort Zone’ New Year’s Resolutions for 2014:
Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as a writer. In fact, maybe you hated English and have decided it hates you. Try blogging anyway.
Content is king, and - though Slideshares, video and infographics will be more important than ever before in 2014 - well-written content will still be essential for your brand’s online profile.
Try writing daily, even if you don’t publish anything for a while. Start with what you know, and then start researching things you want to know, or things you know your target audience wants to know. Check out the blogs that succeed, and find a writing style that appeals to you. Read the tips and tricks of blogging. Research SEO best practices, promoting your blog through social media, how to use a blog for lead generation, etc.
Just start writing daily. It gets easier.
The social media platforms that have some of the best ROI for businesses, Pinterest and Instagram are under-used because people don’t understand them or think they’re not right for their business.
Do your research and you might be surprised by the results you get. A recent report from marketing and analytics company Piqora found that Pinterest had one of the best ROI’s out of all social media platforms for business.
If you’re an ecommerce business especially, you’re missing a huge opportunity not being on Pinterest and Instagram. Dip a toe, read some articles, and see what you get.
3. Advertise online
Advertising isn’t scary, and it’s not as expensive as you think it is. There are many 3rd party tools that make it easy for you, making building an ad straightforward and understanding its performance simple.
Advertising with Facebook, for instance, is one of the best, and most cost effective, ways to reach and expand your audience. Generate Facebook Likes, generate leads, or generate sales - the targeting capabilities of online advertising are changing the way we grow our brands.
Don’t just fall back on the tried-and-true marketing strategies you’ve been using forever. Target your Facebook Ads at your existing contact list, or use the ‘lookalike audience’ tool to reach Facebook users similar to your existing customers. Optimize your Ads. Do research on creative best practices, A/B testing, tracking your leads, tracking your performance, etc.
If you’re not sweating, you’re not making progress!
Face your Fears
Bring that courage to your marketing strategies on a daily basis.
Here are three ‘Face your Fears’ New Year’s Resolutions for 2014:
1. Make a video (with your face in it!)
A tutorial of your service, an introductory video for your landing page, a webinar on the newest email automation best practices, a creative (and cheap) vine video ad, whatever.
And don’t be scared to have your face in it. People respond more to a person saying something than a screen capture. It will also grow your own marketing profile online, and make your business more relatable and human - all good things.
Video is going to be big in 2014, get with it.
2. Go to a conference
Meet people who you’ve seen on the internet, on social media platforms, or heard about but never had the courage to engage with or @mention.
Many conferences are free to Marketing conferences are fantastic places to network, and a great way to increase awareness of your small business.
3. Reach out to thought-leaders
Influencers aren’t mean people. In fact, most of them are only influencers because they’re incredibly likeable, kind, and hard-working. True, they’re busy, so don’t be downhearted when your first couple overtures get no response. But keep trying.
Try different ways of reaching out. Perhaps start with a few @mentions and move to asking for a quick interview or quote for your most recent article. Then try a video webinar/interview that you both promote. After that, let the relationship develop naturally. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice, or even promotion!
Influence marketing is going to be huge in 2014, and you need to be able to talk to these people in order for your business to grow.
Online marketers wear many hats these days. We’re bloggers, public relations experts, social media gurus, the stars of video webinars, designers, researchers, web developers. So sometimes it’s difficult to fulfill every role. This is good. What isn’t good is hiding from our own inadequacies and sticking to what we know because it’s comfortable.
In 2014, embrace your inadequacy.
Here are three ‘Feel Inadequate’ New Year’s Resolutions for 2014:
1. Learn to code
Take some time away from Netflix in the evenings and take a look at W3Schools or Codecademy. They’re both free, both step-by-step, and you can take all the time you need to bring so much more to your business than you ever thought you could.
2. Learn to design
2014 will be the year that visual content dominates online marketing. Put time and energy into learning Photoshop and InDesign. Start simple (like the header image for this post) - and don’t be afraid!
YouTube, Photoshop.com, and (my personal favorite) lynda.com have great tutorials that will teach you everything you need to know. I’m not saying you need to master the intricacies of design or draw a 3D hand from scratch. But understanding the principles of how these programs work means you can offer so much more to your business, and make your marketing efforts so much more appealing.
3. Talk on the phone
This may not be a resolution for everybody - some of you started in sales and moved to marketing after. If you’ve done your time in a call-center you can ignore this resolution and focus on body tags or learning what adding ‘noise’ to your image will do (hint: it involves something called rasterizing, does that help?).
Talking on the phone is still an awesome way to get things done. Yes we’ve all fallen back on social media and email, but face your fear of real-time conversation and pick up a phone in 2014. Instead of sending an email requesting, or offering, a guest post, call them. Send an email and ask for the best time for you to call about your marketing strategies, and how they can be involved.
I’m not saying to make your sales team obsolete. Leave them the bottom of the sales funnel. But, in 2014, use a phone to capture leads, coordinate mutually-beneficial marketing relationships, negotiate content exchanges, etc.
That is, if you can find a phone. I think we have one around here somewhere. Maybe next to the fax machine?
Make 2014 the year you step out of your comfort zone, face your fears and feel inadequate. Growing pains hurt, but they mean you’re growing. Choose a couple of these New Year’s resolutions, or a few of them. Choose one you think is easier to accomplish and one you think more ambitious. That way, reaching one will make you feel awesome, and you’ll be more likely to achieve the harder resolution.
Is there anything in the online marketing field you’re scared of? Have you really tested yourself in the previous years and found success?
Share your story, or start the conversation below!