Use questions and filters when planning for digital - don't just follow 'what's hot'
We're just ending the period of 2013 predictions, something I am fascinated by, find useful, but also dread each year.
There are undoubtedly some great posts out there with valuable opinion and insight. Yet it can get a little overwhelming and in most cases leave you feeling a little depressed around all the things that "you should be doing." Maybe that's just me?
The thing is, in marketing (as any job role), you can't do everything, so there's no point getting anxious about the million things that you could do, prediction posts heap that pressure on; they're good and bad, in that way.
We too ran our first online summit a week ago advising on a number of topic areas and recommended priorities for 2013, (you can see the recordings and slidedecks here if you missed them). It's easy to get panicked, instead we'd suggest having filters in place that help prioritise all those ideas - knowing what to forget is empowering, but requires confidence. The key is identifying where the easier opportunities are and off-setting any obvious risks - the rest will have to wait.
We've updated our free interactive healthcheck to help you filter what you probably should delve deeper into - the difference to the predictions posts is that you decide! Dave Chaffey and I have devised the questions within our PRACE framework, so it's a structured audit and review like you might work through with a consultant or agency.
The main feature of the update is that Basic and Expert members can now save their scores plus our recommendations and there's a personal URL to access the report you can return to work through and improve through the year(s).
You can use the Healthcheck to help reveal the focus areas through some logical questioning - that's its real value - it puts you in the driving seat. You know your business, now use our questions and recommendations to reveal potential areas to focus. We will be launching more healthchecks in the coming months, so let us know what you think and please do share your ideas for improvement.
You must prioritise something
As a reader of Smart Insights, we've already got you down as a pretty smart marketer 🙂 So as long as you're filtering what you could do, vs what you must, doing the work is actually the most important element. We all "know" we should improve our sites for a mobile experience, that a programme of conversion rate optimisation will benefit us, that some of our email content is weak - this will never be completed - the lists will grow. Make 2013 a year for a lot of doing something that really is priority.
My focus for you in 2013?
If I were to advise on the biggest impact areas for you, yes I know that's a bit rich of me, there are two that will leap out in any year, not just 2013 - these are content and customer journeys.
I believe that most of what you need to actually spend time worrying about in digital marketing falls in to one or both of these two areas - and how you tackle them is wholly dependent on where your organisation is at in terms of progress in these spaces. They're broad areas for strategic focus, of course, so I'll explain a bit more:
- Content creation and marketing- in some shape or form we want our customers, or potential customers, to be able to find us more easily, have reason to engage and interact with our brand on our websites or web platforms (owned and earned) and at some point to convert in some way - as a lead or as a transacting customer.Content drives it all. Decide where the priority areas of content marketing are for you. There are two massive focus areas that never go away for content: building reach, specifically concerning a programme of SEO in mind, social media as a part of that, thinking about inbound link generation whilst shaping the content on your site, and email. Email because, after natural search, I've always found that to be the key place to invest in great content, to keep leads and customers warm and interested in the brand, and returning to the site.
- Customer journeys- this is where mobile and tablets gain proper context, including offline marketing and of course, all those digital properties that your organisation invests in. Want to know whether mobile is a big area for you (it probably is) understand your customer decision journeys first - that is the priority - use the facts from your analytics programme and couple that with trend reports.Don't invest in specific areas just because it 'feels right' or experts tell you it's hot for 2013, invest proportionally because it matters to your customer's experience. This is a huge point, we reviewed Google's ZMOT since that basically says just this - your customer journeys are changing rapidly, understand them and act to connect with customers. Help those customers by ensuring your great content is super accessible. Importantly, understand the use case for your main website vs a mobile presence, beyond just creating the same site in a responsive format.
All the best for 2013!