I find that breaking down your marketing activities helps small business owners actually expand what they do, rather than throw a list of “you should be doing this!” at them. So, here’s a suggested calendar of things to add (or improve upon) to your marketing mix in 2016.
January: Get On Board with Video Marketing
If you’re not yet using video marketing to reach your audience, you’re missing out. What once was a nice-to-have is now an essential tool. Here are tips for getting started:
- Don’t just put out content. Have a content calendar and a plan.
- Vary the types of videos you produce. Talking heads, product reviews, and how-tos are all popular.
- Practice. The more you run through your script (yep, you need one), the better it will be delivered.
February: Better Target Your Content Marketing
Sure, you’re regularly publishing content to your business blog. But is it what your audience wants? Here’s how to find out and improve your content this month:
- Look at Analytics. They’ll tell you the most popular posts, and you can plan future content around those topics.
- Pay attention to shares. The posts that people are talking about and sharing are worth complementing with similar content.
- Peek at your competitors. Are they covering topics you haven’t? Make a list of new topics to tackle in 2016.
March: Polish Your Content Calendar
I find it tremendously useful to have a content calendar to keep track of what I’m writing about on my blog. You will, too.
- Build around events & holidays. If you have annual events or sales, plan your content to highlight these times of year.
- Take advantage of trends. Look to see what your industry is buzzing about, and ride that wave. For example, if you’re a B2B focusing on small business, plan special content for Small Business Week in May.
- Tie your social media to it. It’s smart to add social media to your content calendar so the two can work together.
April: Inject Energy into Your Email Marketing
I admit, email marketing is low on my list of things I think about. But that’s mainly because I use smart tools and strategies so I don’t have to think about it. This month, look at what you’re doing (or not) and make it better.
- Rethink the popup. ListBuilder is an amazingly smart popup that will convert — rather than annoy — your web visitors.
- Set up autresponder campaigns. For my How to Create a Press Release site, I spent several days creating a series of emails that now go out with no effort on my part. Use them to sell products.
- Create irresistible offers. People don’t want to give you their email addresses without good reason. Give a coupon, ebook, or other offer that makes them gladly hand over that address.
May: Be a Good Guest (Blogger)
I talk a lot about how amazing guest blogging is, and for good reason: it’s one of the best referrers of new business for Egg! You need to be leveraging it too.
- Pay attention to the sites you’re reading. Chances are if you like a site, others do, too. Add it to your list to pitch posts to.
- Come up with innovative topics. Keep a list of possible guest post topics handy so you have them when you pitch blogs.
- Get invited back. If you follow guidelines, share your guest post, and meet deadlines, you open the door to a long-term guest blogging opportunity.
June: Expand Your Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t just about blogging. It also includes whitepapers, ebooks, guides, videos, infographics, and a whole lot more. This month, expand your offerings to appeal to even more potential customers.
- Look at your blog. Those topics that are getting read and shared the most? They’re great fodder for more in-depth content products.
- Compile your best posts. Short on time or creativity? Create a freebie with your best blog posts in a single ebook, then use it to attract email subscribers.
- Consider self-publishing. Beyond what you offer for free on your website, you can take content marketing even further by writing (or having a ghost writer write) a book on your industry.
July: Freshen Up Your Web Copy
I like to update my website’s copy once a year or so, just to keep people interested. Now’s the time to look at it as if you were a first-time visitor and figure out where you can improve.
- Use keywords sparingly. One to two keywords per page is all you need. Make sure they’re the ones your audience is searching for.
- Talk to your audience. Use “you” so that you connect directly to your visitors.
- Don’t forget that call to action! You want people to do something, whether it’s click, subscribe, or call, so use a CTA on each page.
August: Get More Strategic with Your Social Media
There’s always room for improvement with social media marketing. Look for your weaknesses and aim to improve them this month.
- Assess your results. Are you getting lots of content shares? Retweets? Comments? How can you boost them?
- Automate what you can. There are plenty of automation tools that can cut down on the time you spend managing social. Use them.
- Hire someone. If this is something that overwhelms you, hire a professional to help.
September: Plan for Q4
It’s never too early to think about your promotions for the holiday season. Start early to ensure success.
- Investigate ads. Online ads can be effective if you sell products online. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all offer interesting options.
- Plan your promotions. Take a look at your bestsellers, as well as your laggards. Consider offering gift with purchase, BOGO, etc.
- Strategize your social. If running your business gets crazy during the holidays, start training someone else to manage your social media now so that it’s seamless later.
October: Get Better Images
Pictures are worth more than a thousand words when it comes to attracting people to your website, social profiles, or blog content. Make sure yours are professional and visually appealing.
- Invest in a stock photo subscription. You don’t have to worry about permissions, and they’ll always be quality. I love PhotoSpin.
- Create your own. Canva has a cool, easy-to-use tool to make social media graphics, flyers, and more.
- Take your own. Hire a professional photographer to take great product photos.
November: Buy Client Holiday Gifts
The sooner I start on this, the easier it is. Plan out what you’ll buy your clients for the holidays that will make them smile and encourage them to come back to you over and over again.
- Make it personal. Everyone sends the same (fattening) box of chocolates. Find innovative options that they’ll stand up and pay attention to.
- Budget ahead. It can get expensive to buy your clients gifts, so set money aside early.
- Factor in shipping. If your clients live elsewhere, you’ll be shipping boxes all over, so include that in your budget.
December: Assess Results
How did you do in your marketing efforts this year? Did you accomplish your marketing goals? Now is the time to assess so you can get a leg up on 2017!
- Measure, measure, measure. Look at web traffic. Clicks. Likes. Shares. Everything that tells you how your marketing did.
- Use hard data. Fuzzy goals like “increase sales” are too nebulous to measure, so always use numbers.
- Look at obstacles. If you missed the mark on a goal, assess why, then strategize for next year.
Here’s to a fantastic 2016!