ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — during normal times, New Year’s resolutions tend to revolve around personal commitments – losing weight, managing debt, reducing stress, volunteering, etc. But with 2009 shaping up as anything but normal due to the economy, don’t forget to make some professional resolutions or that can help improve your effectiveness and shore up your company’s bottom line.
To that end, I’ve come up with a list of 10 suggested resolutions for digital marketers to consider as they look toward the New Year. These resolutions span different facets of marketing, from web creative to social media to overall strategy. So, take the pledge, and resolve to:
Improve Customer Retention – If you haven’t noticed, customers are in short supply these days. If you’ve got ’em, make sure you keep ‘em. Do your part as digital marketers to keep customers engaged, informed and satisfied. If you haven’t already, develop a customer communication strategy that engages customers at each touch point within your organization, both online and off. Digital automation – regular newsletters, blogs and RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, etc. – can help a great deal. Most importantly, listen and start a dialogue with your customers. Provide ample opportunities for customers to provide feedback, whether it’s an outsourced tool such as GetSatisfaction.com, or a simple email alias.
Commit to Measurement – Become a measurement hound. You’ve heard it before, but it can’t be said enough. In these challenging times marketing is under the microscope for ROI performance metrics. Whether you are doing online or offline marketing, the mantra is measure, analyze and optimize! Today more than ever, measurement is mandated. The good news is that measurement technologies have become pervasive and readily available in the digital arena, ranging from free Google and Yahoo analytics services, to enterprise-class marketing analytics from companies like Omniture, Unica and WebTrends.
Better Understand Social Media ROI – While your focusing on measurement, don’t forget to include social media and PR in your framework as well. These are both key elements of your acquisition strategy, and believe it or not, can be measured for both traffic and conversions thanks to growing number of new tools, including your basic web analytics package; an assortment of blog analytics software; and new technology being offered by companies such as (shameless plug alert) Digitaria. Read how one marketer is tackling the social media measurement challenge.
Better Integrate Traditional and Digital Marketing – For too long, traditional marketing and digital marketing have lived in different rooms of the same house. Actually, they have lived in completely separate homes. Digital marketing has been mostly an afterthought for traditional marketers, who launch big-budget advertising and branding campaigns. Digital marketing strategists need to be brought into the room during the strategy phase to help create a more seamless, fluid and effective campaign. Delivering a single unified message across multiple channels should be our resolution.
Go Mobile with the iPhone – If you have a content-heavy, consumer-focused web site, then resolve to create an iPhone web application (early) in the New Year. These applications are relatively easy for experienced developers to set up – they can be automated through simple RSS feeds – and extend your reach to one of the most popular mobile phones on the plant. Last spring, M:Metrics reported that nearly 85 percent of iPhone users access the mobile internet and almost 60 percent perform mobile web search. Those numbers far outpace usage on other smart phones.
Focus on Creative that Converts – Too many interactive firms and web designers tend to focus on overwrought, ego-driven creative that looks amazing, but misses the point: conversion. Conversion to something – a purchase, a completed lead form, an email newsletter subscription, an online demo – is, quite simply, everything. You and your web designers need to be focused on creative that first and foremost supports a brand message and drives a specific set of actions. Conversion first, coolness second.
Better Engage Users Through Social Interaction – Consumers have come to expect social interaction on the web – commenting on stories and blog posts, leaving product reviews, chatting, sharing content, etc. If you’re site doesn’t have it, you risk losing customers and prospects to other sites that do. There are a number of commercial solutions for engaging users, such as Bazaar Voice (product reviews), and Pluck (integrated social media applications). Also familiarize yourself with Facebook Connect (and Google Friend Connect), which enables users to log onto a partner site using their existing Facebook information.
Engage Users With Online Video – Digital marketers are always looking for ways to better engage their online customers. Increasingly, one of the best ways to do that is through online video. According to a recent Forrester report, online video is now one of the top five activities on the Internet. Engaged viewers are more likely to visit a site with online video, and are more receptive to advertising as a fair exchange for that content, according to the report, which was prepared for Veoh Networks, a leading Internet video aggregator offering both short and long-form free video.
Embrace Content Marketing – Content marketing covers everything from blogs to Twitter feeds to contributed articles to social media news releases. It’s about pushing your thought leadership out on the web, directly to consumers and prospects through content-sharing and distribution sites, social networks and other channels. Content marketing not only engages users, it creates all-important back links to your web site, which is good – actually great — for search engine optimization efforts.
Be Unafraid of Mistakes – In this economic climate, it can be easy to just stick to what you know works, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Continue to push the boundaries. Through a relentless pursuit to improve without fear of mistakes comes innovation, and clients are looking for innovation that works. It’s what sets you apart from the competition. As long as you have adopted a culture of measurement (that measurement word again), then you can adjust and learn from your mistakes, as well as chart the success of your innovation.
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