January is the time of self-reflection, good intentions, and reality checks. Want to hit the ground running and be a better online marketer this year? Here are five New Year's resolutions that will help you hit your growth goals in 2013:
1. Send more marketing e-mails.
This is probably the simplest and most effective way to drive traffic to your website, increase repeat sales, and build a relationship with customers. But it is amazingly overlooked. If you're like most businesses, you use e-mail to send periodic newsletters, announce product launches or events, and promote occasional sales and specials. That's not nearly enough. You should be regularly communicating with customers. Once a week is a rule of thumb minimum--twice a week is better. And make sure you are sending fresh, simple, digestible content.
2. Create two pages of content per week.
Adding new pages to your website every week will go a long way in boosting your search engine rankings. One of the most important factors that Google takes into account when determining SEO rankings is the frequency of fresh, relevant, unique content being added to your site. So in 2013, add two pieces of fresh content to your site each week. This can take the form of a blog post, a Q&A with an expert, a resources section, or just additional pages to your website. Keeping this resolution will absolutely have a positive impact on your site in the eyes of Google.
3. Create content for distribution, too.
The content on your website is only half of the battle when it comes to improving your SEO. The other factor is getting links to your website. The best way to accomplish this is by creating great, share-worthy content (such as infographics, articles, or videos) at least once a quarter, and distributing this content to bloggers, industry sites, and partners. Doing this helps with branding, builds goodwill, and boosts traffic and those all-important in-bound links that make all the difference in SEO, especially in competitive industries.
4. Be more interesting on Facebook.
Most businesses do a lousy job of engaging with their Facebook fans. Not only is this a wasted opportunity, but it contributes to a downward spiral of reaching fewer and fewer of your fans. That's because Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which determines what content shows up in users' streams, penalizes posts that have lower likes, comments, and shares.
Ask yourself, “Is my business page interesting enough that I would be a fan?” If you run, for example, a car dealership, keep in mind that an extraordinarily low percentage of people are in car buying mode. So to be interesting, you should be talking about community, interesting news-- pretty much anything except “come on down for a test drive.”
5. Optimize your website for smartphones and tablets.
Tablets and smartphones are now outselling computers, and increasingly people are using these devices to surf the Web. It's not enough to simply have a website that “doesn’t break” on mobile devices. It needs to be an experience that is intuitive and customized for the way that people use those devices.
Specifically, on iPhone and iPads it is much easier to use your fingers to scroll down long pages than it is to hit links to new pages. No page should ever require scrolling left to right, and buttons and form fields should be large and take the majority of the width of the screen. With an average of 25 percent (and growing) of your customers visiting your site using mobile devices, this is one resolution you should definitely keep.