You don't have to have an advanced degree in business or marketing, nor do you need to work for a prestigious agency or work under a master of the industry to be a successful marketer. Instead, successful marketing is about engaging in the right habits, committing to the right priorities, and putting in the elbow grease to make those efforts pay off.
Successful marketers engage in the following habits and practices daily, sometimes multiple times a day; adopt them for yourself and see how your campaigns and strategies evolve:
1. Make a plan. As a marketer, you're likely juggling tons of tasks, assignments, and projects at any given time. You might be in the planning phase for one, the execution phase for another, and the wrap-up phase for still another. How do you keep track of all these priorities on a day-to-day basis without getting lost in the shuffle? You make a plan. Every day, early in the morning, you establish your set of priorities and pinpoint exactly what needs to be accomplished, and with what priority.
2. Check out the competition. Your competition won't broadcast it when they plan to launch a new product or try a new marketing strategy. It's going to sneak up on you, so when it does, you need to be ready to pounce. Skilled and experienced marketers make it a daily (or near-daily) ritual to check up on their competition--see what they're publishing, notice if anything's changed, and take note of any competitive opportunities you could snatch for your own business. You can do this easily with a social listening tool like BuzzSumo, Google Alerts, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or SocialMention.
3. Read the news. The marketing industry is fast-paced due to the astounding rate of advancement in technology and communication, clients perpetually hungry for results, and the tendency for most professionals to readily share information with one another (like I'm doing now). Good marketers make it a point to read up on any news they've missed--and again, incorporate it where necessary to improve any running or future campaigns.
4. Check the numbers. I don't know what numbers are important to you right now, but I know some numbers are. Depending on the nature of your campaign, these might be social media followers, article shares, ad impressions, conversions, or site visitors--and these are just a handful of examples. It's foolish to get bogged down with day-to-day changes in some of these numbers (especially for long-term campaigns like SEO and content marketing), but it doesn't hurt to pop in and check for unexpected anomalies.
5. Gather the team. Unless you're a new entrepreneur just starting out, chances are you don't work in a vacuum. You might lead a team of in-house employees, work with a network of freelancers, or just consult with your partners before making any major marketing decisions. Whatever the case, take a few minutes to gather the team, see what's on the agenda, and determine if any pressing items require group attention. Communication is key to success.
6. Listen. Listening is a critical skill for any marketer, so exercise it daily. You'll want to listen to what your team, your bosses, and your clients have to say, but most importantly, you'll need to listen to your target audience. Use social listening software or your own research skills to plug into your key demographics' social conversations and see what everyone's talking about. You never know when a critical opportunity for promotion will present itself.
7. Craft new content. Whether you explicitly pursue a content marketing strategy or not, content is still a central component of virtually all marketing campaigns. Good marketers make it a point to create new content daily--whether that's an article, a tagline, or just a quick idea for an ad. The more you exercise your ability to draft content, the more you'll improve that skill for when you really need it.
8. Brainstorm. Do you have a major project coming up? Do you have zero projects in the pipeline? Either way, it pays to brainstorm. Marketers at the top of their craft are always looking for the "new"--new projects, new strategies for existing projects, and new approaches to existing strategies. Take the time, with your team or alone, to brainstorm some new possibilities.
9. Experiment. Brainstorming usually leads to a lot of crazy ideas, and a handful of keepers. The next step of the process is to put them into place. Even if an idea seems risky or strange, remember that most new ideas seem strange at first. Make an effort to try something new every day, whether in one of your campaigns directly or as part of your internal processes. Some of those risks will inevitably pay off.
10. Evaluate. At the end of the day, take a measure of everything you can and determine how you can do even better tomorrow. Did you prioritize effectively? Did you have any communication gaps that can be repaired? Did your experiments work? Were there any hiccups in your productivity that could have been prevented?
You don't have to prescribe to any one set of practices to be an effective marketer; there are many different strategies, approaches, and philosophies that can all yield significant results. What matters is applying those strategies correctly, through research, awareness, flexibility, and a continuous effort toward improvement. Channel these, and you should have no problem achieving your marketing goals.
The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online