It’s a new year and so far, we’re off to a great start. Rather than writing out my goals for the new year, I’ve written three words that I’m going to use to guide my actions this year. In this post, I wanted to share 12 things we can do to improve our marketing in 2011.
12 Ways To Improve Your Marketing
1. Stop worrying about the tools.
Quit worrying about what’s shiny and what’s new. You don’t need ALL the tools, you just need the right ones. Let’s start with your blog as your homebase (your digital storefront). Read: 15 Ways to Market Your Blog Effectively. Pick one or two networks to be active on and do just that, be active. To quote Sonia Simone:
“Mediocre work spread out over a dozen sites is mostly wasted effort.” – Sonia Simone
2. Broadcast less. Engage (and help) more.
Start having conversations with people instead of talking at people. At the end of the day, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Let us get to know you. Make us like you. Engage us. Be helpful. That’s how we come to trust you.
3. Create more (useful) content.
Let me ask you this: do you have a blogging editorial calendar? If you don’t, get one. Then, focus on holding yourself accountable to writing new (helpful) content weekly.
4. Be consistent.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Consistency Matters. At the end of the day, the success of your blog is dependent on your ability to develop fresh new content consistently.
5. Reply to comments more often.
Though really, you should be replying to every comment, period. I use Disqus as my commenting system. I love that you can moderate comments and reply to comments via email. I reply with “Delete” if I need to moderate/delete something. And when I’m on the road (basically, when I’m away from the computer) I can still reply to someone’s comment via email on my blackberry. Here’s the thing, when you don’t respond to comments, you’re in a way saying “I don’t care” which discourages continuing dialogue in subsequent blog posts. Think about that. And the next time someone leaves a comment, make it a point to thank them and respond.
6. Reply to social mentions more often too.
You don’t need to reply to every Tweet and every wall post. But if you’re active on a social network, don’t go ignoring people. That’s a sure-fire way to lose friends, fans and followers. Like the whole comment thing, if it goes unresponded, it discourages continuing dialogue. I for one am not as active on Facebook but I publish/link to my blog posts there. Quite a few people comment via my Facebook profile as opposed to on the blog. I take the time once or twice a week to respond and thank them for their comment/insight. It’s practicing good social etiquette.
7. Manage your time better.
I refer to Chris Brogan in this video on Time Blocking. I know I suffer from scatter-brained syndrome every now and again. I have a ton of great, creative ideas. The problem with being a creative is that sometimes you lose focus of the task at hand and you start doing other un-related, un-productive things. You should focus first and foremost on the revenue producing activities on your business. Then everything else. So time-block. Get organized. And rock your day!
8. Stop second-guessing yourself all the time.
Again, I refer to Chris Brogan on this one: Confidence is Key. When I first started blogging, I used to second-guess whether people would like what I was saying. I went through it and I know you’re going through it. Stop. Cut it out. Have confidence in yourself and just publish it. You get better. The more you do it, the better you get. Just have a little confidence in yourself. Make 2011 the year of no second guesses.
9. Read more. Lots more.
I don’t know about you but I learn from reading. It’s a part of my daily routine. When I feel like suffering from a case of writer’s block I turn to the feedreader or head to the bookstore for some reading material and inspiration. It works! Julien Smith runs his Book A Week Challenge. It’s a great exercise and well worth it! But even if you don’t do a book a week, allocate at least a little bit of time every day to reading something new both in-side and out-side of your industry. It’ll get your creative juices flowing and it’ll help you come up with topics to write about.
10. Organize your content and landing pages better.
Read this: How Cornerstone Content Gets You Traffic and Subscribers. If you’re kicking off a new blog, make a short blog post series and create a landing page out of that content. This is a great tactic for kicking off a new blog and/or giving your existing blog a boost. If you already have an existing blog, dig through your categories and find your best content. Then, using that content build a Best Of landing page. Here’s a great one from Jonathan Fields: Best Of.
11. Audit your website.
Read: Do you value your blog real estate? I’ve seen blogs whose header images are far too thick so much so that you can’t even see the navigation. I seen blogs that have 23 (yes, Twenty-Three pages!) on their navigation. I’ve seen blogs with their subscription options (RSS and email) on the bottom of the page (insert head-scratch here). I’ve seen blogs with no subscription options at all and a ton of ads. So many ads in fact that I can’t even read the content. So as you kick off the new year, give yourself a little website audit. Clear up all of the unnecessary sidebar elements, clean up your navigation and make your Calls To Action more prominent. In short, value your blog real estate.
12. Build that email list already!
There’s value in an email list, there really is. I grew my email list to close to 300 subscribers in about one month. How? I wrote an ebook called: Real Estate Blog Blazers. It’s a 53 page ebook interviewing 8 high profile and successful real estate bloggers on their techniques, methods and successes for building their blogs. Write an ebook about the Home-Buying Process, about Short Sales, about the Mortgage Application Process. Give it away to people who subscribe to the newsletter. If you have a weekly newsletter, see point number 2 above, and focus on being helpful first. Ask yourself: How is this helping my audience? If it’s not, don’t send it out. If it is, people will subscribe and you’ll grow your list through simple word of mouth.
Over to you:
What are some tips you can recommend to others to improve and step up their marketing in 2011? Could you benefit from implementing some of these tips yourself? The comments are yours
PHOTO CREDIT: abbynormy