Jen McKinnon
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What’s Your Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolution?

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2017 was another great year in digital, with further advancements in machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) Marketing, updates to Google tools, and shoppable media infiltrating our social streams. But with 2018 already upon us, it’s time to get smart about planning for the year ahead. Find out what your digital strategy needs and create your very own digital marketing resolution for the new year with these easy steps.

Let’s start by taking an introspective look at your 2017 marketing strategy…

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Step 1: Give Your Brand Its Own “Digital Roast”

A roast is severe criticism at its very best! The best of the worst have endured it – Justin Bieber, Charlie Sheen and even Donald Trump – all with a wink and a smile. Now, I’m not saying you should gather your staff and hurl pithy insults at your strategy as it metaphorically cowers in a corner, but identifying what worked well for you last year – and, more importantly, what didn’t – is the best way to determine your approach to a new year in digital marketing.

Digital marketing is by no means an exact science. With constantly changing algorithms and ever-evolving platforms, it is the biggest game of Cat & Mouse about. There is no formula for the perfect digital campaign, nor will there ever be, but you can’t improve if you don’t first acknowledge your faults. Dissecting your current strategy will guide you in moving your marketing forward in 2018. Be ruthless in your examination and weed out the strategies that were the least effective to make room for something fresh in the new year.

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Step 2: Be That Kid in The Candy Store

Imagine you’re in a lolly shop – except instead of candy, the shop is stocked with 2017’s best marketing ideas! If you were able to pick absolutely any campaign to put your name to from last year, which one would it be?

We can all learn a lot from great ideas, no matter their form. You may have seen a great video advertisement, maybe you loved the content produced on a particular social stream or account, or perhaps you were bewildered to discover a completely new channel for marketing messages. By looking back on your favourite campaign – no matter the platform – you can get a really good sense of what works and why.

No matter what you liked best, grab hold of it in your mind’s eye and think about why you liked it so much. Think about the campaign in relation to its target audience, in relation to the brand’s competitors and in relation to your own campaigns. What’s different? What’s similar? What was it that stood out to you, and what made it stick? Once you have figured out the why, you can start thinking about the how: how can you take the essence of that campaign – the core idea behind what made it great – and implement it within your own marketing strategy?

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Step 3: Narrow Your Focus

Now that you understand what you like and why you like it, and you have a good idea of how it works mechanically within a marketing strategy, it’s time to start narrowing your field of vison. In order to create an effective and attainable digital marketing resolution for 2018, you will need to decide which stream to make your focus for the new year. This doesn’t mean that your strategy should only utilise this one medium. In fact, quite the opposite! Your strategy should integrate multiple platforms. But homing in on just one, for the purposes of your resolution, gives it the specificity needed to actually benefit your strategy.

Will you pay more attention to the SEO component of your strategy to be found more readily by eager potential customers or clients? Have you built up some budget to give PPC advertising a red hot go? Is it time to improve your user experience and give your website the renovation it’s been needing for years? Is this your year to catch up with the millennials and hone your social media advertising? Or do you want to focus more steadily on content marketing to nurture and retain your current client base?

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Step 4: Interrogate Your Resolution

By now you should have a pretty good idea what your resolution is going to be but, before you note it down for posterity, you’ll need to answer the following questions:

Is it specific?

Non-specific goals are the worst kind. Wishy-washy resolutions will garner wishy-washy results. Make sure your goals begin as an affirmative statement. ‘I want’ is not affirmative and doesn’t scream commitment. Compel yourself with a ballsy, “I will…” resolution.

Bad resolution: I want to update my website in 2018

Good resolution: My website will be mobile friendly by the end of 2018

Can it be measured?

There is no value in setting a goal that can’t be measured. You may get better at social media marketing but that won’t necessarily give you better results. By providing yourself a measurable target you maintain motivation and ensure that your resolution is both beneficial to you and to the business.

Bad resolution: I want to get better at social media marketing

Good resolution: I will reach 700 followers on Facebook by January 2019

Is it achievable?

You want your goal to be a challenge to keep you driven but not so far out of reach that you wind up too stressed to achieve it. Don’t resolve to make a change that will send you around the bend trying to make it happen.

Bad resolution: I want to produce 2 blogs per day

Good resolution: I will increase content output by 5% by the end of 2018

Is it realistic?

Make sure your resolution is realistic within the time frame. You can ensure this by setting a timeline and a schedule too stick to in order to keep you on track to achieving your goal.

Bad resolution: I will rank number 1 for every related keyword by the end of 2018

Good resolution: I will rank on the first page of Google for 5 keywords by EOFY

Once you’ve made sure your digital resolution is specific, measurable, realistic and achievable, you can move on to the fifth and final step.

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Step 5: Make It Happen

We’ve all made the empty New Year’s promise to lose weight or be more adventurous, to quit smoking or to cut out the booze… But the key to effective resolutions is actually making them happen. There’s a very good reason why most resolutions don’t come to fruition. It’s because there was no plan in place to support them.

This is the final step, but it’s by far the most in-depth. It’s now time to sit down and plot out how you are going to implement your digital resolution in 2018. By creating a detailed schedule and implementing strict deadlines, you will give yourself the best chance to reach your new years’ goal.

Use this goal-setting strategy throughout the year

There’s no need for the clock to strike midnight on the 31st December to set yourself a digital marketing resolution. Sure, the New Year fireworks and popping crackers help make it seem like the start of a race but there’s really nothing stopping you from using this same step-by-step process to set goals throughout the year. Identifying targets is a mandatory component of any successful business and you can use the techniques listed in this blog at any time.

Give it a go this year – setting a digital New Year’s resolution might be just what your digital marketing strategy needs in 2018!

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By Jen McKinnon


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