It’s that time of the year again — time to make overly ambitious goals for the new year that you promptly abandon by February.
According to U.S. News & World Report, New Year’s resolutions have about an 80% failure rate, with most people losing their resolve midway through the second month of the year. Could it be that we’re aiming too high? Are we chasing goals that are beyond our control? Are we so focused on the end result that we forget that self-improvement is an achievement in itself?
This year, I’m proposing that we all set our sights on small, sustainable changes that will help us ring in the new year with a sense of optimism and resolve for the future.
And that starts with a good marketing strategy.
Every day, marketers are writing about the new thing that you “must” do to stay relevant and keep up with the shifting digital landscape. That can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not on the list of Fortune 500 companies. That’s why I’m listing just 5 things you can do in 2020 to make the largest impact on your marketing strategy. So, if you resolve to change just one thing in the next year, ignore the trends, and focus your efforts on a small, sustainable change that will make a big impact.
These are the top 5 things you can do in 2020 to start the decade off right.
1. Invest in Content Marketing
In November 2019, Google rolled out its largest algorithm update since 2015. Google’s BERT system, which was designed to better align search results with natural speech, stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. (But don’t worry, we’re not going to quiz you on that.) Basically, the overhaul is aimed at better understanding the context of each word in a query, allowing users to phrase their queries in a way that makes sense to them, rather than with a long string of keywords.
With this update, content matters more than ever, especially content that delivers high-quality useful information. Ditching the practice of keyword stuffing in favor of a more authentic writing style will be key to adapting with Google’s algorithmic changes.
Just remember, the content marketing game is getting more competitive every year, and that means it requires skill to do it well. In 2020, writing content just for the sake of it won’t be enough to make an impact. Consider hiring a content marketing professional or developing a solid content strategy to guide your efforts.
2. Get Personal
How well do you personally know your customers?
Made possible by increased access to data on consumer demographics and behavior, personalized advertising and precise targeting allow marketers to better tailor their messaging to specific segments of their audience. Better tools also make personalizing your email and social marketing easier and more effective than ever.
People tune out to ads that aren’t relevant to them and their lifestyle, but customizing your advertising to better appeal to different segments of your audience can help you to overcome that indifference. The selling points that matter to one group of people may not be very persuasive to another and vise versa. It’s up to you to figure out what matters to each member of your audience and personalize your messaging to match.
3. Brand Yourself
What makes your brand feel like your own?
Using consistent branding guidelines across all marketing channels is essential to building brand recognition and creating a connection between you and your audience. This goes far beyond slapping your logo at the bottom of everything. When someone opens your email, it should have the same feel as when they visit your website. Everything from the type of language you use, down to the exact colors in your design should be consistent.
When someone sees a piece of content from your brand, they should immediately recognize it as yours. As you showcase your expertise with high-quality content, people will build positive associations with your brand, and you’ll be able to better earn their trust from the moment they recognize the familiar conventions of your brand.
4. Rethink Your Approach to Social Media
Instagram engagement has been in a nosedive since last summer, and we can expect to see it continue to decline with the universal removal of likes from the home feed. We’ve also witnessed an overall decline in organic reach for brands on Facebook and Instagram.
That’s why, in 2020, smart brands are changing up their approach to social media marketing.
While it’s not impossible to build up your follower base without spending a dime, the changes to the algorithm make it almost necessary to invest some coin in order to see a significant change. However, it can be well worth it (that is, if you play your cards right).
Another big shift in social media marketing is the emphasis on fostering smaller, but more engaged communities of fans. For example, many brands are migrating to Facebook Groups as a means of growing their community, developing their thought leadership, and encouraging engagement.
While we may never again see the type of engagement metrics on Facebook and Instagram that we saw at the beginning of the influencer era, social media presents an opportunity to create more meaningful connections that go beyond likes and shares.
5. Automate to Innovate
How much time to you spend every day on repetitive tasks like entering data into spreadsheets, posting to social media, or creating reports?
From identifying and reaching out to “hot” leads to measuring the overall performance of your marketing efforts, there’s a service available to help you streamline every stage of your sales and marketing strategy. This automation allows companies to focus more time on higher order concerns like strategic planning and meeting face-to-face with clients. The less time they spend on those everyday timewasters, the more time they have to innovate and improve their business.
Bandwidth is in short supply when you’re running a business, automation allows you to set aside more time for the things that matter.
As we close out the last decade, let’s all resolve to do more in 2020. It can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind, just trying to stay afloat and get over the next big hurdle. However, as we look ahead and plan for the future, now is the time to reflect on what we could be doing better.
An outsider’s perspective may be just what you need to start the next decade off on the right foot.
Michaels Wilder is a full-service digital marketing agency. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, and we’ve witnessed firsthand as the industry changed and evolved through the last three decades. We’ve seen businesses that failed to plan and adapt get left behind. We’ve seen others embrace new trends and technologies and reap the benefits.
Let us help you position your business for the future.