As the New Year approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the "what's next?" or "what should we be looking at in 2010?" questions. The truth is that your best bet is to ensure that what you currently have is really working for you.
Here's a little end-of-year Digital Marketing check-list to help ensure that you're getting the basics right:
- Domain names. Ensure that all of your existing domain names are up-to-date and paid. Ensure that your live domain names are all pointing to the right areas. It's also not a bad idea to make sure that you have secured the proper domains (think about relevant countries as well) for your company names, brands, products, services, key people, generic industry terms and maybe even the new projects you have set to roll in 2010.
- Websites, Micro-sites and landing pages. This part could be a week-long Blog post series in its own right. Check everything from the look and feel (usability and functionality) down to the content (text, images, audio and video). Make sure that your core content and calls-to-action still pop and sizzle while being friendly enough for the search engines to find you. Check your titles, tags, meta-tags and consider having your programmers/developers do a quick review of the back-end code to ensure that everything is "up to code" (pardon the pun). The idea here is to make sure that your website does not look, feel and read like it was done (and not touched) since 2005. If you have multiple micro-sites and landing pages, do a quick review to see what's still relevant and how it all flows. Too many companies leave their orphan micro-sites and landing paged online to die and these can feel like a "ghost town" for those potential customers who come across it.
- Search Engine Optimization. Review everything you're doing to be more findable online. Are your keywords still relevant? What about the phrases you use? How is your linking strategy (inbound and outbound)? What about your overall site map? Do some quick searches on the major (and second tier) search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com) to see how findable you are. How does that compare to last year? What do you need to do do to be more findable in 2010? How about the non-text stuff? Can people find your audio, video and images?
- Email. One of the main reasons that email open rates and conversion rates suffer is because of hygiene. How clean is your contact list? Now is the perfect time to take out the old addys, while making sure that the relevant ones are fully up-to-date. It's even more timely if you're planning some kind of season's greeting, or if you're looking to push out some kind of holiday promotion. Lacklustre email marketing performance can typically be attributed to an old list or uninspiring offer. While we can't always control how consumers will interact with an offer, we can control who that offer gets in front of.
- Social Media spaces. Many brands have Social Media outposts in multiple locations. Everything from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and LinkedIn. Do a quick run-through and ensure that your profiles are all matched up in terms of corporate/biographical content, consistent images and the links back to your websites/micro-sites. It's easy to get excited about the latest digital shiny object while older profiles and pages get ignored. While you may not have the same enthusiasm for some of the other spaces, it's best to ensure that things are up-to-date. Bonus tip: if you're no longer using a Social Media environment, consider updating it with a message/status update as to where you can now be found.
- Personal stuff. While you're fixing up all of your professional spaces, you might as well take this list and apply it to your personal spaces as well. Pushing beyond that: maybe it's time to also clean out those iPhone apps you never use or remove those extra contacts in your Gmail that you never connect to. It doesn't hurt to do a quick run-through of your other tech as well (from digital cameras and audio recorders to iPods and Kindles) to remove the content you no longer need and either store it on a memory card or in the cloud.
2010 is going to be an exciting year for Digital Marketing, Social Media and New Media. In order to be best prepared to capitalize on the many opportunities, conversations and communities that are going to arise, it's important to remember that when those people click through to your home pages, that there's something there that is as exciting, fresh and interesting for them to engage, connect, share and build upon.
Do you have any other/additional tips to get organized for 2010?