As another “interesting” year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to take stock of the last 12 months and start looking at how your business can optimize your marketing activities in the year ahead.
We throw the word “optimization” around quite a bit in the marketing world—but in 2022, optimization will be more important than ever. This is because, if you haven’t noticed, the world has changed quite a lot over the last couple of years.
The global pandemic has acted as an incredible accelerant in the world of online marketing. Lockdowns and social distancing regulations forced many “traditional” businesses to move their business models online rapidly and, in doing so, created a much more competitive market for pure-play online brands. This essentially means that online marketers have to work harder than ever just to maintain their current position. If businesses want to thrive in 2022 rather than just survive, optimization needs to be more than just a buzzword.
It’s Time to Tear Down Those Marketing Silos
As marketers, our attention is often cast wide over multiple marketing channels. Every channel, from paid search, social media, content, email, and marketing automation, has its own unique skillset. It would be unreasonable to expect every marketer to have a detailed knowledge of how every channel works and contributes to the success of an organization. However, it is also unacceptable that these channels are operated as standalone strategies in their own marketing silos.
Suppose your paid search team isn’t speaking to your email marketing, content marketing, and social media teams regularly. In that case, your campaigns will not only be completely disjointed, but they will also be thoroughly inefficient.
This doesn’t mean you have to throw all of your marketing eggs into one basket, but they do need to be carefully managed by a single source with a complete view of the truth. This isn’t about creating competition between channels. It’s about helping every channel succeed to the best of its ability. When you remember that a channel like email marketing is often considered the profitable component of paid search, it makes sense that those marketing channels need to be torn down.
Social Media Marketing: Go Big or Go Home
If you still think social media is an emerging channel, think again. Facebook is 17 years old. Twitter is 15. Instagram is 11. LinkedIn is positively ancient at 19. Even the young startup TikTok celebrated its fifth birthday in 2021. Social media is already a mature market and a stable marketing platform, so stop thinking about it as the next big thing and something to experiment with.
Multi-million dollar businesses have been built on a solid foundation of social media and very little else. Every individual has the opportunity to position themselves as an “influencer,” and your business has access to this incredible platform. You just need to stop thinking about how difficult it is to position your organization as the “go-to source” on social media and start producing relevant, engaging, and compelling content on a regular basis.
Remember, you don’t have to be a Kardashian and break the internet with your social media posts. The basic rules of marketing, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, are just as important on social media as they are on any other channel. If you concentrate on speaking directly to your audience with authority and regularity, you will not fail.
Getting Creative with Content Marketing
Great content published on your company blog acts as the perfect gateway between your social media activities and your email marketing lists. Suppose you are investing in social media but not directing traffic towards a blog where you can capture email marketing subscribers. In that case, you risk losing potential customers to the urge to keep on swiping.
Content marketing is difficult. Therefore anything you can do to make the process easier should be considered a worthwhile investment. Take the time to write a content marketing calendar for the year ahead. Highlighting content-worthy occasions (product launches, seasonal offers, trade shows, holidays, etc.) will give you a head start on much of the competition that faces the same challenges when producing timely content.
The best content always comes from an organic source, but this doesn’t mean you have to write it yourself. However, it would help if you were always prepared to brief any freelance or agency help to ensure your content is relevant to your audience’s needs—and nobody should know your audience better than you.
While we are on the subject of content marketing, it’s always a good idea to invest in reading more content.
This will help you keep up with the latest trends in your industry, keep track of your competition, and understand how to circumnavigate the challenges your business might face in the coming weeks and months. It will also better prepare you to speak with authority with your colleagues and partners, helping you build both more aligned and successful strategies.
The emfluence blog is a great place to start your reading list.
Supercharge Your Email Marketing
If you’ve got any downtime between now and the New Year, any investment you make in your email marketing strategy will pay significant dividends throughout 2022.
We all know that email continues to be the most efficient and profitable marketing channel available to marketers today. But how many people can place their hands on their hearts and say that their email marketing lists, creatives, and campaign strategies are in the best of shape?
Because email marketing works so well, even when not fully optimized, it’s all too easy just to let it run without any real consideration. But could you imagine how much more successful email would be if you fine-tuned some of your email marketing activities?
Now is a great time to plan your email marketing campaign strategy for the year ahead. Take time to factor in some re-engagement campaigns, consider how you can test various strategies around subject lines and CTAs, and look at the various options to segment your lists further and send more messages to smaller and more targeted groups of people.
Now is also a great time to look at your email templates, landing pages, and auto-responders. You could also consider supercharging your email marketing and upgrading your current ESP to a marketing automation platform.
Align Your Martech Stack
While looking at new investments in marketing technology, it’s always worth considering how your Martech stack (the technology you use to power your entire marketing output) is aligned across your entire organization.
Having a single view of the truth will demonstrate how your various marketing channels are performing both individually and by assisting other channels. When you have this information, you’ll be able to make intelligent decisions about allocating your future marketing budget. For example, your paid search activities might show a negative return-on-investment on an initial sale, but when you factor in the customer lifetime value attributed to email marketing, it could be a very different story.
When building out your Martech stack, remember that this is the age of the marketer, and it’s time to take ownership of everything you do. In an age when scalable and affordable Software as a Service (SaaS) technology is available for virtually everything you do in marketing, there are few excuses for maintaining legacy systems that do not speak to each other.
Hit the Ground Running
It’s all too easy to take your foot off the gas pedal at this time of the year and plan to pick things up again in the New Year. This is a big mistake.
Take any downtime now to plan and schedule your marketing activities for the start of the year, and you’ll have a head start over any competition that struggles to get the ball rolling after the holidays. Consider how much more you can get done in the first two weeks of the year if you don’t have to worry about “business as usual” and catching up on the work you put off at the close of the year.
Need help with your marketing prep for 2022? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.