You've undoubtedly set a few personal goals for the New Year: losing weight, getting organized or maybe even starting that novel you've always dreamed of writing. But have you made your business resolutions? The New Year is a great time for Internet marketers to set new goals and aims for the coming year.
Whether you want to improve your social media, content marketing, email marketing, paid search or retargeting skills, here are a few smart resolutions to get you started on a successful 2014.
Shape Up Your Email List
Just like you go to the gym to get your body in shape, you should start the New Year by whipping your contacts list into shape. First, get rid of any out-of-date addresses by combing through your bounce reports to eliminate the ones that no longer work. Take a hard look at your open rate, and consider forming a separate list for promotions to the people who tend to open your emails at the highest rate. By cutting the fat on your email lists, you stand a better chance of gaining a response to your promotions.
Embrace Content Marketing
Content marketing is the hottest trend in online marketing right now. It's essentially the idea that you can gain leads and customers by providing relevant, high-quality content rather than the slapdash blog and social media posts of yore. For example, say your business offers track tractors. Instead of posting 100 images of the tractors on Pinterest, a better strategy would be to record a podcast detailing cold-weather strategies for construction companies about how to work around snow, frozen ground and ice.
It's the sort of content that will get passed around the web because it's useful, and it builds a meaningful connection with your audience, because you're providing them with information and ideas they need.
Change the Way You Use Social Media
Tossing 20 posts a day on Facebook isn't worth anything if you're not engaging your followers. Take a look at a month's worth of social media posts across all different networks and see which ones drew the greatest engagement. Learn from those what tactic to embrace for the future.
Set a goal for social media. Are you using it mainly for promotion, such as posting coupons and sales dates, or do you want it to help further your brand? If it's the latter, your aim should go beyond simplistic posts toward establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Tweet out links to new research or use LinkedIn to lead discussions about the big issues in your industry.
Adapt to Google Hummingbird
Yes, change is always difficult, and there are changes every day in the world of search engine optimization, most notably the recent addition of the new algorithm Hummingbird. But with the response Google's newest innovation has received, you'd think the search engine giant had single-handedly slayed the field of SEO.
It hasn't. You simply have to adjust the way you approach SEO, which is part of an internet marketing specialist's ever-evolving job. Don't waste your time trying to figure out how to tweak old methods to work for this new system. Learn everything you can about Hummingbird best practices and adopt them into a newly honed SEO strategy. Even if Google sent your rankings plummeting, you can still learn how to pump them back up. There's always the chance of getting back on the horse before your competition does.
There's nothing like a challenge to invigorate you in the New Year, whether it's the challenge of losing weight or improving your business acumen. With this list of must-pursue goals for 2014, you'll be a step ahead of the competition.
Adrienne Erin is a social media and internet marketing writer who loves to share the tips she’s picked up over her time spent growing with the industry. She writes regularly for SiteProNews and Search Engine People.