By: Thomas Young
The New Year presents an opportunity for a fresh look at your digital marketing strategies and tactics.
If in the coming year you keep doing the same digital marketing tactics from the past year, you are very likely to get the same results.
Why not get started on new tactics and push to make 2023 a year of growth from new and improved digital marketing efforts?
At Intuitive Websites we have observed 10 key opportunities of digital marketing focus for 2023 missing from many digital marketing plans. These tactics and strategies are not new, but they are often missed or not maximized by many marketing teams.
Let’s start by taking a closer look at your sales and marketing funnel.
Develop Digital Sales and Marketing Funnels
People research online before they buy. This research is a sales and marketing journey known as a “funnel” that ultimately results in a sale for your company.
Many companies fail to realize they have a say in this process and can strategically develop their sales and marketing funnels.
Marketing teams must be proactive in helping their buyers move through this online research toward a closed sale. The funnel is made up of the key touchpoints people experience as they research your company. These milestones are mostly made up of your things like digital content, images, web pages, videos, clickable phone numbers, and form submissions. All of these things are trackable and measurable.
In the coming year, take control of your sales funnel by proactively helping prospective customers research your company and tracking how they research.
Your Action Items: Map out the steps in your customer journey and set goals for each milestone. Track these goals and monitor people as they research your company. You can then take steps to get more people in the funnel and move them toward becoming a customer.
Get the book, Sales and Marketing Alignment to receive key insights on how to get your sales and marketing teams moving in the same direction with a winning funnel.
Get to Work on the Middle of the Funnel
Once you establish a high-performing sales and marketing funnel, you will quickly realize much of the effort and work comes in the middle of the funnel.
This is especially true of any conversion tactic used to acquire an email address from your prospective customers. Getting email addresses is very important in the coming year as Google and others implement more restrictive privacy rules in the coming year.
Capturing an email address is a key middle-of-the-funnel tactic.
In fact, it may not be long before many websites require your email address to see any depth of content!
Talk to your customers about the value they expect from your content. Review your stats and watch how people interact with your digital content. The answers you get and data you gather provide the mid-funnel content topics people want and can drive conversion tactics used to gather email addresses. This will improve conversion rates to grow leads and sales.
Your Action Items: Develop a new mid-funnel content resource at least once per quarter to capture email addresses. This includes webinars, eBooks, downloadable content, seminars, training workshops, and more. Access to these content pieces will require an email address, which is a key requirement to adequately nurture people in the middle of the funnel.
Email Marketing Automation and Text Messaging
To grow your company with a high performing sales funnel you must include automated email follow-ups to effectively manage the many contacts in your growing database. Look for communications via text messaging to come on strong in the coming year as well.
Whether on email or text, marketing automation is still in its infancy when it comes to adoption and use by digital marketers. We meet with companies every week who only use a fraction of their marketing automation capabilities with tools like HubSpot, SalesForce or Pardot.
Many companies have purchased apps like HubSpot to run full-scale marketing automation, but don’t have the team members to get automations up and running. The team at Intuitive Websites can function as a stepping stone to get marketing automation started at your company.
If you go it on your own, start by laying out on a white board how you want to stay in touch with prospects and use emails to pull them through the sales funnel you intentionally developed. This is the beauty of email automation.
Involve your sales team in this process. When integrated with an optimized sales CRM, the results can be fantastic!
We love tools like HubSpot because it provides an easy to use all-in-one platform for highly efficient marketing automation.
Action Items: Get a HubSpot demo and chart out email automations and nurturing campaigns using a tool like Lucid charts. Connect your CRM to your email marketing efforts and score your database contacts to track and measure their funnel activity.
Roles of Digital Marketing Teams
Getting email marketing and automation in order along with working all other parts of the funnel are tasks ultimately assigned to the digital marketing team. In the coming year, assign an expert to manage HubSpot, or similar apps, and a separate team member to work the top of the funnel from Google search (SEO) and Google Ads.
Don’t make the mistake of having one person manage both your email marketing and your search engine optimization and website traffic generation. Those skills are very different and must come from separate team members.
Misalignment in team member assignments and skills often results in major issues in digital marketing results and overall success. Make sure to get your team on the right seats of the digital marketing bus.
To have an effective digital marketing team fill the following spots using a mix of internal and external people such as freelancers, contractors or digital agency teams.
Digital Marketing Director
The key decision maker on all digital marketing strategies and tactics. They set the goals and get the team in place to meet those goals.
Digital Marketing Project Manager
This position coordinates and holds people accountable to action items. They do the planning and layout the team assignments. This position is also your key liaison with your external team members and/or digital marketing agency.
Email Marketing or Marketing Automation Manager
This person manages the sales and marketing funnel and works to nurture prospects to a closed sale. Their primary role is email marketing and HubSpot (or similar) management, but may also work on social media marketing.
Search Engine or Inbound Marketing Manager
This position manages the top of the funnel and gets people to the website and grows brand awareness to new customers. They fill the funnel with activity using Google Ads, SEO, links from other websites and related inbound marketing activities.
Social Media Marketing Manager
This person is responsible for the social media direction and growing followers. They write and post micro content and may manage a video production team. Your influencer and referral strategies are also managed by this position.
Look for a copywriter to write landing pages and key webpages and a blog writer to write long-form content good for search engines and to build your pillars of thought leadership online.
Video, photography, graphic designers and website developers round out your team of freelancers and contractors.
Each digital marketing role must be assigned to a specific team member, because each role is required and not optional to be successful in the coming year.
Action Items: Dedicate separate team members to email marketing and automation or to all things Google, including search. Assign people to each of the tasks and roles and round out your digital team to optimize success and get results.
The Outsourced Marketing Team Versus Internal Support
It’s time to think about the mix of contractors, marketing agencies and internal team members in the coming year. Most companies are not able to build a full digital marketing team and must outsource tasks and job functions.
Getting this mix of team members right starts with an internal project manager or agency coordinator that can work directly as a liaison with your marketing agency to get work done and measure success. They may also handle basic digital marketing tasks like social media posts, email newsletters and minor website updates.
Use a marketing agency to fill in the gaps on your digital team and hold them accountable to an approved scorecard. As you grow your internal digital marketing department, tasks will be moved internally. Rely on your agency to handle the more complex digital marketing tactics.
Action Items: Chart out the roles of your digital team and assign someone to work directly with your digital marketing agency. Determine what roles external team members play in filling in the gaps on your marketing team. Determine who the digital marketing lead is and make your first hire an internal project manager.
B2B Influencer Growth
Social media influencers grew dramatically in the past year. Anyone who gets enough followers can become a minor celebrity and gain advertising dollars from companies looking to reach their audience and followers. While this is more common in B2C than B2B, you can expect to see a major push in the growth of B2B influencers in social media in the coming year.
B2B influencers are people who send referrals to your company or use word-of-mouth to talk about your brand. This can happen in any industry. In the coming year, go and find these referral sources and market to them directly by sharing your content, links and through partnerships for growth that help you both, B2B influencers get content and your company gets brand awareness.
Action Items: Research and recruit influencers whether you are B2B or B2C. Build a list and market to them to drive referrals and help get new people in your funnel. Develop email marketing and automations specifically for your influencers.
Google, Privacy and Analytics 4
Google has announced they will sunset Google Analytics classic and use the new platform Google Analytics 4 starting in mid-2023.
I hope Google changes their mind about dropping Google Analytics classic!
Google Analytics classic is the standard for website data and reporting and it has been for over 20 years! Google Analytics 4 is missing key, basic functionality digital marketers have grown to love and rely on.
It seems to me Google is making this switch as a way of taking a stance on privacy. Maybe they will change their mind as the recent “big tech” legislation was dropped by the US Congress in late 2022.
Also, who are they kidding?
Google knows more about the US population than any other media or tech company on the planet.
Any gesture on privacy by Google is pretty superficial at this point.
The change to Google Analytics 4 will alienate many digital marketers who will soon be less able to gather data efficiently. The ability to track digital data on websites monthly is a key part of digital marketing success and will be more difficult with the changes coming in Google Analytics 4.
The focus on real-time data in Google Analytics 4 is a miss. The vast majority of website marketers are not concerned with what is happening right now on an app or a website, they are concerned with trends over time. Most websites have few visitors on them in real time and it is the accumulation of traffic over the course of several weeks that must be tracked as a key success indicator.
Most digital marketers work for small private companies, not large corporations. These marketers rely on Google Analytics classic in a big way. The move to Google Analytics 4 will make it more difficult to use data effectively for most companies.
Action Items: Learn more about Google Analytics 4 and be ready if the change happens.
Set-up both Google Analytics classic and 4 to track your website data today. Use both accounts for now and let’s hope Google allows both to run in the future.
Time to Get Serious About Digital Content
Many marketing teams are not optimizing their digital content marketing efforts. They don’t have regular blog postings, social calendars, regular email newsletters and use very little digital content to build awareness of their brand.
Well written digital content makes the world aware of your pillars of thought leadership and the key benefits of buying goods and services from your company.
Without this content, people are less likely to find your brand, research your offerings and even less likely to become loyal to your brand. Any marketers not using content marketing strategies are seriously missing out on opportunities for growth.
A major reason for this dilemma is because many marketing teams struggle to find effective writers of digital content. Writers are available and they can learn to write about your products and services no matter how complex they may be.
You also have the option to use AI to draft blog posts and digital content. This will be a big boost in the coming years as improvements to AI content continue to produce stronger content. Check out websites like Copy.ai, Jasper.ai and many others you can find in Google searches.
Don’t expect AI to provide completed content just yet. Consider AI content to be first drafts for writers to proof, edit and update. However, keep in mind it is much easier for a writer to work from a first draft than starting from scratch.
Also, keep an eye on Mastodon, a new social platform that is growing fast. You can use Mastodon to reach people with your content before all the ads and clutter come. Twitter is a mess in late 2022 and early 2023, Facebook is laying off thousands and Mastodon may become a solid alternative to these and other content platforms. It is set up to avoid trolls and misinformation
See this link for more information: https://joinmastodon.org/
Make the coming year the time for expanding your digital content’s reach and effectiveness.
Action Items: Prepare a content calendar for emails, social media and blog content. Coordinate your content calendar around key content topics and promotional campaigns. If needed, recruit writers to round out your marketing team. Work on adding more content to your website. Websites with more content get more traffic, and more traffic results in sales growth.
The Death of Stock Photography and Video
Look to spend budget marketing dollars for original video and photography in the coming year. In fact, be prepared to spend more time and money on video and photography than you do on website design – and that’s a good thing!
The Internet is a platform for the distribution of content. Some of the most popular content will always be in the form of photography, images and video. Original media does a much better job of conveying your brand message than stock media. Use stock footage sparingly and focus on original video, images and photography.
Action Items: Schedule a photo and video shoot at your company and start building a database of original photos, images and video that transfer value and help customers better research your company, products and services.
Customized Dashboards and Scorecards
Just as a smart CFO will prepare financial documents to help run a company, an effective digital marketer will have a customized dashboard to track marketing results and ROI.
Digital marketing dashboards are key leading indicators and help forecast top line revenue for your company. An effective leadership team will review this data and compare digital marketing metrics with key company results.
This digital scorecard tracks movement through the sales and marketing funnel, which is a key strategy for the new year!
Growth of your sales and marketing funnel is key to company growth.
Action Items: Use the Google Studio dashboard or HubSpot dashboard to create customized scorecards to track the key metrics needed to grow your company. Share this data with all members of the leadership team. Set up tracking and milestones for each step in the funnel.
This is the year to implement more sophisticated marketing tactics to better compete and drive digital marketing results.
Use this blog post as a roadmap to an improved digital marketing strategy in the coming year.
Reach out to the team at Intuitive Websites for helping with these initiatives and much more.
Ready to get going? Download your 2023 Digital Marketing Action Items