Last year in January I went to the gym (something I do pretty regularly) and watched all the people working out. There were probably 3 times as many people as there usually are. It happens every January.
But by February, the numbers started to dwindle again, and we were left with pretty much the same group as before. The people who made New Year’s resolutions to get fit and healthy were dropping out like flies. But the people who had developed the habit of working out were sticking around.
New Years is a great time to evaluate where you are in business, but I would caution against making radical changes in the way you do things, and making huge goals at this time of year. Instead, look at ways to improve your processes and doing small tasks that will pay big dividends.
Here’s the process and small task checklist that I use in December to make sure my business is on track for the New Year. I’ve found that it works very well to weed out clutter and help keep you on track.
#1. Review/update your sites
Lots of marketers have multiple websites for a variety of reasons. Maybe you bought a site specifically to put squeeze pages on. Maybe you had a content site that is now neglected. Unless you only have one flagship site and nothing else, the New Year is a perfect time to evaluate what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.
As I approach the New Year I look over all the site names I have registered, and I update the ones that need a little love. I also take auto-renew off the sites that I’m not using and not planning on using and let them expire. It helps get rid of what I like to call psychic clutter and helps me focus on the sites and marketing campaigns that really matter.
#2. Security check
It is super easy to let your site security slip through the cracks. But once you get hacked, you will regret it. BIG TIME. It’s much easier to prevent than to recover.
Here is an excellent guide to beefing up site security on WordPress sites:
Taking care of security is a lot like locking your door. A determined hacker is still going to get in, but the casual guy will move onto easier targets. And that is exactly what you want.
#3. Evaluate subscriptions
This is the time of the year that I look at any recurring subscriptions that I have – free or paid – and get rid of ones I don’t need.
A lot of times I find myself super-enthusiastic about a product or service, but then don’t use it as much as I thought I would. Those things are dead weight. It doesn’t matter if they are free or paid, if I’m not using it I unsubscribe or cancel the service.
This helps me to focus on what is really important instead of getting caught up in things that don’t really matter.
#4. Create/Strengthen feedback loops
One thing I’ve learned in marketing over the years is that no matter what I do, I’m often wrong. That’s why it’s important to have what I like to call feedback loops. Feedback loops are a way of evaluating data and figuring out if what you are doing is right or wrong and how to adjust. Obama’s re-election campaign did this very effectively to raise over $690 million dollars.
They split test every single email and once they had a stand out winner, they would blast that one out.
If the Obama campaign has feedback loops so should you.
#5. Optimize/Develop your mailing list
You must have a list. As a digital marketer your list is your #1 asset. Take a look at the article about Obama’s campaign again. No matter where you stand on politics, this should convince you that having a targeted email list is one of the most important things you can do for your business.
Get forms on all of your webpages, start segmenting your list and communicate with them to find out what they want. If done right, building and optimizing your list will make you more money in 2013 than anything else.
#6. Get good at sales copy
There is nothing that will give you greater returns on investment than great sales copy. Learning how to get into your customers mind and speak to them where they are at will mean you will sell more stuff and be better able to serve your audience.
To get really great at sales copy there are several things you should do:
- Read books by the masters – Dan Kennedy, David Oglivy, Michael Masterson, and Eugene Schwartz
- Study commercials on You Tube
- Pay attention to the Sunday Paper and Junk Mail – some of the best advertising ever is found in these mediums
Understanding good copy will always pay dividends in your business.
#7. Rub shoulders with the right people
Start making friends/offering services to people who are at the level you want to be at.
My colleague Heather, who is a writer and marketer, had been in the Internet Marketing arena for several years. She had some success, but wasn’t where she wanted to be in terms of income and influence. So she made a decision that completely changed the course of her business.
She decided to master copywriting and specifically email marketing sequences.
It took her some time to master the skills needed, but she knew that if she could see the inside of other marketers businesses that she would learn how to become more successful. And it’s worked. As word got out that she could write these sequences, demand went up.
Eventually, she developed a lucrative partnership with one of her clients, and has good relationships with several other highly successful marketers. She’s executing advanced strategies that she’s learned from these relationships and her business is growing.
How do you make this happen in your business? There are several ways.
- Go to seminars and conferences (you don’t have to attend the seminar) and hang out in the hotel’s bar area. You’ll meet people there who have a world of knowledge.
- Pay for mastermind groups where great marketers hang out (make sure you ‘re not the smartest person in the room).
- Offer valuable services to high-level marketers.
- Take an internship at a company that does what you want to do.
By being in contact with people who are at the level of success you desire, you will automatically become more successful yourself.
Well there it is, my New Year’s checklist. Hope you enjoyed it and hope it helps you make 2013 rock the party.
P.S. In the next coming posts I will share with you what I believe will be some of the biggest trends and opportunities in online marketing in the year to come. Be sure to subscribe to get updates.
Update: As promised, I’m adding what I believe will be the biggest trends coming this year. Here is the first, focusing on Google Authorship.