I do a lot of reading to keep up with new trends in website design, online marketing and productivity tools. Or, at least I try to. One inevitable result of all that “keeping up” is feeling better informed… but also really overwhelmed at times. Over the course of the past year, my active “free trials” and list of “stuff to check out later” was huge—and trying to implement all these shiny new toys feels complicated and stressful. Time to simplify and get more mileage out of what I’m already using.
Rather than suggest a particular thing or service, I’ve found that it’s better to just apply some honest scrutiny about what’s worthwhile in terms of time, money and results. Here’s three questions you can ask yourself to help separate the wheat from the chaff in your online marketing:
- Can I effectively use this thing/service/tactic? Am I ok with spending $X per year on it? A great example is the growing arena of social media management tools. They support so many things I don’t fully understand and I’m unlikely to use them to their potential. If social is a keystone of your marketing plan, great. Otherwise – just posting directly to the platform of choice is just fine. Dollars, time and stress saved!
- Can I automate my present strategy in any way? Properly implemented, automation can save tons of time while forcing process consistency and quality control. Most web services have integrations with other tools—and services like Zapier take automation to a whole new level. Example: a new inquiry on this website automatically creates a contact record in Active Campaign, a follow-up task in Teamwork and a thank-you email reply to the visitor. There’s four tools involved in this process, but the integration among them does the streamlining (and the work) for me.
- Can my website do more of the work? While basic SEO (search optimization) takes some initial work and forethought, it can do a lot of heavy lifting on your behalf, 24/7. Can your inquiry forms be refined to better qualify leads? Is your page copy and imaging clearly communicating to your audience? Well-executed website basics are essential to online marketing. You can’t market yourself online without a well-crafted website. Improving SEO and list building will be the focus of my efforts this year!
The New Year is a great time to simplify and recommit to a more streamlined, workable plan for your Internet marketing. Asking some honest questions about what’s really important is a great first step. Cheers to 2020!