We've all made new year resolutions and we've all broken them, but rather than idly imagining you can run an ultra-marathon by the end of the year without leaving the sofa, why not focus on some achievable, work-related goals? Here are five new year resolutions all digital marketers should bear in mind as 2013 draws to a close.
1. Build Good Stuff and Give It Away
Businesses often focus on building good stuff and then charging the right amount for it. Although this is clearly a vital part of product development, it's also a good idea to spend time and money developing useful tools and then giving them away. Not just because of karma, but because it can help you reach a whole new audience.
An excellent example of this is Buzzstream's array of free tools. These will not only appeal to potential customers, but also help attract links, boosting the company's search engine optimization efforts. Ask not what your customers can do for you, but what you can do for your customers.
2. Reinforce Your Brand the Right Way
Digital marketers tend to love the companies they work for, so it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is as passionate about your brand as you are. Sadly, this tends not to be the case. You need to put the effort in to ensure existing and potential customers feel the same way about the brand as you do.
How this resolution manifests itself will depend on the projects you work on in the year ahead. One of the more simple changes you can enforce is ensuring your company blog is not a place where you talk about the firm's achievements but is instead one where people can go to solve problems and have their questions answered. Don't tell your customers how awesome your brand is, help them discover the fact for themselves.
3. Fill a Skills Gap
Digital marketers should always have one eye on personal development; with so many changes afoot in the industry, standing still can see you left behind by the crowd. Exactly what route you take depends on your current skill set, but there are a few key areas that span most of the digital marketing mix.
The ability to code has been described as a superpower by some in the sector, and if that's a string missing from your bow it makes sense to try and pick up at least some rudimentary skills over the next 12 months. Alternatively, the use of schema will play an increasingly important role in search engine optimization and the ability to implement it will become increasingly vital as 2014 progresses. At the very least, you should resolve to identify at least one weakness and tackle it.
4. Break Down Silos
A digital marketing team cannot be fully effective if its members are separated into silos. Silos not only prevent effective collaboration, they can create an unhealthy sense of competition, leading to separate factions that focus on their own projects rather than an overall focus on creating the best possible campaign possible.
By breaking down these silos, marketing teams can reap the full benefits of collaborations. But don't stop there -- people outside the marketing department will increasingly have a significant part to play in promotional activities. By removing interdepartmental barriers, you'll be able to help them make the best possible contribution in the year ahead.
5. Become Less Reliant on Google
What would you do if you woke up on New Year's Day to discover your website had dropped out of Google completely? This would present a huge challenge to a firm of any size, but for some companies it would mark the beginning of the end. If you're relying for a significant proportion of traffic from Google, you should focus on ensuring people can find you in other ways in case the worst happens.
Get people to sign up for email newsletters and engage with you on social media. Google made major changes to the way it operates in the past year and another turbulent year could lie ahead. It's also worth remembering that despite its dominance, Google is not the only search engine and it is worth paying attention to its rivals, especially if you operate in or are looking to expand to areas such as Russia and China.
So there we have it, five resolutions for all digital marketers to follow -- what would you add to the list?
Title image by Marcos Calvo Mesa (Shutterstock)