Most Read Posts of 2013


It’s fun this time of year to look back at what we’ve accomplished. For me, 2013 gave me an opportunity to get back on track with a number of goals that I set for myself. And if I had to give myself a year-end grade, I would call it solid B+.

One thing I continue to be very proud of is the growth of this blog. This year, one crowning achievement was an upgrade to Squarespace 6 and a redesign.

Here are the top 10 blog posts of the year, by highest visitors:

  1. Marketing Trends for 2014
  2. The 3 Stages of Content Marketing
  3. How to Get More Out of Your Employees – Part 1
  4. 5 Reasons Your Email is Not Getting Opened
  5. Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Homepage
  6. How to use Education as Part of Your Marketing Plan
  7. How to Redesign Your Website Like a Marketer
  8. Think About Marketing Differently – The Huggies Example
  9. 5 Reasons People are Unsubscribing
  10. How to Advance Your Career as a Marketer

Happy New Year!

On December 29th of last year I wrote a post about my goals for 2012. I recently went back and reviewed them to see what I had accomplished and what was left. Here is that list.

2012 Goals:

  • Teach a Class (already scheduled!)
  • Publish a 2nd book in the marketing arena (already started!)
  • Double my subscriber count
  • Double my pageviews
  • Offer subscribers to my blog exclusive content
  • Produce more video for the blog
  • Visit someplace new
  • Learn to play the tin whistle (that’s the Irish in me)
  • Bike 1000 miles (over the course of the whole year)
  • Donate more to charity
  • Help someone I know market their business free of charge

I’m a big proponent of setting goals, both personal and professional. I keep a notebook with goals written down, so that I can physically cross them out once completed. The act of crossing them out is very fulfilling. And each time I cross one out, I write a new one down.

Try it and you might find you can accomplish more in 2013 than you ever thought possible.

Happy New Year!

2013 Blueprints: Social Media Marketing

Social media is still evolving every day. But the line in the sand has been crossed when it comes to both public and brand adoption. Social media is now a mainstay in the marketing plan, and it’s not going anywhere soon. So getting involved is essential for success.

But just getting involved doesn’t give you the best chance to succeed. There are some shifts taking place in social media marketing that you will want to pay attention to as you develop your strategy for 2013. Below are five trends that you can include in your plans to stay ahead of the game next year.

  1. Narrowing of Focus – It’s been common for companies in the past to show up across many different networks, attempting to have a presence everywhere with no real plan for integration. In 2013, the key will be picking a few key areas and putting a strategy behind them. I’d recommend Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There may be other players in the niche you occupy, but the point is not to try to do it all. Focus on the large networks that will have the biggest impact.

  2. More Facebook Options for Advertisers – Facebook is the #1 social network for brands. And that status will only be solidified as they continue to roll out new options for advertisers in an effort to improve shareholder value. Stay up to date on their announcements and take advantage of all the new options they roll out to see if you can improve the effectiveness of your efforts on their network.

  3. Integration – Yesterday, I mentioned how in 2013 it will be more important to integrate social communities into your website. Your social marketing and web development team need to connect on this topic and see what can be done to incorporate feeds and conversations from various networks onto your website. All social promotions should be given space on your website as well, so you can give them as much exposure as they deserve.

  4. Contests – One of the most proven social marketing strategies are contests. Build at least one into your marketing plan for 2013. Find partners, offer prizes people will get excited about, and have your developer (or a team like Wildfire) build a sleek contest page for you. This is an opportunity to get leads, gain brand awareness, do some PR, and follow up with people who are interested in your offerings.

  5. Offers – The second proven social marketing strategy you need to consider adding to your 2013 plan is a special offer specifically to your social community. Facebook now has an “offers” tool that makes this easy to test. You can offer a discount to people who Like you on Facebook. Give it a try.

2013 Blueprints: Your Website

Have a web presence is important. By now, we all know that to be true. More and more money is spent online each year, and if you’re not showing up, you’re missing out.

But just having a presence is not enough anymore. There are expectations placed on your company’s website by consumers, and if you’re not living up to them, you’re still missing out. Below are five key aspects/characteristics of a successful website that you should strive for in 2013.

  1. Responsive Design – It’s official, responsive design is the way of the future (if not the way of today). For those who are unfamiliar, responsive design is a way of building a website that takes into account the size of the screen a visitor is using, and adjusts the display for optimal viewing. This means your website is optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile browsing all in one build. By the end of next year, make sure your website meets this standard.

  2. Simpler navigation – The best websites are getting simpler. That means fewer crowded pages, less options for where to click or what to read, and big, bold buttons and headlines. The usability of your site is more important than ever before, and that starts with a very simple and clear site navigation. Give fewer options, make the important pages stand out, and cut out all the filler. Make it easy for someone to land on your homepage and get all the information they need to make a purchase or contact you in one or two clicks.

  3. Content – Content is key. Content has always been key. But in 2013, content marketing will become the most important piece of your marketing plan. Develop a blog or news section of your site, find someone (or pay someone) to write for you. Keep pumping out fresh content related to your niche (blog posts, videos, whitepapers) and share that content with the community via social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, etc.

  4. Social Community – It’s not enough to just have a Facebook page that lives a life separated from your website anymore. Incorporating social directly on your website is an important part of a successful website in 2013. You can do this in a number of ways. You can add icons to your homepage, create a social page that displays feeds from your social communities, or you can build your own customer login portal where they can interact right on your site. Linking to and from your Facebook page is a start, building a community into your site is the end.

  5. Reviews and Comments – Building off of #4 above, the ability for consumers to comment and rate products and services on your site is becoming more and more common. This does not make sense for everyone, but it makes sense for more companies than would like to admit it. Amazon built an entire business model on this feature, and consumers are growing wary of companies that don’t ask for and showcase public opinion, thinking you might have something to hide. It’s fine if you want to moderate comments, but allow them.

What Will Marketing Look Like in 2013?

The rules of marketing don’t change, or they change very slowly. But the tools, the channels, and the messages can change very rapidly. The way we communicate with consumers today is far different than it was even ten years ago.

So what will change next year? What steps can you take to prepare, move ahead of the competition, and grow?

This week, I will address three main areas of marketing that will be vital to your success in 2013 in a series of three posts that I’m calling, “2013 Blueprints”.

And like you might us tax software to help you prepare your taxes, these posts are meant to serve as a blueprint to a successful marketing plan for next year.