course in digital

The State of Content Marketing in 2019

There's a saying that content is king. That applies to all industries in Hong Kong, to any business trying to reach and inform their customers. For advertising to work on a targeted audience, there must be something there that initially draws them in. In the old days of pre-digital marketing, that content was entertainment. People didn't normally enjoy commercials on TV for their own sake but viewed them because they were interspersed with the content that really engaged them, such as dramatic TV series, documentaries, or even news broadcasts.

In the digital world of the internet, content has a similar value. Not only is content marketing one of the top skills that every digital marketers should hone, it also is the next logical step of taking material that has appeal to a market and making it a marketing tool itself, rather than a "lure" to get the audience to view marketing. After all, why spend time creating content only tangentially related to your business, when you can make ads that are already a topic of interest? By making the content a part of the marketing, rather than an "assist" to the marketing, you have improved your chances of success. Content marketing has become an effective tool, and it's not going away anytime soon. In fact, content marketing is actually increasing in value and usefulness thanks to the tweaks and developments made in search algorithms.

So if you're looking into getting the most out of your content marketing, what should you be considering? These are things you need to think about going into 2019.

Value Is Your Primary Target

Content marketing is about providing meaningful content, but the interpretation of meaningful can vary. In the past, with simpler search engine algorithms, "fluff" or filler content was perfectly acceptable because simpler algorithms only looked at basic parameters, like how many times a particular keyword was used. So it wasn't unusual for early websites to have nonsensical gibberish, with a keyword placed at the bottom of the page 100 times to get the attention of a search engine.

Today, of course, that doesn't work. Search engines are smarter and will even hand out penalties for this unethical practice. Consumers are also looking for reliable content to inform purchasing decisions. Your content must have value, which can be broken up into three types based on its benefit to your target market.

  • Useful:

This kind of content assists readers. Useful content helps consumers or potential clients achieve a goal. When your content provides help, that creates a lot of value and generates positive feelings for your business and its image. People may also come back looking for more help in the future, establishing trust, loyalty, and authority.

  • Informative:

In some ways a parallel of useful, informative content creates value through education. The goal here is not necessarily to help a consumer achieve a specific goal in the way that a guide or tutorial might. Here, the aim is to teach a consumer something interesting or new that may potentially have uses in the future, even if it doesn't right now.

  • Entertainment:

The value of engaging content should never be underestimated. Just think about the fun people have interacting with and sharing memes or videos, the kind of things that go viral and are consumed by millions of people across the globe. Entertainment, when done well, has high value, perhaps the highest of all. Trying to create viral content with global entertainment value deliberately is a daunting task. Don't aspire to go viral but instead set out to truly engage your audience with a compelling piece of content.

Looking to improve your content strategies already? We have not one, but six helpful tips for you.

Distribution Is Always a Concern

Once you create good content marketing, where are you putting it? Do your customers know where to find it? Do they even know that it's out there? Marketing basics tell you to put your business out there on social media and through a website to build awareness, but make sure that your content itself is getting the same spotlight and consideration as your products and your marketing efforts.

The creation of a "content hub," for example, may deserve some marketing and creative attention of its own. If you're finding that your customers are increasingly coming to you for the usefulness of your content, make sure you continue to impress them. Useful content is "evergreen," and new customers will go to that old content again and again if it continues to remain relevant. Create a place where your articles, videos, podcasts, and other content can all be easily found. Then, do a little bit of marketing to make sure your ideal customers know about your useful library of resources.

Content Is Advertising

One of the most significant advantages of content marketing is that can operate as an ad in disguise. When you make your content the advertising itself, it is no longer an interruption to what people are searching for, but it is the goal. As an example, 615 million devices used AdBlock software in 2017, and that number has only been growing. So if you're creating an ad, banner, or another traditional type of internet advertising, millions of people aren't seeing it. They've taken the trouble to download and install software that blocks any attempt to interrupt their browsing.

However, with content marketing, the content is the advertising. That means you need to create content apart from cut-and-dry ads. Blogs, articles, podcasts, and videos are all better ways to advertise to your customers subtly. When you work toward creating valuable content that will entertain and educate your audience, you remain unaffected by things like AdBlock. People are deliberately seeking you out instead of shutting you out. Focus on positively driving people to seek out your marketing tools, your content, rather than interrupting what they're trying to achieve online.

Content Is Changing the Customer Relationship

In the past, the classic marketing funnel concentrated on building up awareness and creating a "short-term relationship" with a customer that lasted only until a purchase was made. Once that goal had been achieved, customers tended to be regarded as "spent assets" and were subsequently ignored unless they had an issue that required customer support to deal with it, so as not to impact a business's reputation.

Today, content marketing is now viewed as a way to create an ongoing relationship with a customer beyond making the initial purchase. Content marketing expands the way a customer interacts with a business, going beyond just giving that business money or requiring technical or customer support.

For instance, people who buy a musical instrument from an instrument manufacturer establish an ongoing connection with that business through content marketing. The might return to that business's website for FAQs or video tutorials or any other content. They might even scan the business's social media for answers to their questions or to connect with fellow customers. That customer is now in a "long-term relationship" with the company. The addition of good content on a regular basis extends the length and quality of that relationship.

Divert Resources to Video

If content is king, and content marketing is one of the biggest movers in marketing, then the undisputed king of kings is video. New studies indicate that in 2019, 80% of general consumer internet traffic will be the viewing of videos. That figure does not even account for video chat but refers merely to the consumption of pre-recorded videos or live video streaming.

Video is one of the best ways to get attention for content marketing because it is easy for the viewer to consume. Video also combines all three benefits of valuable content; it is useful and informative while also being entertaining. For companies that are willing to invest in a good production team and set of equipment, video can be a great way to quickly create content on a regular basis. When your content strategy is combined with other uses for video, such as live video broadcasts—especially with social influencers—you can quickly establish a relationship with customers and maintain it. Two types of video content are especially useful to customers, and they include:

  • Testimonials:

In the same way that the user review is one of the most critical pieces of research that potential customers undertake, video testimonials can be even more sought after. By showing other customers highlighting uses and positive aspects of your product or service, you are inspiring consumer confidence.

  • Tutorials or Demos:

People are always interested in learning new things and guaranteeing that a purchase is worthy. While detailed articles can be very enlightening, but sometimes, especially when involving an action, it is better to use a video. Create or share customer videos with actions, animations, and explanations to reinforce learning.

The important thing to note with these popular types of video content is that they are centred on enriching the customer's understanding of your products and furthering the customer's goals. Make sure that any actual marketing or advertising is secondary, and not pursued in an aggressive manner. You want these forms of video to build trust and authority. Consumers are very wary of being sold to. Like content marketing itself, the value of the content takes precedence over product or service promotion.

SEO Integration Is Still Important

Some may make the mistake of thinking that with the importance of quality content and the dominance of video as a marketing tool, SEO or search engine optimisation may not be as crucial in 2019. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the content is ultimately what your customer engages with, good SEO practices are still what enabled those consumers to find your content, if they were only inputting a general query into a search engine.

While SEO is important for "conventional" computer users on desktops and laptops, the push to prioritise mobile search and content consumption will continue into 2019, and there will be an even greater emphasis placed on optimising for voice search.

The rules and practices for voice search optimisation are not yet set in stone, and it will involve a bit of tweaking and experimentation. After all, search engines themselves will have to see what works best for people conducting searches via smartphone, and how it differs from other computer use. In the same way, the interface and outputs for verbal searches are very different. You don't have a visible SERP with meta descriptions to inform your next time. There are a lot of unknowns, so this is pioneer territory for SEO that you'll want to keep tabs on. Do not be daunted if you feel like SEO is an uncharted territory for you, there are courses for you to improve your knowledge of the subject quickly.

Social Media is Your Best Option for Sharing

Social media has become one of the most important means of communication and entertainment for the general public. And that means it has now become one of the most critical virtual spaces for marketing, including content marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many, many more are where people are digitally these days. As a result, it's no surprise that social media is where a lot of digital marketing takes place. Even customer support systems are moving over to social media, with some companies establishing reputations for themselves, such as the humour now associated with the Netflix Twitter account.

But general digital marketing isn’t limited to social media. Content marketing can be just as at home here as well. Videos can be published anywhere, whether it's on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or directly on a company website. However, other types of content marketing, like blog articles and photos are still being successfully promoted on social media or linking back to fuller sites. A combination of proper social media usage, the careful selection of accompanying captions, tags, and cover images, and consistent engagement with consumers will all provide great results for your content marketing campaigns.

Produce High-Quality Content

The one thing that should never be forgotten is the cornerstone of content: quality. When you create a reputation for producing high-quality content, it will draw in new and repeat viewers. Quality is the more attractive part of content, and the market will reward you for it with more new customers and greater success! Don’t forget to keep learning and improving to keep yourself abreast of the latest trends, especially if you want to excel in the digital marketing career.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

7 Essential Skills Every Digital Marketer Should Know

Even in a small city like Hong Kong, the digital industry is always vast, so it can be difficult to navigate for newcomers or those looking to find their niche; how do you set yourself apart from the competition and fast-track your way up the corporate ladder?

Check out these 7 essential skills to keep you relevant in the ever-changing digital industry.

1. Video

Video is taking the internet by storm and this isn’t about to stop. According to MarTech, videos have the potential to hold customer’s attention on retail sites for two minutes longer than average (which is really like a lifetime in the digital world) and a well-optimised video can boost your chances of being in a top Google ranking position by at least 50. In addition, more than 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product after seeing it detailed in a video.

Bear in mind that these are just loose statistics are going to vary depending on who you ask, but the point is that most statistics point to much higher conversion, engagement and higher SEO rankings when it comes to video.

What makes it so engaging? Because it’s personal. When people can see your face (or the face of the person promoting the brand), they are more likely to trust the entire enterprise. It’s also a wonderfully versatile content to use through different platforms.

Digital marketing professionals don’t have to know everything about video production, of course, but knowing how to create a quick intro video from your laptop is a good place to start. And if you have some training in this area and you love it, your skills and talents will not be wasted as video will continue to be in demand.

If you want to learn more on your own, you can try out video editing tools like Apple Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro.

2. SEO & SEM

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is key to all levels of digital marketing and as such, anyone going into the field must have at least a basic handle on it. You can certainly leave the highly technical, back-end stuff to the more technically-oriented people on the team, having a solid understanding of best practices and how to optimise all forms of content is crucial for running a successful digital marketing campaign.

Both SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) inform your entire digital strategy on both a data and content level, and you need to be able to communicate to other teammates about this, so you just won’t get far if you don’t make a point of learning the basics.

3. Content Marketing

Content is the core of digital marketing and content marketing will continue to be a crucial part of the game no matter what happens. But content marketing is a huge job in itself. You have to be able to understand how to not only create high quality, SEO-friendly content of various sorts, you also have to understand how to effectively get audiences to engage.

And to make things a little more challenging, it’s important to note that content can take many forms, from video to social, emails, web content, blogs, e-books, videos, whitepapers…the list goes on. You also have to have a firm grasp on social media marketing as this will tie in to most content marketing type of work. You’ll need to be able to strategise based on a given client’s overarching business goals, develop a campaign that involves an effective strategy, and monitor analytics as well

3. Data / Analytics

No matter what facet of digital marketing you are going into, Google Analytics will probably be central to your strategy. Monitoring and reporting via such tools is pretty straightforward, but the tricky part is how to gather and use that information to help you learn more about consumer behaviour and apply it to new solutions that boost traffic and conversions.

Most businesses (even small ones) have huge amounts of data to track, and great digital marketers need to understand how to gather and use this to their advantage. Most companies will always be looking for people who to only know how to “read” this data, but to know exactly which data to use towards improving business strategy in the future. If you can show that you can do this in innovative ways and that the way you do it ends with important results, you’re going to be a valuable asset in the industry.

4. Understand Design-Based Thinking & Planning

Design Thinking is a term that basically refers to a way of approaching problems from a user-centred perspective. The approach essentially encourages us to think in a human-centred way when solving large-scale complex problems.

According to The Interaction Design Foundation, there are 5 key phases to this process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test. The reason why this works so well in the digital marketing sphere is that so much of it is (or should be) centred on the user experience. Another interesting thing about this approach is that it can be used in a non-linear way – so that in some instances you may get to the testing phase and then come back to the middle phase, for instance, to re-consider ideas.

Designers and developers are likely to use an approach like this, so even if you’re not one, it’s a good idea to at least have a solid understanding of it and apply it when feasible.  

5. Be Tech Savvy

Because the industry is really technology driven, you have to have a decent grip on technology as well as be able to learn it quickly. If you’re millennial-age or younger, this is probably going to be second-nature, but older generations may want to put a bit of elbow grease into teaching themselves not only specific technologies but also just getting familiar with the most commonly used software and tools in their focus area.

Generally, if you understand the basics of web coding, as well as having a clear idea of how to use the basic Content Management (CMS) systems like WordPress, you’re likely well on your way to landing that dream job, especially if you have a resume that highlights such points.

6. Be Persuasive

A great digital marketing leader will not only show up with great people skills; but they’ll also be able to combine analytical thinking with creative-problem solving to help teams come up with innovative campaign ideas to drive businesses forward.

And a big part of this is being persuasive. Can you convince someone else to purchase? What about convincing other team leaders that your idea is the best? This isn’t about arguing as much as having the confidence that you know what you’re doing and showing this in detail.  

7. Highlight Unusual Skill Sets

As far as soft skills go, great digital marketers should be curious, enjoy versatility, forward-thinking, business-focused and strategy-centred. But there is plenty of room in this field for all kinds of personalities and skills sets. To this end, it’s important that you leverage your own unique blend in order to stay competitive in the industry.

It may, for instance, be unusual to find someone well-versed in both back-end SEO strategy as well as be able to take on a managerial role, or it may be unusual to find someone with a computing science degree that also loves social media.  

Conclusion

A great digital marketing professional will have the ability to adapt quickly and learn on their own, even being ready to pivot into different digital careers as they choose or as needed should old skills become less in-demand. They will be working with diverse teams and clients, so they will have to know how to communicate well and build strong teams.

While there are a number of things that you will have to do in order to be competitive in the digital marketing career field, it’s important not to forget about leveraging and improving your hard and soft skills as you move forward into exciting new positions. Having a solid breadth of basic knowledge alongside depth in a few areas (what Rand Fishkin calls a T-Shaped Marketer) will help you get further than if you try to be a jack-of-all-trades.  

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

10 Reasons Your Business Should Invest in Digital Transformation

Regardless of sector or industry, to thrive on today's commercial battlefield, embracing the emerging technologies and trends is crucial.

If your business is looking to secure a sustainable commercial future, investing ample time, money and energy into your digital transformation strategy is a wise move.

By 2020, experts project that spending on digital transformation strategies will break $2 trillion globally. That's a colossal level of investment by companies across sectors. Hong Kong is no exception to this projection.

To inspire your efforts, here are 10 stats that will convince your business of the need to invest in digital transformation. 

Consumer Culture

1. 80% of today’s video consumption is video-based. Print media, while still relevant, is a less potent force than it once was. Today’s hunger for visual content is inherently digital and to connect with your target audience you have to provide engaging marketing materials that are video-based. Digital channels and touchpoints are the best way to deliver such communications.

2. Today’s average college student has never so much licked a postage stamp.In the age of the digital native, analog approaches to promotional as well as internal communication will seldom provide the results you need for success.

3. 61% of smartphone users admit to regularly sleeping with their smartphone under their pillow or next to their bed. A staggering insight that is a testament to today’s mobile-centric mindset. By investing in your mobile offerings, from applications to mobile-optimised landing pages and social media content, you stand to accelerate your business success in an increasingly digital age.

The State of Digital Transformation

Here we explore the current professional climate and as such, the necessity for digital transformation.

4. 76% of companies feel their relationship with technology and digital transformation is on the whole, average or above average. The vast majority of companies across sectors are on the path to digital transformation. If you fail to embrace the digital age and all it has to offer, you could fall behind the pack and risk becoming obsolete in the long run.

5. Around 70% of companies feel their CEOs’ practical understanding of emerging digital technologies to be solid or above average. If you feel that your understanding of digital methodologies and technologies in the digital age is lacking, now is the time to upskill.

6. 61% of enterprises state that the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a pivotal role in their digital business strategies, with manufacturing and high-tech leading all other sectors. By investing in the power of the IoT and its business-enhancing benefits, in addition to a host of other emerging digital technologies, you stand to accelerate your commercial success, exponentially.

The Power of Digital Transformation

Insights on the undeniable power of digital transformation in the modern age.

7. 56% of CEOs feel that digital advancements have already led to boosts in revenue. With this being the primary goal of business growth and acceleration, this is a clearcut case for investing in digital transformation.

8. By 2020, 47% of all revenue will be influenced by digital. Without a doubt, digital technologies will become all the more sophisticated in the not so distant future. To remain relevant and continue to foster growth, embracing the power of digital is a now a necessity rather than a far-flung luxury.

9. 39% of today's marketers plan to boost their digital budgets without increasing overall marketing spend, essentially reallocating their current budgets into digital channels. The wealth of digital channels, platforms and touchpoints available to today’s businesses is on the rise and by investing in such outlets, you stand to enjoy a healthy level of ongoing business success.

10. More than 50% of the world’s population are under the age of 30 - With over half of the population being under 30-years-old, there are more digital natives (or indeed, budding digital natives) than ever before. To continue appealing to this new generation of digitally-minded consumers, investing in digital transformation on a continual basis is nothing short of essential.

Conclusion

It’s clear that digital transformation is a sustainable means of commercial success today, tomorrow and long into the future in Hong Kong. 

If you haven’t done so already, you must embrace the unrivaled power and potential of digital transformation now, before it’s too late

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What Should the Perfect Digital Marketing CV Include?

You have done the work, gotten the skills, and chosen the career that speaks to you. Now comes the hard part: the job application.

You know what you say about books: don’t judge one by its cover. However, when it comes to finding a job in Hong Kong, it is all about having a good cover; in this case, a great CV. Nothing is more intimidating than putting yourself and your skill set out there, but a great one can help you get your foot in the door.

A CV is essential in showing employers who you are and what you have to offer. You want to show potential employers that you’re exactly who they’ve been looking for.

While every CV will be different for every position and company, they all adhere to the same fundamental principles. Knowing what language an employer is looking for will help your application stand out from the crowd.

Just remember these five essentials to write the perfect CV; it’s never been easier.

1) Make It About You

Keep the focus on you with your name as the title of the CV and your contact and professional details at the top.

Don’t waste valuable space in which you could be highlighting your skills, rather than filling it up with a gaudy “Curriculum Vitae” as the title. Remember, you are the product, and you are what your CV is marketing. So, make yourself stand out with your name as the title.

While the format of CV is flexible, your phone number and email should quickly follow the title in a smaller font. Since you certainly want the employer to contact you, ensure your reader can easily understand where and how to locate you.

Add a LinkedIn profile or any other professional site to the top of your CV. These links let the employer get to know you a little better and show them you’re a real person who’s interested in the position. A certification in a digital marketing course will help in this case, as it proves your interest in the industry and gives the recruiters confidence you know what you should be doing.

You should also include a professional profile at the top of your CV before listing your experience, education, and certification. This is a summary of the specific skills, experience, and goals you have when applying for the position, and it helps give recruiters a quick snapshot of what your CV will include.

You shouldn’t include information like your date of birth, and you certainly don't need to include a headshot. Not only is this type of content unnecessary and inappropriate, as it may actually be illegal for employers to ask your age. Strict rules govern what employers may ask employees to protect their privacy and to safeguard human rights.

Quick Tip: Treat yourself like a brand, and market yourself.

2) Keep It Clean and Consistent

Nothing is worse than reading an unfocused and visually disorganised CV.

To avoid giving the recruiter a headache, make sure you check that your content is spelled correctly, doesn’t have too many fonts or visual designs, and clearly lays out your skills and experience.

An easy way to clean up your CV is to use bullet points. Alison Doyle, job search expert for The Balance Career, says that “the average recruiter or hiring manager spends only seconds looking over an applicant’s resume. To get the interview, you need to make your experience stand out – and quickly. A bulleted list can help you build your case. It shows the employer quickly and easily that you are a good fit for the job.”

The best fonts are simple and easy to read. Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri in 10 to 12 points. A larger size font in 14 to 18 point is good for titles, headings, and subheadings, but keep it all one style. Your margins should also be standardized.

Infographics can often look messy on a CV and are best left out.

Michelle Kruse from Career Cast says that while creative designs can be appealing, “they're also a great way to annoy recruiters who are attempting to sift through hundreds of other applications. When it comes down to it, it really just depends on the situation.”

Don’t take any chances with your CV, and leave the cute text bubbles and cartoon computer graphics at home; your readability will skyrocket.

Quick Tip: Keep it short, stylish, and simple.

3) Know Your Audience

Be sure to tailor the information you include on your CV to the position you’re applying for. Be selective about what experience, volunteering, and skills you choose to include. Those 10 years of ballet? Probably not very relevant if you’re applying for a job in advertising, so leave it off. But that part-time job while you were in high school, running the social media campaign for your local hardware store is worth noting.

Do a little research and get familiar with the company you're interested in. Familiarise yourself with the keywords they use in their documentation and job descriptions, and integrate them into your CV. This will help show recruiters you’ve done your research as well as show that you’re a good fit for the position.

For instance, if you’re applying for an SEO specialist or digital marketing role, make sure you mention your SEO and SERP experience as well as your familiarity with PPC.

Jen David, CV consultant at CV Library, believes that you should only include relevant experiences from the past decade, no later.

In addition, she goes on, after you’ve carefully selected which aspects of your skills and experience that you’re going to include on your resume, you should be as brief as possible. Your CV should be a summary of your job roles, employers’ names, and dates for the positions held. It should enable a recruiter to quickly and easily see the highlights, successes, and progression of your career.

It doesn’t hurt to add a brief description of the position and the types of responsibilities you had when you worked in it to the job list. A little detail lets recruiters know the kinds of roles you’re familiar with. Just remember to keep it engaging and in an active voice.

You should list your experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position at the top of the list.

If you follow all these tips, you should have no problem creating a basic CV that you can then customize when you’re targeting specific positions or companies. It’s easy to create a CV template that you can subsequently edit on the fly.

Quick Tip: List only relevant and recent experiences.

4) The Numbers and Platforms Matter

A quantified list of achievements will keep your digital marketing CV job specific and show off your skills and dedication to past projects.

Next Generation believes you should use analytics and metrics to communicate how you improved business, such as increasing traffic to a site or revenue in general. You should provide tangible elements as well, such as a 20% bump in organic traffic.

Not only will quantifiable results help make your CV more specific, but they provide you with an opportunity to showcase how your skills and work ethic made valuable contributions to your past employers’ goals. If you highlight the fact that organic traffic has increased on a project you’re involved in, your skills using SEO analytic tools like WordPress, Moz OSE, SEMrush, or Google Analytics will stand for themselves.

Don’t leave anything up to guesswork – let the recruiter know exactly how much you were involved and how much you achieved with a project. All of this will make your digital marketing CV that much more personal and specific to you and your accomplishments.

Quick Tip: Link a professional portfolio or website under your analytics.

5) Proofread

Last, but certainly not least, is the proofreading stage. It can make or break a digital marketing CV. While it’s easy to assume that you didn’t make any errors, it never hurts to go back and scan your CV for any potential mistakes.

If you’re applying for a digital marketing position that is content heavy, just about the worst thing you can do is have simple syntax errors. These blunders will make recruiters think you’re inattentive when creating content, and they will ruin an otherwise well-done CV.

Avoid simple mistakes by proofreading. For a good guide to proofreading, check out Darla Phanklong’s post on CV-Library.

Watch out for spelling and grammar errors. Another good way to check your CV is to run it through Grammarly.

Quick Tip: Grab a friend to read over your CV. Sometimes, having a fresh pair of eyes helps catch any mistakes you may have made.

Conclusion

If you follow all of these tips, your digital marketing CV will be more readable and reflective of your skills. Now all you need to do is click that submit button. 

Let’s hope it’s your first step to that coveted personal interview in which you can really persuade your audience that you’re the best candidate for the job. Good luck! 


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

6 Ways to Clean Out Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The digital marketing world is always evolving, and you're always executing your strategy. This is especially true in Hong Kong, one of the most fast-paced cities in the world. You're getting inspired by new campaigns, making last-minute changes, and receiving feedback from your customers that has you tweaking each post, video, and email. The result might be a disorganised, unfocused mess.

Is it hard to see the big picture of your digital marketing strategy? That's no good because the best plans are focused on the goals and metrics that matter most to your company. Further, the best strategies are unified across platforms and create a stable brand that your customers can connect with.

It's time to pull a Marie Kondo - do a little cleaning. Just as you'd clean out your closet, you can clean out your digital marketing strategy. In the end, you’ll have a more agile marketing department that has a clear vision to propel your company forward. Here’s how:

1. Focus on Your Key Metrics

Your digital marketing strategy has to be guided by your goals and the key metrics that reflect them. A company’s goals are changing all of the time, so chances are your goals have changed since the last time you cleaned out your digital strategy.

Collect all of your goals and key metrics in one place, so you get a sense of the overall accomplishments you’re looking for in the next year. When possible, avoid vanity metrics like Instagram followers, unless you can show that they are closely related to achieving what actually matters to your business—like conversions.

When you’re reflecting on your business goals, throw out digital marketing goals that don’t advance the business, and create new goals that do. Get as specific as you can. “Grow our Facebook audience as much as possible” or “become a trusted source on industry topics” are both too broad. Build specific goals by reflecting on past performances. If last year you gained a thousand new email sign-ups, aim to double that.

Starting with a new platform or business that doesn’t have a past performance you can build on? Check out what your competition is doing to help you create long-term goals.

Also, be sure to include realistic timelines with your goals. If the goal is huge, like “create ten cornerstone content blog posts,” try breaking the goal up into smaller pieces so that you can track your progress over the next year. Include those dates and smaller goals in your content calendar. That way, if you slip behind, you’ll notice faster, and you’ll have a chance to catch up.

2. Collect All of Your Digital Strategies

Now that you know what you should be aiming for, you need to reflect on which tools you’re using, and if they are still advancing your goals. Create a list of the strategies and platforms you’re using to spread your digital marketing message, including:

Broader digital media strategies may include multiple blogs, social media channels, and more. It's important to evaluate the ROI you get for each. Have your SEO efforts gained you any 1st place keywords, and if not, why not? Have your Instagram efforts resulted in sales? When you’re cleaning, it’s a good time to invest in market research to better evaluate your efforts; you are even better off studying a good digital marketing course to learn how to use the various tools in better and more efficient way.

3. Check Each Strategy Against Your Goals

Many digital marketing strategies are easy to evaluate. Either your emails are being opened more often, and readers are following links back to your site, or they aren’t. Either you’re ranking higher for select keywords, or you’ve lost ground. You might be surprised at how your strategies have been performing, but at least now you’re informed and know where you should invest more.

On the other hand, your social media presence is notoriously hard to evaluate. Getting more likes on Facebook doesn’t necessarily translate to sales or even clicks back to your website.

So how do you analyse your performance on social media?

  • Reach: You always want your posts to reach your target audience, so expanding reach is a good sign that you’re moving in the right direction.

  • Clicks: Many people respond to Twitter posts or comment on Facebook without ever visiting your website or engaging with your brand off the platform, so it's essential to track clicks more than likes or even shares.

  • Emotional reaction: On Facebook, it’s simple to assess how your followers feel about your post because they can sort themselves by emotion by clicking "angry" or "wow." On other platforms, the ratio between comments and shares might be more helpful. A lot of comments and few shares is, generally, bad news.

4. Check Each Platform or Strategy for Change

Cleaning always has to focus on the new. With social media and other forms of digital marketing, keeping up with trends is absolutely essential.

Here are a few ways to gauge how things have changed online:

  • Has your audience moved? Social media platforms fall in and out of favour. Newcomers might present you an opportunity to beat your competition. Falling rates of engagement might mean you should reduce your investment, in both time and dollars, on the platform. For example, Facebook may be reducing your ability to reach your audience.

  • Are you pursuing video content? For 2019, video content should be a central focus in most digital marketing strategies. Did you know that 1200% more shares are generated by social videos than images and text combined?

  • Have you personalised your approach? Salesforce research has demonstrated that 73 percent of customers want a more personalised experience online. There are many opportunities for personalisation in digital marketing, from segmenting your email marketing efforts to hosting more targeting Webinars for specific segments.

  • Is your strategy mobile? Going mobile isn’t just for websites. You need to make sure that every aspect of your digital marketing is easily accessed on a mobile device, from email to webinars.

5. Check Your Competition

After a bit of cleaning in your digital marketing strategy, you may have cut several areas. Now you have free resources, in time and money that you can reinvest elsewhere. It might be the right time to start a new strategy you’ve always wanted to try. Or, it might be the right time to check in on your competition and see if they are investing somewhere you aren’t.

Start with just your top three competitors. Check out their website to find where they are active in social media and which other digital media strategies they are using. You can read through their social posts and emails yourself, but you’ll get more information if you use a competitive analysis tool.

You might consider:

Of course, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can hire a professional competitor analysis company to can help you identify new opportunities and strategise about how to make your brand stand out, in voice and content.

Don’t make the mistake of simply moving your digital marketing strategy to match your competitors. If you only do what they are already doing well, you’ll always be behind. Instead, look for blind spots they might have. Also, invest in strategies where you think you stand a chance of surpassing your competition, not where you might just catch up.

6. Create a Calendar

Cleaning doesn’t last for long—neither in your home nor in your digital marketing toolbox—unless you implement some organisation. The best way to keep your digital marketing running well through the year is to have a robust, master calendar.

Too many of us have a separate calendar for each platform, plus one for our blogs, and another for our email marketing. If so, it’s hard to see the full picture. Remember, many of your customers are interacting with you through two or more of these channels, so they need to be synchronised and unified. You want to reach out to your customers frequently, but you don’t want to send them the same message several times a day.

Your master calendar should show you the publishing schedule for multiple platforms, and it should point to the key goals each effort is meant to target. In a way, your calendar is more like a brief guide that you can use to refresh your mind; something to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish. This will facilitate your goal of re-evaluating your digital marketing on a daily basis.

Repeat This Digital Marketing Cleaning Next Year

Cleaning for your digital marketing strategy will help you stay on top of your goals and the latest changes in the digital marketing world if you do it routinely. 

You may be able to get away with re-evaluating your content marketing strategy yearly, but other aspects of digital marketing, like SEO, change much more frequently. It's best to run through these steps every few months, so you know if your digital marketing strategies are working and optimised. If you are in Hong Kong, you also have a chance to hone your skills by learning from the industry experts by taking our certificated course.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute