Start By Fixing Your Site

No point in putting a new coat of paint on a car with no engine. It still ain’t going anywhere.

Its been saying for years. Everyone has been saying this for years.

It seems that almost no one has actually done this yet.

I won’t even go over all the fine points of how to do this because they’ve been covered much better literally everywhere else on the internet but fix your page speed issues, site structure, canonicals, schema markup, image compression, 404s and everything that I bet is still wrong with your site from like two years ago.

Start Listening To Your Audience

Hotjar, SurveyMonkey, Social Media Polls, Social media listening, Quora, Mention, BuzzSumo, Email feedback, Customer Service calls, Suggestion boxes on your counter at your physical location.

With all the ways today to know exactly what customers are talking about in your industry and with your company, in particular, there is absolutely no reason on this planet that you shouldn’t know at all times the way the wind is blowing.

At this point, if you’re not giving your target audience exactly what they want when they want it, it’s not a question of you having no way to know what that is, it’s that you just don’t care enough, your staff doesn’t care, your staff cares but knows even if they told you, you wouldn’t do anything or you’re ridiculously understaffed.

These are all internal problems you need to fix because if you aren’t giving people what they want, your competition will.

Don’t try to sell crap you think people want to buy — to find out what people in your industry actually want to buy and sell that instead.

Start Making Better, Data-Driven Decisions

This ties in with the one above and it’s really just common sense to the point where it shouldn’t need to be said but it always does.

Look, if something didn’t sell in 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018, what makes you think it’s going to sell in 2019?

Marketing isn’t magic and you can’t market a punch in the face no matter how much money you throw at it. If the people are blatantly telling you ‘we don’t want this thing no matter how many times you show it to us!’ maybe its time to stop throwing good money after bad?

Why waste time, money, energy and effort on a dud? All that money you’re about to throw into yet another destined to fail marketing campaign for the Crapmaster 3000 could be better spent in R&D for a new product or figuring out what the audience wants so this doesn’t happen again?

Another thing not having proper data leads to is putting either too little or too much money behind campaigns for certain things. Why drop five grand on a week-long campaign for something that sells for five bucks? Do you think you’re gonna sell a thousand of these in a week? Even if you do, congrats, you just broke even so unless your goal was to just get those things out the door because you don’t want them in your warehouse anymore, what did you really just do?

And no, hoping the ‘word of mouth’ you built from the people who bought a thousand items isn’t a real goal. That’s a hope.

Look, it’s not hard: get historical baselines, define KPIs, plan strategies, track your campaigns and do a post-mortem on every single thing you do. This way you’ll have the data and know where your time and money are best spent.

Start Staffing Your Department & Treating Your Marketing Team Better

This one applies to every company out there because there’s always room for improvement.

For all you businesses out there with in-house guys, if you have just one person doing your SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, acting as a marketing manager and has to stop what their doing at least ten times per day to put out random fires on the marketing team that no one else knows how to put out, you need to hire this person an assistant before they burn out. It’s the same thing for agency guys who have like fifteen or twenty clients. I personally know someone who had — and I’m not making this up — forty-three SEO clients by himself. Needless to say, he quit that job the second he could.

Burn out in this industry is real and it happens to even the best of us.

All this is to say that you need to take care of your people. If you’re understaffed, overworked and letting other teams scapegoat your team when their ideas flop, you’re managing your department wrong and it will bite you in the end. Whether it’s turnover, miserable employees or just half-assed work from people who really don’t want to be there because they’re treated like garbage, it will affect your bottom line.

Do you think you’ll just fire them all and bring in people who ‘want to be there’? Good idea — until that crop realizes what a horrible situation your company is and then you’re back at square one.

Just do the right thing and take care of your people.

Also, if you’re not a manager, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Forget all this ‘hustle’, ‘grind’, ‘always on’ BS…if you’re burnt out and stretched to the point where you forgot how to be a human, take a vacation. I don’t care how understaffed your department is or how busy you are, if you need the time, take it. If you’d get fired for that, then make 2019 the year you get the hell out of that toxic ass workplace and find somewhere that values their employees.

The Bottom Line

It’s a brand new year so there’s no better time to make some changes to the way you do things.

Stop wasting time, money and energy in things that just don’t work anymore and focus on the things that do.

It’s not as hard as you’d think and most of it is just common sense.

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