How to Question Your Way to Better Digital Marketing in 2013
Happy New Year, Innogagers! (Innogageans? Innogaginos? Never mind.) It’s a brand new year and a good a time as any to take a good look at your digital marketing strategy for 2013. Like many people, you may be making a slew of resolutions, both personal and professional, and maybe secretly preparing to let those resolutions slide in a few months…or weeks…or (gulp) days.
I have a love-hate relationship with resolutions. I love making lists and checking them off. It makes me feel organized, capable, and important. I hate, however, the feeling I get when I don’t check things off: chaotic, incompetent, and a bit like an impostor. (Maybe a bit more melodramatic than usual too.) I also hate how to-do lists can cover important and even enjoyable tasks with that nasty veneer of “have-to.” So far in the first week of 2013 I have dodged setting any concrete resolutions for my photography business and for Innogage, which kind of makes me feel like a guilty slacker. No fun.
So I was somewhat relieved and intrigued when Blogging 360, one of the nifty features of Innoblogs, dropped the article, I’m Not Resolving; I’m Reflecting, Reprioritizing, and Realigning in my mailbox. Author Adelaide Lancaster revisits some of her 2012 goals, many of which are not the type of “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” you’d expect from an entrepreneur and business writer. In explaining her resolution against resolutions, she refers to a previous post that really caught my attention: How to Use Questions Instead of Goals to Evaluate and Guide Your Business.
I love questions because, if asked well, they are inherently constructive rather than constrictive. A good question will, when answered, bring up more questions. Lancaster does just that, presenting 3 questions to ask about your business that look remarkably like the Innogage methodology.
- What new lessons did I learn this year? Maybe you tried content marketing and that didn’t work the way you expected. (This could be positive or negative.) Or an outpost that had been giving you lots of traffic became less effective. Or you observed a competitor jump way up in the SEO rankings while your business hung out on the second results page. Observe and report, as objectively as possible, the positive and negative changes in your business over the last year.
- What are my burning questions? Take this beyond, “Why didn’t this work and what should I do next?” Ask questions that can be answered with data or other metrics rather than just opinions. “Is my message getting out there?” is less useful than, “How many people subscribe to the newsletter? The Facebook page? The blog feed?” The latter question naturally leads to more burning questions: “How many of my subscribers are answering my call to action? How many subscribers are sharing the posts? Which posts are being shared? What do those posts have in common?” And so on.
- What changes would you like to see? Look for patterns and commonalities in your burning questions. What are some changes that would answer some of those questions? Put out your brainstorm bucket to catch any and all ideas; you can sort them later and prioritize which to implement first.
All this reflexive questioning made me think of my teaching days, when I would irritate students to no end by answering their questions with more questions. As I mentioned in my last post, teachers are natural content marketers, and we used this very same questioning strategy last month when we put together Innogage’s content marketing plan for this year. In my next post, I’ll continue where I left off sharing some content marketing tips borrowed from the classroom, focusing on–what do you think?–questioning.
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