Web Analytics
Why upgrade ExpressionEngine to the latest version? (now EE6!)

Why upgrade ExpressionEngine to the latest version? (now EE6!)

Short answer? It pays to upgrade often.

Long answer…let’s dive into why it’s important to upgrade ExpressionEngine (EE).

But first, story time!

I have a client that had an EE1 site that was built somewhere around 2005 – those early days of EE. In internet, this website is a senior citizen. But it was chugging along just fine until the Fall of 2020 (what a year!) when their hosting company said the could no longer support a version of software (PHP) that EE1 needed to run.

So one day their site stopped working.

Frantic emails and calls later, I informed them of the hosting situation and after searching through their emails, they found multiple notifications from their hosting provider warning them of this change. They just didn’t know it would effect their site.

Thankfully, I managed to get their site back online temporarily while we made a plan to upgrade. But it was really temporary. We had about two weeks before it would die again.

We put together a plan to get them to EE2. This was the biggest hurdle and with a site that old with thousands of pages of content, it was going to be a big job. When EE2 came out, a little (big) thing happened where the entire piece of software was rewritten and a ton of add-ons were not converted to work with EE2. Add on to that, it’s not 10+ years since EE2 came out, so some of those converted add-ons were no longer available online anymore because the developers had moved on (thankfully I’m a bit of a digital hoarder and have a lot of old stuff stashed away on multiple external drives).

Long story short, there was a happy ending in that we were able to upgrade and their site is working great. Howeverif they had upgraded when EE2 came out, they would have saved a lot of money and a lot of stress and a lot of downtime. I’ll be telling this story to other clients for years to come.

expressionengine upgrade

So let’s dive into why you should upgrade, now!

Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to ExpressionEngine 6

Better performance

That which we ignore is not optimal. And that goes for our websites.

An upgraded version of EE will give your site much better performance in the latest browsers. Chances are some of your templates will need to be updated to reflect either the removal of addons or resource-intensive code that has been replaced with core functionality. Both of which will increase the performance of your site.

And let’s not forget that Google loves a speedy site, so better performance can help you rank better as well.

Enhanced security

Using any old or outdated software poses risks to the security of the site. Especially software that is completely retired and not receiving any updates (security included and a biggie).

And security threats are not going away anytime soon and as they become more sophisticated, it leaves your site open to vulnerabilities.

On top of that, users (and google) are demanding a more secure web experience and the last thing you want is for your site to flagged as dangerous in search and/or have one of your users (or multiple) experience any sort of breach of their information (especially if you’re running a site with members or e-commerce).

Updated control panel

Some of the really old versions of EE were clunky. I still loved it but it wasn’t what we are now used to seeing on the web. The latest version (EE6) is completely redesigned and streamlined.

If you are on EE2 or EE1 (and I know some of you who are), as of EE3 the control panel is responsive, making editing on mobile so much easier. And we see an even bigger improvement in EE6.

Also as of EE4, there are a number of features that were only available previouly with add-ons and now they are part of the core system (hello split-screen preview, I’m looking at you!).

Go from EE2 to EE6

Previously, when upgrading ExpressionEngine, your site had to upgrade to each individual version.

That meant EE1 -> EE2 -> EE3 -> EE4 and so on. Now, if your site is on EE2 (or higher) you can skip ahead and go right to EE6!

Now, this might not seem like a big deal to you but for us, that means it will take much less time to upgrade sites and therefore we don’t have to charge nearly as much money or spend as much time doing upgrades. This means we can take on more of them and deliver them in less time, which is the kind of work I love to do.

GDPR privacy & consent made easy

If you don’t know what GDPR is, you can read more about it here.

Briefly, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is legislation that updated and unified data privacy laws across the European Union (EU) in 2018. The law protects Europeans with regards to the processing of their personal data, as well as laying down the rules relating to the free movement of personal data.

AND, even if your website is based in the US, it still matters.

Plus, it’s likely the US may implement something similar in the future.

Starting with EE5, built into the core of EE are consent and privacy tools that make implementing cookie consent, and GDPR compliance much easier. There’s an audit log to show consents that have been granted or withdrawn, as well as cookie management for those pesky cookie popups you see on almost every site now.

Cookie consents and GDPR arent going anywhere, so the sooner your site is in compliance the better and now EE makes that process much smoother.

When should you schedule that upgrade?

My recommendation would be sooner rather than later, especially if your site is still running EE1 or EE2 (and no shame for that here, we get it and we work with a lot of clients who are still using those versions).

At the end of the day, getting your site upgraded will save you money and stress. Like the story I started with, don’t wait. Save yourself the pain and loss of revenue by having a site that stops working one day because of a server update.

If you’re thinking about upgrading or have any questions about the process, email me or give me a call!

How To Increase Website Traffic With Pinterest

How To Increase Website Traffic With Pinterest

What drives Pinterest Traffic - How To Increase Website Traffic With Pinterest Blog post - Emtwo Digital
How To Increase Website Traffic With Pinterest: What drives Pinterest Traffic? – EmTwo

Are you on a journey to get more website traffic for your company? Chances are, you’ve already read a bunch of blogs and articles on the best ways to increase your website traffic.

You’ve probably invested a whole load of time (and money) into SEO, content marketing, Google Ads, Instagram, Facebook, and so much more. 

But have you ever considered using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website?

If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Only 27% of marketers use Pinterest in their marketing efforts, but they’re seriously on to something. 

Pinterest is a place where users fill their profiles with mood boards, ideas, and inspiration. But there’s a lot more to Pinterest than the best way to bake a loaf of banana bread. 

Pinterest wants to help you send traffic to your website. 

You heard us right.

Pinterest can be used to inspire and encourage your audience to get out there and commit.

90% of people on Pinterest get ideas on what to buy and what to do by looking at the ‘pins’ on the platform. 

98% of searches on Pinterest are also unbranded meaning users haven’t quite decided what they want to buy or commit to yet. This means you have an excellent chance of being discovered and with 265 million people making the rounds every month on Pinterest you’re bound to get a decent amount of traffic. 

If you want to improve your website traffic then take a look at how you can use Pinterest to your advantage. Here are 5 ways you can drive more organic traffic to your website by using Pinterest. 

Design your pins to attract more traffic

The first thing you should try to concentrate on when it comes to driving more traffic to your site with Pinterest is to design your pins so they attract more traffic. 

Now we know you might not be familiar with how Pinterest works or how you should go about designing pins for your account. 

If you want your pins to drive traffic to your business then you should focus on:

  • Discovery
  • Awareness
  • Email signups
  • Online sales

Focusing on these elements will help you get your audience from Pinterest to your website – which is exactly what you want. 

The best way to get people invested in your pins is to design one that resonates emotionally with them. An emotional connection with your brand will not only improve awareness, but visitors will be more likely to sign up for your email campaign or consider making a purchase with you. 

There’s always going to be a certain element of creativity to successful pins. People are attracted to things that look good. If your pins look half-assed and unloved then they’re going to presume your company is the same. 

Traffic-driving pins usually include these creative elements:

  • Logo placement is tasteful and fits in with the rest of the pin
  • Clear use of text
  • Bold text for important information
  • Eye-catching visuals
  • Clear display of unique features
  • The product or service as the main aspect of the pin 
  • Clearly shows how to use your product or service
  • Vertical format

Believe in the power of keywords

The power of keywords should never be underestimated and on Pinterest, they’re just as powerful as images. Pinterest reads text on your image and determines how to position your pin in related searches. 

Pinterest also looks for keywords on:

  • Board titles
  • Board descriptions
  • Pin descriptions
  • Metadata on any linked content 

But, you do have to think a little differently on Pinterest compared to Google. 

With Google, people are going to be ready to act right away. They’re purposely looking for new products or searching for a service. 

With Pinterest, people are window shopping. For example, instead of using a keyword like ‘oak kitchen dining table’ use something along the lines of ‘dining table inspiration’. People might not have decided on specifics yet and might want to browse through their options. 

On Pinterest, you can also use keywords as hashtags in your descriptions. Hashtags are a great way to help new content get to the surface quickly so always include a couple in the description of your pin. 

Increase your repins & engagement

If you want to rank number one for certain keywords then repins are what you should start focusing on. Repins are basically where people save/share ‘repin’ your content. The number of repins you get in a specific time period really impacts the search results on Pinterest. 

For example, a pin that gets 100 repins in two days is more likely to rank higher than one that receives 100 repins in 10 days. 

Some other things that influence the search results on Pinterest include:

  • Who the repinners are
  • Click-through rates

If the people who repin your pins are active on Pinterest then your pins will rank higher than ones that have been repinned by non-active users. 

The more engagement your pins get, the higher the chance your pins will show up in multiple interest feeds. So for example, if you name your board ‘Marketing Tips’ and one of the pins gets 200 repins in a short time period then your pin might show up on the interest feed for marketing tips or other related interest feeds.  

Apply for rich pins

Rich pins are pins that contain extra information that help pins stand out on Pinterest. 

Rich pins can be used for:

  • Articles
  • Recipes
  • Places
  • Apps
  • Movies
  • Recipes

One benefit of using rich pins for articles is that when somebody clicks on the pin and scrolls down to the description area the meta description of the blog post appears first. 

Unlike a regular pin where somebody who repins it can change the description, the meta description area of a rich pin for an article will always stay the same and can’t be changed. 

This is an amazing benefit for you when trying to attract more traffic to your website. It means that people will always have a link to your blog regardless of who repins it. 

If you’re using rich pins for your products then you’ll also be able to benefit hugely. One of the benefits is that pins will show the price of your product. This will help filter high-quality traffic to your website. 

If you want to use rich pins you’ll have to do a bit of work to get validated on Pinterest. You can find the full guide on how to get rich pins on Pinterest. 

Try to pin consistently

One of the things we love about Pinterest is that unlike Facebook and Instagram pins have a long lifetime for clicks. When you’re providing your users with evergreen content this is incredibly handy. However, when you want to increase traffic to your website then you should try to pin as consistently as possible. 

Try to pin at least once a day and we’d suggest pinning about 10 pins each day. Try to pin a mixture of pins too. Some leading back to your website and others to helpful resources. 

Pinterest also rewards people who pin consistently instead of in big batches so be sure to keep up your pinning routine.

BONUS TIP! Choose warm colors and readable fonts for your graphics

Pinterest is a visual platform so the design of your pins matter.

Use warm tones (red, pink, orange, yellow) or cool tones to stand out.

  • 50% Saturated Images get 10x more re-pins
  • Vertical images get 60% more re-pins
  • Medium-light images get 20x more repins than dark ones

Also, for any text that contains keywords, use non-script fonts, because Pinterest visual search can’t read script fonts!

If you’re not using Pinterest to help build traffic yet then you’re missing out on a great opportunity. 

By unlocking your inner pinning champion, you’ll be able to increase your web traffic significantly. 
If you’d like some help sorting out your new Pinterest lifestyle then get in contact with our team today. We’d love to help you improve your business and take full advantage of the marketing wonder that is Pinterest.

7 Lead Magnet Ideas For Small Businesses

7 Lead Magnet Ideas For Small Businesses

7 Lead Magnet Ideas for Small Business - Emtwo Digital
7 Lead Magnet Ideas for Small Businesses: Start reaching more of your ideal clients today with these lead magnet ideas – EmTwo

Getting the attention you want online can be a real challenge. Everybody’s fighting for attention and everybody’s competing for more customers. 

With the number of people rushing online to do business, especially thanks to Covid, the online market is even more crowded. It can be difficult to secure customers for your business especially if people aren’t staying on your website long enough. 

On average, visitors are only staying on websites for around 15 seconds. Most of them might never come back – which means you’ve lost out on a customer. 

This is hard to hear and it hurts a lot, especially if you’ve spent a lot of resources trying to build up your website traffic. 

It’s such a waste of all your hard work if most of your visitors disengage from your site without contacting you. So, how can you stop them from clicking that big red x in their browser without getting in touch? 

A lot of small businesses can focus on list building. Building up an email list of potential customers is an excellent way to get your business more sales. A strong email list is the ideal tool for promotion! 

If you’ve already got newsletter sign-ups on your website but your visitors are still leaving after 15 seconds, then you’re not building your email list effectively. 

The best way to build an email list for a small business is with high-quality lead magnets (also known as content upgrades). 

Today we’re going to go through what lead magnets are, why you need them, and what makes a good lead magnet. We’ll also show you 7 examples of great lead magnet ideas for small businesses. 

By the time you’re finished absorbing this blog post, you’ll be an expert in building email lists and delivering high-quality lead magnets. 

What is a lead magnet? What’s a content upgrade?

A lead magnet is a download that you offer to help promote your products or services to potential customers. You offer them something valuable in exchange for their email and their name and sometimes a phone number too. 

If you want to be successful at converting customers online, building a strong email list is key. 

To build an effective email list of potential customers, you’ll have to have a valuable lead magnet ready to go. 

How does a lead magnet work?

Lead magnets are a key tool for small businesses online, and they can really help your business grow and expand online. They’re an essential step in improving your email marketing strategy and getting more high-quality leads to your company. 

Lead magnets are literally a magnet for customers because they’re promising to deliver helpful insight, solutions, tools or frameworks to solve a problem your target audience is facing. 

Lead magnets aren’t about tricking your potential customers into handing over their email. They’re about creating something uniquely valuable so they’re happy to exchange their email for this helpful information. 

What makes a good lead magnet?

The content of a lead magnet should accurately, positively reflect your company’s best work, advice, and solutions. 

At the heart of it, a lead magnet is a sales tool. 

It’s there to showcase what you can do, what you can offer, and why your prospect should work with you. 

You won’t be able to make a decent lead magnet if you hold on to your best material. You should be giving away your high-quality content to show your potential clients that you’re not only an expert in your niche but you’re eager to share your knowledge with them. 

Your lead magnet has to offer something incredible, packed with value, and something that has the stuff to make your prospect feel like they’ve benefited. 

The best way to make sure you’ve got everything right with your lead magnet is to follow this 6 point checklist:

Make sure it’s presented beautifully

You can get a professional to help make your lead magnet look amazing if you’re not quite sure how to do it yourself. Make sure it’s built to a high standard, so it looks professional and makes your audience think “wow I really lucked out getting this valuable piece of content!”

Check that it’s got actionable items in it

Make your lead magnet actionable by giving your users easy-to-follow steps. If they can achieve something or gain something beneficial from downloading or taking part in your lead magnet then they’ll be more likely to do business with you later on knowing you’re an expert that helps them create real change in their business. 

Keep it simple

I know we said that it has to be full of valuable information but this doesn’t mean this information can’t be presented in a simple way. Make sure it’s easy for your potential client to understand. Get rid of any industry jargon and focus on helping your potential client instead. 

Give them instant results

Giving your potential client an instant win is an assured way to get into their good books. By giving them results straight away they’ll never forget you or your company. This might sound difficult, but you can offer things like free templates they can use to streamline their working processes, or free guides they can use to sell their services to their clients. 

Nurture the relationship 

After your site’s visitor has finished reading your lead magnet, steer them into some of your other content. Always be offering up more helpful pieces of content, with the ultimate goal of converting them either into a sale, or a consultation. 

For example, if your lead magnet was a how-to guide then send them follow up emails with links to any other relevant blogs, videos, webinars you’ve created that gives them more information about the guide’s subject.  

Make it share-worthy

Your lead magnet should be so interesting, so informative, and so exciting that the recipient wants to tell everybody about it immediately. Make it worth sharing, and you’ll get plenty of brand exposure as a result.

7 lead magnets for small businesses

1. Checklist

A checklist is an awesome idea for a lead magnet. You can create a neat, professional-looking checklist in the form of a PDF to send out to your potential clients. 

These are helpful lead magnets that your customers will love to have on hand. 

No matter what your niche is, find something you can turn into a checklist that will benefit your audience. 

You get some bonus points if your checklist is printable so your clients can physically tick off what they’ve completed. 

2. How-to guide

People go on the internet looking for solutions to their problems. If you can come up with a how-to-guide that appeals to the problems your audience is facing then you’ve hit the jackpot!

3. Webinar

If you hosted a webinar, or are hosting a webinar, you can give out free tickets or free access to the recording as a lead magnet. 

Webinars are seen as valuable sources of information so your potential clients will jump at the chance to gain access. Plus your webinar will show them that you’re a true expert in your niche. 

4. White paper

Writing long-form content is the perfect way to show off all your industry knowledge. Give your subscribers access to an exclusive white paper that’s chock full of valuable content. 

5. Cheat Sheet

If you’ve written a complex blog post, having a cheat sheet is a great way to help your clients revise what you talked about. Your cheat sheet could be as simple as a glossary of terms or a list of the key points. 

6. eBook

eBooks are a fantastic way to get people to sign up for your newsletter especially if they’re full of valuable and exciting content. 

Find out what topic is of interest in your niche at the moment and put together a short eBook to offer to your clients. 

7. Templates

A great lead magnet idea you can try for your small business is templates. Templates are extremely handy for people to download as they make their life easier. 

You could come up with the perfect template for something in your niche. For example, you could create a template for a Facebook Ad, a month worth of social posts, a financial planner, or something niche-specific. 

A lead magnet is a great conversation starter for casual visitors to your website, and a great way of encouraging communication over days, weeks, or months until you can convince them to convert. 

We hope our guide on lead magnets has given you some ideas on how you can streamline your email list building. 

If you want some extra help optimizing your lead magnets then get in touch today, we’d love to help you out. 

Value Ladders: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Value Ladders: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could instantly increase our company’s takings by 10%, 50%, or even 100%? 

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you some too-good-to-be-true service – there is a way to increase the value of every one of your sales, and you don’t have to pay some online ‘guru’ to help you do it. 

So, what is this not-so-secret way to increase your company’s financial success? Value ladders. 

If you implement a carefully-crafted value ladder to the services you provide your clients, you’ll be able to get serious results for your business. You’ll increase the value of every sale you complete – which means more money and less stress in the long term. 

Sounds too good to be true? Well buckle up, we’re going to tell you exactly what a value ladder is, what one can do for your business, and how you can start mapping out your own today. 

Let’s get started.

Value Ladders 101 Graphic - Emtwo

What is a value ladder?

A value ladder is essentially a method of visually mapping out your products or your services in ascending order of price and value. 

It’s the perfect tool to help you cater to all of your clients’ needs no matter where they’re at.

Value ladders aim at getting potential clients into your sales funnel and nurturing them long-term to become repeat customers. 

At the bottom of your value ladder, there’s free content that your potential clients can download and access in exchange for their contact information, usually their email – otherwise known as a ‘lead magnet’. 

As these clients ascend your value ladder, they’re met with other offers. These options gradually increase in price as they go up – but they also increase in value. This increase in value makes your company and its products or services more appealing to your potential clients. 

Essentially, the value ladder  takes interested prospects on a buying journey until they’re ready to purchase your premium product or service package. 

A value ladder is an incredibly effective way to increase the trust between you and your clients while maximizing the lifetime value of each client.

Why your business should be using a value ladder

It can be difficult to get people to buy from you straight away. People buy from companies they like and trust – which takes time.

There isn’t a magic word you can use to get your potential clients to hand over their money instantly, but you can use a value ladder to help guide them along. 

If you use a value ladder you can meet people at whatever stage they’re at in the decision-making process. Whether they’re almost ready to commit to buying your product or they’ve only just discovered your business, a value ladder will help you connect with them and give them what they need at the stage they’re in. 

Your value ladder leads them to eventually buy your top product or service by offering them smaller alternatives at lower prices in the beginning of their interactions with your company.

Free Value Ladder Worksheet by Emtwo

How does a value ladder work?

Value ladders essentially work on three premises.

1. Uses customer psychology and increases retention

This is one of the benefits that makes value ladders so important. Everybody knows that as soon as a person makes a purchase from you, no matter how small, they’re more likely to purchase from you again. 

It’s a lot less expensive (and labor intensive) to sell to an already-existing customer than it is to get a new one which is why using a value ladder is so helpful. 

If somebody is interested in your product or your service but they’re not quite sold or they don’t have enough to be at a stage where they can buy your premium offer then all you have to do is show them the lower ticket offer. 

By giving them this lower, sometimes free, offer you can get access to their contact details and pitch them upgrades that:

  • Solves their problems
  • Gives them an easy-to-understand outcome
  • Is priced according to the value of the outcome
  • Builds on the trust you’ve established as the expert

2. Upsells service offerings

As soon as you’ve got all the steps (or rungs) on your value ladder ready you’ll be able to upsell along the clients’ journey. For example, if your client starts out with your low-priced offer you can try to upsell them to the next stage. Then after they bite this offer you can introduce them to the one higher than that and so on. 

You can also experiment with the order. Your potential clients don’t necessarily have to go through each step. You could hold a webinar, which would be a low-priced offer, and after that send them an email enticing them to go for your highest offer. If they enjoyed the webinar and felt you provided them with valuable information then they’ll probably jump at the chance to check out what your premium content is like.

3. Extends the lifetime value of a customer

By incorporating different values into your lineup you’ll be able to extend the lifetime value of a customer. 

The introductory or lower-priced offer sets your customer up and hooks them into your business. By exposing them to your stream of higher offers you can keep them interested and increase the length of time they stay with your company as a loyal customer. 

How to create a value ladder

To get your value ladder up and running, you’re going to want to come up with four offers – each building on the last.

1. Free offer

The purpose of your free offer is to generate leads and get people interested in your company. With free offers, you’ll be able to demonstrate your expertise and show your potential clients how you can solve their problems. 

Your free offer has to be something that is valuable to your potential clients otherwise they won’t be interested. Remember that just because it’s free doesn’t mean it can’t have value.

Examples of free offers you can use are:

  • Downloadable content
  • Free ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Introductory courses

This free offer might get people to your website but that doesn’t mean they’re going to want to commit straight away. It might take a good few interactions with your company to get them to invest in what you’re selling.

2. Intro offer

This is the lowest price of the paid options that your company has to offer. It should solve a problem that your audience has – and offers a bit more value than your free offer. 

You’re still nurturing trust with your audience so your intro offer should be valuable and it should solve a specific problem that your client has. 

Some examples of intro offers are:

  • Paid workshops
  • Paid webinars
  • A mini-course

Your intro offer isn’t designed so you can make a lot of profit but more so to quickly turn a visitor into a paying customer, so you can encourage them to move onto higher offers later on. 

Free Value Ladder Worksheet by Emtwo

3. Lead offer

Your lead offer will cost more for your customers but it will have much greater value. These are all designed to be profitable and your lead offer should completely wow your clients. 

Try to focus your lead offer on a specific outcome to show your clients that they’ll be able to achieve something important to them. This offer needs to solve problems – and shouldn’t create any issues. 

For example, you shouldn’t offer an audit at this stage, as it’ll only bring up issues for the client. Instead, offer them a road-mapping session to help them see what their opportunities are.

Some other examples of lead offers are:

  • A playbook
  • Road-mapping sessions
  • Digital marketing strategy
  • A full course
  • A consultation session

4. Core offer

This is the offer that solves all your customers’ problems. You pull out all the stops to make sure that you and your business can solve your clients’ problems with this offer.

You should price your core offer based on the value or the perceived value of the outcome. So in this regard, the sky’s the limit. Depending on what services you offer depends on how much your core offer is going to cost. 

Some examples of a core offer could be:

  • 1-on-1 services 
  • Full courses with multiple modules
  • Detailed strategies for business success

Getting your value ladder set up and organized can be a bit daunting, but luckily for you our expert team is here to help you figure it all out.

So, if you’d like help figuring out your value ladder and how best to attract and serve your customers, get in touch today!

How To Plan & Prep Your Small Business For Success in 2021

How To Plan & Prep Your Small Business For Success in 2021

2021 is here and if you’re like us, you have no idea where the last year went. The time has flown by and although 2020 has been quite a tough year it doesn’t mean we can take a break. Only 50% of small businesses have a marketing strategy in place for 2021 and that has to change! So let’s start your 2021 strategy planning today!

Now’s the time to start planning and prepping for the year to come. It’s time to make 2021 an unforgettable year for your business (for all the right reasons)! 

It’s time to set yourself some achievable goals, make a clear plan for your online content, and stick to your plan for success throughout the year. 

So, let’s take a look at how you can prepare and plan ahead for 2021. 

2021 Strategy Planning

How to set SMART goals for 2021 Strategy Planning

Hold up, first things first – what are SMART goals?

SMART goals are the key to your success in the year ahead.

They’re goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Setting SMART goals will help you stay motivated and achieve your business goals in 2021 – and let’s be honest we could all use help after 2020. 

Create specific goals

Having goals are great, but try to stay specific when coming up with what you want to achieve in 2021. Your goals should be fleshed out enough that you know exactly what it is you want to achieve when thinking about them. 

It’s easier to achieve something that’s specific than something that’s vague, here are a couple of examples:

  • ‘Make my website better’ is vague – ‘update my website with a lead funnel and email campaign to increase my conversions by 50%’ is specific.
  • ‘Update my LinkedIn profile’ is vague – ‘Add an optimized bio, add past portfolio pieces, and update my work history’ is specific. 

Don’t forget to take into account social distancing, travel bans, or event-cancellations in your goals. 

We might have been surprised in 2020, but now that we know about the possible restrictions we can come to the table better prepared for 2021. 

Have measurable goals

If you don’t have an end point in mind for your goals, you won’t know how well you’re doing, what you’ve already achieved, or how much you have left to do. 

Try to track your progress using analytics and data collected throughout the year. For example, if you’d like to increase the number of visitors to your site by 30% this year then keep an eye on your Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting each month during 2021. 

If you’re not noticing much of a change then you’ll know your current marketing tactics aren’t working so it might be time to change it up a bit to hit those targets.

Make goals achievable & realistic 

We’ve put these together because you can’t have unrealistic achievable goals, and we’re pretty sure you can’t have realistic unachievable goals either! 

There’s no point in setting a goal for yourself and never being able to reach it. That’s just going to make you feel demoralized and unmotivated. 

The best way to figure out if your goal is achievable and realistic is to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you have the resources available to achieve this goal?
  • Does the goal fit with your financial plans?
  • Do you have the time available for this goal?
  • Does it match up with what you want to accomplish?
  • Is it relevant to the growth of your business?
  • Does it benefit your business?

If you’ve got a resounding yes, your goal looks good to go on this front!

Time-bound goals

The last part of creating a SMART goal is to make sure it has a time restriction. By setting a timed goal you’ll be more accountable which means your goal isn’t going to slip away from you and just become another lost dream or ‘to-do’ item. 

If that sounded a bit dramatic to you it’s because it was dramatic – don’t lose sight of your dreams! Or your goals for that matter, and add a definitive time frame to them so you’ll know when you need to complete them by. 

Start building your content calendar

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, content is king and to survive and thrive in 2021 you’re going to have to get ahead of the curve and start planning your content out for the next year.

By planning out your content in advance you’ll be able to make sure that you’re producing top quality content every week. This will keep your audience entertained and solidify your presence as an expert in your niche. 

Having a content strategy helps you:

  • Produce high-quality, relevant pieces of online content
  • Avoid rush posting and getting it wrong or making mistakes
  • Organize themed content to come out during holidays and celebrations
  • Create a schedule that you’ll be able to stick to
  • Write consistent content that keeps your audience entertained
  • Get to know your target audience better
  • Improve your brand’s reputation and reach
  • Improve your SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Make delivering content easier
  • Save time by creating content in batches, before it’s due to publish

When you’re planning your content be sure to write down the different topics you’re going to write about, potential blog titles, what times your content will be published at, and where you’re going to promote it. 

You should also take SMART goals into consideration when planning out your content for the year – your entire 2021 marketing strategy should be a cohesive machine. 

Think about new ways of working for 2021

Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 has seen an increase in working from home. This has caused a lot of business owners, just like you, to rethink the way they run their business. Continuing to work in the office and on-site is an advantage but it might be worth considering what is best for your business and your team. 

Has working from home been a positive experience for your business? 

Ask yourself whether you’ve benefited from your employees working at home or if it has had a negative effect on your workplace. 

Working from home is known to improve staff well-being and retention rates, plus it can decrease your company’s overheads. 

However, working from home might not work for some. If your staff members are less productive at home or don’t have the proper set-up to work comfortably at home, then you might have to accommodate them with an in-office space. 

Talk to your staff and make a plan of what to do regarding work in the future. With the likes of Slack, Zoom, and eCommerce platforms being so user friendly and widely available, your company has all the things it needs to thrive online. 

Don’t set it & forget it

The last important thing to remember when preparing and planning for 2021 is to follow your plan. There’s no point in developing an awesome plan for the year only to forget about it a couple of months in and go off track. 

Not following your plan means that you’re not going to be able to accomplish your goals. You might lose out on potential clients and you could end up falling behind your competitors. 

If you don’t want your competitors to get all the attention then be sure to stick to your 2021 plan!

The end of one year and beginning of a new one can be a stressful and panic-fuelled time of the year for any small business but don’t worry there are ways you can get organised and stay on track for the new year!

If you’d like help organizing your 2021 plan then get in touch today, we’d love to help you out