With 2019 fast approaching, it's time to start planning – there's a whole new year worth of clicks to bait and leads to generate. With that in mind, we've put together an entire calendar of marketing ideas for the year ahead.
New year, new you – and for many, that new them is dairy-free. January is full of awareness events, from Soup Month to Old Rock Day, but it's increasingly being taken over by Veganuary, where people try a vegan diet and lifestyle for a month. Why not join the conversation by letting everyone know that no area of your website or social media profiles were tested on animals?
Alternatively, you could kick off the year with some actual user testing. A month of heat map tracking on your website will give you some amazing insight on how it's actually used – which bits people are reading, and what they're clicking on.
Heat map tracking is an important part of refining your user journey, understanding what people are drawn to on your site and providing the right resources in the right places. Crazy Egg is a good place to start.
Valentine's Day! Easy one! Make something pink and throw in some corny romance references to your monthly newsletter. Maybe start a Twitter hashtag – just be wary of shortening Valentine's Day to its initials, as it might mean something unintended.
On the other hand, if you're going to show anything some love, maybe stick with your website. If you've had it for a few years, it could be feeling neglected – have a read of our blog on the lifespan of a website to see if it might be time for a makeover.
March is actually International Women's Day, which is far too important for a snarky joke. We'll go with an unrelated spring-cleaning theme instead – make 2019 the year you purge useless stuff from your digital marketing mix, whether it's auditing your email lists to better target your newsletters, or switching off the AdWords groups with lower conversion rates and trying something different.
April Fools day has long been a strange obsession of digital marketers hoping to get their clients some media coverage with a quick win from a silly online prank – it can be as simple as tweeting something out of character! Doesn't even matter if it's funny or believable.
Anyone who's worked in an agency environment for a while will no doubt have heard some truly terrible April Fools ideas over the years, and our marketing team are no different. As we tend to work with B2B companies, this sort of thing is doubly inappropriate – it just doesn't work.
But you know what does work for B2B companies, in our experience? AdWords. We've had great results for our clients all year round, so take a look at our introduction to PPC to learn more.
There's an awareness day on the 2nd of May called Password Day, a worldwide campaign to adopt two-factor authentication. It's actually a really worthwhile cause! No one wants to get hacked, so making sure your company's social media accounts, and any employees who post from personal accounts on the company's behalf, use this wherever possible is actually pretty sound advice.
A security audit of your website is also well worth carrying out regularly throughout the year – we generally use WordPress for our projects, so this would involve making sure the software versions of all the sites we manage are up to date, along with any plugins we've used.
June is National Smile Month. We've actually worked with a few dentistclients on web design and marketing projects over the years, so this is probably a good time to bring up the fact that, all joking aside, these random awareness events and trends can actually be very useful – when you get involved with them properly!
Keeping up with events in your industry and being part of the conversation around it is important – it can help improve your visibility on social and in search, and it establishes you as an active industry leader. Just make sure your activity is relevant, and doesn't look like you're just hopping on a bandwagon.
Summer actually starts in June, but let's face it, doesn't usually kick in in the UK until mid-July at the absolute earliest. It's also festival season – surely there's a way to get in on that?
Brands always try, and it's only occasionally relevant. Let's stick with the "new beginnings getting into full swing" theme and finally get moving with that website upgrade that you were thinking about back in February. We've put together a guide to writing a website brief to help – it's free to download, and will take you through the web brief process step by step, so take a look!
August 1st is World Wide Web Day, a day for celebrating web browsing and thinking back to the last time you actually used the term World Wide Web. Better yet, for a fun, seasonal twist, why not change all of the mentions of "online" or "internet" on your website to the Information Superhighway?
Or, for a less daft idea, spend World Wide Web Day focusing on Google, without whom the web would be a very different place. Even a simple SEO audit of your website will identify weaknesses in your search ranking potential – software such as Screaming Frog is a good place to start, as it will give you an at-a-glance overview of your site's metadata, page titles and headers.
September – December
Hopefully you're getting the idea, and we don't need to run through to the end of the year. September is actually an ideal time to start making plans for the coming year ahead. If you do think it's time for a new website to launch in the new year, then start looking around for someone to design it – if it's done right, it will be a fairly involved process, rather than a rush job.
As Q4 winds on, it's time to start planning your content plans for the year ahead. While it can a good idea to try and take advantage of some seasonal search spikes, new pages need to be in place in advance if they're going to be found.
Digital marketing and lead generation are processes that are ongoing, all year round. There are a lot of factors throughout the year that can influence them – but make sure you're focused on your goals, rather than chasing online trends.