The new year is upon us and with it comes, in many cases, a fresh perspective on how you can achieve the goals you’ve set for your brand(s) in 2023. Likely you’ve either already set your goals, or you’re beginning that process after the holiday season as you come back into the office – hopefully fresh from some time away with family and friends.
There are some things you can do to set yourself up to be successful in 2023 – and most of those have tracking & analytics at their core. With 2023 comes the sunsetting of Google Analytics 3 (or Universal Analytics) – as well as taking advantage of some new tools that can make your marketing tasks more efficient and your day-to-day strategies more streamlined.
Are you ready for GA4?
As much as most of us complain about the complications that arise from trying to learn and use GA4, it’s definitely important to get it set up and tracking as soon as you can – even if every filter, setting or report isn’t functioning as it does in your GA3 account – collecting that data is going to make all the difference when the sunset date hits in July 2023. At the very minimum, the basic setup should be in place and collecting data. For more training and details on setting up GA4, I recommend you follow Joe Hall, Dana DiTomaso, and Brie Anderson
Do you have UTM codes implemented in your Google Business Profile?
We’ve been talking about using UTM codes to divide your GBP traffic from your regular organic traffic for a while now. I just audited a multi-location hardware store chain that has an in-house marketing team… and no UTM codes on their GBP profiles. So we definitely need to keep talking about the need to use these codes to ensure you’re seeing the full picture when it comes to straight organic traffic vs. Google Business Profile traffic. I’m not going to tell you exactly how to do this, our friend Claire Carlile has already done this for us- all you need to do is follow her amazing directions.
Content Calendar? You Bet!
Having a plan for what content to share and when can alleviate a huge amount of stress and inefficiency around what to create, what to update, and what to share across your social platforms and email marketing. Even if you start with a rough spreadsheet of holidays, important dates in your industry, upcoming sale dates, conferences & other known dates – you have somewhere to begin when creating content. There are a variety of ways you can create and share your content calendar – but here are some basic steps to get yours off the ground for 2023:
- Determine your goals: Before you start creating your content calendar, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve with your website and social content. Do you want to increase traffic to your website, sell products, generate leads, or establish yourself as an expert in your field? Clearly defining your goals will help you create content that aligns with your objectives. If you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert, you’ll need to create a different type of content than if you’re looking to generate leads or sell products.
- Identify your target audience: Who are you trying to reach with your website or social content? Understanding your target audience will help you create content that resonates with them and meets their needs.
- Determine your content categories: Think about the types of content you want to publish. This could include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos in long or short formats, podcasts, or other creative content. We don’t limit ourselves to ONLY the written word when it comes to content creation for our calendars anymore. Visual content consumption will continue to rise in 2023 – don’t get left behind. Identify the categories that will be included in your content calendar, and consider how often you want to publish content in each category.
- Plan out your content topics: Once you have identified your content categories, start brainstorming specific topics that you want to cover. This is where you start looking at keyword research for specific pieces of content. What are potential clients or customers looking for, and what are they interested in? How do they prefer to consume content? What are the pain points around purchasing or consuming your content – how can you remove those barriers? Consider what your target audience is interested in, what your goals are, and what types of content will be most effective in achieving those goals.
- Schedule your content: Now that you have a list of content topics, it’s time to schedule them on your calendar. Consider the frequency with which you want to publish content and the resources you have available for creating and promoting your content. You may want to create a calendar that shows the specific topics you will cover each week or month. If you’re working with a team – leave a spot to assign responsibilities within each piece of content. Who is creating the script or text? Graphics? Videos? Podcast details, etc.
- Implement and review: Once you have your content calendar in place, it’s important to stick to it as closely as possible. This will help you stay consistent and ensure that you are regularly publishing new content on your website. Be sure to review your content calendar regularly and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you are meeting your goals and engaging your target audience. The calendar is a guideline – not a set-in-stone strategy. You may want to add topics such as current events, innovations, changes, or events like algorithm updates happen. You cannot anticipate those “hiccups” in January – but you can create space for them within your content calendar as a living and growing document.
Build In Time and Budget for Education
No matter how many years you have in this industry – every year we are given the opportunity to learn and implement new strategies and tactics. Building in the time and budget to learn and grow our skills is a no-brainer as we plan out our time and activities for 2023. Learning more can help us achieve our revenue, lead, or content creation goals. Every bit of time we use for education can lead to new skills and tactics that can be implemented across multiple types of platforms and content. We’re a tad biased here at LocalU – but if you can, attending our in-person LocalU Advanced in Dallas on April 26, 2023, is a slam dunk when it comes to access to the top minds in Local SEO and new tactics, strategies, and ideas to achieve your goals.
- Online Courses – While LocalU Currently does not have any online courses, there are a few reputable websites we recommend to our clients for ongoing continuing education or for new employees to hone their skills. The courses at BrightLocal Academy are top-tier and teach the basics of links, content, reviews, Google Business Profile management, and more.
- Local SEO Agency Training – If you’re looking for training for your entire team, the agency training courses from LocalU might fit the need. We offer 15 separate modules and you can pick and choose from one module all the way up to 15 modules. Training is conducted live by a Local SEO expert from Sterling Sky – your team is encouraged to ask questions, and a recording of each session is provided at the conclusion. We offer a discount for volume, so consider investing in enough training to cover all of 2023. We work hard to make sure materials are up to date and current – so you’re not paying for training that worked in 2021 – you’re paying for the most recent info.
- OnDemand Videos – We moved LocalU Online during the pandemic, and tentatively plan to keep doing at least one virtual event each year. While we have no current plans to offer videos of our in-person events, we do offer recordings of every virtual event back to March 2020. These videos include Q&A and allow you to stop and start your training as time allows. A great investment in education for your business or team.
Look for New Opportunities, They’re Everywhere!
We’re always on the lookout for new tools, features, and tactics that give our clients and readers the edge over their competition. Many of these new features are included in our Last Week in Local Podcast – which will be going to a live show in the new year and will feature a live Q&A component, every Monday at Noon Eastern. Some things we’re watching and implementing in 2023 include Google Discover feed optimization, an increase in video production and collateral for ourselves and our clients, featured snippet optimization, and integrating ChatGPT into our processes to make creating things like Schema Markup and quick HTML codes more efficient.
What are you planning on tackling in 2023? Are you making a commitment to clean up your old website content? Maybe you’re committing yourself to becoming your agency’s expert on GA4. We’d love to hear more about your goals for the upcoming year!
Obviously, there’s more to planning out your strategy for 2023 – but these steps will at least help you create and use a structure designed to help you meet goals and gain insights into your needs, wants, and requirements as you move into a new year of marketing your brand. Taking a look at exported Google Business Profile data can also help with determining your 2023 marketing plan as well. Need help? Follow LocalU for more tips, tricks and tactics that are designed to streamline your path to online marketing success