One of the most peculiar things a marketer can say is to refer to optimization as a discrete event.
“We got that search engine optimization project done last year.”
“We optimized and cleaned our email list at the end of last quarter.”
“I’m looking to hire a consultant for a two month social marketing optimization process.”
These are all phrases I’ve heard this year. It’s astonishing that marketers believe any form of optimization is a one-and-done task. Optimization is never done. Your website should never stop getting better. True, once you’ve reached compliance on certain standards, there’s less work to do, but as long as you’re creating new content, your work is never done. The same is true for email, social media, direct marketing, call center scripts, etc.
If you believe that you’re done with optimization, your competitors are going to eat your lunch. Why? If you just do optimization tasks infrequently, chances are an algorithm out there somewhere will catch you by surprise. A competitor who is continually optimizing and learning will take advantage of the change, while you remain unaware of it for weeks or months. Only when you see the drop in your metrics in your reporting will you realize something’s gone wrong.
On the other hand, if you’re continually optimizing, if you’re continually learning and refining, then you may be the competitor everyone else fears. While many advantages are temporary, you swing from advantage to advantage like a digital marketing Tarzan, and your competitors never catch up.
How do you develop a culture of continuous optimization? Take a cue from your computer. In the background of all modern computers are silent optimization tasks that run daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Make a simple spreadsheet of all your marketing methods, and then categorize tasks by when you need to run them.
For example, one of my tasks weekly is cleaning and updating my Almost Timely newsletter list. I run this every Sunday night.
One of my monthly tasks is verifying that the number of pages on my blog matches the number of pages indexed in Webmaster Tools. Another monthly task is removing or fixing link errors that Webmaster Tools finds.
Make yourself a series of recurring tasks for optimizing your marketing, and then set calendar appointments to do them. Your marketing will never be out of date!
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