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Exercise more. Eat healthier. Take control of your finances.

A New Year always signals the onslaught of personal resolutions (some kept, some quickly forgotten), but have you made the time to come up with some professional New Year’s resolutions?

The beginning of the year is the best time to reevaluate your business, set new goals, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s time to freshen up your blog, choose quality over quantity, and define success on social media.

Here are five digital marketing resolutions for 2016:

1. I will stop using social media without establishing clear goals

Many businesses fall into the trap of tweeting or posting on Facebook because everyone else is doing it. While it can look bad if you have no social media presence at all, you should only dedicate time and effort to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you have a clear strategy and objectives.

First, you don’t need to be on every single channel. Find where your ideal customers are and spend the most time there. Focus on one platform and build your presence. Then, once you’re comfortable with that, you can start building out other channels.

Secondly, make sure you have defined clear objectives for your social media activity. Do you want to drive website traffic? Find more leads on LinkedIn? Hundreds of “Likes” on a post is validating, but you need to tie it back to real metrics.

2. I will expand lead generation efforts

How are you attracting and capturing leads right now? If your answer is “blog” or “social media,” you need to revisit your strategy and add some heavy hitters to your game plan.

Successful lead generation efforts are all about “giving to get.” You can’t reasonably ask people to give you their email address when no relationship nor trust has been established. You first need to give them something — something to establish credibility and build a relationship.

Introduce an e-book, white paper, or webinar to your 2016 marketing plan. Create something so valuable and unique that people will be more than happy (even excited) to give you their email address to download it. They’ll view you as a trusted source of information and you’ll generate very targeted, already-interested leads.

Join us for a free webinar on January X where we’ll walk you through how to design this offer and use content to attract more business.

3. I will create and maintain a marketing calendar

How many times have you scrambled last minute to publish a blog post? Or forgot to tweet something out on time? Start the New Year off organized and ahead of the game with a marketing calendar.

A marketing calendar lets you see the big picture view of everything happening on your blog, social media and/or email campaigns. You’ll always know what you’re publishing next, you can plan around key dates, and you’ll always have enough time to prepare the imagery and copy for the different channels. You can also better align marketing initiatives and ensure that all your platforms are supporting the same goal.

Click here to get three calendar templates for free. While these templates were designed for social media, you can easily add more columns for blog or email.

4. I will invest more time in SEO-friendly content

SEO writing has come a long way from mentioning a certain keyword X amount of times. Google has gotten a lot smarter and as a result, it’s a lot harder to rank organically. But, the time and effort are incredibly worth it. You may spend ten hours writing an incredibly in-depth post, but it will end up generating hundreds (or thousands) of leads each month, for free.

In 2016, choose quality over quantity. Three blog posts every week will not generate the same amount of traffic or leads as one post written specifically with SEO in mind. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be an SEO mastermind to rank in Google. You just need to write a valuable, comprehensive post that answers people’s questions.

Learn the three steps to writing a post that ranks on the first page.

5. I will run at least two tests each month

Did you design your homepage and never look back? When’s the last time you tweaked your product page or blog?

It’s time to start regularly testing your web pages and increasing traffic and conversions. The beauty of running A/B tests is that you can reap big rewards for little changes. For example, run a test of your CTA buttons on your homepage. Perhaps one color will significantly outperform another, leading to more clicks and more customers. Or, test the placement of your social sharing buttons on your blog. Should you have icons for each platform? On top or on the side? What about a single “Share” button that expands? Finding the right format could move increase social shares and blog traffic.

Check out these seven A/B testing resources from Mashable.  

In 2016, don’t continue to tweet solely because of your competitors. Stop publishing thin, flimsy blog posts in hopes that you’ll someday rank in Google. And forget about the days where you were rushing to cobble together a social media or blog post.

Take charge of the New Year and start working on initiatives that will actually move the needle.

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