Orbit’s 2013 Marketing Plan
Barrett and Todd, my partner and CEO, challenged me to write up a marketing plan for the new year. I’ll be honest, I’d never done this before. It was plenty of work, but I’m glad I did it. I’m not sure it’s anything like a typical marketing plan. Lots of it was a recap of 2012 activity along with goals for 2013.
I’m sharing the highlights of that plan here, since some of our readers might find this useful. I encourage anyone who sees this to use any of it for their own 2013 plans.
Fortune and Glory
I wanted the plan to start with something that would motivate us, so I borrowed a quote from Indiana Jones: “Fortune and Glory.” The idea is to describe two concepts: increasing awareness (glory) and connecting this awareness to our business and financial goals (fortune). The order is backwards, since awareness comes before financial success, but who can argue with Indy?
Next, I wanted to connect the plan with our mission:
“Laser focus on service and results through high‐end creative production at a competitive price, offered by a mature company with a stellar reputation.”
It’s always good to remind yourself of your purpose.
The big picture plan is to create awareness, consideration and, ultimately, high-quality leads, all by maintaining high levels of activity. The activity happens in four ways:
- Our website
Next, I included a recap of 2012 activity, including traffic levels, conversion rates, leads, and some anecdotal quotes from people who have contacted us. This gave us a quantitative, but also qualitative, view of our place in the market.
No plan would be complete without the budget. Todd would have sent me back to the drawing board if I didn’t have the numbers!
Although we haven’t done a great job of tracking of all the time we put into marketing, we do know exactly how much we spend. The Orbit marketing budget is just under $50,000 per year. This goes to vendors, events, memberships, subscription to tools, and holiday gifts.
We believe in the power of content. Our plan for content included a summary of the topics and tone of our content. Our goal is to teach practical web marketing and web design tips, but also to comment on industry trends and give people a look behind the curtain at Orbit (which is exactly what this article is).
The goal of our content is to be useful and to be real. Specific goals are of course, lead generation, but also:
- Thought leadership / Credibility / Trust
- Drip Marketing / Networking
- Promote new offerings (such as responsive web design)
- Help clients get better results (inform / teach current clients)
- Traffic / Brand Building
- Email: list growth
- SEO: rank higher, target a larger pool of keyphrases
- Social: promotion / conversation
Our Newsletter and Blog
Back in April, we increased the frequency of our newsletter from monthly to bi-weekly. Around the same time, we started posting weekly to the blog. It made a huge difference in traffic, which almost doubled from 2011.
Our plan for 2013 is to maintain the newsletter frequency (25 newsletters) but to increase the blog frequency from weekly to “weekly+” Our target is 80 posts for 2013. Here are some other changes you may see on the blog:
- 10 posts that include short videos
- Contributions from more of the Orbiteers!
- More curated content and guest posts from experts
- Some type of “big content,” such as original research, interactive infographics, or an ebook.
The Book: Content Chemistry
Our biggest single marketing effort this year is just now coming to fruition. It’s a complete 100-page handbook for content marketing in printed and ebook format. Sound interesting? You can get it here.
But this is an industry that changes fast, and we’re always learning new stuff, so we’re already expecting to revise it for a second edition sometime in late 2013.
We are setting a goal of publishing 100 guest posts in 2013, including a mixture of posts on well-known national blogs, industry specific blogs, and local sites.
Why so many? There are huge social media and search marketing benefits to gurst posts. We think of it as a form of modern-day PR. Scroll down to see a list of all of our guest posts from this year.
Redesign the Orbit Site
This version of the Orbit site was launched in July, 2010. Although many websites have a lifespan of five to seven years, visitors have high expectations for the websites of web design companies. It’s time to start planning a redesign of orbitmedia.com.
The new site will be fully responsive for mobile visitors and have an updated portfolio. It will run on the latest version of Mighty-Site.
According to the Marketing Profs / CMI B2B Survey, in-person events are among the most effective marketing tactics. Orbit runs two events: our monthly Wine & Web open house and the annual Content Jam.
Wine & Web
- This event is so much fun, it’s hard to call it marketing. It’s part teaching, part networking and part drinking. Really, it’s a chance to share knowledge and see friends. The feedback has been tremendous. Since it always sells out, we’ve talked about moving it to a larger space, but attendees have suggested it’s just fine where it is, in our offices on Ravenswood.
- A simple idea to teach our favorite content marketing techniques quickly evolved into Content Jam, a half-day in June. We’ll be doing it again in 2013. We’ve learned a lot since then and we’re looking forward to sharing our latest. So for year two, it will be a new format with more teachers and more sessions. We’ll move it to a bigger event space and giving it its own website. Our target date is May.
- Being a part of local events, as a speaker or attendee, has been part of our marketing since the beginning. Networking events are a great way to make friends, and speaking engagements are a great way to share expertise.
You may see us at events held by the Chicagoland Chamber, Illinois Technology Association, Technori, Alliance of Creative Professionals and Entrepreneurs Unpluggd. We’ll also be attending industry conferences such as Drupal Camp and Content Marketing World.
2013 will be the fourth year for our community support program, Chicago Cause. Being part of the community is part of our mission, but since it does get exposure, it falls under marketing. We’ll soon be launching a new site for this year’s winner: Build, Inc. In the fall, we’ll be doing it again: partnering up with other marketers, giving away a website and offering support a local non-profit.
So that’s the plan!
A little fortune, a little glory. Stay connected, deepen relationships, and share expertise. This post leaves out some important details, but we hope you found it interesting to see the summary.
Here are the 2012 guest posts. This is likely the only time you’ll find them all in one place!
Guest Posts: Andy Crestodina
This is a list of guest blog posts published by Andy Crestodina, ending with December 2012. Andy's 2013 posts are on a separate list.,,
A simple 10-point guide (and quiz) for blogger collaboration, from guest blogging to coordination and timing.
Links are a big factor in search engine rankings, but good links from trusted sites are hard to earn. Some bloggers will spend hours writing and pitching guest posts just to get one high-quality link. But lots of web marketers miss the easiest opportunity to build links: internal linking.
We all know pros who scoff at Twitter, fear Facebook, and loathe Pinterest. But there's a 'right way' to NOT use social media. Read on for three tips.
Tips of selecting topics that have a natural advantage in search...
Welcome to the next evolution of websites: responsive web design…
There are lots of things that Google might like for the holidays. They would love for Santa to leave some favorable legal rulings in their stocking and an extra billion in ad revenue under the
Full transcript of the interview with Sagar Kamdar, the Google engineer on the Authorship program.
Chicago has always been a publishing town. We’ve been the home to publishing powerhouses (Donnelley), major magazines (Playboy, JET) and dozens of newspapers. We even have a neighborhood called Printers
Redefining marketing terms.
10/22/12 Are You a Content Marketing Expert? Take the Black Belt Test | MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog
Only if you've mastered at least one of the techniques outlined in this post do you have a legitimate claim to the status of black-belt content marketer.
From a simple online presence to full-fledged marketing, companies move through specific stages. Use this guide to power your content marketing evolution.
Robots need help defending the universe. Your marketing needs help too. Here’s a guide to help build a giant marketing robot from a single piece of content.
Few industries rely more on web marketing than travel. Imagine taking a trip without first researching online. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, few industries are also as competitive. There are huge players. The Expedia portfolio sites brought in $3.8 billion in revenue in 2011. For the travel website designer, it’s David vs. Goliath in a life or death battle.
This article explores how content marketing is like a manufacturing process. You can't have everything!
9/24/2012 Four Secrets to Building a Giant (Fake) Audience on Twitter | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
Nothing is more important than the size of your Twitter following. So, you have to grow your following fast. Don’t worry about who is following you. Don’t worry about making connections. Just focus on the numbers.
9/10/12 How to Guest-Blog Like a Champion: SEO, Social Media, and Google Author Stats : MarketingProfs Article
This article shows you the nitty-gritty of a powerful content marketing tactic that makes use of two of online marketing's most powerful tools: SEO and social media.
Andy Crestodina itemizes the 12 Most Vital Reasons to Use Lists.
Google yourself. See that? It’s your personal brand. Unless you love everything about each listing on the first page, us this 14-point personal branding SEO checklist.
Your best web marketing tool is not always the social networks. It can also be the phone. Try calling someone and see what happens, collaborate, offer to help.
Research shows that writing down a goal increases the chance of achieving that goal. The same research shows that talking about your goals makes success even more likely...
When it’s time for a website redesign, people say they want something “clean” and “modern.” Often what they mean is “simple” and “uncluttered.” Usually, this is because their current site is a cluttered mess.
Is it time to get your idea out of that second bedroom? Not ready to sign a lease for a workspace? You’ve got options. There are now at least six coworking spaces in Chicago, each with different amenities, pricing options and vibes. Let’s take a look.
Writers block is a myth. It's telling you what you are attempting to write is uninteresting or poorly researched. There are two things you can do to beat it.
In recognition and celebration of the tech scene, hundreds of the biggest names in the business are here at Park West. It’s sold out and I have no ticket, but a friend somehow gets my name onto the (iPad-powered) guest list.
Is your blog too nice? This post by Andy Crestodina shows you how to avoid the nice blog syndrome and turn it into a strategic enterprise that drives behavior.