Orbit's 2013 Marketing Plan

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Andy Crestodina
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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.

Strategy

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:

  • Content
  • Events
  • Programs
  • 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.

Budget

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.

Content

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.

Guest Blogging

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.

Events

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.
  • Content Jam

    • 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.
  • Other Events

    • 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.

Chicago Cause

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!

[listly id=”1XQ” layout=”full”]

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Comments (7)
  • Nicely done Andy! Looking forward to Content Jam and hope to attend a future Wine and Web event too!

    • @Sean McGinnis Thanks, Sean. I’m excited about 1/22. Maybe we should make a List.ly list of events and training for digital marketing…

  • Talk about transparency! Thank you for the retrospective / prospective look at what you will be – and many of us should be – doing.

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  • this post is right on time. it ones again proves that  plna shouldn’t be complicated but SMART. Thanks for the great post!

  • Andy, one of the many lessons I’ve learned for you is to “track it!” I love your maps, plans, charts and graphs of words and phrases. Data isn’t just about finding out what you did wrong but it helps to track what you’re doing right as well. Love reading this and of course will promptly make my own!

    • @writingprincess You’re a pro, Ovetta, so I’m sure it will be awesome. Fortune and Glory, right?Looking forward to your content!

 
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