Running a small publication means I can’t waste time, energy or money. Last year, I wrote “5 Goals My Business Will Achieve in 2013.” With the exception of the affiliate program channel, we came pretty close on all the other points. When putting together my goals for 2014 I’m really focused on the return on investment (ROI). This is a term regularly equated to money, but I apply it to everything I do—from marketing to reader retention. Here are my goals for 2014 with a note on the ROI.
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1. Become more mobile-friendly. I recently mentioned that my website, Hitched, is in the process of getting a major facelift, and this also includes a mobile-optimized version. Today, our mobile readers (including tablet) now account for 60% of visitors with tablet users making up 10%. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project 63% of cell phone owners use their phone to go online, meaning 57% of all American adults are cell internet users. As a publisher I must adapt to how our readership is engaging with our content and make it easier for them to find and consume what they’re looking for.
ROI: Increase page views, visitor retention, lower bounce rate.
2. Grow our social media presence. We’re currently active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. That said, with the exception of Twitter, we typically only post one-to-two items per platform per day—at most. I would like to increase our engagement next year across all of the platforms. According to the Pew Center for Internet and American Life survey, roughly 73% of online adults use some kind of social media and 42% use multiple social networks. Facebook leads usage by a large margin (71%) with LinkedIn a distant second (22%) and Pinterest (21%) third. The report mentions how the various social networks have developed their own unique user demographic profile and I would like to explore how Hitched can reach these unique users.
ROI: Grow the relationship with our readership.
3. Develop original video content. I’m very excited that we recently began posting good video content on our site, however it’s just a first step. While the videos from our new partner, MonkeySee, fit seamlessly with the content on our site I would like to take things a step further in the next 12 months. As a leader in the field of marriage it’s important that we help navigate the conversation with our own thoughts and ideas. In 2014, not only will video become more prominently displayed on our site as we redesign, but our own content and our voice will be added.
ROI: Extend our voice in a new medium to reach more couples.
4. Double our traffic. In my column last year I made the goal to triple our traffic. We nearly doubled it—not bad, but short of our goal. This year I’ve tamed expectations, even though I’m more optimistic. When comparing our monthly traffic in the first month of the year to the last month, our 30-day traffic is up 75%. With the redesign, the new videos, and a few other things we’ve got brewing (I’ll discuss in later columns), I expect to at least double our traffic.
ROI: More traffic provides more opportunity to extend our message and increase revenue.
5. Double our revenue. It’s no secret that online advertising has been on the rebound. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, since 2009 year-over-year online advertising growth has been over 10% each year, and in their latest report from October online advertising revenue passed $20 billion for the first time. We have seen our daily revenue increase as well and when combined with our consumer surveys, the added ad inventory from video, our wine club, and our therapist directory; doubling our revenue is definitely within target.
ROI: Reinvest, provide more content and services to married couples.