The build up to Microsoft Inspire, the biggest annual event for Microsoft Partners, has begun in earnest. Over at Fifty Five and Five, we are once again putting together our longlist for this year’s Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence awards which we’ll be launching at Inspire in Washington, D.C. this July. This year we will be analysing the blogs, websites and social media presence of more than 28,000 Microsoft Partner companies, crunching the numbers to create our top 250 shortlist.
As we pointed out last year, even getting in the top 250 is a huge achievement, showing that your business is among the top 1% of Microsoft Partners when it comes to inbound marketing. If you just missed the top spot in 2016, or want to improve on your current position in the ranking, we decided to compile a list of practical tasks and activities you can action today.
Of course, the real goal here isn’t to get a slightly higher score in Fifty Five and Five’s rankings. You should always aim to offer better marketing, to support and engage your customers and boost the number of leads you get through your digital channels. All the same, a ranking is recognition of your hard work throughout the year. So, what can you do to improve your position in this year’s Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report?
There’s no magic or sorcery
In the end, simply following digital marketing best practice, in a consistent manner, will pay off more than any ‘work around’ or shortcut. To rank companies, we exclusively use Maya, our in-house digital marketing tracker to score our longlist. Maya measures your marketing based on the quality and consistency of your blogs, website, Twitter and other social media activity. Try Maya yourself for free today to get a better idea of what we focus on.
What do you need to do to get into the 2017 Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report? Start with the following today!
Get your website up to scratch
2016’s best website went to Infragistics, a New York-based UX design agency. Infragistics scored especially well for their website’s mobile responsiveness, besides their all-round great design, easy navigation and great quality, fresh content.
Checklist for fast website improvements you can make:
- Mobile optimise your website (this is even more important than ever as Google discredits slow and unresponsive websites). There’s a great guide for website mobile optimisation here.
- The internet is all about sharing. Boost the number of links you have with external websites, but also grow the number of links to your content by writing articles for respected third party magazines and publications.
- Search Engine Optimise your pages—great SEO takes months of gradual building, but there are some simple steps you can take to improve your score right away, such as adding ALT tags to images, including header tags and having healthy length URLs—these all help your SEO score.
- Update your landing pages with recent news to keep them fresh.
Publish quality, long-form content regularly
Last year’s all-round winners of the Top 50 were Sharegate, who also got the highest overall score for their industry-leading blog. Sharegate publish content daily and have a rigorous approach to SEO and keywords.
Checklist for rapid blog score improvement:
- First and foremost: post regular, fresh content—aim to upload a new blog at least once per week, although the more the better.
- We recommend aiming for articles of, at a minimum, 800 words, although longer content is generally better received and ranked higher by search engines.
- Keyword and SEO optimise your content, making it easier for your target audience to find.
- Include at least two relevant images in any posts you upload, and add ALT tags to them.
- Add at least three outbound links to any blog post you write—remember, the internet is all about sharing!
Revitalise your social feeds
Last year, Nutanix, a cloud infrastructure consultancy, came top of our ranking with their highly engaging Twitter feed and regular posting across their social media accounts.
Checklist for rapid social score improvement:
- Grow your number of followers: sure, this isn’t something you can do overnight, but by designing a strategy to find people that post about topics that are important to you and following them, you can start to grow your influence.
- Aim for about five tweets per day—these don’t always need to be major updates, just share your own content or external articles that will be of relevance to your followers and show that you’re on top of the trends affecting your sector.
Get recognised in the 2017 Top 50 report
We are always so impressed by the marketing efforts of Microsoft Partners—some of the companies in our list give a genuine master class in digital marketing, and often on tight budgets and with small teams. As we build up to Inspire in Washington, D.C. this July, now’s the time for you to make some final improvements to your blog, your website and your social media presence. And remember, while our 2017 Top 50 report ranking gives recognition of the hard work you do, the end goal is always to provide the great quality content that your audience will find valuable, useful and inspiring.