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My 2023 Online Business & Marketing Strategy Revealed

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Are you ready for a behind-the-scenes look at my online business and marketing strategy for 2023? As the online business world is constantly changing and evolving, I want to share with you the strategies that are working for me and where I plan to focus to grow and optimize my business this year. 

From blogging and Pinterest to online workshops, website templates, and even a rebrand of my agency, I’m sharing my entire approach to growing my brand and reaching my goals. I’ll even share my thoughts on how I’m handling my totally defunct social media accounts.

Additionally, I want to be transparent and let you know that I have been relatively quiet online for the past 2 years due to a chronic illness which has been a real struggle both for me personally as well as for my online business. I am sharing this plan with you to hold myself accountable and stay on track with my goals. 

I am excited to share my journey with you and I hope that you can take away some valuable insights that will help you achieve your own online business goals this year. Remember, the online business world is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s important to stay adaptable and open to new ideas.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 1 – Blogging: Publish keyword optimized blog posts twice per month

Blogging has been a part of my business since I originally launched the Branding and Web Design Agency in 2017. However, it wasn’t a core part of my marketing plan until last year when I started prioritizing writing at least one purposeful, keyword optimized blog post per month. Up until then, I had been sporadically creating blog posts when I had something valuable to teach or say that couldn’t fit into an Instagram post. I didn’t write these posts with a particular keyword or SEO strategy, I wrote them in order to teach a topic in-depth or give an update about my life and business. 

Even though I didn’t write these posts with an intentional keyword and SEO strategy, many of these blog posts began to rank well in Search Engine Results and became a huge traffic driver for my website.

This is because I wrote about niche topics that people were searching for like “How to cold DM on Instagram” and I made these blog posts full of useful information.

Now, SEO drives nearly 70% of my website traffic. Here are the numbers from a Google Analytics screenshot showing Traffic Acquisition for meljudson.com from January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022: 

Google Analytics Snapshot showing Traffic Acquisition for meljudson.com January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022.
Google Analytics Snapshot showing Traffic Acquisition for meljudson.com January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022.

Traffic Acquisition source in 2022 for meljudson.com

Organic Search: 68.9%
Direct: 18.9%
Social: 6.6%
Referral: 5.5%

This means that the majority of people who land on my website get there by searching for a solution on Google (or another search engine), Google shows them a relevant piece of content in the search results and they click through to my website. 

Not only is Organic Search the main traffic acquisition strategy for my branding and web design agency, but also it is the main lead acquisition strategy, meaning my business acquires the majority of our clients through organic search on Google.

This statistic is huge and once I realized this was the case, I knew it was time to become purposeful and strategic about blogging and further improving my SEO.

The SEO best practice for blogging is to write 2-4 blog posts per month, and ideally once per week. For the last 6 months of 2022 I was able to consistently write 1 post per month. In 2023 I plan to increase my blog post output to at least 2 posts per month.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 2 – Pinterest: Grow the account to 200k monthly impressions

In 2022 I started using Pinterest in a purposeful way to grow my business. There is a lot of upfront time investment to this because you need to set up your Pinterest account in a certain way in order for it to work for business.

Developing a Pinterest strategy involves doing keyword research on Pinterest, creating boards based on those keywords, creating new content on your website and then creating Pins to promote the content. 

As a branding and web designer, I have known for a while that a visual search engine like Pinterest would be a powerful way for me to grow my business, but the long lead time and upfront work before seeing results (compared to social media) made me hesitant to get started. 

In the second half of 2022 I began pinning 1 new Pin per day consistently. Starting in November, 2022, I also began pinning 1 Idea pin day. Idea pins on Pinterest focus on short form video content and function similarly to Reels on Instagram. Using this strategy, I have grown my impressions on Pinterest to around 20k per month.

A screenshot from the @meljudson Pinterest account showing 20k+ average monthly views
A screenshot from the @meljudson Pinterest account showing 20k+ average monthly views

I have helped many of my clients use Pinterest to increase traffic to their websites, but seeing these numbers in my own business, especially with wayyyy less work than I used to spend on Instagram, has really motivated me to set the goal to make Pinterest the #2 traffic driver to my website after Google. 

So, my goal for 2023 is to increase the Pinterest account to 200,000 monthly impressions. Impressions are generally considered to be a vanity metric on Pinterest, so in addition to this, my goal is to increase the overall number of saves and outbound clicks for content on Pinterest.

A screenshot from the meljudson Pinterest Account showing over 20k monthly impressions for January 2023.
A screenshot from the @meljudson Pinterest Account showing over 20k monthly impressions for January 2023.

One way I plan to do this is to increase the number of Pins I am posting per day to around 20. I know this seems like A TON, but unlike on Instagram, Pinterest pins build upon themselves over time so it’s easier to schedule out months of content in advance.

Crucially, content strategy on Pinterest is NOT dependent upon my energy, sharing my personal life, or creating a personal brand online.

Pinterest content is created based on sharing the signature systems and methodology I have developed over the years inside of my branding and web design agency. This is one thing that makes Pinterest a more sustainable content marketing strategy than posting on social media platforms like Instagram.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 3 – Online Workshop: Optimize Evergreen Webinar Funnel

For the past 6 months, my business partner Sophie Kessner and I have been teaching one free online workshop every month to help our audience learn how to automate their online businesses. Each time we teach the workshop, we integrate feedback from the audience and refine the format, topic and slides. 

The current form of the workshop is called “Scaling without Social Media” and inside the 2 hour online event we show online business owners how they can leverage the power of SEO alongside content marketing (blogging, podcasting and YouTube) to grow their businesses so that they can stop relying on social media as the main lead acquisition strategy for their business. You can learn more about the free workshop and sign up for the next one here.

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This workshop leads into the offer for our signature online course, The Online Business Automator (OBA). Inside OBA, we deliver the complete A-Z strategy for our clients to automate everything from marketing to sales to client delivery in both the front and back end of their businesses.

The information in the workshop is always very well received and people can really see the value of SEO and how it can help solve some of their marketing challenges. This also means we have a solid conversion rate from the workshop into OBA because the workshop positioning attracts people who are a good fit for the program. 

My goal for 2023 is to continue to refine the workshop and accompanying sales funnel in order to transition the funnel into an evergreen model. This means the workshop will run on autopilot with all the pieces connected such as the follow-up email sequence, the special offer sales page, the expiring checkout page etc.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 4 – DIY Website Templates: Launch website template shop

I have had my eye on launching a template shop FOREVER. We are talking 2+ years here. My loved ones are 1000% sick of hearing me say “As soon as I get my website template shop launched I’ll…”

So why haven’t I launched it yet? Two reasons: One, I am a perfectionist and I want these templates to be as good as working with me one on one to build your custom brand and website for a fraction of the cost. And two, I have been sick with a chronic illness for the past two years so honestly anything that wasn’t client delivery hasn’t been my priority. 

The chronic illness continues to greatly limit my time and brain capacity. However, I have spent the past two years building systems inside my business to support my one on one clients so that I have some space to work on my website templates. 

Additionally, in 2022 I launched 6 brand kits, a website template and an accompanying mini-course for how to customize the templates inside of The Online Business Automator, a business course I run with my biz partner, Sophie Kessner.

Now that the website templates have been battle tested with our clients, they are finally ready to be released inside my upcoming website template shop. 

Here’s a sneak peak of one of the upcoming website templates that will be available in the shop:

Sneak peak of the Mel Judson website template shop featuring a Boho & Earthy design for online coaches.
Sneak peak of the Mel Judson website template shop featuring a Boho & Earthy design for online coaches.

The really exciting thing about the template shop is that it fills a need that my audience has been expressing to me for awhile: a way to work together when they aren’t ready yet for a major brand and website investment inside of their business

The template shop uses the exact same high-converting design formulas I have used for my clients who have built multi-million dollar businesses and become the go-to leaders in their industry. 

I have been speaking for years now about the importance of having a professional online presence, and the template shop will give so many more people a way to do that. This is the first time I am ever writing publicly about the template shop and part of the reason I am doing it is to hold myself accountable to actually getting it launched this year!

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 5 – Services: Restructure branding and web design agency offerings

I will be launching two new services this year: A brand and website VIP day and a Done-For-You website customization service where I will customize a template from my upcoming website template shop.

That means that my current signature offering: The Ultimate Branding & Website Package – a custom branding and 10+ page website design service will either be GOING AWAY or availability will become very, very limited. 

The Ultimate Branding & Web Design Package service has been my main offering since I launched my business. This service is a perfect fit for advanced business owners ready to invest $10k+ into their brands and websites. 

But that leaves a TON of business owners who do need a brand and website but who aren’t yet in a position to invest in their business at that level. 

Additionally, I have had TONS of clients come back to me after launching and request additional website pages and marketing collateral. 

So, these two new services will serve my audience in two new ways and I am very excited to start offering them soon.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 6 – Rebrand: Redesign agency brand & website

Things have come full circle and I have become my own ideal client. I realized this the other day when I was telling someone about my website and I started to say “but it really needs to be updated, I’ve been so focused on other aspects of my business I haven’t had a chance to update my website in YEARS…” 

That is the EXACT word-for-word marketing language I use when speaking to my ideal clients. I explain to them if they feel hesitant or embarrassed to send a link to their website, or if they feel they need to qualify their website with an explanation i.e. “It’s not up to date but…” –  that’s how you know it’s time for a new brand and website. 

So, my friends, the time has come for ME to update my very own brand and website. I will admit, this is an emotional experience for me.

I built my website and created the Mel Judson brand wayyyy back in 2017 when I first launched my business.

At the time, I was working a corporate job in digital media and I would come home from work after my 12+ hour day and work on my fledgling little website from 9pm to 2am each night. 

I launched this website on October 11, 2017. And, believe it or not, I haven’t made any major design changes or updates since. 
And at this point, the design feels super out of date to me. Not to mention the copy on things like my About page which I haven’t changed in 5 years (cringe)!

A screenshot from my About Page written in 2017 when I first launched my website and business.
A screenshot from my About Page written in 2017 when I first launched my website and business.

You might be asking, “but Mel, you are a web designer so why haven’t you updated your own website?” And the reason probably isn’t what you might think. You might assume that I haven’t updated my website because I’ve been too busy building brands and websites for other people. While it’s true I have been très focused on that, the real reason I haven’t updated my website is because my website is STILL working for me to attract clients for my brand and web design agency.

Literally just this week I received a very qualified lead for my signature brand and website service (who found me on Google) and they said: “I love your work and the vibe you’ve outlined on your site.”

The amount of times I’ve heard this from people who have become my clients in the last 5 years is CRAZY. People like my website. The original copy and content I created resonates with them. And the one thing I have kept current is my Portfolio page. Although the page design could use a facelift, the important content is there. 

So, I’ve avoided updating my website because I am honestly afraid to touch anything on there. When I created my website way back in 2017, I didn’t know much about SEO or keyword research and I just focused on explaining my business and website to my ideal client in the clearest way possible. 

This approach has landed me on the front page of Google, ranking NUMBER ONE on search results for keywords like “Branding and Website Design Packages”. That means that any time someone in the US searches for that keyword, my website comes up.

When someone in the US searches for a keyword like “Branding and Website Design Packages” the meljudson.com website has an average position of 1.4 - meaning it is the #1 search result most of the time.
When someone in the US searches for a keyword like “Branding and Website Design Packages” the meljudson.com website has an average position of 1.4 – meaning it is the #1 search result most of the time.

Although I know my brand and website is still working well for lots of people who end up becoming my clients, what I can’t measure is all the missed opportunities from people who land on my website and DON’T stick around because the design is out of date and the bio on my About page hasn’t been updated since 2017.   

And also there is definitely something to be said from an ego standpoint about being a branding and web designer with an out of date website that I don’t feel accurately represents the agency as it is now. 

So, 2023 will be the year meljudson.com gets a facelift.

Online Business and Marketing Strategy 7 – Social Media: Decide how to approach existing social media accounts

From 2017 until 2020 I used Instagram and Facebook as my main marketing and lead acquisition strategies for my Branding and Web Design Agency. Almost all of my clients during that time found me from Instagram and Facebook. 

My last Instagram post was in June, 2020 and my last Facebook post was in July, 2020. That means I haven’t posted on my social media accounts in over TWO AND A HALF YEARS. This first started as a break posting on social media because I was feeling burnt out and struggling after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. I always planned to get back to posting my regular marketing content on social media eventually. 

Because I relied almost 100% on social media to bring in leads for my business, I told myself that I would get back on social media once I started to see a drop in sales.

However, this drop in sales never occurred. In fact, sales and inquiries have increased since I have been off of social media.

There are a few reasons my business has continued to grow even though I stopped posting on social media: 

  1. Referrals: Because I have been in business for over 5 years now, I have a steady stream of referrals from past clients and industry peers. Because referrals come from someone they trust, they are usually ready to work together with trust in our process and appreciation for our design aesthetic, so they do not require much nurturing from content on social media. 
  2. Branding & Expert Positioning: I have spent many years working to build up my brand and expert authority by posting tons of valuable content online, working with top leaders across many industries, coaching inside respected programs, hosting workshops and creating a portfolio of design work that showcases our signature design aesthetic. By working to establish myself and my agency as one of the leading branding and web designers for online coaches, there is an increased Know/Like/Trust factor for my business that makes it easier for clients to choose my agency as the right choice for them.
  3. SEO and Organic Search Traffic Acquisition: By the time 2020 rolled around and I stopped posting on social media, some of the 2-3 year old blog posts on my website had started to gain some traction and started working to rank my website higher in Google search results. Blog posts that had received less than 20 views per month in the year I posted them were now driving over 800 visitors PER MONTH to my website.
Here is an example of one blog post published in November 2019 that is now driving over 800 views per month to meljudson.com
Here is an example of one blog post published in November 2019 that is now driving over 800 views per month to meljudson.com

As a result of these 3 things coming together to create the perfect lead generation engine for my business, I never felt the need to get back on social media. 

However, I am now at a crossroads with my social media accounts where I need to make a decision. Because it has been SO LONG since I’ve posted (2+ years is like 18 million years in social media time) – two things have happened: 

  1. People have been reaching out to me to find out if I am alive
  2. People are landing on my social media accounts and wondering if I am still in business.

Not having to rely on social media marketing for my business makes my social media accounts a neutral force in my business, but having my social media accounts cause confusion (and potential worry) for my audience is definitely a negative I need to address!

So, there are two options here and I have tasked myself with making a decision and implementing it in 2023:

Option 1: Make a social media break-up announcement. 

This idea comes from other business owners I have seen implement this strategy on social media. In this option, I would update my social media bios and make posts on Instagram and Facebook announcing that I am no longer active on these platforms and sharing where they can connect with me instead which in my case is on Pinterest and through joining my Email list. 

Option 2: Shift  social media accounts to portfolio focus

This option entails shifting my social media from a personal branding account where I talk about travel and business tips to a design portfolio focused account. I am considering this option mainly because my Pinterest strategy includes creating tons of beautiful images showcasing my design portfolio and these images and captions could be easily repurposed on Instagram so that people can see that the agency is still in business and view our updated branding and web design work. 

Option 2 will of course take more work, as even a content repurposing strategy will require some effort to implement. However, by not making my social media accounts about me, or my traveling, or my personal brand, they will no longer be dependent upon my energy and I can schedule this content out months in advance or even fully delegate this task to a team member.

So there you have it, my most transparent behind-the-scenes look at my business EVER. I hope that this post has given you an unfiltered look into my online business and marketing strategy for 2023 and given you some ideas for strategies that you can implement inside your own business to achieve your goals this year. 

I am setting the intention here to create a 2023 “in review” blog post where I recap the year and go over each one of the goals to see how they went. In the meantime, I’ll see you twice per month here on the blog and DAILY over on Pinterest.

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