While most small businesses are knee-deep in their holiday busy season right now, believe it or not, 2014 is right around the corner. The New Year brings an opportunity to start fresh and the chance to revamp your marketing strategy. Following our 10 quick tips will help get your 2014 marketing started on the right foot.
1. Leverage the Tried and True. Email continues to be one of the biggest drivers of conversions for small businesses. While social media and other online marketing tools should play an important part in your 2014 marketing, your email contact list will continue to be one of your most valuable assets. Keep that in mind as you start your planning.
2. Update Your Email Lists. Clear out any bounced email addresses, duplicates and otherwise inactive contacts so you can focus on engaging your most interested customers.
3. Create Segmented Lists. While you’re updating your contacts, segment the list based on interests and past purchases so that your messages reach those most interested in receiving them.
4. Offer Great Content. Send relevant, valuable content to the people who have opted to receiving communications—content that people will look for. Use an enticing subject line and make sure they recognize who the email is from.
5. Share Content across Channels. Cross-pollinate your content with teaser links across all media. That includes linking to your Facebook, YouTube and other social media pages from your e-newsletter, blog and website. Post teasers about the content on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites that lead back to your content destinations.
6. Engage via Social Media. It has the power to take any of the feedback you may receive from using a tool like email marketing and supercharge it—letting customers share their thoughts, questions, and ideas quickly and publicly. And it allows you to respond just as fast, without having to pick up the phone or worry the customer isn’t seeing your response.
7. Pay Attention to what People are Saying. In addition to review sites like Yelp, consumers are also relying on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest before making a purchase. Pay special attention to what people are saying about your business on all of these social networks. Look for opportunities to engage with your most loyal fans on Facebook, respond to a customer’s question on Twitter, or thank someone for a positive online review whenever you get the chance.
8. Refresh Your Online Listings. Consumers rely on search engines like Google or Bing, city guides like Citysearch, and mobile apps like Foursquare to discover new businesses. Identify the places that your target audience is turning to when searching for businesses similar to yours, and make sure information about your business on those sites is accurate and up-to-date.
9. Go Mobile! More people are using mobile devices to inform their purchase decisions. In the past year alone, smartphone usage in the U.S. increased by 50 percent. If a potential customer can’t easily find and consume the information they’re looking for from their mobile device or if you send an email that doesn’t look good on a smartphone or tablet it could cost you business.
10. Engage In-Person. Online tools are key to marketing success, but engaging in person enables you to create a lasting connection in a very powerful way, which leads to customer loyalty and ever-valuable word of mouth. Consider hosting an open house, an education event, or some other type of event to increase awareness about your business, strengthen relationships, and inspire involvement for the coming year.