marketing plan

Business Content Marketing Email Marketing

How can a small business prepare their marketing for the new year?

As a new year begins, it’s a great time for small businesses to re-evaluate their marketing plan.

2017

What worked in 2016 may not always be the best bet for 2017… and what didn’t work, well, it should be thrown overboard.

Develop a content marketing strategy that prompts action.

Make a plan that will help your content and messaging reach more people, whether that involves social media sharing, outreach to media or traditional advertising.

Consider adding video to the mix, spotlighting your products or services. 64% of visitors were more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it online, while 90% of online users say product videos help in the decision-making process.

Make sure your website is still a good fit.

We all know an outdated website design when we see it. They have cheesy graphics, lots of textures, and they just look dated. In any industry, that’s a huge turnoff. It shows your website is nothing more than an old brochure.

38% of users will stop engaging with a website that is unattractive, while 51% of users have trouble finding the contact information they need. Other times it’s not the design and layout that are the problem; instead, you just have old content that doesn’t reflect your mission, achievements or projects.

No matter what, make sure the website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate on tablets and phones.

2017-collage

Update products in your online store.

It’s a new year, so make sure new products stand out, and at the very least, update how current products are presented. Create new product descriptions and add new high-resolution images to put a fresh spin on offerings. Make sure your products keep up with changing trends.

Embrace the ROI of an effective email marketing campaign.

You have an email marketing list, right? If not, you should, as they produce an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent — if used properly. Consider using detailed analytics. Track which messages are opened and by whom. How many people click through to your website, and how many take an action once there? Use this to determine if it’s time to rework the message. Emails cost very little to send, but it’s important to hone the message. Otherwise you’ll end up in the spam box. Also, like websites, make sure your email marketing is designed to work on all devices, as 75% of Google’s 1 billion email users check their mail on a mobile device.

Consider using detailed analytics. Track which messages are opened and by whom. How many people click through to your website, and how many take an action once there? Use this to determine if it’s time to rework the message. Emails cost very little to send, but it’s important to hone the message. Otherwise you’ll end up in the spam box. Also, like websites, make sure your email marketing is designed to work on all devices, as 75% of Google’s 1 billion email users check their mail on a mobile device.

Emails cost very little to send, but it’s important to hone the message. Otherwise you’ll end up in the spam box. Also, like websites, make sure your email marketing is designed to work on all devices, as 75% of Google’s 1 billion email users check their mail on a mobile device.

Build your social media presence.

Social media can be a love-hate relationship, as it doesn’t usually lead to direct sales. Rather, it creates engagement and buzz, along with back of mind awareness.

Content consumption has increased 57% in the past two years on social media. But remember your target demographics, as only 35% of people age 65 utilize it, compared to 90% of millenials.

Make sure your profiles across the platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Angie’s List, etc., are all up to date. On some, like Facebook, you can now add a list of services, and, of course, reviews are always important.

This is the time to explore new ideas, create fresh content and use what you’ve learned from past marketing endeavors to draw in more customers.

Conversion is the name of the game. Let’s talk about how these 5 tips can get your business ready to bring in new customers as the year changes.

This column originally appeared in Inside Columbia’s CEO Magazine.

Content Marketing Email Marketing Inbound Marketing

The new year is almost here, are you ready?

The new year is approaching faster than you know it… is your marketing plan ready for action? How will you make sure you have a message for every month?

You only have a month left in 2014, so what should you be focusing on to prepare for the new year?

  • Review what worked and what didn’t work so far
  • Are you relying on too many marketing gimmicks? Coupons? Sales?
  • Are you getting new customers, or just keeping old ones?
  • Are you launching a new product or service next year?

So, why am I telling you to do this now?

Well, companies often wait till after the fact to act. It’s never too early to have a new years resolution. Plus, who wants to start the year behind!

It may be as simple as tweaking some wording, or working to achieve a better balance of media placements… but it might also mean it’s time for a new website or a better strategy.

Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

Is Inbound Marketing Right for My Business?

Is inbound marketing right for my business? In short, yes. It’s smart to consider inbound marketing no matter what business you’re in. Inbound marketing is fast becoming the right strategy for promoting businesses because today’s customers don’t respond to traditional marketing tactics like they used to.

Does that mean it’s the only option you should use? Well, not exactly. You should always test a variety of communication channels to tell customers about what you have to offer and to see what they respond to.

Inbound marketing might be a good place to start, however, depending on what business you’re in. Let’s look at what inbound marketing means and some ways to tell if it’s right for you.

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Branding

When does a company need a facelift?

Maybe your sales aren’t exactly sagging, but if your business has sort of plateaued, it might be time to consider injecting some new life into it. A newly rejuvenated company can increase it sales and expand its customer base while helping to maintain the customers it already has. What company wouldn’t benefit from this?

Unsure of whether or not your company could use a bit of a makeover? Here are some signs your business might be in need of a facelift.

Outdated branding

If your business has been around for a number of years, your brand might be outdated. Over the lifetime of your business, trends change and having a brand and logo that keeps with old times can make your company seem stagnate unattentive. A company needs to continue to evolve its brand over time so it can: set itself apart, appeal to new and emerging markets, and connect with its target audience.

Startups can also benefit from updated branding. In the early days of beginning your company, you may not have been able to fully develop your identity. Taking the time to establish what you want your business to be is critical in helping with your brand awareness. This is something that can spill over to a company logo, website and printed materials all with the goal of unifying your business’s message and overall image.

Changing products or services

It’s certainly not unheard of for a company to start out doing one thing but overtime evolve into something different. This is a natural progression. The problem is, your company’s image needs to also reflect these changes.

Take some time to evaluate what your business started out doing and how it has evolved to the present day. Make sure your image reflects new products or services, so you can better communicate what you represent to current and future customers. A good tip is to review your business plan once a year to make sure your business is heading in the right direction to match the goals of your five-year plan.

Stagnate marketing plan

If your marketing plan doesn’t ever change, it’s likely your business is in need of a facelift. Over the natural evolution of any company, goals, products and services can all change. This will affect who you market to and how. In order to make sure your business is working with an up-to-date marketing plan, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. Is social media part of my marketing strategy?
  3. What areas do I want to focus on for spreading my message?
  4. What is the time frame for my marketing plan?
  5. What are the end goals for my plan? For example, how much will sales, profits and spending increase?

Over the life of any business, a facelift is inevitable. You can’t expect your company to maintain its customer base without acknowledging new trends and technologies– let alone attracting new clientele. Three big indicators that your company may need a facelift are: outdated branding, changing products or services, stagnate marketing plan

Change is inevitable. How you respond to it will determine the longevity of your company.

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