New marketing technology pops up online every day. Social networks, online advertising, analytics and other customer tracking tools are potentially more cost effective than other means of marketing and advertising. That's not to say that traditional means of promoting your business is any less important. But not embracing new marketing trends could potentially be costly to your business and put you behind the marketing curve. Here are 10 tips that can help.
Build reliable brand advocates.
The idea that you need tens of thousands of Twitter followers, blog subscribers, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends to build your business via social media is dead. Wayne Breitbarth author of "LinkedIn Success" reminds us that quality connections with those who are loyal to the business and the brand are far more helpful to spread your message than large groups of connections who disappear after the first interaction. Whether your business is just getting started with internet marketing or you just want to brush up on the basics, we provide a comprehensive internet marketing ebook that will guide you through every essential step you should be taking to effectively market your business on the web.
Increase branded online experiences to meet diverse consumer needs.
Simply having a Twitter account or Facebook page isn’t enough. Small businesses must surround consumers with branded online destinations such as a blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel, Flikr profile and so on. Consumers can then pick and choose how they want to interact with your brand. Of course, quality trumps quantity, so extending a brand across the social Web must be done strategically to maximize opportunities without compromising content and communications.
Excel in one area rather than being all things to all people.
All professional marketers out there have heard this mantra over and over. Focus on your unique niche and position your business as the definitive source for information, products and services related to the specific places in the markets where you operate. What one product or service are your customers drawn to? Listen to what others are saying about you and how they perceive your business.
Create quality content as a viable marketing tool.
Social media marketing and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Create useful content that adds value to the online conversation and to people’s lives. The Web is a cluttered place. Amazing content is essential to break through the noise. On Facebook for example, it is recommended that conversations be split into thirds with relevant business articles, feedback from customers and fun, non-business related trivia or topics.
Move more dollars to social media marketing.
Statistics show that large and small companies are shifting budget dollars to social media and inbound marketing initiatives and away from print and radio advertising. Consumers spend more time online than ever online and to reach them and stay competitive, small businesses need to have a presence on the social Web.
Track brand reputations on the social Web in greater detail.
Social media has given consumers a large platform to voice their opinions, and small-business owners are realizing the importance of actively monitoring their reputation on the Web. With dashboards and social media providers like HootSuite and Spredfast, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to develop, grow and track positioning online.
Pursue mobile marketing.
Mobile marketing is critical for your future business growth. With mobile advertising, branded mobile apps and mobile marketing apps like Foursquare, consumers will expect businesses to have a mobile presence this year. A word of caution, always direct your customers to a true mobile website that is easy to read and navigate and is also optimized for small smart phone screens.
Geo-target your marketing.
Local discount websites like Groupon and local review sites like Yelp make it easy for consumers to find deals and reviews about businesses in their neighborhoods and beyond. Creating locally targeted marketing campaigns using these popular tools will become the norm this year.
Cross-promote online and offline.
Offline, online and mobile marketing initiatives create an opportunity to lead consumers from one message to another by integrating those strategies. You can drive a significantly higher return on investment by cross-promoting branded online destinations, discounts, contests and events.
Develop co-marketing opportunities to boost returns and lower marketing costs.
The economy is still struggling, which means small businesses can benefit from economies of scale by partnering with complementary businesses to develop co-marketing programs. Promotional partnerships not only lead to reduced costs but also can lead to increased exposure to new audiences.
Experiment with a variety of online, localized, mobile as well as traditional marketing. As always, it is important to have a marketing plan in place and the who, what, when, where, why and how it will be executed. Remember, even if you’re not leveraging marketing trends and opportunities…your competitors are!