Holiday parties are in full swing as another year comes to a close. While it seems both natural and logical to look back and review what was, I challenge companies and business owners to look forward and set goals for the year ahead. In doing so, we start the year with hope. The hope that the economy continues to improve, that business grows, and that new jobs are created.
To help spur that growth and achieve those goals, companies need to take a serious look at their marketing efforts and implement a marketing action plan.
1. Make sure your website works
Is the information on your website still relevant? Does the message speak to your target audience? Are you integrating your marketing campaign and driving new business to your site and through your doors? If not, it may be time for an update.
2. Consider the benefits of public relations
If your company or business has a story to tell or expertise to share, share it. A proactive public relations campaign can increase a company’s visibility and, more importantly, its credibility tenfold. An ongoing public relations campaign will also directly benefit your online marketing efforts by successfully increasing the impact of your search engine optimization (SEO).
3. Build it, and make sure they come
Having a current website that accurately reflects your brand is only the first step. The next step is utilizing a variety of available tools to help increase your ranking on Google. You can hire experts to manage your SEO, or if budgets are tight consider using rankpay.com, a performance-based service that only charges if the company website moves up in ranking.
4. Expand your reach
Even if you are a small local retailer, the Internet provides the opportunity to reach potential customers from across the country and around the globe. If your business sells a product that might appeal to others in other geographic areas, consider adding e-commerce. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales grew to $200 billion in 2011. The same study also predicts that online sales will continue to grow from 7 percent of overall retail sales to nearly 9 percent by 2016.
5. Get social
If you have established social media pages, then make sure you are consistently posting and engaging. If you have not, consider which ones may be the best fit for your business to help reach your potential customer. Take the show beyond cyberspace, and get involved in the community, participate in business organizations and associations, network, speak, get out of the office and away from the computer, and connect with others the old-fashion way. One coffee, lunch or chance meeting at a networking event can result in new business.
The start of a new year is the ideal time to launch a new, proactive approach to building your business. After mapping out your 2013 goals, put together a plan that is achievable, and make sure it is measurable. And remember marketing does not succeed overnight. It takes commitment to implement an integrated and consistent action plan to generate results. If all companies would do this, imagine the job growth we might see.