There’s a lot to be learned from 2009, for small and large businesses alike. No industry was left unscathed in some way by our climbing-out-from-under economy. 2009 forced us to calibrate our marketing strategies and conform to new terrain. What is the biggest change? The consumer is now in the drivers seat. So how will marketing evolve in this year? What will be the the top marketing strategies and tactics for 2010?
1- Get on the Social Media bandwagon if you haven’t already!
In 2009, social media went mainstream, in 2010, we need to dig into the productive side of Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, YouTube and more. Learn the importance of building relationships and developing a social following. Implement programs that can successfully increase business. Create useful content that teaches, entertains and draws people in. Outline your plan of action and stick to it and be sure to dedicate internal resources to the effort.
2- Plan, Plan, Plan
Establish your marketing budget for 2010 and determine where it will be applied for the coming year. Evaluate and review your efforts for the past year. Analyze the performance of past campaigns, measure what worked and what did not work, and apply this information to your strategy and plan for 2010. Build a calendar to plan your schedule of initiatives and allocation of dollars across all media including online, email, print, broadcast, outdoor, direct mail, etc. Too much to handle right now? Start with the first quarter. Baby Steps. Plans can always be tweaked, reanalyzed and built upon.
3- Value Added
Consumers are increasingly demanding and selective and want more for less. What a coincidence, so do businesses! Come up with 3 ways to give more value to your customers without hurting the bottom line and while improving customer relations. Keep in mind, consumers are recognizing companies that care about the environment and those that get involved in charitable endeavors.
4- Get to know your customers — a lot better!
In order to provide services and products that are wanted, needed and revered, we need to understand the psychographics of the consumer. Customers do not want to be spoken at, they want to be spoke with. Implement new ways to create conversations with your customers and prospects. Engage the consumer through social media, customer service, events, email marketing, surveys and newsletters, and most importantly, in person.
5- Optimize your website
Time for a redesign? Time to update your content? Is your site easily read by both humans and search engines? It is now recommended that sites be updated as much as every 3 days in order to optimize it’s search capabilities! Is your site easy to navigate with a friendly user interface? Does it accurately reflect the image and attitude of your organization? Is it visibly pleasing to the eye with no clutter or confusion, or is there simply too much to read? Did you know users have a 6-second attention span before they click elsewhere? You want to gain attention to your site, encourage visitors to spend some quality time and sign up for correspondence. Make sure your site stands apart. Check out the competition. Offer the user something unique and different to win them over.
6- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Websites in the top 5 search results are viewed as leaders of their industry. Furthermore, 80% of users click on the organic listings on page one. After you’ve completed #5 on this list should you proceed to implementing SEO tactics which will consistently deliver a huge return on investment. Hire an expert who has the tools and knowledge of what it takes to incorporate the best keyword usage, link building, and much more.
7- Google AdWords – PPC campaign
Google is Google for a reason. Search advertising works. Don’t underestimate what it can do to increase your business.
8- Publicize your website through article marketing
Article marketing is regarded by Internet marketing experts as one of the most effective promotional methods to publicize your website and to increase the number of back links (incoming links) to your website content. To ensure ongoing awareness, articles should be submitted to suitable article directories, content publishers, article announcement lists and content syndication (RSS feeds). Make sure to publish the content on your own website before submitting it to article directories and publishers. Make it easy for the reader to bookmark your content on social search engines by including a bookmark button at the end of each piece of content.
9- Grow your database
More names equals more customers. Here are some ways to grow your list:
1- Give something great away for free if they sign up- or give them instant savings.
2- Stage a contest – enter for a chance to win – people love to win.
3- Create a poll – get votes or opinions, which provides direct feedback and helps you serve your customers better.
4- Refer a friend and win X.
10- Mobile Marketing or SMS
90% of cell phone users look at their phone within 15 seconds of receiving a message. Why not make it your message? Chances are your customers interact more with their PDA or phone then they do with their computer. Mobile Marketing is permission based so your customer opts in and opts out. Using this method for exclusive specials is extremely effective and talks directly to people who want to hear from you. It’s measurable and it’s inexpensive. A marketing no-brainer.
Don’t underestimate the importance of partnerships. Integrating businesses marketing together is a win win. Is your store in a mall? See what types of events and sponsorships the mall is offering. Is your restaurant next door to a health club? Ask if you can hand out invitations or flyers to their members and visa versa. Ask your local publications, chamber, organizations, and associations how you can partner with them to get more exposure. Keep your eyes and mind open and continue to look to partner with those that bring a critical mass to the table.