Are you ready for 2012? 5 things to think about for your online marketing strategy in the new year

By Published 9 December 2011

Christmas is coming and we are all, I’m sure, looking forward to it.  Time to relax, enjoy and get into the Christmas spirit, but what will you really be doing?  Will you switch off from work completely?  Or will you be checking your mobile for emails, and tweeting about what you’re up to?

The holidays are often a good time to take the opportunity to re-evaluate your business; where you are at now, where you want your business to be this time next year, and then how are you going to achieve it.  So time to put your phone down, here are a few things that you need to include in your marketing strategy:

1.    Cleanse your customer database, and build your list

Over the years, you may well have built up quite a substantial list of customers.  Believe it or not, this is THE most important asset in your business and it should be looked after.  The easiest way to build your list, and to get permission to email the people on it, is to get people to sign up for an email newsletter.

To increase your list, the best way is to create an email incentive, something of value that will encourage your web visitors to sign up.  Think about your offering – what will they get if they sign up? Tempt them with freebies, but if you do this make sure you stick to it, and send out your email letters of value, or people will get bored and move on.

Every page of your website should have something to encourage people to give you their email address.

2.    Develop a plan to cover the new calendar year in 2012

The old adage of “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is very true, and I see it often.  Look at how the calendar year affects your business.  For example if you are in the beauty business, what plans do you have to promote products around Valentines, Easter?  What do your customers need or want around this time of year?  How do you plan to get your message out to them to tell them?

You know your business so work out a quarterly plan as to how you will target your customers.

3.    Develop a Mobile Strategy for connecting with people and businesses

More and more people are now viewing the web on a mobile device.  The iPad 3 will be dropping next year, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has a web browser, and more tablets are entering the marketplace. In addition, more and more people are walking around with computers in their pockets, also known as smart phones.

“Mobile” covers a lot of ground: location-based apps, QR codes, SMS marketing, text messaging and more. But the best place to start is with a mobile-friendly website. People on mobile devices have different needs and expectations than they do when they’re on a desktop machine.

What do your customers want from your website when they’re on the move? Directions? A phone number? Office hours? Lengthy bios on all your staff? (Not.)

Be sure to view your website on an iPhone, Droid and Blackberry. How does it look? Will it help turn visitors into customers?

4.    Improve your profiles on Social Media websites

It’s a bit like Marmite – love them or hate them, the social websites Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are here to stay. My advice is for sure to get on board with them, and take the time to learn how to use them properly.  If you’ve tried, got frustrated, and failed – then try and try again BUT this time get professional help.

Not everyone is good at self-learning, often people prefer to learn from someone else – but however you learn, make sure you allow yourself time to learn.  How long did it take you to learn and understand  your trade?  Not overnight, so why do we expect to learn Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn overnight?  And why do we get frustrated when we don’t get it?

Take a look here for our next training session on LinkedIn – you can gain a lot of value from this.

If you really feel this social media is not for you, then choose another individual from within your organisation who will be able make the most of this – it will become invaluable in the future.

5.    Get professional help.

Not every business has its own marketing department, or understands how to put a marketing strategy into place.  And that’s OK, each business focuses on what’s happening in their own market.

We specialise in getting websites working for you, and giving you all the online tools you will need to be successful on the web.

In Conclusion

Next year is going to be an amazing year of growth and profits (despite the economic downturn) for your company once you put some of the right pieces in place.

It’s going to take hard work, commitment and consistency to succeed, but we know you’ve got it in you.

See you on the web!

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Author: Alison Boyle

Alison co-founded LA Marketing and is specialist in strategic online marketing for small businesses, and is passionate about teaching SME’s to grow their business through understanding social media, and empowering them to market themselves online. You can follow Alison on Twitter or Google+

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