Happy new year! 2015 is looking promising – if the trends from 2014 hold up – and we’re excited for all the new things that it will bring. From most sources I’ve seen, economic projections are showing an overall increase in growth for jobs, spending, trade and more. So how can we capitalize and work to grow our own businesses to ride the wave? Here are a few ideas for marketing your business in 2015.
Start and/or Keep Up with Your Blog
We’ve all heard about the importance of having a blog: write some content and you’ll see a flood of new visitors to your website! If only. While this could be true if done well, a blog is more about having a place to have a voice, establish your authority, and engage your customers. A personal blog is different than a business blog – in a personal blog you can talk about just about anything that interests you, controversial topics, reviews and more. With your business, you want to run a tighter ship and write interesting content that typically teaches something.
Your blog, if done well, can greatly increase the quality of relevant content on your site, leading to an improvement in search engine ranking. It can generate citations and links, thus increasing your exposure and traffic. It can establish you as an authority on various topics, which in turn can lead to leads and conversions.
But, the potential downside of having a blog is that if you don’t do it well, it can make you look bad. A blog that hasn’t been updated in six months gives the sense that you’re not interested or that you don’t care enough to keep up with regular tasks and maintenance – which doesn’t give a great impression of the type of service you’d give to your potential customers. So, I always say it’s either all or nothing – if you have a blog, keep adding to it regularly. Otherwise, you’re better off not having one. For 2015, set aside regular time once a week to write content and teach something new to your customers.
Begin an Email Campaign
I’ve written about how email marketing can be a great source of leads and sales. It’s been proven to be one of the most effective forms of online marketing, and for good reason. The people you send email to are already prior customers or interested parties, so you’ve already got one foot in the door! Take some time to sign up for an email marketing system (we recommend MailChimp) and set up a monthly campaign to keep your business in front of your customers. Even if you start with a small list of contacts, you’re still starting and will grow your list over time, and you’ll see a good return on your efforts by year’s end.
Start Tracking Leads and Conversions
One hidden source of improvement in our marketing efforts is the ability to easily track the effectiveness of our marketing. I’ve written a quick guide on valuing your leads to better understand how your marketing is performing. From magazines to online ads, understanding how much money a marketing effort actually generates can help you determine what to drop, what to keep, and what to put more effort into growing. You’d be amazed at what you’ll find if you dig deep into how you’re spending your marketing budget!
Engage Your Customers
Spending some time in social media, online forums, and general communication with your customers can provide some major insights into how you’re seen by the public. Your online reputation may be completely different than the narrative you hear face-to-face, so spend some time investigating and engaging to see where you stand. You can find some good information about how you’re seen, and then take action to improve or promote the reputation you have. Here’s a quick guide to getting started on your online reputation efforts in 2015.
Work on Your Local SEO
Often overlooked in the world of search engine optimization, local SEO can have big returns for small businesses that service an area. A lot of what you can do to have a successful local SEO campaign is pretty simple and just a matter of sitting down and doing it. But, the efforts are well-worth it as a majority of small businesses don’t take the time to shore up their local SEO and there’s a lot of opportunity to show up high in local search results. Add in the fact that trends are showing steady growth in the usage of mobile devices which draw results from local listings, and you can find a number of great opportunities to grow your client base.
Remember the Real World
While we at Creative California primarily focus on online marketing, we know the value of marketing in the real world. Make a point in 2015 to get involved in your community through charities, business organizations like your local chamber of commerce, customer events and more. The strongest form of lead generation is still referrals, so don’t ignore the real world and the value of meeting somebody face-to-face. The added benefit of joining organizations is that you can help your online SEO through citations and more when you generate links on their websites. So go out and make 2015 the year to put a face to your business and meet your customers!
We wish you a happy and prosperous new year, and hope that 2015 brings your business and family great success. And don’t forget to contact us to help you map out a strategy to see positive growth in the next year!