5 marketing tips to grow your business in 2011
— Stephanie Chandler is the author of “LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business”. She is also a business advisor to Project REV – a small business marketing lab by Deluxe Corp. The views expressed here are her own. —
As the year comes to a close, now is the time to assess business performance for the previous year while you develop plans for a successful 2011. Because marketing is so essential to business growth, the following are some strategies to help you get a strong start for the new year.
1. Give your website a makeover
Like a house that needs periodic maintenance and improvements, your website should improve and change over time. Take a close look at your site and make a plan to refresh or add content, upgrade site design, or improve the experience for site visitors. Your website can be the first introduction potential customers have to your business so it’s important that it makes the right impression.
2. Commit to blogging
Blogging is one of the most powerful tools available to small businesses. It allows you to connect with your audience, attract new customers, and improve search engine rankings organically. For best results build a schedule that includes blogging at least two to three times per week. Also, share new posts with your social networks for maximum content marketing value. Most importantly, be patient as you build your audience. It takes time to build momentum with blogging, but with consistent effort the benefits will inevitably follow.
3. Hang out with smart people
If you want to get ahead, spend time with people who are excelling. Start collecting smart people in your network. Invite other business owners to lunch or form an official mastermind group so that you can brainstorm marketing ideas and business growth strategies. You might be surprised by how much you can learn from each other’s experiences and how much business growth you can achieve as a result.
4. Test out new marketing tactics
If you want to give your business a big boost in 2011, test out new marketing tactics. Marketing brings in new customers, so continue building your business by adding new tactics to the mix. With so many options – including direct mail, advertising, mobile marketing and social media – think carefully about the new customers you want and what they are most likely to notice. Don’t just pick a new tactic because it will be “fun” to try something new.
5. Measure marketing performance
Big companies go to great lengths to track the performance of marketing campaigns—from the number of clicks generated from an online ad, coupons redeemed, purchases resulting from a special sale, or calls generated from a campaign. But small business owners often are so busy managing daily tasks that they forget to take a step back and look at the results. Take time to analyze your marketing efforts this year. Strategies that produced results should be increased, and those that didn’t perform should be eliminated.
Are you ready for a great year? Developing your marketing plan is essential to long-term growth and can help you make 2011 your best year yet.