With the first full work week of 2013 in swing, how are you doing? Did you pick your three words yet? If so, did you take the time to plan your week with those words as your guide?
(And if you didn't, make sure you read that post after this one!)
I've seen a few posts that talk about the platforms or tools that digital marketers should be using this year, and it makes me wonder –
Is there any marketer who isn't a digital marketer these days? If you aren't, let's talk! Unless you're marketing to people who avoid technology on principle (but if you're Amish, you're likely not reading this), you're seriously missing out on where your customers are if you're not marketing online!
There are so many tools out there for this, that and the other, so I wanted to put together a quick list of the tools every marketer should have in his or her arsenal for marketing success. If you're just starting out, this is a great go-to list to help you find the easiest and best ways to accomplish various kinds of online marketing. As they say, success is all in the marketing tools! And even if you've been online a while, chances are, you'll find a new favorite on this list as well.
Statistics have shown that businesses that blog get more traffic online and get more sales online than businesses that don't. Need a better reason to blog than more customers and more profits? <grin>
And now more than ever, it's easy to set up a website with a blog attached to it using WordPress. If you're serious about your business, it's important to buy your own domain and pay for hosting services rather than using a free blog. This is a smart move for a few reasons. It just looks more professional for starters, and it also ensures you own your content. On a free website, if there is a technical issue, they don't really owe you anything and don't necessarily have motivation to get the issue resolved quickly.
I'm just going to get to the point on this one. I believe Google+ is extremely important. And I believe it's going to become even more important this year.
Especially with its new Communities, Google+ is going out of its way to become an easier to use social platform, tying together social functions, search, and a whole host of other services. Google search favors Google products. As you continue to increase your relevance and authority level on Google+, it can only bring good things for your brand when people search for your service via Google.
Would you ever have thought that 140 characters could have an impact on your business? A great deal of my business continues to come from Twitter – it's where people are at! And by using strategic following techniques, you can attract your ideal client and enjoy a major boost to your business profits when you learn how to make it work for you.
4. Facebook Fan Page
No matter what you think of Facebook, its constant changes, the way it filters your posts in your friends' news feeds, etc., as long as you have customers who are using it, you should maintain a presence and use it strategically to build your business.
5. Professional Branding
Branding is one of the first ways you make an impression when someone examines your business presence online. If your branding looks like you're an amateur, chances are, people will assume your business product is less than professional as well.
Make sure your branding is professional and consistent across all of your social media platforms. You want people to know they're following the real you, no matter where they encounter you online.
6. Mobile-Friendly Website
Whether its tablets or smartphones, chances are good that if your customers are like everyone else out there, they're using tablets and smartphones to get online a whole lot more than they're using desktop or laptop computers any more. Make sure your website and sales pages are optimized to work no matter where your customers browse from.
Ideally, you'd be able to post all of your content in the moment. I don't know about you, but I don't know the last time my life has been that "ideal!" <grin>
The truth is – as a small business owner or mid to large business executive, you wear many hats. What you don't have is time to sit in front of the computer all day, every day, and not get anything else done. Not to mention your need for a contingency plan in case you're sick, the power is out, etc.. Even in those cases, content still needs to be posted! Enter Hootsuite – an app designed to let you schedule content for multiple platforms including Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
I've found that for me, the best mix of content is to preschedule some content, then plan particular times to get online during the day and respond to customers personally. This expands the reach of your efforts and also lets you get your "real" work done as well.
8. Content Marketing
Understanding that all of your online marketing efforts are related under the umbrella term of "content marketing" is important. If you are approaching each platform as a separate entity and you don't understand how all of your marketing is related, it's easy to inadvertently post marketing material on one site that undermines your mission or vision one way or another.
Approach your online marketing holistically and plan it out, taking time to ensure that each way your message is delivered online (whether a broadcast style message or the way you respond to a particular comment or concern) reflects the message of your brand.
You didn't think I could make it through a top ten list without Pinterest, did you? <wink> Visual images have a different kind of popularity and marketing magic than words do – both are an important part of sharing the story of your brand with your audience. Make sure to include this in your online marketing to-do list this year! (And if you need help getting started using Pinterest to tell the story of your brand, I have just the book for you!)
10. You Tube
There is nothing like a quick video to convey your message, or a tip or other piece of your message. And with a 1-2 minute video being so quick to capture, there's no reason not to!
Additionally, because of the close relationship between Google and YouTube, there is every reason in the world that video needs to be part of your marketing strategy online. Once you get some video up, embed it in your Facebook fan page as well as your blog quickly and easily and watch your message spread.
What about you – what's your favorite marketing tool that I haven't mentioned? Leave it in a comment below!