3 New Year’s Marketing Resolutions for Small Businesses

Planning your marketing strategy for the new year? Check out these three small business marketing resolutions for 2014 from our friends at BoostSuite, and you’ll see results in the form of traffic, leads and new customers.

This guest post is brought to you by BoostSuite, the easiest way to build more website traffic and get more marketing conversions.

I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season thus far! This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. One of the main reasons why is because there’s a tremendous sense of hope when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

Hopes are high for 2014. This is especially true amongst the small business community. Every solopreneur is gearing up for the new year, making sure they’ve dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s in “marketing.”

To help you achieve your marketing goals in 2014, I’m going to share three New Year’s marketing resolutions that you can easily add to your strategy to generate more results in the form of traffic, leads and customers.

1. Start a Blog, or Blog More Often

Blogging is quite possibly the best, easiest and most cost-effective way to add content to your website on a consistent basis. If you’re not getting visitors to your site and want to start attracting the right audience, blogging is a crucial addition to your strategy. Getting the right audience means more engagement in the form of comments, social shares, guest blogging opportunities (read: inbound links), leads and customers.

Build an editorial calendar based on your customers’ FAQs, your new products or services and their enhancements, company and/or industry news, and topics curated from other relevant sources. Post at least once a week. The more often the better, but make sure your posts are valuable, unique and interesting. Don’t just post for the sake of posting.

Once you get the hang of it, it should only take you about 30 minutes a week to write a good 500-600 word article, post it on your website, add a strong call to action, and promote it in your social channels and monthly newsletter. More on that in a second.

Keep in mind that one new page of content on a small business website or blog receives on average 55 new unique website visitors each month, forever. Think about that as opposed to paying for that same traffic via Google AdWords.

2. Start a Monthly Newsletter

You have customers and other people who visit your website and/or store who want to hear from you on a consistent basis. Email newsletters are one of the best tools for retaining your existing customers and engaging prospective customers.

Newsletters allow you to provide updates, send promotions, and generally keep in touch. You can easily add a newsletter signup form on your website. Check out the services of MailChimp and iContact. They’ll help you create your template, build your subscriber list and get started.

Think about all the brands you love the most. Now think about how many of them send a monthly newsletter. I would bet that most, if not all of them do. Win over your customers by keeping them engaged, and they’ll reward you with referrals and word-of-mouth advertisements.

3. Use Tools to Get Organized

The easiest way to streamline your marketing is to first make sure everything else in your business is organized. You can’t spend time writing high-quality articles and newsletters if you have a cluttered workspace. A clean workspace equates to a clean mind.

Use a tool like Shoeboxed to get organized in the new year. Eliminate all your paper clutter and spend more time on your marketing and other business tasks. Once you take care of organizing your desk, use BoostSuite to organize your content marketing.

BoostSuite will help you research keywords to find the best ones to write about in your blog posts and newsletters, identify and fix on-page SEO errors, optimize your website conversion funnel to get more leads and customers, and build your authority by working with thousands of other marketers just like you!

Aim High in 2014

Many New Year’s marketing resolutions never come to fruition because they’re too ambitious or difficult. When you set your goals for 2014, do yourself a favor and make sure they’re actually attainable.

There’s no better feeling than setting your mind towards something and then achieving it. It may take baby steps at first, but soon you’ll hit a running stride. Take risks! That’s what being a solopreneur or small business owner is all about. Without risk taking, the entrepreneurial spirit that keeps most small businesses going would cease to exist!

I hope that you add my recommended marketing resolutions to your list for the new year. If done correctly, you can make a significant impact in the amount of revenue your business generates. Do you have any other marketing resolutions you’re setting your sights on? Let us know in the comments.

Happy New Year! From the entire BoostSuite team, I wish you and your businesses success and prosperity in 2014.

About the Author

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.

 

3 Holiday Promotion Ideas for Your Small Business

In this post, our friends at BoostSuite share three great holidays promotion ideas for your small business that can help you finish the year strong. Check it out!

This guest post is brought to you by BoostSuite, the easiest way to build more website traffic and get more marketing conversions.

Happy Holidays! I hope you’ve been nice this year and that you get everything that was on your list.

Maybe you’ve been a bit naughty and decided to wait until the last minute to start planning your small business’s holiday promotion? Don’t fret. You’re not alone. You still have some time, but you’ll have to get started right away.

To help, I’m going to share three effective holiday promotion ideas for your small business that won’t take you too long to implement.

I know this is a busy time of year for you so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet so you can take action immediately!

1. Create a Landing Page and Provide Something Valuable

The holidays represent a great opportunity to deploy custom landing pages to build your customer/user/subscriber base. The page shouldn’t be extremely complicated. Don’t include superfluous info or clutter. It should simply describe the offer and contain a short contact form for visitors to submit.

I say “short” because the more information you ask for, the lower the likelihood your visitors will submit the form. Only ask for the information you need to get them in the door. Landing pages can combine lead forms with incentives like special deals, coupons and downloads. This makes them an ideal fit for the holidays, where consumers are intrigued by offers and willing to interact with you to get something extra.

Be sure to set up a redirect to a thank-you page where you thank them for their information and include social sharing features. Ask these new converts to like the page or tweet it using your special holiday promotion hashtag to alert other similar people.

2. Launch a Loyalty Program

This time of year is a great opportunity to get customer information and build loyalty amongst your customers. Don’t make things about your company, make it about your customers. Give them as many loyalty options as possible.

Each customer is different. Some don’t want to be called, some don’t want to be emailed, some would rather interact via social media outlets. You have to understand your customers and communicate with them on their terms. I recommend a free gift with purchase over a discount, since you’re not setting your goods at a lower price in people’s minds. Try offering something for signing up and just being in your club.

The Starbucks Card app encourages repeat buying; it allows people with 24 drink purchases to achieve Gold level. But anyone using the app benefits from free downloads and a free drink on their birthday.

3. Run a Contest on Social Media

One of my favorite forms of the social media contest is the caption contest. Post a funny picture of someone/something at your office then ask followers to write the best caption for your photo and offer some sort of reward for the winner.

This is a super-easy one, as the winner doesn’t actually have to be chosen by you. You can leave it up to your audience to choose the winner through likes or retweets!

Additionally, contests can drive users to “Like” your page, setting up an additional communication channel to reach them in the future. People who like your page will see your content via paid or organic posts, and you can reach friends of people who like your page with ad targeting.

Get Started Creating Your Holiday Promotion Today!

You still have a couple weeks to take advantage of the holiday buying spirit. Don’t let your competitors steal all of your holiday prospects and business! Be a busy little elf and build your promotion strong for maximum effectiveness.

Try offering something valuable with a custom landing page, running a loyalty program, or sponsoring a social media contest. Have you done any of these in the past? What was your experience with them?

Do you have any other holiday promotion ideas that small businesses can easily implement? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Small Business Marketing in an Hour

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Here’s how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

This post is brought to you by VerticalResponse.

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all of your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Well, this isn’t one of those too good to be true tales… it’s reality, and in today’s post we’ll walk you through how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

Start with Your Website (20 minutes)

As you add new products and services to your business, you most likely update your company’s website. These additions are fresh content, which is great for lots of reasons. First and foremost, when a visitor comes to your website, they see new things that may cause them to make a purchase (ka-ching!), or you may pique their interest in something they haven’t purchased from you in the past. Fresh content is also a signal to search engines like Google that your site should be crawled, which can help your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and help your overall search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. When your site is optimized for both people and search engines, your site will be found more often in search results, leading more qualified visitors to your site, which should lead to more conversions (sign ups, purchases, donations or whatever your “success metric” is).

Email Marketing for the Win (20 min)

Now that you’ve got some fresh, optimized content, you’ve got to go out and tell the world about it. Well, maybe in this case, start with your email marketing list subscribers. Using an Email Service Provider (ESP) like VerticalResponse, you can quickly and easily send out an email to your list in under 30 minutes. Most ESPs have predesigned email templates you can use that are simple to customize with your company logo and content. Most also allow you to share your email content with your social networks with just a click or two, expanding the reach of your message to a broader audience. Your ESP will also provide you data about how your email performed, such as how many people opened your message or clicked on the links so you can make changes accordingly.

With the holidays right around the corner, there are heaps of opportunities to market your business and get new customers. VerticalResponse created an Everything Holiday site to help you. It’s got predesigned holiday themed email templates, festive call-to-action buttons you can use in your email marketing or on your website or blog, a fun email subject line generator that creates 18 subject lines for you in just a few seconds, plus lots more. It’s perfect for the time-crunched small business owner looking to market their business during the busy holiday season. Make a note that, during the week of Thanksgiving, there are five occasions to market around including Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. That’s a ton of marketing opportunity for your business!

Social Media is the Gas to your Content Fire (15-20 min)

With your website updated with fresh products, services and content, and your email marketing sent out, you’re ready to tackle the social media front. Half the battle with social media is making the time to do it, and the other half is having something to share with your fans and followers. If you create your content up front, you’re golden. And just because there’s a new social media network every day, it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. Spend your time nurturing the networks that make the most sense for your business. For instance, Facebook is a natural for most businesses since there are over 800 million active users, but Pinterest is growing rapidly and is a natural fit for businesses that would benefit from the image-centric social site that also allows you to add prices to pinned images and drive traffic directly back to your site. So, consider your social options and focus your energy and time on the ones that fit your business and customers best.

Do you still think you don’t have time to marketing your company online? Think again, because in less than an hour you could be driving new visitors, prospects and customers to your business!

verticalresponseThis post was contributed by Kim Stiglitz. Stigllitz is the director of Content Marketing at VerticalResponse. VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketingsocial mediaonline event marketingpostcard marketing and online surveys. You can connect with Stiglitz on Twitter @Stiggy1.