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.

 

Now’s Your Chance to Register a Domain Name that Truly Represents Your Business

You can enhance your current web presence and expose your small business to countless more customers by registering a new domain name extension. Find out how in this post from our friends at GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping.

Let’s face it: you’re likely at least a little unhappy with your website’s name. Like many business owners, you might have registered a less-than-ideal .com or .net because your first choice was taken. Instead of TopClassChairs.com you had to settle for GreatSeatsforYourLivingRoom.com because it was the closest domain name available.

Now, your customers sort of get the idea, and you came up with an OK compromise – but it was just that, a compromise. You didn’t get what you wanted, and your business might even have suffered for it when potential customers couldn’t find you online.

What if we told you that was changing? Starting now, you can enhance your current web presence and expose your business to countless more customers around the Web?

Say hello to new domain name extensions!

Say Hello to What?

For years every website has had one of a few domain extensions: .com, .net, .org, or a domain name ending like .it if you happen to register a domain in Italy. When websites were new and everybody and their grandma didn’t own at least three domain names, this worked just fine.

But the supply of short, easy-to-remember domain names began to run dry. ICANN, the association that governs Internet naming conventions, recognized this and recently announced the release of hundreds of new domain extensions. These domain extensions (the part that goes after the “.”) are Internet game-changers. With all these new choices available, we’re about to see an explosion of websites with targeted extensions like .lawyer, .barcelona, and .cafe.

So if you decide you want to expand your web presence, you now have some real options. TopClassChairs.furniture, maybe, or TopClassChairs.shop tells anyone clicking on the link exactly what they’re in for.

Here are some more examples:

Business: Anything related to a vertical or industry. Includes .app, .shop, .ventures, and .lawyer.

Local: For websites that are specific in some way to geographical regions, like a state agency or even a travel agency. Includes .tokyo, .irish, and .africa.

Community: Any group, community, or other gathering of people who want to congregate. Includes .fitness, .tennis, and .club.

Generic: There are tons of extensions that don’t fall under a specific group. Includes .fun, .free, .ninja, and .win.

And that’s just the beginning! There are many, many more to come.

How to Get Started

Interested in learning more? We can do a little better than that. We know your business needs to get out there to the masses, and a great domain name is the first step of many. If you’re tired of sending prospects to a dull domain name, head on over to the GoDaddy Extensions Page.

There you can see a huge list of the new extensions, pick your favorites, and even pre-register them before they actually launch. Soon you’ll no longer be contending with a long, boring or hard-to-recall domain name.

Your customers are trying to find you on the Web. GoDaddy has your back.

This guest post is courtesy of GoDaddy® contributing writer Jennifer Dunn. As the Web’s top platform for small businesses, GoDaddy can help you easily start, confidently grow, and successfully run your own venture.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Small Business Website

One of the first things we do as small business owners is to create a website so prospects and customers can learn more about us and purchase our products or services. But when’s the last time you went back and optimized your site? Here are three practical ways to improve your small business website.

This guest post is brought to you by VerticalResponse.

One of the first things we do as small business owners is to create a website so prospects and customers can learn more about us and purchase our products or services.

But, when was the last time you took a hard look at your website through the eyes of those prospects and customers and considered what you could do better? Today we’ll share three practical ways to improve your small business website.

Understand Your Web Visitors

It’s vitally important to understand where your customers are coming from, what parts of your website they find most useful, and how often they’re coming back.  How do you get this essential information? Enter Google Analytics. Google Analytics, a free tool, will show you where your website visitors come from, what keywords they searched that lead them to your site, what pages and content they viewed while they were there, and how much time they spent on your site– plus a plethora of other information like location and gender and a myriad of other useful tidbits. By understanding who is or is not visiting your website you can decide what type of changes to make to better attract the types of visitors that will be likely to purchase your goods or services.

Design

Now that you know a bit more about who you want to attract to your website, you can consider the design. According to Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, 46 percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criteria for discerning the credibility of a company. So don’t let a lackluster design ruin your street cred with potential customers. Your website should be a visual representation of your company that’s an extension of the overall customer experience.

Consider the following:

  • Are the colors consistent with your logo and other branding?
  • Is it easy to find the information visitors want?
  • When a visitor arrives at your site, is it immediately clear where they are and what they can do there?

If you answered “no” to these questions, you may want to consider a refresh of some of the basic elements of your site that most highly influence conversions.

Fast & Functional

Websites need to be built for speed. With more and more consumers browsing online via smart phones and tablets, if your site is slow to load, you can kiss your visitors goodbye before they even get through your website front door. According to Forrester, 61 percent of smartphone users agree they will click away from a website if they don’t quickly find what they need.  You may want to consider a responsive design for your site to make sure it looks good and functions well, no matter how a visitor is accessing it– whether they are on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can also look at more simple details like:

Your Headline: Within 3-5 seconds, a visitor should know, “Where am I?” and “What can I do here?” A headline on your homepage should answer these questions but remember to keep it short and to the point.

Calls-to-Action: Your call-to-action, or what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your site, should be crystal clear. Don’t make them guess, or they are likely to leave. Keep your call-to-action in a prominent place and try to stick with just one or two main calls-to-action so you don’t confuse visitors with too many choices.

By understanding your visitors, investing in your design and making sure your website is fast and functional, you can better attract customers that are likely to buy and return to your site again and again.

Kim Stiglitz is the Content Marketing Director at VerticalResponse. You can follow her on Twitter at @Stiggy1.