Get the biggest bang for your marketing (or no) bucks in 2014

It’s time for your new year’s marketing resolutions.
The new year is a great time to review your marketing strategies and plan ahead for the remainder of the year. 

marketing 2014 Kylie Fennell  small business marketing
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalimages.net

Take time to review what has worked for you, what hasn’t and what you should focus your efforts on when marketing in 2014.
So what are the hot trends in marketing for 2014? The two biggest marketing trends in 2014 are a carry-over from 2013. They are digital marketing, which includes social media and content marketing.
The great news for small businesses is both of the these trends can be leveraged for little cost.
Beyond that there are a few simple things small business can do to get the biggest bang for their marketing buck or in some cases no bucks.
Here are five tips to maximise your 2014 marketing efforts.
1. Digital marketing
Your onlineand social media presence should form one of your biggest marketing priorities in 2014.
Revisit your website and check whether it is still helping you achieve your marketing goals. What do you want users to do once they get to your site? Do you want them to make a purchase? Do you want to encourage customers to visit your shopfront? Do you want them to sign up to a newsletter? Is the website achieving this, and if not change it and keep it up-to-date.
Make sure the user can get what they need from your site in the easiest and quickest way possible.
Review your social media accounts in a similar way. Are you achieving your objectives through social media? Have you been keeping your social media account up-to-date? If not, perhaps consider paring back the number of accounts to the ones most relevant to your business and focus your efforts on them. Otherwise you will need to be disciplined and devote more time to social media.
Remember to be active and engage, deliver value to your connections and evaluate your success through free analytics and built-in tools such as Facebook Insights, Followerwonk for Twitter and Google Analytics.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing does not need to be terribly complex. In its simplest form it is about providing content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience.
Ensure your content is tailored to your target market and packaged and delivered in a format, style, frequency and timeframe most relevant to them. Focus on giving away lots of value in your comment.
3. Be a problem solver
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, or what products or services you sell, we are all in the same business.
We are in the business of solving problems for our customers. There is also a difference between being a good problem solver and a great problem solver. The difference is brilliant customer service.
Go the extra mile for customers when you can. They will remember it, appreciate it and hopefully reward you with repeat business or word-of-mouth support.
Have a positive attitude to difficult customer requests. Instead of saying ‘No I can’t do that’, use the phrase ‘What I can do is…’. Anticipate customer needs and aim to exceed their expectations.
Know you customers inside out and speak directly to them. Consider creating a customer persona to better understand them.
4. Review your brand story
Once you are confident you fully understand your customers, you may want to review your brand story.
What is your business’s story? Have you got a one page story about your brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you offer and your point of difference?
If you don’t have a story, it’s time to write one with the writing tips found under tools on our website. If you do have one, it is time to review it to ensure it is still relevant to your target audience.
Once you have your brand story clear, make sure your key messages flow through all of your communication and marketing materials.
5. Don’t be afraid to try something new
There’s no harm in trying something new when it comes to marketing – provided you have the budget and resources you need and you stick to any relevant laws and regulations.
One of the best avenues for trying something different is via social media.
There are always new platforms and tools and most of them are low or no cost. You can immediately gauge the success of these activities via engagement and analytics. Venture out and try new features and platforms and have fun. Stick with what works for you and discard what doesn’t.
Just remember like any marketing activity, you need to have clear goals in mind and your marketing needs to support these objectives.
So now all you need to do is come up with your marketing resolutions – easy – the hard part is sticking to them. Just know you can always turn to an expert to help with your marketing in 2014.
Happy New Year and may all of your marketing dreams come true in 2014 – Kylie Fennell

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