A New Year calls for a fresh way of doing things. What better time to give your company a marketing checkup? The world of business changes so fast these days it’s imperative to regularly update your marketing strategy. Otherwise you’ll quickly lose market share. But where to start? Here are key areas to consider as you begin your 2014 checkup.
- Your brand. Is your business brand still conveying the right message? If you’ve expanded your product/service offerings or shifted your target market, have you updated your branding as well? If it’s time to rebrand, you’ll need a new logo, packaging, business cards, brochures and other marketing materials to fit your new image.
- Your location. Whether it’s a retail store, restaurant or office, your physical location says a lot about your business. Is it sending the right marketing message? Does your storefront, signage or interior need an update? Make sure that the look and feel of your location reflects your brand.
- Your website. Don’t forget the importance of your online presence—it’s the digital face of your business, after all. Does your website load quickly? Is it mobile-friendly? Is the design current or does it look outdated? Can customers quickly find the information or products they need? Most of all, does each page of your site include a call to action, driving customers to call, contact, come in to or buy from your business?
- Your customers. Keep up with what your customers are doing, what they want and how they’re buying. One big trend for 2014: Both consumers and business buyers are relying more on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to check email, go online and research (and increasingly buy) products and services. Make sure your marketing strategy incorporates mobile. At a minimum, your email messages and business website should be mobile-friendly. If your customers are heavy mobile users (such as Millennials or moms), you may want to incorporate tactics such as text messaging, too.
- Your strategy. A successful marketing strategy must be well-rounded, incorporating both traditional marketing tools such as print ads and direct mail in addition to digital marketing and social media. Make sure all elements of your marketing work together to reinforce your brand. For instance, your print marketing materials should drive customers to your website and social media accounts to get more information or interact with your business.
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- Your tools. It’s essential in this 24/7 world that you stay connected. Make sure your mobile phones and tablets are up-to-date and loaded with the latest apps like the FedEx Office Mobile Print App. Apps offer an easy way to stay apprised of what’s going on and are quick and easy tools to run your business. For small business owners on the go, mobile tech is more than a lifeline; it’s like having an office in your pocket, no matter where you are.
- Your resources. Many small business owners are stretched thin when it comes to marketing, lacking both human resources to handle the task and the time to do it themselves. Save time and get more professional results by enlisting outside resources to handle elements such as design and printing. Use cloud services that let you handle your marketing needs wherever and whenever you want.
Updating your marketing strategies will keep you one step ahead of the competition!
Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBizMedia, a content and consulting company specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Rieva has been meeting with, consulting and speaking to America’s SMBs for nearly 30 years. Prior to co-founding GrowBiz Media in 2008, she was SVP/Editorial Director for Entrepreneur Magazine.
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