By Sharon A.M. MacLean
By now, you’ve laboured over new business goals for 2015 and crunched budgets to exceed last year’s results.
Maybe you’re opening a grocery store in SE Calgary like my friend, Teresa Spinelli , CEO of the Italian Centre Shop. Maybe you’ve decided it’s time that your 17-person sales team get serious about social selling on LinkedIn. Perhaps, you’re an executive director catching up on modern marketing methods for your association.
You’ve also opened some predictions for 2015 that started flooding your in-boxes this month. Below are a few more from people I’ve come to know and trust over the years–plus three hard-earned lessons of my own.
1. The sky won’t fall if you don’t sign up for every shiny new object
Yet, the longer you take to establish a social foundation for your business, the longer it will take for you to catch up. It’s been 13 years since LinkedIn appeared on the scene, 11 years for Facebook. Meanwhile, those clients who’ve been living online all these years are checking out your competitors.
2. The website still is the heartbeat of your business
It is possible to create a website for $500 if you’ve taught yourself something like WordPress. However, good websites designed with marketing in mind range between $7500 and $20,000 and go up from there. You still must work out your branded message based on a thorough analysis of who you want to attract to your business.
Better copy is written if you can articulate your vision, mission, and strategic objectives. You don’t have those? Please just drop that $500+ in the next trash you walk by.
3. Social media is top-of-funnel. Email is your ticket to sales.
Yes, I love social media, too. Currently, we have 750 platforms from which to choose but they’re not all for you. More will come and go. It all circles back to understanding your prospective customers and creating content that best connects with them.
The purpose for getting active on social media is to fill the top of your funnel, so you can build your data base.
4. From Ann Handley, MarketingProfs: Brands are publishers
Focus on enormous empathy and customer experience (and not just more blog posts). That doesn’t mean blog posts aren’t important, for the right company and the right customer. But it means we consider if that’s the best approach, rather than making a post the default.
5. And another from Handley: Marketers become ridiculously proud of their writing!
In our online social world, we recognize that all marketers are writers. Our words are our currency. They can make us look smart or they can make us look stupid – and so being able to communicate well in writing isn’t just nice; it’s necessity.
6. Jesse Noyes from Kapost calls it “Fat” content
He expects to see more white papers, videos, eBooks, and infographics. It’s content that can be broken up and used as the fuel for multi-channel campaigns.
7. From Kim Garst -Best selling author of Will the Real You Please Stand Up-Show Up, Be Authentic and Prosper in Social Media (Pictured above)
Successful marketers are going to have to embrace a system to give their prospects information and content that educates and gives value around their products and services. Today’s consumer is savvy and time is extremely valuable to them. Those that can effectively give value in a way that is quick and easy to connect with and buy from are going to win.
8. Kim’s prediction supports Frank Strong, Lexis: Content marketing slides down from heightened expectations to disillusionment as brands begin to realize “content marketing” isn’t the same thing as merely producing content.
This means that strategy moves to the top of the pile again this year. It is painful to see how many people spend hours of time without doing these things:
- Determining your business scope: Local, regional, national, international
- Knowing your Strategic Who
- Researching your competitors
- Summarizing your historical and current marketing efforts
- Establishing a process. Think automated marketing
Here’s a handy checklist to help you summarize these activities: World Gate Quick Audit
9. An extra moment on marketing automation because it’s big: 2015 will see most B2B organizations—large and small—shifting to marketing automation software for email marketing, newsletters, lead capturing, social media updates, and keyword analysis. A single window helps us in analytics and trend analysis.
I use Mike Koenig’s Instant Customer/Traffic Geyser but others to consider are MailChimp for entry level and AWeber for more bells and whistles.
10. Mike Koenigs and many others also point to mobile marketing
Mobile campaigns include smart phone apps, pod-casts of product videos, responsive websites, and chat integration inside websites. Not only will the search engines continue to favour mobile, the carry-me-everywhere experience will be critical and expected.
11. From Mike Stelzner, CEO, Social Media Examine
Those that pitch are becoming ignored. A little bit of selling here and there is great, but those marketers who do nothing but sell, sell, sell, are gonna get ignored, dismissed and overlooked by consumers and prospects. That means dedicating more resources to things that are harder to track, like answering customer questions and providing more value online.
12. DJ Waldow– Digital Marketing Evangelist, Marketo
2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!
Here’s to a WonderFilled Year for all of us!
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.
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