It seems that each year brings a flurry of predictions (like ‘the death of email’) and cutting-edge marketing tactics (you know, anything associated with social media) that are going to drive customers to your door by the thousands. And while new marketing tools seem to crop up daily, the most important thing to keep in mind is this …
The basics of good marketing haven’t changed – timeless best practices like defining your target market, identifying your competitive differentiators, nurturing leads, and staying top of mind …
But the way people EVALUATE and BUY products and services has DEFINITELY changed.
Here are four things you should know about marketing in 2012 that can help you find new customers in this brave new socially-aware, Google-dominated world we do business in.
A Healthy Dose of Keywords
Keywords are paramount to everything you do.
Why? Because search – and specifically, Google search visibility – is still top dog in marketing. But if the content on your website isn’t optimized around important keyword phrases, Google is going to have a tough time finding you. So, too, will the people searching for solutions to the problems that your products and services can solve.
Keywords should be strategically included on your website, blog entries, press releases, and everywhere else you’re posting content online. The Google Keyword Estimator (www.GoogleKeywordTool.com) is a free tool that can be helpful in determining the relevance and search volume of keywords in your industry.
Social Media is More Than a Fad
In the past, the ability to build your brand, generate awareness, and stay top of mind was limited to costly tactics like direct mail and dreaded cold calls. But social media changed all that. No longer just a fun way to kill time, social media has become a legitimate way of building your business. It’s time to make 2012 the year you suit up and jump in to the deep end of the social pool.
Not sure where to start? Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the largest and most widely used social networks out there. If you aren’t already active on one or all three of them, it’s a good place to start.
It’s worth noting that Google and other search engines are now heavily influenced by activity on social networks. The more people that like, share, tweet, and link to your website, the better your search results are going to be.
Email is Still Highly Effective
While social media is the shiny new object attracting a huge audience, email hasn’t lost its luster. Despite predictions of the death of email marketing, it’s still one of the most effective tools for converting prospects into customers.
“Conversion” is the operative term here. Sure, social media is great for generating awareness and building an audience that recognizes your brand. But when it comes to motivating that audience to reach into their wallets and become paying customers, nothing beats timely and targeted email communication.
Go Blog Wild
For many companies, blogging is the hub of their marketing communication … and for good reason.
First, Google loves the frequently-updated, fresh content of a blog so your search engine results will probably improve.
Plus, blogging is a great way to express your unique voice, personality, and thought leadership as a business … in a way that stodgy old, brochure-style corporate websites can’t.
Last, a blog can be dynamic and engaging because your readers can leave comments and contribute to the conversation. Something a traditional newsletter and other one-way marketing communication can’t support.
A blog is also a cohesive way to implement the 3 marketing tips discussed above. For instance, your blog entries can incorporate keywords to improve search visibility, you can share new blog entries with your social network and drive traffic to your website, and you can link to your blog from email communication which can improve readership.
WordPress (www.wordpress.org) is one of the most popular blogging platforms because it’s easy to use and offers a huge variety of free design templates.
Don’t Forget About the Basics
As you look out into 2012 and decide which social media platform, marketing automation technology, or collection of marketing techniques is right for you, don’t forget about the timeless best practices that are critical in making any of those fancy new marketing tools work effectively.
Did We Miss Anything? What other marketing techniques do YOU think need to be considered in 2012?