How to Update Your Online Marketing Strategy in 2014

    By Maria Peagler | Small Business

    How to Update Your Online Marketing Strategy in 2014 image blue update marketing 2014 fiHow to Update Your Online Marketing Strategy in 2014

    Important changes you need to make now

    2013 brought enormous transformations in social media platforms, search engine algorithms, and email marketing.

    2014 ushers in a new era in online marketing. You’ll be seeing “content marketing” and “integrated marketing” mentioned increasingly, as they focus on not just one network, but using your content across multiple channels.

    How can you focus on even more social networks if you’re feeling overwhelmed already? No worries: here are my recommendations on working smarter to massively increase your results in 2014:

    1. Focus on Social Media as a Lead Generator

    People rarely buy directly from your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Instagram photos.

    Social media is a marketing channel: you can make sales from it eventually, but it requires that you nurture the fans, followers, and connections you build there.

    The simplest and most direct way of connecting to your hard-earned fans is to capture their email addresses so you can reach them directly via your email marketing. Then you no longer need to concern yourself with reach or how many people engaged with your posts.

    What does this process look like? Here’s a sample flow for a few of the most popular social networks:

    From Facebook:

    • a visitor arrives on your Timeline
    • likes your page
    • sees an offer you have for a free product, a coupon, or other freebie
    • gives their email in exchange for the freebie
    • gets the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox

    From Twitter:

    • a follower sees your tweet, offering a free download or coupon
    • clicks on the link to get the offer
    • arrives on your website landing page (a dedicated web page for this offer only)
    • provides their email in exchange for the freebie
    • receives the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox

    From Pinterest:

    • a follower sees a gorgeous photo or infographic you’ve pinned
    • clicks on the pin to learn more
    • clicks on the link included in the pin description
    • arrives on your website landing page (a dedicated web page for this offer only)
    • provides their email in exchange for the freebie
    • receives the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox

    Continue to post regularly to your social networks to nurture those relationships. You’re now adding the email marketing component to ensure you reach them in case they have seen you on Instagram or LinkedIn in a while.

    This is an approach I’ve been recommending for years, but in 2014 it will be mandatory to implement to get results. Otherwise, your marketing won’t generate the return on your investment (ROI) you need.

    2. Expand Online Marketing Beyond Facebook

    Too many business owners focus solely on Facebook for their marketing. While you can continue to do that in 2014, you will need to laser-focus on getting higher engagement (which Facebook artificially skews in favor of plain status updates), or you’ll need to begin to advertise.

    You can achieve massive results with simple Facebook ads (January’s bonus webinar teaches you how). How much? How does 900x your fan base reach sound?

    If you don’t plan on advertising in 2014, then you’ll need to expand your online marketing beyond Facebook alone. Don’t abandon it; instead, add a second social network that provides the biggest opportunity for you.

    Not sure what that is? My Social Media Strategy class teaches you which marketing platforms offer the most potential for your business.

    If you’re concerned about how much time it will take to use another social network on a consistent basis, I’ve got you covered. The 15-Minute-a-Day Social Media System webinar teaches you how to promote your business online efficiently. You won’t get sucked into memes, videos or vacation photos, and your eyes won’t get bleary from looking at computer screen too long. :)

    3. Measure What’s Working for You

    When’s the last time you analyzed your Google Analytics?

    Your Facebook Insights?

    Your YouTube Insights?

    Anyone? Anyone?

    I completely understand. I’m totally not a numbers person. But in business, you have to be. Otherwise you won’t be IN business for long.

    In 2014, it’s critical that you begin measuring the impact of your marketing. You don’t have time or budget to waste on underperforming marketing campaigns.

    Instead, you need to identify what worked well for your business in 2013, do more of it, improve it, and “beat a dead horse”. The web’s audience is so vast that you don’t need to worry about doing too much of the same thing. People rarely see every single post or article you write.

    So if your best marketing campaign was a coupon to fill seats on a slow night in your restaurant — continue that. Now think of how you can improve upon it. What about a frequent diner card? An evening with the chef? Think about how you can provide something similar, yet different, to continue to motivate your buyer’s interest.

    4. Look for Opportunities Others are Missing

    Online marketing will be more challenging in 2014, which requires you to be smarter and more focused about the way you promote.

    What opportunities are you missing? What can you do that your competition isn’t?

    Here’s one: YouTube videos. This is still the BIGGEST missed opportunity for small businesses and has been for the past three years.

    How about you? Have you recorded a YouTube video yet? If not (or if you want to improve), the YouTube 101 class and Visual Social Media webinar here at SMOC teach you how to get started. If you don’t want to be in front of the camera, the webinar reveals how you can hire someone to do a whiteboard video or something similar on a budget.

    How Will You Update Your Online Marketing Plan in 2014?

    Online marketing evolves at a rapid pace, and you can easily feel like you’re not keeping up with all the latest changes. Don’t feel like you need to join every new social network that comes along. Incorporate these four tactics into your online marketing strategy and you’ll definitely see better results in the coming year.

    Which tactics will you be using to update your marketing plan in 2014?

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