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Be Present in 2012

January 27, 2012

As 2012 gets underway and we all get a feel for where we stand in the new year, it’s important to note the areas where we need to improve our marketing endeavors and online appearance. And sometimes we need to start with the basics to get a strong start. Here are a few tips to make your business stand out from the crowd this year…

WINTER TO-DO LIST

1. Take inventory of where you stand online.

Focus on the simple points first: ask yourself what you’re doing well, and make a list of what you want to improve in the coming months. Is your web content being updated frequently enough? How about the design of your pages and profiles – are they boring or engaging? After you have a pretty good idea of what you like and don’t like,  move on to step 2:

2. Get a plan together to tackle your goals.
After you understand where your business stands, get your team on the same page so they can all work alongside you to effectively promote your company’s online presence in the months to come.

Each employee will bring different strengths and perspectives to the table, so divide up the responsibilities involved among yourself and your team members accordingly.

Agree to hold scheduled meetings to share progress reports, and keep each other in the loop about any new developments. In other words, pick a system that works for your team, and conscientiously stick with it.

3. Clean up the appearance of social sites that look dated.

Old designs and information are out, and your latest colors, themes, specials, and news are in. Attract customers to you by being interesting, engaging, and creative online.

Try changing your landing page layout, adding a few new colors to the palate, and making sure all contact information and other website URL links are correct. Make sure each of your pages are shareable on a wide variety of networks – this means providing readers with the option of sharing your websites and articles on places like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Google+ and LinkedIn, to name a few.

4. Strengthen your online visibility.

Take a look at your stats from last year and compare them with the year so far. Really pay attention to where you received the most traffic, the least traffic, and what kind of information viewers tended to respond to. Take this information and use it to your advantage in the marketing year to come.

Check out your site’s keywords and tags: are they relevant, searchable, intuitive? Take a few minutes to see if you are putting out the right tags to draw viewers in.

Start writing an e-newsletter for distribution to your mailing list, letting them know about your latest news, advice, and deals.

5. Create alternative sites.

Branch out: if you’ve had the same three or four social media sites for what feels like eons, it might be time to try something new. Do a little research into where your customers are hanging out online, and establish your presence there. For example:

-Create a mobile site. Google estimated that about 15% of online searches this latest holiday season would be from mobile devices, and as it turns out they had the right idea. More and more people want to access online shopping portals from their phone, rather than finding a computer or going into the store. So get together with your team and create a mobile-ready site that’s easy to navigate from a smart phone or other online devices.

-Amp up your ratings and review campaign by creating a custom ratings and review site and directing customers to it to leave feedback.

-Stake out your Google Place Page. Claim it for your own, make sure all the information on it is current, and start asking for positive reviews.

Make sure to provide incentives to customers who go the extra step or two to be a fan or check out what you’re offering.

6. Don’t forget offline.
At the end of the day, your customers exist in the real world, so don’t forget to meet them in that spcae, too. Decide how to promote your online presence through more traditional and physical media marketing avenues. For example:

Put your online social media site information on places such as business cards, company literature, TV ads, banners, and brochures. If you have an event going on, put that information on the pamphlets or flyers you hand out. Put your top two or three social media sites at the bottom of your online email signature.

Make sure to always follow up with your clients to make sure they are satisfied with their service, and like what they see from you online.

Be yourself, and let customers see the real you, new and improved, in 2012. Happy marketing!

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