My phone has been ringing off the hook, it must be that time of year again when it’s time to figure out how to One-Up last year’s numbers.  This year is the Do or Die for many new trending digital marketing tactics.  And it’s time for America to turn the economy around!  So here’s a checklist of what we think are the 13 Musts to start in 2013.  Some may not be right for your target market or company, so proceed with your customers in mind.

  1. Create a Marketing Strategy
    Even if it’s this article, start somewhere and be SMART about planning where your dollars are going.  Incorporate both traditional and digital campaigns.  If you participate in technology or take out ads because of a knee jerk reaction, you will get knee jerk results.  Plan your success.
  2. Identify Your Target Market
    Seriously, be very specific on who your most likely BUYER is.  If you are a chiropractor – it’s really not everybody who has a spine!  It’s somebody who is experiencing pain, headaches, recent accident or is a holistic nut who wants to turn their inner power on.  Once you know WHO that is, you can send concise messages to those people and not waste your valuable dollars marketing to – well 125% of the world (including chimpanzees and elephants here).
  3. Update Your Image
    Look at your company through a passer-by’s eyes.  Not yours, theirs.  Does your website, brochures, office and other customer touching elements properly portray who you are – or do they portray somebody else?  If you look like every other pet groomer out there, how do I know your competitive appeal?  Why should I choose you?  Remember, you only get one shot at a first impression!  Make them ALL (digital and traditional) count.  Videos make a dramatic impact on websites and help with SEO.  More on that later.
  4. Re-think Your Social Presence (Online)
    How does your Social ROI look like?  Even if you can’t identify to the penny what it is, I bet you have an idea.  If you are spending too much time in too many places on line, with little ROI, then back off.  Focus on just the sites that make sense for you and your customers.  Then again, if you aren’t online at all, you better get moving and get somewhere, even if it is just LinkedIn and 15 minutes a day.
  5. Publish a Press Release
    Search Engine Optimization is probably going to replace a lot of social media budget lines this year and next.  A big factor in this is Press Releases.  If you aren’t publishing any yet, get to it!  This will probably be the cheapest marketing technique you can deploy, regularly, and will produce great SEO results.  Things you can release about: community involvement, new client, new products, new alliance and events are all great topics.
  6. Re-think your Magazine Ads
    Many publishers now have an accompanying website to their traditional print publication – which means you can expand your reach and expand your advertising with little up-charges.  If your current publisher doesn’t offer an online presence, it’s time to reconsider their modern value.  Oh, did I mention that this added value means added SEO value as well?
    marketing communications mix
  7. Host an Event
    Whether it’s a fundraiser or a seminar, host an event.  Many are even doing this now via webinars and podcasts, so it doesn’t need to be in person anymore.  It’s a great way to demonstrate your expertise, and gives you another Press Release opportunity, which enhances your SEO value.
  8. Do Direct Mail Differently
    Direct Mail, despite naysayers, still has one of the best ROI values as a lead generator then most alternatives (even better then Pay-Per-Click).  There are some great tools out there to help you measure the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign, and when done differently, with pizzazz, can deliver results!
  9. Participate in a Reverse Trade Show
    A new concept to tradeshows, that seems to be taking off with fantastic results!  Rather than the buyers wandering the aisles, the sellers do.  You get an opportunity to really target the type of buyer you want, rather than being targeted for your super-cool-flashy-bouncy-toy-thing.   Oh, then do a Press Release about your participation, send pre-announcements to select buyers.
  10. Face-2-Face Networking
    Nothing replaces the value of networking with people, shaking hands and cocktail party like banter.  I’ve landed my largest deals this way, and the world still wants personal communication – not robo-social-bots.  If you walk away from any networking event with one or two warm leads, then you can consider the event a success.  Don’t expect to close a deal, there.  But expect to make a connection and a follow up for another time to talk in detail.
  11. Re-Think Pay-Per-Click
    While this juror still believes that PPC has some SEO value (despite what Google says), take a look at your PPC ROI.  Are all your eggs in Google’s basket?  Diversify by utilizing the lower cost PPC ads in LinkedIn and Facebook, which allow for far better targeting, and therefore a total lower lead cost.  If you aren’t participating in any form of PPC, why not?
  12. Implement a Lead Follow Up System
    Preferably one that doesn’t rely on you!  All leads should be sent a message (of some sort) several times right away before they cool off.  How you do that, depends on you and your customer base.  We prefer some kind of drip email system that integrates with a CRM tool and includes reporting and list management.  We shamelessly push Act! (with SwiftPage) and Infusionsoft (depending on your need for cloud accessibility).
  13. Market Your Website
    This translates to Search Engine Optimization.  Just because you have built your website, doesn’t mean people will come to it.  That’s like opening up a shop two streets over from Main Street and hope people will wander in.  You need to not only configure your website for Google nods, but also publicize it all over the web.  After Press Releases, SEO has the #1 ROI of any marketing and lead generation tool available.


Good luck in 2013 and Happy Selling!