All small business owners are thinking about how they can attract more sales in the most cost-effective way possible without sacrificing the integrity of their brand.
Yesterday, I put in a phone call to Bond Street 180 business turnaround guru Daryl Wright and asked what he considered to be the most important things for small business owners to consider ahead of 2013. Here is what he had to say.
These days, selecting corporate gifts can often feel like a competition, with companies attempting to outdo each other in a extravagant battle of the budgets. That said, money can't buy class or creativity, so make sure you give from the heart and tailor each gift to your clients' interests. It is the thought that counts, after all.
They invest in having a web development company develop a website and populate it with content and pictures, but many still don't ensure that they have search engine optimised their website on a regular basis or that they are updating content regularly that is relevant to their target audience.
It's easy to have a website - but not so easy to keep it up-to-date and relevant.
Entrepreneurial stories on people like former Geelong footballer Michael Mansfield, Comcity's Jason Reading, Chris Reynolds from Champion Systems, Ryan O'Hare from Eutility and more.
Thought leaders on leadership, psychology, marketing and social media share their views and experiences. A really great story is on business turnaround specialist Daryl Wright from Bond Street 180 and you will also find a story on famous entrepreneur turn photographer, Tommy Mendes.
In all, its a good read and the best stories are on the entrepreneurs behind the brands.
I was surprised as I tweeted the website only a couple of times yesterday and we haven't really promoted it while we tweak a few things, and more than 1000 people where on the site last night at 11pm and it was going up at a rapid pace. For a moment, it made me nervous! Creating your own media can bring greater loyalty to your brand, only if it is done right and you have thought through what your audience wants to read about.
It's a great time of year because through this research we are exposed to other companies successes and at times failures - all while thinking about what more we can do for our clients.
Most days, I share my experience as an entrepreneur with a growing international business, on the cusp of something that is hopefully "big" but also has hurdles along the way. Many of these hurdles are the best reminders on how to improve business processes and be a better leader and/or marketer, or just to grow a thicker skin.
Yesterday, an obvious up-and-coming competitor posted some quite offensive commentary on a Linkedin Group. I thought for a while as to whether I would just leave it or if it had an impact in the group which affected what the perception of our brand may be. To that end, I had to respond. I didn't get into the nitty gritty, but it was an overarching response. The idea of Linkedin Groups is to share ideas, interact, demonstrate thought leadership on various topics and meet people who may potentially have something worthwhile to say that may a) change your life, b) improve your knowledge, and/or c) give you a good laugh.
There is potential to misuse the Linkedin Groups platform in ways that it is not intended for, like pitching products and services through making comments on other peoples discussions or by putting down an obvious competitor. So here's a "share" from last night:
Most marketing strategies will be firmly in place for next year, but for those who have left it too late, there are a few things that you need to consider.
- If you look back at 2012, you will realise how much things have changed.
- Facebook listed and fell flat on its face, but woke up with more than 1 billion registered users.
- Pinterest came to the forefront and became the fastest growing social media platform on the planet.
- Instagram bagged a billion bucks with only enough employees to count on your two hands.
- People like www.jeffbullas.com out of downtown Sydney became a global social media phenomenum just by writing blogs that are interesting and knowing the rules of engagement for content creation and exploitation.
- No-one in the world sees their website as a brochure anymore (although many still haven't done anything about it)
- Google+ is going from strength to strength
- Linkedin company pages are essential to any companies "winning" strategy
- Old-fashion marketing is having a revival of sorts with DM pieces still having impact ONLY when they are super duper creative
- The US is still feeling the pinch and Australia is seen as a sound performer with a strong Aussie dollar and an economy that hasn't yet fallen flat on its face
- A woman is the richest woman in Australia - thanks Gina Rinehardt for flying the flag
- Obama won a second term as President of the United States of America
- 12 months since Steve Jobs passed away and Apple is going remarkably strong with the launch of a new ipad mini
- Microsoft launches Windows 8
- The prophecy of a major disaster with 'the end of the world' is still growing in momentum
In light of the above, where from here?
Marketing Strategies need to be aligned to a company's overall business plan. It underpins the overall sales plan and creates the forum for which sales can occur.
Businesses that have put on the hand brake because the year has been turbulent from an economic perspective, are being surpassed by their less successful competitors who have invested heavily in marketing and reaping the rewards of a strategic approach to doing the opposite of everyone else.
A clever marketing strategy in 2013 is being revised right now. The reason is simple - so many things have changed and to truly have a marketing plan that is effective, there may need to be some tweaks. Don't be afraid to do this, as one of the big benefits of being a small business is that you have the ability and scope to be flexible.
Take into account;
- Changes in search engine optimisation algorithms
- Pinterest and what role this social media platform plays in your overall marketing strategy
- The rise of Instagram
- Online influencers and how your business is reaching and engaging with them
- Traditional media versus new media
- e-Marketing and its role in driving leads
- Branding and positioning in a new world
- Collaboration with key partners and alliances
- Global expansion in light of economic uncertainty
- Fast growing markets with scalability like China, Turkey and India
- Outsourcing of key roles in marketing, finance, human resources etc
- People in your organisation and what role they play in building your business
- Investment in online marketing
- Your website - if it is dead, bury it. Build a new one that is "today" and not "yesterday.
What will you change in 2013?
Daily I receive updates on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin from people that have received publicity whether it is through an online blog or in the media sprouting how successful they are. The first couple of "pushes" of publicity, I applaud and genuinely think "good on that person". Then when it keeps coming in what can sometimes be "D-grade" versions of media that perhaps only a few people ever get to read, I start to think "oh, this person is looking for attention or needs people to think they are successful".
Which, might I add, may not be the case at all, but it is just my immediate perception if I don't know any better about the person.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to walk the streets of Amsterdam with one of the Netherlands most famed interior architects, Flip Verbeek. He use to be co-owner of a company called Flow that has designed some of the most amazing interiors in buildings throughout the Netherlands. As we walked the streets, looking at building after building that had been designed by Flow and the talented architects in the team, I was inspired. The passion that this man has for design and visuals that are sustainable and complement the environment in which it inhabits, is contagioius.
So contagious in fact, that on my flight home from Amsterdam, I looked up www.realestate.com.au, found a property and days later, bought it.
The property will be the new home for Marketing Eye in Melbourne. It is located in my favourite street in the city, Greville Street and fits inside my inner-city bubble that I love to live in. While I won't be here so much to enjoy it, it gives me great pride to be able to find a building with the character and potential that the one I have just bought has.