Five Online Marketing MUST-DOs You Should Make This Year

By on April 1, 2014

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Most of us kick the year off with an online marketing bang, but about halfway through the year start running out of gas and lose focus. I’ve found that setting unrealistic goals and resolutions does more damage than good, so if you can focus on five simple online marketing must-dos, your chances of long-term success are realistic. Make 2014 the new benchmark for years to come simply by increasing your business’ online marketing performance. To help you achieve this goal, I have come up with five must-dos:

Manage Your Reputation.

Decades ago we were concerned about protecting our reputation among our circle of influence and could manage our reputation within the confines of conference rooms. Today, it is much different, as our reputation can be compromised with a simple keystroke. The first online marketing must-do this year is to manage your online reputation.

The web is a great source for publicizing your brand; but, now, more than ever, your personal information––that you once were able to protect from curious minds––is now just a click away. Your personal information surfaces on the web in the form of tagged online photos posted by friends and associates, old blog posts and articles and comments you have posted in years past. Some of these innocent antics may come back to haunt you by portraying you in a light that might not always be favorable. That one night in Aruba when drinks were flowing, that careless behavior might risk your next career endeavor as your reputation might now be skewed by a few bad judgment calls, some even dating back to your college escapades. Google is often the first place people go to search when trying to learn about you or your brand. Google recommends these four tips when trying to manage your online reputation and help control what people see:

  • Search for yourself on Google.
  • Create a Google profile.
  • Remove unwanted content and the associated search results.
  • Get notified when your personal information appears on the web by setting up a Google alert.

What can you do if potentially disastrous information, such as legal matters, pop up? You can turn to the online leader in reputation management, Reputation.com. This service charges individuals as little as $399 a year to wipe your slate clean and manage your reputation moving forward. If your reputation appears a bit more on the squeaky clean side of things, BrandYourself.com offers a reasonably lower fee of $80 a year. One way or the other, both services are worth looking into if you are concerned with your online reputation.

Multichannel Marketing.

Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of interacting with customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels. The purpose is to entice your customers to launch into action followed by a response. Using channels such as websites, retail stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail, email, mobile, etc., and a combination thereof, offers your customers more choices and an overall greater reach to potential new business. You might want to ask yourself: Is your content heavy in one area, but lacking in others? If you answered “yes” or “possibly” to this question, now is the time to re-evaluate your content strategy plan and adjust accordingly. Here are three suggestions to overcome any challenges:

  • Create and maintain a single view of the customer across all channels.
  • Establish a multichannel marketing platform.
  • Create consistent customer experiences across all channels.

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Engage with the Right Audience.

Your website analytics are staring you straight in the eye––do you like what you see? Take the opportunity to look at your website’s performance and see if you are speaking to the right audience or lacking focus. Be sure you are able to measure the qualitative value of your engagements.

The right audience will enhance your brand’s visibility through sharing your content. If you are engaging with the wrong audience, what’s the likelihood that they will share your content? Very unlikely.

I suggest performing a segmentation analysis in an effort to leverage social media efforts. Understanding the user characteristics, for instance, likes, comments and retweets, you are then able to identify which platform your audience is most active.

Once you have determined your right audience and the best platform to reach them, create your content with your customer in mind––provide helpful, relevant content that is of interest to your audience.

Get Social.

Business of all sizes must be able to align social marketing efforts where it can have the greatest impact. Get real with expectations, growing your social presence takes time and is a journey rather than a quick fix.

If you are overwhelmed by how much time and work social media requires, don’t just put it off. Know that there is relief and alternatives to managing your own social media. For small businesses, I recommend 99dollarsocial. The good news is that outsourcing your social media is now affordable. If you are like most small businesses that have accepted social media is a crucial component of brand and customer relationships, you are already one step ahead. If you have researched social media companies, you might have found that hiring a company can be expensive and long-term contracts are a turn off. 99dollarsocial has already thought of that and has their client’s bank account in mind. They offer no contracts. No hidden fees. And no price increases.

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Videos are Reeling in a new Audience.

The power of going video has proven far greater click-through numbers than we have ever seen before. Eight-four percent of consumers watch video on their home computer, a figure that surpassed television viewing for the first time, according to a Nielsen Survey. Forbes says 59 percent of executives would rather watch a video than read text. Just imagine the impact that could have on your b2b relationships? Small businesses can make and share videos easily with the help of tools such as GoAnimate, WeVideo and Vine. With 145 million people watching at least one video a month, mirroring this behavior is crucial. I suggest creating and posting at least one or two videos per month. When the creative juices start flowing, keep these four tips in mind:

  • Try to keep videos to two minutes or less. Your audience is being tempted by thousands of competing videos, so keep to the point and make an impact.
  • Spend time on the pre-production process. Focus on quality videos rather than quantity of videos. Pre-planning and creating a video that has a clear message which is engaging really packs a punch!
  • Create niche pieces. Get specific: one video might not apply to all the demographics of your targeted audience.
  • Use tools to jazz up not-so-visual content. Music, graphics and effects can jazz up a particularly ho-hum product.

Don’t let another year go by with good intentions, but lack of execution. A good plan needs to be identified and put into action. Being able to identify five goals will not only seem manageable, but is certainly simple to act on. Don’t get overwhelmed, and more importantly stay on task!

 

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.