This year has been a dynamic time in the world of internet marketing, especially in the online forum. New trends have come and gone, but some are here to stay. Here are our top 5 picks in marketing innovation to carry your business through 2011.
1. Embrace Social Media Marketing
Social media is here to stay. It has proved to be a revolution in how businesses market themselves and how they do business. It provides great opportunities for businesses to engage in low cost marketing and directly interact with customers. It can give you priceless information about your target market. Your social network knows where you live, who your friends are, what your interests are, which groups you belong to, if you have children, where you’ve been etc. You can target customers in a way that would have been impossible five years ago.
Surprisingly, not all businesses are giving social media the attention it deserves. It adds enormous value to a brand and if used correctly can be a great way to engage your target market.
Do some research on where your ideal targets congregate, look beyond Facebook and investigate:
* Blogs (yours and others)
* Online forums
So if you don’t have a social media marketing plan in place, make 2011 the year to do it.
2. Engagement and Content will be King
It’s the way consumers choose to do business, and businesses should make brand engagement their number one priority. It’s also essential to keep customers engaged with a brand through several touch points.
You should be using the right platform, message and experience to capture the attention of your target market.
The best way to do this is to provide content. It is the key to acquire customers through social media. Your business should go beyond advertising, preaching and pushing products. Be useful to your audience- provide material that will be useful to them. Easy ways to do this are:
• Share news and tips that they’ll find helpful and practical. If you’re running a business you’re probably an expert in your field, so share that knowledge
• Ask their opinions and encourage discussion among the online community
• Promote exclusive offers through social media and add exclusivity. Make these incentives only available on social networks to encourage people to join.
3. Video Content
Video has become the epitome of online marketing. It provides another level of interactivity that consumers have come to expect from advertisers. There has been major growth in the World video digital space this year with the massive interest in online videos expected to continue to grow.
Many of the bigger brands have integrated video marketing into their broader marketing plans and the rest of the world should follow suit. Your business can present itself in a much more creative way, and there are many agencies popping up that have packages to meet smaller budgets.
4. Mobile Marketing On The Move
Although SMS marketing has been in use for years, the increase in Smartphone use and relaxed download caps on mobile phone plans has seen mobile marketing gain momentum.
Mobile marketing is more than SMS, but also mobile sites, visual banners, applications, location based search and SEO.
Mobile marketing can be cheap and easy to get into- especially the location based search and SEO functions- but can also be full-blown campaigns which huge price tags to match.
Like any marketing activity the most important thing is to plan. Research, focus and set measurable goals. Consider what would work best for your service or product and start with a fairly inexpensive entry point. Smaller businesses should definitely start with something basic, and increase your efforts once you start to get results.
5.Open source and the cloud make it easier to turn your web site into a marketing machine
Gone are the days when the only Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software available was expensive and required investing in more head count to run them. There have been huge improvements in web based CRM systems that range from simple to complex.
Many basic versions are free, upgrading to more professional versions is generally fairly cheap and you can grow functionality and the number of users as your business grows. You now have no excuse not to have a strong customer database and customer communication/loyalty programme in place.
Systems such as Zoho, Work Etc, Capsule, Highrise, and Pipejump are all easy to use and many are highly customizable. Not only that but many also integrate with opensource web site applications, email marketing applications and accounting systems and email programmes.
So there’s our top 5. Have you stumbled across or any exciting marketing innovations or noticed any trends you can share?
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