Make 2015 your business’ breakout year by building a killer marketing strategy right now. Having an effective marketing plan in place will help you set and achieve goals as well as create a path to success. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Set SMART Goals

The key to success in marketing — or any other aspect of your business — is setting SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Retainable
  • Time-Bound

Simply making a general goal to “to sell more” won’t net you the same results as “we want to increase sales of our products by 35% by December 31, 2015. With a specific goal you can measure and take action on, and keep it going. And it’s got a deadline!

The simple act of writing out your goals can be enough to propel you toward making them a reality. Assigning tasks and setting milestones will help keep you and your staff on track to achieve your goals.

Factor in Marketing Trends

You can expect 2015 to continue in the same direction. Content marketing and social media will continue to dominate, but other hot marketing trends may be useful to your strategy.

If you haven’t begun mobile marketing, it’s fast-growing trend worth exploring. eMarketer estimates that 100 million mobile users will redeem digital coupons this year, up from 92.5 million in 2012. Mobile marketing is also influencing the local market. If you’ve been hesitating to build mobile presence because your business is strictly local, consider this: 2 out of 3 local mobile searchers ultimately make a purchase, and restaurants have the highest conversion rate at 80%.

Embrace data. It makes tried-and-true marketing tactics, like email marketing, that much more effective when you have data you can use to make smarter marketing decisions and more targeted messaging.

Include the Right Tools to Succeed

Now that you’ve got your goals and picked up a few trends to try out, make sure your toolbox is filled with useful apps, dashboards, and software programs to make your efforts easier.

Hootsuite fantastic social media dashboard for many reasons. First, it lets you manage multiple social profiles, as well as schedule your updates ahead of time. And second, it’s got great reporting features that help you understand which of your updates are really hitting home.

One note of caution. Automating posts can be a real time-saver, as long as you never lose sight of social engagement. Be sure to check your social media channels often to respond to queries and comments, engage random followers about things that interest them, and find any indirect mentions of your brand or industry to join the conversation. Listening and engaging is more important than posting one-way messaging. Your customers want to be involved in a conversation…not following a commercial broadcast.

Remember the goal to embrace data? A great tool is DataHero reporting: access the data you care about and analyze it—no degree in data analysis required! Any marketer can wow the CEO with DataHero reports and dashboards. You can connect multiple business tools to DataHero, like Salesforce, Eventbrite, and SurveyMonkey so you can see related data across multiple platforms. Then, you can use what you see there to make smarter decisions about where to take your marketing next.

And then there’s CoSchedule. If you share your blog content on social media channels, you’ll love how you can craft updates while creating your blog post and let them automatically post when your blog is live.

You’ve got the chance to dominate your industry in 2015. Just put a little planning and forethought into how you’ll market, and you’ll be ready to roll come January!

Bringing It All Together

Once you’ve got your info, organize it so it’s easy to understand and ready to present. Even if there is no one in particular to present this information to right now, you’ll be glad you took a little extra time to compile your data into one simple presentation the day you need to learn from past mistakes or want to toot your own horn a bit.

And after you’ve decided what’s missing from your marketing program, you’ll want to evaluate your current CRM. Will it sync with the components of your campaign? Will you be able to keep track of your leads, next steps, conversions and successes? If you’re not sure, your CRM may not be up to par. Consider switching to one that can handle the challenge you’re about to rain down on it and help you bring all the pieces of your campaign together. More specifically, look for a CRM with reporting metrics so you can one-stop-shop your way to marketing success without wasting time going back and forth between programs.

While the steps to marketing glory can vary depending on what your marketing plan entails, one thing rings true: learning to collect and measure your marketing data is the number one way to ensure you are on the right track. Making sure you’ve got the tools to back up your plan could be the difference between miserable failure and long-term success. Use these tips and you’ll be well on your way to measurable marketing data that shows everyone your small business has got it goin’ on.

 

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan also specializes in market research.

{ 0 comments }

So you’ve finally carved out a marketing strategy that’s going to blow potential clients out of the water and put the competition to shame. But before turning the key on that bad boy, step back and ask yourself: “How will I know if my marketing campaign is even helping my business? Could it actually be hurting it?”

Managing Your Marketing

All too often, small business owners will excitedly—and sometimes blindly—implement a new marketing strategy only to lose track of its effectiveness and purpose, wasting funds and valuable time in the process. You can avoid this pitfall by learning to manage and analyze your marketing to make sure it works for you and not against you. This is where marketing data collection comes in. Collecting and analyzing data from your marketing campaigns allows you to determine which tactics are working and which are falling flat. And with all the tools available today, there’s no reason not to measure and fine tune your marketing to be sure it’s effective.

Measuring Your Marketing

To start understanding your marketing data, you first need to make sure you have something to actually measure—painfully basic, we know, but oh so necessary. You may first want to consider incorporating some type of marketing automation into your campaign. If you’ve got the leads to work with, marketing automation can be fantastic measuring tool to help you nurture leads into customers and existing customers into loyal, returning patrons.

Let’s use email communications for example. Whether it’s sending a reminder email or a
monthly newsletter, many small businesses benefit from traditional marketing automation. It allows for customized send times and tracking bounce backs, views and clicks, all of which can help you assess whether your email marketing is falling short.

Depending on your business or product, though, measuring clicks may not be enough—you may need something that allows you to customize and tailor your communications to specific sectors of your audience. Targeting increases opportunity for conversion. An inbound marketing automation strategy works best for targeted marketing. Either way, your next step will be to track those results.

Tracking and Reporting Metrics

To give your marketing campaign its best chance to succeed, it is important to track and assess your metrics. One easy way to get started is by learning to track how much organic search traffic your content generates. This will tell you how often your business is showing up in search engines based on the terms users type in when searching.

With 70% to 80% of users essentially ignoring paid advertisements on the side of the page when searching for something, organic search is the way to go. But don’t stop at traffic and leads. There are plenty of other useful metrics to track, such as your average lead close rates, call-to-action (CTA) clickthrough rates, and traffic driven by certain keywords.

Bringing It All Together

Once you’ve got your info, organize it so it’s easy to understand and ready to present. Even if there is no one in particular to present this information to right now, you’ll be glad you took a little extra time to compile your data into one simple presentation the day you need to learn from past mistakes or want to toot your own horn a bit.

And after you’ve decided what’s missing from your marketing program, you’ll want to evaluate your current CRM. Will it sync with the components of your campaign? Will you be able to keep track of your leads, next steps, conversions and successes? If you’re not sure, your CRM may not be up to par. Consider switching to one that can handle the challenge you’re about to rain down on it and help you bring all the pieces of your campaign together. More specifically, look for a CRM with reporting metrics so you can one-stop-shop your way to marketing success without wasting time going back and forth between programs.

While the steps to marketing glory can vary depending on what your marketing plan entails, one thing rings true: learning to collect and measure your marketing data is the number one way to ensure you are on the right track. Making sure you’ve got the tools to back up your plan could be the difference between miserable failure and long-term success. Use these tips and you’ll be well on your way to measurable marketing data that shows everyone your small business has got it goin’ on.

 

Christina Heath earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. She is a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. Christina has led marketing, public relations and recruitment efforts locally and internationally, and is driven by connecting people to their success.

{ 0 comments }

It’s really simple for business owners to fall into a routine while completing their everyday business tasks.  Between controlling costs and fighting fires, along with managing employees and mastering CRM secrets to give your company the edge, business expansion often gets pushed aside.

However, it’s important to make business expansion a priority.  One simple way to increase business is to generate new leads; keep in mind that 79 percent of leads never convert into sales (so you need to generate a lot of them).  Here is the good news: You don’t have to commit to a series of complicated strategies to come up with new leads. Take a look at these ways to generate new leads today:

Operate a Logical Website

Go online to your business website. Is it simple to navigate? Make sure the sitemap is intuitive to avoid losing potential leads. It should not be difficult for customers to contact your business for help, or place an order. Make the experience as hassle-free as possible so your customers will come back.

Tap Into Your Own Network

Yes, you can attend countless networking events and try to meet people who may need your business offerings. But it’s also smart to consider your personal group of relatives and friends. These people may be the very leads you are looking for – or may be able to help you find some new ones.

Make Every Single Thing on Your Website Shareable

Anything your users can do on your website should be linked to their Facebook, Twitter, or other social media pages so their friends can see it too. Make your social buttons visible – turn your regular readers into social media ambassadors for your business. Lots of leads are generated in thanks to readers sharing videos or articles they found on a website.

Place Important Information in High Profile Locations on Your Website

Contact forms, calls to action, and other key information should be placed “above the fold.” This means it should be at a location where users don’t have to scroll down to find it. The longer and harder a person has to search for what they need, the more likely it is that they will leave your website and find a competitor’s whose is easier to navigate.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Around one-third of all website traffic comes from smartphones. Is your website mobile ready? If your site still is not easily readable on a smartphone screen, you need to make it that way, pronto.  It’s simple – you can make your site mobile ready in just 30 seconds.  Take those 30 seconds to do it – you can’t generate leads if site visitors can’t read the information on your website.

Collect and Use Your Analytics

Collect data, and delve into it. Examine which methods are the most successful at generating leads and build on those. Determine which methods aren’t doing much good, and reevaluate whether or not you want to continue pursuing those tactics.

Conduct Innovative Contests and Giveaways

To promote your brand, hold contests and offer premium items as prizes.  People love to join these contests for the competition to win and the enticing prize offers. Contests are an excellent way to earn more Facebook likes and convert them into email signups.  This can give your business a great return on investment – better than hundreds of pieces of content and save you your valuable time.  This is just one of many ways to offer your customers more value.

Lead generation is a vital part of any small business; both brick-and-mortar shops and online enterprises need it to survive.  Your business ship won’t sail without leads, so make it a priority to keep a continuous flow of leads that can help your business see great success.

What are your best lead-generating tips?

 

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

{ 0 comments }

ON24 Session

The average attention span of people opening your email is less than 8 seconds. That blink of an eye can make the difference between a successful webinar and the proverbial tree falling in the forest that no one hears.

In this interactive webinar, Mark Bornstein, Senior Director of Content Marketing at ON24, will share 7 tips for increasing the effectiveness of your webinar promotions in 2015, resulting in higher registration and attendance.

In this webcast you will learn:

  • Tips for creating compelling emails
  • How to increase audience receptivity
  • How to use social media to drive webinar registrations
  • Benchmark data on promotion best practices
  • How to use personalization to increase responsiveness

This webinar takes place at our upcoming Demand Generation Virtual Event. 

Click Here to Register!

{ 0 comments }

Digital Marketing Benchmark Session 900

In a Demandbase and Demand Metric joint study, over 90% of participants rated digital marketing as important or very important to achieving marketing objectives. The term “digital marketing” is now so broad it is difficult to represent all that happens under its definition. This study looked closely at the current lineup of digital marketing strategies to understand what’s in use and how well they are working. In the fast changing realm of digital marketing, knowing what works well is a source of competitive advantage.

Join Demandbase and Demand Metric for a keynote presentation to get the results of this digital marketing benchmark study whose scope includes: digital marketing goals, strategies, solutions, metrics, market targets, challenges and directions. Learn about the current state of digital marketing and get some benchmarks to fine-tune your own efforts.

You’re invited to attend a special keynote presentation during our Demand Generation Virtual Summit.

We hope to see you on November 19th!

Click Here to Register!

{ 0 comments }

new research on organic SEO


Demand Generation is a major line in many marketing budgets. That’s why before building our 2015 demand generation plan, we needed to learn more about the role of SEO in demand generation, and the current state of the demand generation process. Here are a few key findings from our research study:


75% of respondents are neutral to very dissatisfied with the monthly volume of leads their demand generation process produces. 

94% of organizations that are investing heavily in demand generation agree that their organic online presence is critical to their success

What are marketing organizations doing today to achieve the greatest success with Demand Generation? Do organizations see differences in the quality of leads produced through paid versus earned media? 

On November 19th at 11:00am EST, join Demand Metric Chief Analyst Jerry Rackley and Amy Holtzman, Director of Demand Generation at Conductor, as they discuss the results of this study and provide marketers with benchmarks and insights to ensure your demand generation process and plan strikes the right balance between paid and earned media usage, while better understanding the value of SEO and the website experience in demand generation. 

Click Here to Register for this Webinar!

{ 0 comments }

Act On Session

In recent Demand Metric research, over two-thirds of survey participants say their Demand Generation process is neutral to very ineffective.  What is the future of Demand Generation, and how can marketers stay ahead of the curve and prepare for it?

Join Demand Metric chief analyst Jerry Rackley and Atri Chatterjee, Chief Marketing Officer at Act-On Software, as they talk about the current state of Demand Generation, where it is heading and what marketers need to do about it now.

This session takes place during our upcoming Demand Generation Virtual Summit!

Click Here to Register!

{ 0 comments }

Vidyard Session HP2

So you’re producing more video content for your online marketing and demand generation programs. Your audiences love it and it’s proving to be a better way to educate prospects and inspire action. Now wouldn’t it be great if you could track WHO is watching each video, how long they are staying engaged, and use that data to enhance your lead scoring and nurturing programs? Well, this is your lucky day! On November 19th, join Tyler Lessard, CMO from Vidyard to learn how to:

  • Use video as an integrated part of content marketing and email marketing programs
  • Identify individual viewers and track their viewing histories across all distribution channels
  • Push video viewing activity data into Marketing Automation to enhance lead scoring and qualification
  • Use video analytics to optimize videos for engagement and conversion
  • Use video strategically to generate more MQLs and convert prospects faster

This webinar takes place at our upcoming Demand Generation Virtual Event. 

Click Here to Register!

{ 0 comments }

Marketo Session

You probably already know that alignment between marketing and sales teams is important — but how do you make it work? Is it even possible?

Join Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Generation Marketing and Michael Mansour, Sr. Manager of Sales Development at Marketo, as they discuss how to more effectively align marketing and sales, and ultimately win more business!

Listen in to discover:

  • Steps to create a high-performing sales organization
  • New ways to think about your revenue cycle
  • Best practices for sales development

This session takes place at our upcoming Demand Generation virtual event!

Click Here to Register!

{ 0 comments }

On Nov 19th, join Giles House, CMO of @CallidusCloud, who shares a 10 step plan for balancing lead quantity with sales’ desire for lead quality http://bit.ly/DGSblog

Read the source article at Demand Metric Events

{ 0 comments }