As you’re welcoming in the new year, it is crucial for small business owners to set aside time to plan for the year ahead. This is your opportunity to reflect on what you did well, what you didn’t do well, and how you can improve in 2014.
How are you attracting new customers? What is your business’ biggest challenge?
On the top of the list for small business owner concerns are issues about Marketing. In fact, studies show the #1 concern for small business owners is finding new customers (42%) and the #3 concern (6% behind worries about employee benefits and affordable health care) is keeping current customers (33%).
3 Tips for Business Success in 2014
1. You Need a Marketing Plan
But, the benefits are endless. A marketing plan helps focus you and your employees’ efforts, avoid wasting time and money, and helps you weed out what is not working so you can pin point the best strategies you need to move your business forward.
Determine your business’ 2014 goals and set a realistic marketing budget with your Return on Investment (ROI) as the key factor. Lay out the best strategies that will put your business in a better position where customers are searching for your products and services. By planning a marketing budget, you can better adapt to today’s fast changing marketplace. It takes money to make money, but you don’t have to break the bank for it.
- Over 25% of marketers report that social media marketing, email marketing, blogging and SEO produce below average total costs per lead
- Inbound marketing produces both a higher quality and quantity of leadscompared to traditional marketing (34% inbound leads vs. 22% traditional leads)
2. Optimize your online presence
2013 was the year customers increasingly adopted new technology, search and review tools and social media. This will become the norm and expectation for customers around the world in 2014. As technology is emerging as the #1 preferred way of communicating, small business owners need to make smart investments that will attract customers now and in the future.
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Your website serves as the first impression many customers have about you and your business. Show off your business’ credibility by having a professional, responsive website that is easily viewed on any one of their devices.
- 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile device
- 61% of consumers who visit a mobile-unfriendly website go to a competitor’s website
Engage with your customers on Social Media
Social media is essential in the marketplace. As the #1 activity on the web, it’s clear that social media is here to stay. Connect and share your business’ news, products and services with your customers and encourage them to share your business with their friends.
- 74% of customers rely on social media to help them decide on a purchase
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing
Get found online
Over 97% of customers are searching for goods and services on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Meet your customers where they are everyday – online. Get your business found and bring more traffic to your website with an aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. More traffic = more customers.
- 70% of links clicked on search engine results pages are organic
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results
3. Measure Your Efforts
More than half (56%) of small business owners do not measure their marketing results. If you have no baseline for measuring your business’ efforts, how will you determine your progress or limitations? Develop a simple reporting structure for measuring your marketing efforts and create goals that you evaluate every quarter. This will help you determine how your business is progressing,alleviate stress and ensure you are on the right track.
We hope this will help you see the benefits of your business’ dollars hard at work. By setting aside time to reflect and plan strategic goals for your business you will earn more, spend less and save time so you can enjoy the benefits, rather than the headache, of owning a thriving small business.