Content - more but different
Content is still king, or perhaps I should say content is just still constant. Creating valuable and relevant content on your blog and website for your specific target audience will remain extremely vital to your 2013 digital marketing plan. This helps you to attract and retain your ideal clients and allows you to be found in search engines.
However, look to expand your blog beyond just the written word. Chances are you speak faster than you can type -- consider offer content on your blog in the form of an audio podcast. Interview others in your industry that would appeal to your target audience and capture the audio to post as an interview podcast blog post. Better yet, capture it on video, upload it to YouTube and embed the video into your blog post -- YouTube is owned by Google so the more video you have there (with appropriate keyword tagging for your industry, etc.) the easier you'll be found in Google searches.
Keeping your blog fresh with different forms of content delivery helps your loyal blog followers stay engaged -- having written blogs, podcasts and video offers a bit of content diversification that helps keep your target audience curious and excited to re-visit your blog knowing they'll find more than just lengthy written text.
Everyone's time and attention are also more scarce than usual, so adding podcasts and video to your blog content can help your site visitors consume your content more quickly and conveniently.
Marketing Strategy Returns
Marketing and business decisions will be made with further scrutiny to insure a return on the time, energy and monetary investment made. While the U.S. economy has seen a slight uptick as of late, unknown factors still keep business owners only cautiously optimistic in 2013.
What this means for those of you who sell something (YOU) is, get very clear and concise about the value you and your product or service provide. Help your client to see the value as quickly as possible so they 'get' it almost immediately. When you get your value messaging to that point you are at an advantage over 80% of other businesses. Then you can concentrate on whether or not your prospect has a further or pressing interest/need in your product/service. If that answer is 'yes' you've already sold them on your solution and you simply need to hone in on building a trusted relationship so they want to buy from you vs. your competition.
My point here is that your marketing needs to be exact and business owners are not likely to want to spend money on marketing help unless the help can produce. However, solopreneurs especially, will need to employ the help of other professionals to build a 'team' to win business over their competition. It's simply that the money spent to create such marketing will be thoroughly examined.
This type of pin-point approach requires you to target your marketing extremely well, message to your ideal prospective clients as precisely as you can so it takes little time to educate your audience on your particular product/service, so you can quickly engage your ideal prospect to build the relationship needed (which takes the longest amount of time out of the whole process, but is likely the most important part) so they purchase from you vs. your competition.
Integrated Digital Marketing
Now that social media has reached its height in buzz-worthiness it's now a vital part of doing business. Now, especially if you're a service-based solopreneur or professional, if you're not at least on LinkedIn you're missing business opportunities. (Note: In 2012, over 80% of GrowLoop's clients initiated on LinkedIn)
But social media isn't to be utilized in a silo. Bringing social and digital marketing practices into the offline world and coupled with traditional marketing -- like direct mail -- can pack a powerful marketing punch. For example, building or buying a list of contacts in your target audience, developing a postcard physical direct mailer to them and having the postcard's call-to-action direct the recipient to a landing page on your website where they can fill out a form to download a free and valuable ebook is one way to integrate on- and off-line marketing efforts with often increased returns.
Also, getting better at finding ideal clients and referral partners online via social media (like LinkedIn or others) and initiating and online connection then as quickly as possible taking the conversation started online, off-line to more quickly build trust in the relationship. In my experience, trusted relationships with contacts initiated online that were quickly taken off-line yield better results, quicker than relationships initiated online that stay online. For example, when you find a new prospect or referral partner on LinkedIn, reach out and be honest about why you would like to connect with them, if they connect, then ask if you can have an initial conversation off-line to learn more about each other. If you're in the same city and have the time, meet them in person (for coffee or lunch, etc.). If they're not in the same city, at the least, have an initial phone conversation with them. Either in person or by phone, having that more personal real-time interaction gives the budding relationship the magic of a human touch that can sometimes be lost in the digital landscape. This will become increasingly more important as more and more professionals aren't willing to take a risk on a business relationship that hasn't gone deep enough yet.
posted by: Nick Venturella