7 Things to Include in Your 2014 Marketing Plan
Let’s face it – traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, cold calling, print, tv and radio ads just aren’t as effective as they may have been in past years. Why is that? That largely depends on your target audience, but if you’re marketing toward the Millennial generation (born between the 1980s and the early 2000s) there are a few reasons why. First of all, if your business isn’t targeting the Millennial generation, you’d better think again. By 2015, this generation’s annual spending is expected to be $2.45 trillion and by 2018, they will eclipse baby boomers in spending power at $3.39 trillion.* But, back to the point, Millennials don’t rely on newspapers and magazines to get information on brands and products, they go to the web. They’re on social media, following and engaging with brands. They’re on smartphones, making purchases directly from their mobile devices. In fact, this generation is the least likely of all to own a landline. They’re relying on content to make purchasing decisions, and are apt to ignore ads altogether; only 17% of Millennials said a TV ad prompted them to buy.** Plus, Millennials aren’t purchasing homes – they’re renting and staying at jobs for much smaller periods of time than previous generations. How can you rely on a traditional marketing method such as direct mail when you can’t keep a current address for them?
That being said, we’ve outlined a list of seven marketing tactics you’d be remiss not to include in your 2014 marketing plan. The best part about them? You can track the effectiveness of many of these.
1. Content Development
The art of providing editorial content that informs, educates or entertains your customer through channels such as your website, social networks and search engines. Customers are now relying on blog posts, white papers, photos, videos and more to learn about a brand or product before making purchasing decisions. More and more companies are putting their dollars toward producing quality, customer-friendly content.
2. Email Marketing
Personalized messages are not a way of the past, despite our advice to ditch your direct mail pieces. You can accomplish your goal of directly reaching out to a past or potential customer personally by way of the 21st century via email. Keep customers up to date on products, special promotions, sales and company news by email. Plus, measure its effectiveness by tracking open rates, click-through links and bounces. Even follow up with customers about a specific product based on their actions within the email.
Being found on the web is crucial for most businesses to thrive. This means optimizing your site for search engines like Google and Bing. Completing research on relevant, high traffic keywords and inserting those into specific landing pages and other content within your site enables you to receive higher positions on organic search results pages. This is a key factor in attracting new customers, as most web users are not likely to look past the first few results and even less likely to continue on to the second page.
While we may have indicated that certain ad formats aren’t as effective, pay-per-click advertising is an important aspect of a contemporary marketing budget. While we recommend a strong SEO strategy to make sure your business is being found organically, a large portion of web users actually do click the ads on search engine results pages that you may ignore. In fact, ads seem to take up more and more of the screen everyday and many users won’t scroll down the results page to find your website listed at, say, number 7.
5. Public Relations
Today, it’s not enough to just be awesome in your industry. It’s about how the public perceives your brand. Making an effort to be active in your local community, getting involved in meaningful causes and showing appreciation for your loyal fans can be rewarding in a number of ways, including financially. And making the right contacts along the way to publicize your community efforts is crucial.
6. Web Development
Your website is the number one connection most of your current and potential customers have with your company, and it’s quite arguably the most important reflection of who you are as a business. With such frequent updates to digital technology, websites can become outdated quickly. If your site is guilty of only taking up half of your computer screen or having a splash page with the words “Enter Site,” you’re in need of an upgrade. Neglecting to update your site is a surefire way to turn away customers.
7. Social Media
Maintaining an active presence on social networks can affect many aspects of your overall marketing strategy, such as SEO and public relations. Not only is it ideal for building brand loyalty, but there is no doubt that search engines use signals from social media in their ranking algorithms. Utilizing social networks relevant to your industry and target audience can be one of the most effective ways to spread the word on company news, product or service updates, sales, promotions, special events and more.
If you’re struggling to wrap your mind around which tactics are right for your business, contact Sage Island today. We’ve got a talented team of graphic designers, programmers, SEO and PPC specialists, social media strategists and branding experts to improve your overall marketing strategy and return on investment.