5 Marketing Tips for 2014

With the New Year just around the corner, it is time to look at your marketing activities for the coming year. Here are five marketing recommendations for 2014.
1. Have a Plan
I am convinced that a marketing plan - simple or complex - is the best way to reach your goals and steer your business in the direction that you desire. It is also the best way to maximize your dollars. By knowing what you will be doing throughout the year, you can negotiate better ad rates, printing and photography costs, and online and offline media buys. You can also use your time, as well as your designers/developers time, efficiently by developing content, creating materials, and preparing ahead of time. And, you can build on your messaging with relevant content and timely offers.
2. Create a Marketing Calendar
or many businesses, there are annual seasons, holidays, and events that influence their business and their customers. Start your marketing calendar with those events and then add-in special occasions or activities that are specific to your business or industry. For example, each month you could focus on a relevant topic in your industry and then expand on that concept in your marketing activities. By using a calendar you can pre-plan your featured products, store activities, website updates, blog posts, advertising, social media, etc. Your marketing will become a systematic process instead of a reactionary event.
3. Identify Your People
We like to think of “everyone” as our potential customer base, especially if we carry products a lot of people might be interested in. In reality, every business has a more closely defined group of people that purchase their products. It is important to identify the characteristics that describe your best customers. By knowing and understanding your most engaged groups you can investigate methods for reaching more people like them. You may have several target audiences, but be strategic and reach out to the groups that create the most profitable long term customers. Do not attempt to be all things to all people, as this can lead to an unprofitable drain on your resources. Know your people and create your marketing plans around them. 
4. Strengthen Your Web Presence
The importance of your website and the quality of the web experience that you provide continues to be an essential component of your marketing success. Your website is often the first impression a prospect will have of your business. Web presence is equally important for retail stores, service-based businesses, and business to business companies. Your website and other online activity (blogs, enews, social media, etc) are core elements of your business brand. Many of your marketing efforts will drive people to your online content in order to provide information that encourages them to engage with your retail business. 
The online channels continue to evolve and it is your responsibility to keep up to date on your customers’ habits and preferences. Make their online experience positive and fulfilling. Today’s customers are demanding and may not give you a second chance.
5. Provide Mobile Compatibility
It is estimated that mobile internet users will exceed the number of desktop internet users by 2014! The latest trends in mobile technology now require us to develop online marketing that is mobile compatible including website, emails, search, and social media. Reaching customers while on the go is now essential. Last month’s article focused on mobile trends and technology. I encourage you to read the full article here >
I wish you a successful and happy new year! 
Please feel free to send your thoughts, questions, and ideas to tina@stevens470.com.
Article originally published in the NAMTA (International Art Materials Retailer) eNews

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