5 Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

Whether your business is stepping into 2010 in stride or just barely limping out of 2009, you’re probably considering a few strategies to help you stay in shape this year, and there’s one that should be at the top of your list: Commit to a year of marketing. Defining goals for 2010 and outlining monthly plans at the beginning of the year may seem daunting, but when it comes down to the dirty work, this will prove considerably easier than going to the gym every week. Here are 5 marketing resolutions to keep in mind as you kick off the New Year.

1.    Don’t go into it willy-nilly. Set concrete goals and objectives. Resolving to solidify your presence in the community is just like resolving to trim three inches off your waistline – it’ll never happen unless you focus on methods instead of end results. Devote time to your marketing plan, and you’ll come out with a well thought out yearly model that complements your business. Planning ahead will not only save you time and energy down the line, but will also better prepare you for unexpected stumbling blocks.
2.    Forget the fear-mongering. Many businesses resorted to fear tactics in 2009 because of the economy, but this is a kind of sucker-punch marketing: it can work for a while, but ultimately, it cheapens public discourse. Instead of scaring people into choosing your business, set yourself apart from the crowd and be positive. You can do this by sprucing up your real selling points. And get specific. (Everyone says they’re all about customer service, but who isn’t these days? Why are customers really coming to you?) Freshen up your strategies for the New Year, but don’t lose sight of your business’s long-term identity.
3.    Become the expert. At Riley Communications, we champion expertise as a way to sell your business — after all, everyone wants to work with the industry pace-setter. Educate the public by tweeting, giving talks, or helping out reporters; in short, take advantage of every medium to showcase your skills and experience. If you can become the authority in your industry by sharing your knowledge for free, you’ll be top-of-mind when people need a reference.
4.    Learn about social media. For some, this may seem like old news, but I can’t emphasize enough how many ways a business can harness new social media forums. This may not be the best long-term path for your business, but you should understand the power of Facebook and know how to check Twitter to see if your organization is being discussed. Social media is just another method of communication that can help you build relationships with customers, or, at the very least, make you more aware of your customers’ needs and opinions.
5.    Shoot for the stars. Get creative and integrate your campaigns. Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you – from using social media to bring in more clients and coverage, to targeting the great number of business and local publications that could feature your business aside from regular advertising. Take, for example, the excellent chef from Terra, a locally owned restaurant in Columbia, who got national airtime on NPR. There’s no reason your small business can’t achieve similar marketing heights.  Don’t be afraid of having a vision, as long as you stay true to your core principles and have concrete strategies to reach your goals.

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