It is common practice to set New Year’s resolutions in our personal lives, but how often do we do it for our business? As you look forward to running your small business in 2012, think about what resolutions you can make specific to your marketing plan that will give you the most buzz for your buck.
Here are 28 New Year’s Resolutions from small businesses to get you thinking about your 2012 Marketing Plan.
1. Build Relationships With Customers
To create more opportunities for our end buyers to interact with the company. As a manufacturer it’s always difficult to have a dialog with customers because our primary “sale” is to the dealer and we don’t get many chances to communicate with customers directly.
Stephen Roberts, Marketing Manager, Timberwolf Manufacturing
2. Engage and Monitor
To be consistent and emotionally engaging in all marketing efforts. To continue to monitor and measure all results. (I know that in 3 years my unique visitor traffic has increased by 250% to just under 8,000 unique visitors per month.) To convert more visitors specific to eproducts thus increasing monthly income. To achieve Alexa.com ranking of under 100,000. To have the blog recognized as one of the top business, leadership and sales blogs.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, www.increase-sales-coach.com
3. Waste Less Time on Social Media
I resolve to waste less time on social media channels!
Tea Silvestre, www.theWordChef.com
4. Be More Visual
Don’t forget: All marketing is VISUAL.
David Langton, Principal, Langton Cherubino Group, Ltd. (http://www.langtoncherubino.com)
It is easy when we get busy to stop marketing ourselves, but we know that we need to do it consistently if we want to grow. So we have resolved to be more consistent in 2012 on doing our own marketing and PR.
Beth Walsh, Clearpoint Agency, Inc., (www.clearpointagency.com)
6. Update The Plan, Then Walk the Plan
Ann Siegle, Tria Marketing & Design, (http://www.triadesignfirm.com)
7. Discover Previously-Unidentified Markets
To find new ways to help customers obtain loans – financing is still a major issue. To further expand our worldwide presence.
Catherine B. Ahles, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Premier Aircraft Sales (www.flypas.com)
8. No More Advertising
Our 2012 marketing resolution is we will no longer buy advertising. We will buy results. After spending a year and a half attempting to optimize click through conversion rates, design high quality marketing communications and locate appropriate advertising vehicles we have discovered that we are not advertising experts. We have also discovered
that the risk for advertising success lies entirely with us. If we buy media space in a publication that does not produce results we lose both time and money. The publication, however, gets to keep our money.
For 2012 we are completely converting our marketing efforts to shared risk. We will no longer pay for click through or brand exposure ads. We will only pay a percentage of sales actually produced by the ad. Our advertising budget had previously floated at about 9% of revenue. For 2012 we will be increasing this about 30% of revenue. Instead of paying $600 for a quarter page ad we will pay 25% of all sales produced by the ad. If the ad produces $10,000 in sales the advertiser will receive $2500. If the ad produces $100 in sales the advertiser will receive $25. This will be tracked through coupon codes for print. All web advertising will be converted to affiliate programs which pay by the sale. We can increase our media budget since all advertising will be paid for by additional sales.
This does not mean that we will stop brand awareness advertising. Our brand awareness strategy for 2012 however will be entirely based on shareable content and partnerships with publications that have a similar audience. We will be producing more free downloads and more shareable content on the assumption that if it is valuable – it will be shared and republished. This is a big risk since traditional paid advertising guarantees space in a publication. Shareable content, however, may or may not get reused in other publications.
Chris Tobias, Director of Educational Excitement, School Skills
Our 2012 our resolution is to position ourselves as the Thought Leader in our industry and also to all lose 5% of our current body weight, eat right and exercise more.
John Fairclough, the r e s i c o m group (http://www.resicomonline.com)
10. Happy Shoppers
Our 2012 Marketing Resolution is to keep our shoppers happy. Our success is driven by word-of-mouth marketing from wonderful customers. When they like their experience with us – as in our jewelry quality, diverse selections, low prices and customer service – they come back and they tell their friends about us. And the cycle continues when those friends have a wonderful experience too! That’s why we always try to listen to the needs and wants of our shoppers and make their Joolwe.com <http://www.joolwe.com/>shopping experience amazing.
Monique Bird, Marketing and PR Specialist, Joolwe.com
11. Regular Communication.
Contact our email list on a regular basis (no more being flaky!) and not worry every single time that I might lose subscribers. It’s better to have tried and lost, than to never have tried at all!
Chris Wise, Online Marketing Director, Guideline Central
12. Systematic Marketing
For our own firm and for our clients, we are resolving to commit to a programmatic approach to marketing (strategy) instead of simply a project approach (tactics, often with no real plan behind them : “one offs”).
Charles J. Morris, Jr., Principal, Morris Creative Group, LLC
13. Community Centric, Mobile Friendly Website
For 2012, The Voice of Your Customer plans to revise our company website to be less content driven and more mobile friendly with a great focus on customer engagement and community involvement. Previously, our website as focused on flash and SEO heavy content that is no longer of interest to our visitors.
The Voice of Your Customer also plans to increase our visibility in the media by distributing more company press releases and applying for more industry, small business and community awards. In years past, we won several awards that generated quite a bit of exposure in the local, regional and niche media that resulted in more visits to our website and social media pages.
Additionally, The Voice of Your Customer plans to increase the activity on our LinkedIn and Facebook company pages, better utilize the engagement tools and more effectively use the visitor analytics. When the pages were launched, the focus was on increasing likes and daily posts. In the near future, we would like to use these pages for survey research, recruiting and content management.
Crystal L Kendrick, President, The Voice of Your Customer
14. Mobile Marketing
In 2012, our company, Leon Mege Inc. (custom made engagement rings and fine jewelry) will be doing a lot more mobile marketing. We will also be focusing more on Google+ and are allocating a smaller budget to print ads and Facebook ads. A lot more branding is also in store for the New Year for our company (we are currently in the early stages of developing a branding strategy).
Olga Topchaya, Director of Marketing, Leon Megé Inc.
15. Increase Twitter Following
Our marketing resolution is to increase our twitter following, in order to control cost and to weed out the multiple offerings of Marketing Services that I am swamped with on a daily basis. If I can control advertising cost, I can hopefully make better use of time and money to hire help.
Lance Dzintars , Zaria & Bella’s LLC, www.zariaandbellas.com
16. More Online Engagement
Going to do more: Webinars, email campaigns with partners who send on our behalf, retargeting, startup daily deal sites, guest blogging.
Going to do less: sitting around twiddling our thumbs
Going to start: LinkedIn advertising to drive webinar signups
Joshua Krafchin, Clever Zebo (www.cleverzebo.com)
17. Have a Conversation
We’re going to be more conversational and ‘broadcast’ less. We’re going to bring true value to our customers as opposed to just marketing our products. We’re going to listen to our customers and ask them, instead of making guesses as to what they want from us.
Kendall Moyles, Green Surf Shop
18. Give More Value
My resolution is to contribute more ideas and expertise to social networks that are related to what I do within my company.
Christi Pemberton, Global Crest Productions
19. Invest in Advertising
In 2012 I am going to jump off the bridge and go for big advertising in a major wedding magazine THE KNOT…it is needed at this time and so for 2012 I am placing an ad in this national player in the wedding industry.
Kelly Marie Albert , The Perfect Card Box
20. Intentional Marketing
A. Greater emphasis on social media. We want to expand our presence on Facebook by adding custom tabs/pages to help grow our fan base. In terms of audience interaction, we are committing ourselves to posting at least twice per day on both Facebook and Twitter. The significance of LinkedIn is also something we plan to utilize in the new year.
B. Videos, videos, videos. In 2012 we are launching a YouTube channel to post things like customer testimonials and information videos about our products or services. The goal is to educate our existing and potential customers through the informational videos while building and reinforcing a sense of trust with videos such as client testimonials.
C. Targeted mailings. When we first started our original business we worked out a deal with a local printer to create some post cards for us. We mailed them out to local businesses and the response was better than expected. It may be a new year but the world is still generally the same, so we’re going to get back to some basics with this one.
D. Launch an email newsletter. It is important for us to stay in front of our customers and on their minds. We are committing to sending out an electronic newsletter each month to those customers who opt-in to receive it. The newsletter will give them a first look at upcoming specials and promotions, as well as offer subscriber-only opportunities.
E. Advertise in local newspapers. This relates a bit to point three above. We ran a few ads early on and experienced some moderate returns, so we will return to this as an option for us in 2012. Online readership is growing and rates are more than reasonable at this time.
Daniel J. Spence, President, Big Bird Media, LLC
21. Develop Partnerships
I plan to develop some strategic partnerships with other business owners so that we can combine our efforts to host a Mini-Telesummit.
I will be attending the Diva Toolbox Conference in Boston, MA for the second year and also be connecting regularly with my local chapter members of NAWBO.
I enjoy blogging and will be sharing my ideas on my LinkedIn Profile and the new Facebook page I am creating for my Coaching Business: “Moving Forward Through Divorce.”
Nancy A. Kay, Divorce Management Coach,
22. Focused Marketing
Narrow our marketing focus by eliminating distracting products and services that don’t pay their way that we carried in the past to be a “full service” company for our clients. They are a distraction from our meat and potatoes offerings. Instead, we’re creating a group of complimentary partner companies to take over those duties using other area business people we’ve known and trusted over the years to take over those services. We’re referring to them as “trusted local partners”. We’ll refer business to them and in return they’re going to refer back to us based upon our defined competency. Members in this group must have a complimentary business product or service that enhances the group. This is different than a networking group like those formed by Chambers of Commerce that group non-competing businesses together without any regard to how well they complement each other as businesses.
We also plan to drop the less sophisticated parts of our previous offerings as they’ve become commoditized by the market. Offerings such as retail software, Internet Content filtering, computer repair services (we call it break/fix) and retail sales of computers and printers. We’re trying to move up the IT food-chain and focus on more sophisticated products and services that aren’t generally offered at the “shallow end” of the IT services pool. This is our effort to differentiate ourselves from the retail big-box “Geek Squad” type guys.
Jeff Hoffman, President, ACT Network Solutions
23. Pick a Few Good Marketing Strategies
Narrow down social media to 2 – 3 tools that REALLY work in terms of responses. Narrow down my marketing hours. Make more effort to make human to human contact rather than just social media. Hire people to do some work for me. (PR, day to day tasks). I know it’s an investment but it will free me up to think of the big picture.
24. Increase Local Exposure
We will continue to get involved in our community through various B2B channels, such as the local Chamber of Commerce, regional newspapers and their online versions, and traditional “small town” handshake efforts. The goal is to have every local business owner know who we are, and more importantly, understand what we do.
Leverage the Local / Mobile / Social aspects of technology. Being in a small town environment limits the effect of many social media efforts, however the growth in location based services such as Foursquare, Oink, Gowalla, and Facebook check-ins have allowed small businesses to focus on the people who are already around them. As smart phones continue to grow on older customers, these services and features will become more and more important on the local level. We plan on offering specials and contests that involve being physically close to our location.
Increase community involvement. We plan on sponsoring a local softball team, running a clothing drive, and taking part in our local Autumn festival in 2012. We plan on doing at least one major community campaign per quarter of 2012.
We are in the process of developing tools for local business owners to leverage technology that they simply don’t yet understand. We have found that the average local business owner still does not know how to properly use even their old outdated Web sites to their advantage. Add in Social Media, iPhone apps, and local search listings (Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo Local, Yelp, etc.) and it just spins their head. We are working to bring these tools to the average person through a series of free seminars, online tutorials, and even a local business app builder which will allow for our community businesses to take a giant leap ahead of even their larger corporate competitors.
I am really proud that the same efforts that we use to market our company are going to help our local community and our local business owners. Although it sometimes feels that technology drives us apart, we feel that it can be used to bring back the Mom & Pop way of doing business of yesterday.
Jon Berry, Berry Smart
25. Create More Local Partnerships
Our resolution is to find more local/regional partners in order to foster visible job growth right in our own backyard. Restoring hope locally is job one in this economy!
John Leschke, Green 3 Apparel
26. Get Involved
We are going to work with more websites that cater to our target market. This includes offering free valuable information to other relevant sites on how businesses can start implementing strategies of their own to start seeing results. Developing more relationships with experts in the industry. Giving away more free information to prospective clients. Also participating in more guest blog related public relations.
We plan to do less direct mail advertising and instead use email and other virtual mediums to maximize profit. We also plan to continue not participating in cold calls.
A major thing we plan to start doing in 2012 is to be involved with more charitable events and more offline activities that are in the public eye. We feel that in conjunction with our online promotions, this could create a synergy that is unmatched.
Mike Calloway, Trinity Marketing
27. Be More Personal
I hope to be more personal than ever in my marketing. As a freelancer and now a small business owner with predominantly remote work, online content marketing is a stellar way to establish my expertise, inform potential clients about my methods, and get my name out. But blog posts, newsletters, tweets, and Facebook posts only go so far as information vehicles. I’m finding more than ever it’s the thoughtful notes, unexpected responses, and general accessibility that powerfully push my business relationships and my career forward. It’s easy to write these things off since they don’t have the same reach of our other efforts!
Stephanie Peterson, Fairground Media
28. Referral Marketing
We plan on giving a strong push to referral marketing through social media in 2012. We’ve played with it in the past, but it’s time to really see if we can make it work to help grow our business!
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO & Founder, FlexJobs.com
- Building Your 2012 Marketing Plan (23 Kazoos.com)
- Top Retail Trends for 2012 (StartupNation.com)
- 8 Bold Resolutions For Marketers (fastcompany.com)