New small business marketing strategies for 2012As small business owners everywhere are getting ready to hit the ground running in the New Year, one of the biggest challenges the face is finding ways to do more with less.  With economic predictions pointing to more of the same in 2012, it will be more important than ever to make sure every dollar spent makes the greatest possible business impact.

To that end, we asked small business owners for their thoughts on what worked and what didn’t in their 2011 marketing plans and how they planned to apply that knowledge to their efforts in 2012.

 

1.       Increase Success Coach ( www.increase-sales-coach.com)– Leanne Hoagland- Smith

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“Blog posting must remain at an average of 5 per week. I will need to increase outside article submissions by 100% to 2 per week instead of the current one per week. As I have expanded into Facebook through business pages, daily postings must be maintained on these pages as well. I will post older articles from onto these Facebook sites along with Twitter and LinkedIn. Also I will do more prospecting through LinkedIn. Finally, building strategic alliances and referrals has probably been the most successful strategy this year for me. “

2012 will see less:

“Cold calling is one that I will probably eliminate. Attending multiple business to business networking will be reduced and only those that have resulted in solid business connections will be maintained such as membership in only one Chamber versus several. Direct mail will be reduced and directed to very specific campaigns.”

New strategies for 2012:

“My College Success Boot Camp will be 100% marketed through social media. In the past I have integrated direct mail into my marketing efforts. Also free monthly teleconferences will be part of 2012. These will be a lead in for a paid teleconference/workshop or seminar.“

 

2.       Timberwolf Manufacturing  (http://www.timberwolfcorp.com) – Stephen Roberts, Marketing Manager

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“More video, more social networking based on volume of traffic to existing marketing material on our site, YouTube channel and FaceBook”

2012 will see less:
“Print advertising, Hoovers Database subscription for dealer acquisition, direct mail/card decks, and list buying.”

New strategies for 2012:

“Encouraging end-users of our products to engage with us more on FaceBook to create more third party endorsement and just have some fun.”

 

3.       Flourish VA  (www.flourishva.com) – Caroline Pigott, Principal, Business Services Consultant

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“I will be placing more emphasis on attending networking events. I feel that, although the results from Internet marketing and social media networking are indispensible, it’s still absolutely essential to have some face time with prospects so they can get a feel for my personality. If I can’t meet face to face, I plan on doing more consults via Skype for that same reason. We’re all online now and giving face time can really set you apart from the competition.“

2012 will see less:

“I will do less of Facebook. Now that Google+ has launched its business pages, I think it’s essential to put more focus on this as a business. Google, after all, is the “king pin” of search and so it’s wise to have a Google+ business page.”

New strategies for 2012:

“Google+ – using Google+ as a marketing tool for my business. I’m also going to implement a video marketing campaign. I’ll place how-to videos on my blog and YouTube.”

 

4.       Langton Cherubino Group (www.langtoncherubino.com) – David Langton, Partner

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“Our book, VISUAL MARKETING: 99 proven ways for small businesses to market with images and design (Wiley) was published in the 4th quarter 2011. We’ve only just begun to see how this will inform our marketing strategy. We intend to do more speaking events, radio, blogs and podcasts about Visual Marketing. We will continue to do a lot of article writing, answering HARO queries and building up momentum for the book and our business.”

2012 will see less:

“We will do less of the “one-offs.”  We want to focus on integrated marketing
strategies and make sure that anything we do online is available in print and
may be adapted for our in person presentations.”

New strategies for 2012:

“We just launched a dedicated website for the book: www.VisualMarketingBook.com and it has its own Facebook and Twitter account.  We will be doing much more in these platforms in 2012.”

 

5.       Clearpoint Agency, Inc.  (www.clearpointagency.com) – Beth Walsh,PR and Marketing Communications

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“We plan to revise our website and optimize it for search engines, increase our blogging and social media, do more press releases, and also attend more networking functions.”

2012 will see less:

“Not sure other than eliminating the paid online directory listings (see below). We may or may not do pay-per-click advertising, but we haven’t decided yet. We did a small amount of it last year. We have stopped paying for online directory listings and instead, are doing more SEO. We think it is a better/more effective way to spend the same money.”

New strategies for 2012:

“Paying for SEO support; we also plan to increase our charitable involvement (which we did on a small level in 2011).”

 

6.       Tria Marketing & Design (http://www.triadesignfirm.com) – Ann Siegle

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“Inbound marketing – SEO, social, e-mail marketing and content generation.”

2012 will see less:

“Print. We may actually do less SEM as well.”

New strategies for 2012:

“We are going to dive further into a niche and let go of some markets that are underperforming. It’s scary to ditch an industry but we feel it’s critical to grow. We’re also going to focus efforts on moving clients to retainer based agreements, and away from project based work.”

 

7.       Premier Aircraft Sales (www.flypas.com) – Catherine B. Ahles, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“Today, most aircraft purchasers do the bulk of their “hunting” online, rather than at their local airports. Believe it or not, many offshore customers put a deposit on an airplane based upon the description and photos contained in online ads. Our company has an impeccable reputation for accurate descriptions of aircraft, and offering only excellent inventory for sale, so there’s little risk in buying these high-end products online.  In 2012, we will be doing even more online advertising as well as creating more landing pages and other web-based tools. Incentives have become more important too. We will be offering things like free fuel for a year with purchase of a new aircraft.  Also, we are still figuring out how to use Facebook to aid our customers in keeping up with new developments of interest. We have not gotten into the Twitter business, and I doubt we will next year.

2012 will see less:

“Our print advertising will go to bare minimum, and we will cease doing open houses and any trade show except the very largest. We used to host Aircraft Expos, a regional aircraft open house put on in partnership with dealers representing other brands of aircraft. These used to be a major source of leads but with the economic decline attendance by serious buyers has fallen off so dramatically we will not do them in 2012.”

New strategies for 2012:

“Since we are in the review and planning stage now, that’s to be determined. I have determined we are going to use new suppliers for online ads, and shift advertising dollars into ads in online aviation newsletters.”

 

8.       School Skills  (www.schoolskills.net) – Chris Tobias, Director of Educational Excitement

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“In 2012 we will no longer pay for advertising. We will only pay for results. This means affiliate programs and partnering with publications to pay them based on the sales an ad produces rather than just paying for ad space.”

2012 will see less:

“No more pay per click or pay for space.  We will no longer pay for advertising that does not directly drive sales.  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.”

New strategies for 2012:

“We are new to affiliate tracking systems and will have to modify our website and reporting to include this.”

 

9.       the r e s i c o m group (www.resicomonline.com) – John Fairclough

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“To engage in those events and opportunities where we can share our expertise—such as speaking engagements, webinars, Lunch and Learns. We want to offer educational events where potential clients are free to use information and the expertise we provide. “

2012 will see less:

“Traditional print advertising that focuses on us while ignoring the needs and pain points of our market. We are on a quest to never use a general information brochure. We are looking to have customized pieces to every prospect.  We refuse to use or create any hard sell content where the spotlight is solely on us—instead we focus on the client and their challenges and opportunities for growth. As a general rule, the word “we” should not be in our marketing materials. We want to get away from talking about our company, rather just share our thoughts on challenges our prospects face.”

New strategies for 2012:

“Hosting webinars as well as ‘Lunch and Learns’.”

 

10.   Joolwe (www.joolwe.com) – Monique Bird, Marketing and PR Specialist

Based on 2011 results, 2012 marketing focus:

“We really want to be shoppers to be more active with us online. Our plan is to engage users directly through our blog, website, and social media. We want to be much more than just a jewelry retailer, and we want our site to be a place where jewelry fanatics can learn about new trends, communicate with other shoppers and even design their own jewelry!”

2012 will see less:

“We’re not going to do anymore magazine advertisements in the foreseeable
future.  Around Valentine’s Day (2011) we tried advertising in a magazine. It was very expensive and we didn’t see any increase in revenue. We definitely learned from that experience, and now we understand that online advertising is more effective for us. Most magazine readers aren’t going to stop reading their magazine to visit a site on the computer. However, if a viewer is on the computer, she’s much more likely to click a link to our site.*

New strategies for 2012:

“We’re reaching out to “web celebrities” on YouTube, fashion blogs and other websites. We’ve found a number of web personalities who have become online stars. Joolwe.com will work to get as many of them to make video reviews of our products, offer our giveaways and/or allow us to guest blog.  We also want to reach out to our local community through nearby pageants and local nonprofit women’s, children’s and fashion groups. We get orders from all around the world – but we don’t want to forget about our neighbors.   Joolwe.com  will also engage other small retailers targeting the same female demographic. We feel that by cross promoting products through our respective email newsletters, we can increase sales for both parties.”