Wow, what a busy year 2015 was! So many changes in small business marketing, it’s hard to keep up with them all. We’ve put together some of our best blog posts of the last year for you to review and help put together a fantastic plan for 2016.
- Social media—probably the fastest changing part of digital marketing, what happened in social media last year? Does it mean doing things differently for your business this year?
- SEO—getting found in search results is as important now as it’s ever been. But will the same tactics be effective in 2016?
- Digital marketing—what’s hot and what’s not in modern marketing? Is your marketing getting your business in front of enough prospects?
If you ended 2015 just as you started it: ignorant of social media; don’t despair, you’re not alone. We find a surprisingly large number of business people acutely aware that they know next to nothing about one of the most important parts of the digital revolution. In So A 12-Year-Old Knows More Than You? we gently bring you up to date on social media, what it is and why it’s important for your business.
One of the things that’s great about social media is its ability to get the word out fast! That’s not so great when they’re talking about your business and what they’re saying isn’t complimentary. What Are They Saying About Your Business? will help you recognize and react to relationship management issues when they arise.
We admit it: we’re crazy about Twitter. Back when summer was sizzling, we published All About Twitter to share our excitement with our readers. And nothing’s really changed. In Your Social Media Program we still recommend it as a key component of any small business social media strategy.
Winners and losers
In any field moving as fast as social media, there are bound to be some upward trends and some things headed the other way. Social media has seen huge growth in the image-oriented networks like Pinterest and Instagram. Have a look at The Most Popular Networks to get an idea of the state of social media in late 2015.
For most people SEO is kind of a “black art”. It can be very frustrating in its “unknowability”: no one knows for sure what criteria Google uses to rank sites. Truly, no one does. Any pronouncements you read are simply opinion, some expert, some less than.
We do try to help clients who are new to digital marketing understand at least the basics. How Does My Website Appear In Search Results? is a great basic primer, especially accompanied by Search Engines Change, Your Website Has To Keep Up!
Local search changes
SEO is a funny thing and, like we wrote, can sure be frustrating: no one knows for sure what criteria Google uses to rank sites. Truly, no one does. Any pronouncements you read are simply opinion, some expert, some less than.
And there seems to be no plan. In August 2015, for example, one day Google Local search results went from displaying seven local businesses to displaying only three! You can imagine the impact on traffic to those sites and, ultimately perhaps, their overall businesses.
There is no cure-all for search ranking woes, but in Your Search Ranking Tanked? we listed some of the most common pitfalls and what you can do about it.
For small business marketing, the digital side of things is moving more rapidly than ever before and yet some companies are not even participating yet. In How Can You Afford Effective Digital Marketing? we’re telling the ‘newbies’ there’s no better time to start than now.
But just because marketing has become so digital, it doesn’t mean traditional marketing strategies like Being Unique don’t still apply—they sure do. Just like the journey of converting prospects top customers, it’s still critical to always be Managing Your Funnel.
Given all the changes, it’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed a great deal. One of them is the focus on great content. In 2015, we wrote more about content than any other subject. Here are a sample of four:
Crisp and integrated branding & messaging
A common failing of small business marketing is a lack of cohesiveness and integration. Too often brand is thought of fitfully and in isolation from the rest of the marketing planning. In Digital Marketing for Small Business we began to show small business owners a path toward a truly integrated digital program.
Making 2016 the best ever
We’ve always felt that small businesses tend to be short on planning and long on execution. But, a quick review of some of our 2015 posts might make the basis for a great small business marketing plan to start 2016. And who knows? Maybe a start to the best year ever for your business.
Let us know how your small business is approaching digital marketing this year. We’d love to hear from you!