A New Year, a fresh start! Our motto here at Tenato is “Think Forward. Move Forward.” So we thought we would provide some ideas and recommendations to help you think about the year ahead and how to find your focus.
Here are 5 points to consider when planning your strategic marketing and promotional mix for 2013.
1. Acquire Good Market Research
There is no excuse for careless decision making today when there are so many new ways to acquire market research. Did you realize that each click that moves traffic over the internet is being tracked by data consolidation services – where it originated, where it travelled, etc – and that this will tell you mountains of data (i.e. what people are calling “big data”) about what people are looking for? For example, what keyword searches have led people to your website? Who are they and where are they from? Imagine being able to match the content you are posting to the content that people are searching for — using the same words….now you have found a way to bump your traffic! You might think people are looking for an “Holistic health clinic” when actually they are searching for “How to tell if you have a wheat allergy” — it’s the same with any kind of expertise you are selling.
2. Uncover your Market Positioning
It may be obvious that you can learn about your own site, but did you know that you can also learn almost as much about your competitors’ websites? This information can be extremely revealing to determine where your market positioning lays. For example, through competitor research online, you might learn that a strong competitor is really getting 90% of its traffic selling one specific product, and is ignoring the niche where you want to compete. You’ll also be able to tell who is growing, and who is shrinking, and why. Surprisingly, you may also discover that the companies you thought were your competitors are not even on the online radar anymore, and you’ll have to figure out how to compete with other firms who are funneling leads that should come to your business.
3. Commit Yourself to Content Development
If you want to call yourself an expert in any area, you have to publish regularly, and with online tools like blogs, it’s easier than ever. It’s just like being in the academic community — if a professor isn’t publishing as a researcher, he or she loses credibility as an expert resource. You need to be abreast of all the new developments in your industry; you need to be the leader, not the follower, to be an expert. Now, many online marketers will tell you that you can farm-out writing to lower level staff or an online content service who just generates keyword-laden content – it doesn’t have to be good. But it does need to be good! It has to set you apart as someone who thinks more deeply, and more thoroughly…that’s when people are inspired to share it around. If you’re a good thinker but a weak writer, I recommend this: draft it out as best you can, and hand it off to a good editor who can make it shine. OR, work with a writer who will interview you and then write up the content. At least then it will contain your important ideas.
As the web overflows with more and more self-publishers, the cream will rise to the top. And those not writing or publishing content at all will be left sinking. We recommend writing (blogging) something new at least once a month – but if you can do it, do it for weekly. It keeps you fresh, and will push you into the leadership position!
4. Syndicate Your Content
It might seem like writing content is a huge job, so how can you get the most out of it? Many companies have good research already – sitting in .pdf or MS Word documents that have never made it into cyberspace. The key is to post the content, in plain text, to a blog and share it on social media sites. If you sign up for a dashboard type services like Hootsuite, you can publish to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn all at once, saving you tons of time. Some online marketing experts also recommend sharing the same content multiple times, so that you ensure it’s getting maximum exposure. i.e. share one blog post 3 or more times, at different times of day.
Even if you are already doing some content writing and sharing, you might notice that some of your content deserves more — maybe you’ve got a really insightful industry-relevant white paper, or a highly developed piece of research. Go further with it. Contact relevant industry associations, and see if they might like to post a link to it, or use it as a guest blog. This gives you valuable links back to your website. If it’s newsy, distribute it through Marketwire, PRWeb or Canada Newswire. Even if the major media don’t pick up your story, bloggers and directories often will, and you can grab tons of good links, which will help your website rank better.
5. Connect Offline Too
I once saw a comedy skit where one nerd was lamenting to another, who lay exhausted over his computer, “THERE. I READ THE INTERNET!” Can you imagine! The problem is, there is so much new information, you can never learn everything you need to know ALONE. You need people all around you to tell you what’s new out there, and where to look. Therefore, if you stay in your office, chatting only to the same few people, and don’t get out and connect with others in your industry, you once again run the risk of being left behind on important new developments. At Tenato, we have an consolidated events calendar if you’re interested in what’s new in the world of market research, marketing, branding, and public relations. We also throw some good general business events up there – like those put on by CAPS Calgary, the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. If you’ve let your industry association memberships lapse, RENEW them, get out there and connect!
Moving Forward for Tenato…
For us here at Tenato, 2012 was a year where many changes were made, which had its challenges. The biggest and most obvious was the rebranding, which actually began in late 2011, and then was officially launched in 2012 with our June celebration. We added a several new associates to our team, not all of whom turned out to be quite the right fit – but this was part of the process of knowing who and what this newly re-branded firm was all about. We brought more online marketing strategy and market research capabilities in-house, and transferred more graphic design and web programming out of house – but while doing this, we built better external strategic partnerships with more diverse skill sets. As a result, we are off to a flying start with several new accounts and major projects on the go – yahoo!
If you need help learning more about any of the above, give us a call! We’re always happy to help you.