Now that the excitement of a new year is settling into business as usual, you’re probably considering how you can make 2019 an even more successful year for your company. But have you considered your marketing strategy? When you’re not an expert it can seem like an overwhelming task—and maybe one you’d rather avoid. What are the trends you need to look out for? Do you need to change your approach to keep up with new technologies? Where do you even begin when making a plan?
You may have heard about some of the latest innovations tipped to be big news for marketers in 2019. Experts have been discussing the growing use of AI, chatbots, alternative search, social media platform integration, video content, the importance of # and @ tags, along with many other weird and wonderful predictions.
But wait! What about the basics?
For most of us, simply laying solid foundations using a focused marketing strategy is how we need to begin 2019. After you have the fundamentals covered, the sky really is the limit! Here are our top tips for creating a simple yet effective marketing strategy that will help your business thrive in the year to come—and beyond.
"For most of us, simply laying solid foundations using a focused marketing strategy is how we need to begin 2019."1. Focus on your website
Your website is the hub of all your marketing efforts. Whatever your marketing strategy, chances are you ultimately will be trying to drive traffic to it in order to generate (and convert) leads. Therefore, before you do anything else, you need to make sure your website is set up to allow you to do this effectively. Here’s how:
• It must be mobile
A website that does not look good or function well on mobile devices simply won’t cut it in 2019. Data show that 60 percent of online searches are done on a mobile device, and that’s only increasing. If customers can’t view your site easily from their smartphones or tablets, they’ll simply take their business elsewhere. There will be plenty of competitors who have mobile-optimized websites, so make sure you do, too.
•Use responsive design
Even though you need a website that works on multiple devices, this doesn’t have to mean a lot of work. Responsive web design (RWD) means designing your website in a way that will allow it to react to whatever size device a user is viewing it on. RWD functions from a single URL so there is no need to waste time and money creating different versions of your website optimized for different devices and screen sizes.
•Make it secure
Data security and customer privacy are hot-button topics, and you need to be sure that your website security is robust. Statistics suggest that the number of cyber-attacks on websites continues to increase, so protecting your clients is simply something you cannot afford to neglect. Any data security breach will lead to a loss of trust from your customers, negative publicity, reputational damage, and a potential fall in revenue. Making sure your website is secure will even boost your ranking on search engines, too.
•Use it to convert leads
You might be driving a lot of traffic to your website, but if you are getting zero conversions then something isn’t right. Whatever you do, don’t just give away quotes for free. By this, we mean you should make sure your website is designed with a clear follow-up strategy in place, automated if possible. If a customer requests a quote or any other information, your website should be able to gather their details, and then follow-up and nurture the lead—not just send out the requested information and wait for them to get back to you. This can all be programmed into the system to optimize the customer experience and increase conversion rates without costing you additional time and effort.
2. Prioritize good SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective ways to get your business seen by the right people. Data show that 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search, so if you don’t use SEO already, you need to put a strategy in place right now to make sure potential customers can find you easily and quickly.
SEO may seem confusing, but it is simply a way of boosting your visibility when someone performs a web search on sites such as Google. To increase your SEO, try posting content relevant to your audience—many of your industry peers have added blogs to their sites—and make sure you’re frequently updating your page to keep it fresh. Good SEO will ensure that the right content, links, keywords, and website structure are in place to ensure your website ranks highly. That way, customers don’t miss out because your business is hiding on page three of Google.
Statistics show that websites on the first page of Google search results account for close to 75 percent of click-throughs—an enduring reminder of the significance of effective SEO.
3. Understand the importance of content marketing—and how to use it
You might have heard the phrase “content marketing” buzzing around, but have you ever wondered what it’s really all about? Quite simply, content marketing means using relevant, valuable content, such as blogs, photos, videos, infographics, or any kind of social content, to attract and engage a specifically defined target audience. Good content marketing should be used to show expertise in your field, build trust, and foster a positive relationship with current or potential customers to ultimately encourage a buying decision.
Content marketing has proven to be highly successful for many brands that use it well, and experts advise that it should be an essential component of your marketing strategy for 2019 and beyond.
"Google Analytics lets you see how your customers are spending their time on your site, what pages they visit and for how long, as well as key information on user metrics such as gender, age, and interests."4. Use social media effectively
Instead of trying to have a presence across every single social media platform available, let your customers guide you and find out where they are mostly spending their time, then focus specifically on that platform.
Generate a simple content plan for one or two platforms and stick to it, although the message may need tweaking depending upon the audience receiving it. Just make sure you concentrate on sharing high-quality content that is interesting, relevant, and useful to your customers and you won’t go wrong. This focused approach is much more effective than frantically reposting any random content across multiple social media channels numerous times a day.
5. Utilize Google Analytics
Google Analytics allows you to track and analyze data about your website to get a better idea of how it is performing along with your general marketing strategy. The amount of data that are available can seem overwhelming, but once you familiarize yourself with how it works, you’ll find that the information it provides is invaluable.
Essentially, if you add tracking coding to your website, Google Analytics lets you see how your customers are spending their time on your site, what pages they visit and for how long, as well as key information on user metrics such as gender, age, and interests.
Once you have it set up correctly, you’ll be able to see graphs and reports on user behavior, the effectiveness of your landing pages, web traffic statistics, and conversion rates, to name but a few. If used well, Google Analytics is a fantastic tool for monitoring your website and overall marketing performance, enabling you to make constant refinements based on what is and isn’t working.
Where should I start?
If you only tackle one thing this year, make it your website. It is your shop window, and the single most important marketing tool you possess as a business. It offers huge potential for gathering customer information and showcasing the high quality of the services you offer. You’ll receive most inquiries as a result of website visits, whether customers have looked up your phone number or sent an inquiry form, for example, and you can utilize all the insights from Google Analytics to help you continually assess and refine your marketing strategy.
Once your website is working well for your business, you can build from there. Start adding social media to your strategy, come up with some interesting content to share with your customers, and back it all up with some solid SEO. You’ll soon start to see real results by focusing on just these few simple marketing tips.
Most of all, remember that you are in the business of providing luxury chauffeured transportation, and this should be reflected in your marketing strategy, too. Be refined, strategic, focused, and engaged with your customers. Their online experience should reflect the quality of service they would expect to receive from you on every single chauffeured trip. [CD0219]
Suzy Felchlin is Director of Content Marketing with DriveProfit. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.