We know, we know, New Year’s resolutions never stick, right? Unless, of course, you start to see results which, in turn, spurs you to keep doing what you’re doing.
We asked small-business owners about their plans for the new year on our Facebook business page. Using their feedback, as well as the most common New Year’s resolutions, we came up with five easy-to-follow suggestions to improve your business in 2013. Just don’t think of them as resolutions, but rather marketing habits that drive results—ones that you won’t give up before Groundhog Day.
1. Lose excess email weight. Since engagement is the key to growing your business, focus on cultivating stronger ties with those customers who are reading, sharing and forwarding your content. After the post holiday rush, take a closer look at your contacts, open rates and bounces to get your list in shape for the new year.
2. Take a class. There are lots of great, free seminars, workshops and online resources to help improve your marketing efforts. They can range from five-minute videos to full-day workshops. (Full disclosure: My employer Constant Contact’s Learning Center is one such resource.)
3. Get involved in your community. Get more involved in your community by joining the Chamber of Commerce, forming alliances with other small-business owners and creating joint marketing campaigns, as well as sponsoring neighborhood sports teams, and initiating charity fundraisers.
Also, consider sharing the expertise that differentiates your business by offering workshops and demonstrations. Further, if you’re seeing great results from your email and social media efforts, why not share your tips and best practices with other small-business owners?
4. Create more balance in your life. Striking a balance between work and play is one of the hardest challenges for an entrepreneur. You’ll be better able to find this balance by focusing on the two or three marketing efforts that yield the strongest results and cater to your most active and loyal customers.
To do this, look at your 2012 marketing results to determine priorities for the coming year. Based on the one or two primary marketing vehicles you’ll use, create new ways to engage satisfied customers and inspire them to return and refer their friends. You can do this through compelling email content, special offers that can be shared with a friend, and VIP treatment such as private showings, inner circle discounts, free shipping and other perks.
5. Save money. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to compete with the big box retailer down the street. There are several cost-effective ways to engage your audience through email marketing, social media and online tools that allow you to interact through video, audio, instant messaging and presentations.
For a lot of small businesses, the last week of the year provides a respite from the hectic holiday season. Use this time to get a jump on the competition by putting your new habits in place so you’ll be off and running in the new year.
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Rick Jensen is the Senior Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Constant Contact.