Web Marketing Tactics for 2012

With the new year approaching, it’s a good time start considering ways to improve your web marketing efforts.  Here are some articles I have found very helpful this week.

Start & Maximize your Blog

Blogs are a great marketing tool and are not just for SEO.  They are an effective means to engage with your customers and get a conversation going about topics that are important to them.  By educating your customers you give them a reason to keep coming back to your site.  An engaged customer is more likely to buy your products and help you improve your business in other ways, such as providing input for your Customer Development efforts.  If you are targeting a specific niche (e.g. small businesses that want to be mobile savvy) then you have an advantage in knowing who your audience is and areas of interest.  Chris Vaughn writes “In 2012, your business should start a blog. (And if you already have a blog, then use this year to maximize its reach.)”  Here is part one of his series:

Starting a Blog for Your Business in 2012 – Part 1: Early Challenges
http://socialmediatoday.com/node/415100

Use Twitter (really!)

Still not convinced you should be using Twitter, or possibly Facebook?  Here is one stat that stands out: “81% of U.S. adults online use social media. Most likely, at least some of your customers, and competitors for that matter, fall into that overwhelming majority.”  This quote comes from David Kirkpatrick’s excellent article below.

B2B Marketing: 6 lessons learned in 2011 from 7 marketing experts
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=32082
(be sure to see Tactic #3. Lead Generation: Take advantage of social media)

What worked in 2011? What’s Next?

What marketing efforts worked for you in 2011, and what other efforts are you considering for next year?  Post your reply here; I would love to hear from you.

What topics would you like to see on this blog in 2012?  Contact me and I will make sure we discuss it here.

Why do I need Twitter?

I’m sure there are many business owners out there still wondering why they need to use Twitter.  For those that are already convinced that it is an indispensable tool for keeping a dialog going with your current and future customers, there may still be questions as to how to best use the service.  Lucky for us Dun & Bradstreet released way back in June their list of “The Most Influential Small Business People on Twitter.”  The Wall Street Journal also posted this great writeup on the list.

Don’t forget that Twitter makes it very easy to post with their mobile apps, so you can keep the updates coming no matter where you are.

Take a look and see how the experts are increasing their number of followers, and customers.

Why the cloud matters for small business

Look past the hype. The cloud can be your competitive advantage.

Cloud computing is an obviously overused term and many small businesses are skeptical, as I can attest to from some recent conversations with local entrepreneurs. I’m not surprised as this term has been stamped on so many products to the point where it loses its meaning, but if we ignore cloud technologies we pass up on several advantages for our business.

Real Savings & Less Distractions

The cloud can host your applications and data. Here the potential savings in cost, time and resources can be substantial. You don’t need to manage your own email, collaboration or CRM server: you have multiple service providers to choose from. Even documents and spreadsheets can be created and stored online with Google Docs. This results in reduced IT staffing costs and savings on licensing and infrastructure for your business. You can’t beat the economies of scale of a SaaS vendor. When the need arises for temporary computing power, cloud infrastructure solutions such as Amazon Web Services can fill the gap, a better alternative to having hardware sit idle and underutilized. You as an entrepreneur can stop being a part-time IT resource and focus more on your business.

Stay in Sync

Once you start using multiple devices (i.e. smartphone and tablet), the need for the cloud becomes even more obvious. When you are out in the field you want to access and update your information, but once you are back in the office you may be more productive using your desktop. This requires desktop and mobile applications that can sync their data. Without the cloud, keeping data consistent among multiple devices is much more difficult, even more so if you want to collaborate with your team. More and more mobile apps with corresponding web/desktop versions are coming to market with the ability to sync with the cloud. The team that can communicate and collaborate more efficiently wins here, and the cloud can help streamline all this.

Flexibility

Smaller organizations have the advantage in adopting new cloud and mobile technologies which are becoming available at an increasingly faster pace. In most cases a small business can adopt innovations at the pace they choose. Large companies must go through a long vetting and purchase process, creating a significant lag in realizing productivity gains. If you find a mobile cloud enabled database app that you know will make life easier, you could start using it today. App stores with customer reviews and vendor web sites with adequate product information, demos and testimonials should help you to find the tools that fit your needs without being on the bleeding edge. This knowledge and experience could also be valuable information that you can pass on to your own customers.

Agility & Advantage

It is natural to be skeptical of the cloud, but don’t miss the chance to gain an edge. Look at the tools available and understand what real problems you can solve. Become more agile and responsive than your competition by having the right tools and information at the right time.

Klisto™ is a personal and team database app for your iPhone® and iPad™ devices that syncs with the cloud and makes sharing and collaboration easy.
Learn more…

The Mobile Technology Blog for Small Business

Today I’m starting a new mobile technology blog targeted at small businesses.  I feel there is a great deal of information that can be shared with this community on making the best use of current and emerging mobile solutions such as smartphones and tablets. I hope this will lead to some interesting posts and discussions.

Mobile isn’t new, and as a former user of Palm PDAs, Treos and Blackberries I understand that these products have evolved over time.  The latest technologies are however a significant leap ahead of previous generations, which explains the obvious excitement for these devices.

Tablets in their current form factor are still very new. They have only recently become popular thanks to the iPad, and we are starting to see them everywhere. The amount of excitement around this device still surprises me, but as an owner of one I am starting to understand why, given their power and portability.  Many consumers and businesses want to start using them today. The challenge is to determine what real problems we are trying to solve with these devices.

Mobile technologies are an opportunity to become even more productive.  They extend the innovations that have been realized with the adoption of personal computers, the web and high-speed internet access.  With mobile, as with all new technologies, I want to look past the hype and find where the real value lies, because it’s definitely there.

By leveraging mobile technologies, small businesses can be more agile in responding to opportunities, providing a competitive advantage that can lead to increased profitability.

The goal of this blog is to help you make the most of today’s mobile world and be ready for the future.

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