Marketing for 2013? It's no "ancient chinese secret"

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2013 is the Year of the Snake, which begins Feb. 10, 2013. The snake is only one of 12 animal signs in the zodiac. But it is considered the most enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the animal signs. People born in the Year of the Snake are keen and cunning, intelligent and wise. They are great mediators and good at doing business. To be more specific, 2013 is actually the Year of the Water Snake (also known as the Black Snake). We haven't had a Water Snake year in 60 years.

Could this be your best year? And if so, how do you take hold of it? Will you leave it up to luck?

If you look back at last year, you will see how much has changed. But how do you leverage these changes to maximize sales in 2013?

  •  Facebook went public and fell flat on its face, but it stood up with more than 1 billion registered users.
  • Pinterest came to the forefront and became the fastest-growing social-media platform on the planet.
  • Instagram bagged a billion bucks, with only enough employees to count on your two hands.
  • Business owners don’t see their website as a brochure anymore. (However, many still haven't done anything about it.)
  • LinkedIn company pages are essential to any "winning" strategy.
  • “Old-fashioned” marketing still works, folks! There’s actually a revival of sorts with direct-mail pieces having strong impact (but only when they are delivered to the right audience, and with the right message).
  • Steve Jobs passed away, but Apple is going remarkably strong with the launch of its new iPad Mini.
  • And don’t forget the prophecy of a major disaster: “The end of the world” is forecast to occur later this week.

So where do you go from here? Businesses that slow down their marketing efforts after the holidays are being surpassed by their competitors who have invested heavily in marketing and are reaping the rewards of a post-holiday strategy.

Instead of giving you “Six steps to make your cash register ring,” let me boil it down to the most important thing you need to focus on in 2013: Web-presence optimization.

As Vanessa Fox puts it in the subtitle of her book Marketing in the Age of Google, “Your Online Strategy Is Your Business Strategy.” Consider the following points:

  • More than 80 percent of considered consumer purchases (e.g., for high-value, high-involvement products) start with a search, and more than 90 percent of B2B purchase cycles begin online.
  • Search is no longer just Google and Bing; the second- and third-largest “search engines” by volume of searches are YouTube and Facebook. The internal search functions of social networks LinkedIn and Twitter also have higher volume than most second-tier search engines.
  • Your Web presence is no longer limited to your website and blog (as important as those remain). Prospective customers might first find you on a social network, or in a blog post written by a key influencer in your market, or in an online news release, or in any number of other Web venues.

For many businesses, if your customers can’t find you online — you don’t exist. Web-presence optimization provides a structured approach for maximizing your “findability” online, which translates into more potential sales.

Did you know that we at The Palm Beach Post can help you with this? We have a portfolio of Digital Media Services to include Social Media Strategies, Content Development, and Facebook Contests, to name just a few.

What will you change in 2013? Let’s not leave it up to zodiac signs and luck. Plan; Prepare; and Expect Success!

written by: Snow Cahill