14 tips, tool and resourcesWell how has January been for you? Are you feeling invigorated and motivated for the 11 months ahead? Or feeling the gloom (that’s mainly the weather it has to be said!) and pressure of expectation that January can bring.

I have to say I don’t particularly like January – it’s a long month after the high of Christmas and the weather and lack of light always tends to make me feel a bit gloomy. But it’s balanced with excitement about the year ahead and working with all my great clients on making their businesses super successful in 2014!

If you need some marketing inspiration and areas to focus on in 2014, here are:

14 marketing tools, tips and resources to help your small business grow and flourish in 2014…

1. Know where you want to go – I know it sounds so straightforward (and a bit boring!) but it really does help to set 2-3 milestones for your business in the year ahead. How will you know if you’ve been successful if you haven’t got any benchmarks? So whether it is to launch a new website, win 5 new clients, sell 20% more than in 2013 or even to be invited to be a guest speaker at a leading industry event. Work out your magic milestones!

2. Google Places – make sure you list your business with the all-mighty search giant Google. An easy and free step to get found online.

3. Set aside time to work on your business – it’s very easy to get sucked into working constantly ‘in’ your small business. So set aside 3 x 1 hour slots each week (put it in your diary) to work on your own marketing (or get someone like me to do it for you if you just can’t squeeze it in!). 🙂

4. Wonderful WordPress – use it to create a powerful search engine friendly blogging engine and effective admin system (CMS) for your website. Add blog content to attract your ideal customers and make your business more visible online.

5. Get some free dosh! Invest for your success – your marketing will require some investment both in terms of your time and financial resources. Check out the new government backed Growth Vouchers for small business programme. You could get up to £2,000 (spend matched) to invest in marketing strategy advice to move your small business forward and the good news is I’m participating in the scheme so do get in touch if you need some help with your marketing approach to get more customers.

6. Google Analytics – set up a one page monthly website performance dashboard using the Google Analytics – it’s free! Include your total visits, % new visits, bounce rate, average time on site, average pages per visit, visits by source, top page content, keywords driving search engine (organic) visits and percentage mobile visitors.

7. (Big) Data is King! Make sure you have built data capture into your business at every touch point – your website, checkout process or social media promotions. And make sure you build a suitable customer database so you can manage the data effectively.

8. Not enough time to be social? Use Hootsuite to manage your social media activity and to make sure you make the most of your content and get it out to the right social platforms.

9. Engage with email – use the fantastic Mail Chimp to create professional and effective email marketing campaigns. I encourage clients to use email to engage their warm prospects and existing customers.

10. Get fun with Facebook – if Facebook is right for your target audience – the promotion rules changed last year and it is now even easier to run fun and engaging Facebook promotions to build your brand awareness and capture valuable email data.

11. Social Media Queen or King? Use handy tools like Social Mention to track what is being said about you in the social sphere, and Sprout Social to measure your social media activity.

12. Customers are on the move! Your audience is increasingly checking you out online via mobile (check your Google Analytics stats!) so make sure your website and emails are mobile friendly. Ideally using Responsive Design.

13. Wonderful Words – often overlooked but so incredibly powerful. Invest time getting online reviews -70% of web users trust reviews left online by strangers!

14. Keep calm and carry on! It’s easy to get swept away with the latest social media site you get told about or tip you hear at a networking event. But stick to your (marketing) guns! Make sure you get the basics right and continue doing them consistently. Persistence wins the race and marketing is all about that – not the quick fix or mystical silver bullet!

I wish you every success in 2014 – Happy Marketing!