Hope you have plans to celebrate the monumental day, 12-12-12. Never again in my lifetime (I’m not planning on living to be 147 years old) will we see the same day/month/year. So let’s celebrate! I’m celebrating by releasing this blog at 12:12, 12-12-12.
Okay so it’s not that big a deal, compared to the world ending in another 9 days. But for those of you that aren’t Mayan and plan on being around in 2013, here are 12 must have Ninja Marketing tools for your online marketing plan.
1. Website – To say this is a given is an understatement. Unless your business is the only one in your industry and customers/clients are begging you for your services/products, then you must have a web site. Even people that encounter your marketing efforts like printed brochures or meet you while networking will go check out your website as due diligence before making a decision whether or not to use your services. Your website should reflect your business appearance. If your website looks cheap and unprofessional, your business value will be diminished.
2. Blog – The cornerstone of every online marketing plan should be your blog. If your website is the anchor, your blog is continuing education for your customers/clients. When asked, most small business owners would say that customer acquisition is one of their main goals. They think of that process as selling, advertising or marketing their product or service but the real function is education. Educating your customers why your business is different from your competition. Through your blog, you are providing your customers with valuable information that enhances your position as the expert in the industry.
3. Social Media Presence – With the average time spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest topping the 400 minute per month range, doesn’t it make sense to be where your customers are. Do you need to be on every social media site? Maybe, if your clients are there. But more importantly, pick the one where the majority are and start building relationships. Engage, interact and enjoy.
4. Google + – I can hear you now saying, “Didn’t you just say to pick one social media site? Now your saying use Google +. What Gives?” True, I did say pick one and start building relationships. G+ isn’t it. But G+ IS about search engine optimization (SEO) and getting more visibility for your blog and website. If Google owns the lion’s share of search and they have a social media network, doesn’t it stand to reason that they will use popular content from G+ as a ranking factor?
5. Google + Local – Formerly called Google Places, the map listing in Google is a prominent fixture on page 1 of most local search terms. If your business isn’t there, you are missing a huge opportunity to be seen. Traditional SEO methods don’t work on the Google + Local page, but there are some Ninja Marketing tricks to improve your ranking.
6. Email List – Believe it or not, email is not dead. Despite the tremendous amounts of unsolicited messages, email still is an effective method of communication. Building an email list provides another avenue to touch your customers. But the same rules apply with email as with social media, provide more value and less selling. Ask yourself this question – Would the recipient say “Thanks for the great info” after reading your email?
7. Editorial Calendar – Perhaps the biggest drawback to blogging and social media is time. The process is time consuming. And that’s true if you are winging it. If you sit down to write or post and don’t have a clue what you are going to say, you’ll find you’ve wasted an hour and nothing has happened. The answer is an editorial calendar. Plan your content the same way you schedule your monthly activities. That way you know what you need to say and the process is quick and painless.
8. Google Alerts – Hand in hand with the editorial calendar are the next couple of tools. Google Alerts is an excellent source of timely material collected from blogs and news sites across the web. Google Alerts email daily or weekly a list of articles based on a specified keywords. The alerts can be shared to your social media sites in whole or spin them with your take on why this information is important to your clients/customers
9. Google Reader – Another tremendous source of material are blogs from thought leaders in your industry. Google Reader aggregates all your blog subscriptions into one place making it easy to peruse and select only the articles that are pertinent.
10. Nutshell Mail – This emailed report is another aggregator of information, this time from your social media accounts. Activity such as mentions, likes, updates from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are sent to your inbox. This makes it easy to monitor without having to go to each site.
11. Hootsuite – One of my favorite tools is Hootsuite. All my social media accounts are on one screen. Hootsuite gathers updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + into one screen monitored in real time. There are apps for Google Chrome and Firefox that make sharing of articles easy across all your social media channels in one step. And with their scheduling feature, if you read 4 articles today that you want to share, you can space them out over the several days.
12. Feedburner – The ultimate goal of your blog should be capturing subscribers that want to receive your blog every time you post. With Feedburner, individuals can do just that. They can subscribe either by RSS feeds or by email. Feedburner manages the subscriptions and delivers the content automatically.
There you have it. 12 Ninja Marketing Tools to make 2013 a banner year – assuming the Mayans were wrong.
Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.