This is a guest post by Joseph.
With the new year coming, it’s time to start planning your marketing.
A large percentage of your audience and customer base will be making important decisions and resolutions to get started in the New Year and your business can only thrive if you get to them.
Marketing has changed and the power no longer belongs to those with the big budgets but to those who are patient and smart.
Advertising to drive-by visitors is becoming more expensive and less effective.
Here are the 3 most powerful marketing strategies you should try in the New Year; each strategy is backed up with case studies to prove its effectiveness.
1. Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Whether you’re a startup, an individual blogger selling products and services or a freelance consultant, creating a content marketing strategy is the best form of marketing you can get right now.
“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers” – Copyblogger
Contrary to interruption marketing, the idea behind content marketing is to consistently offer quality content closely related to what you’re selling, with the aim of educating people so that they get to know, like and trust you.
Essentially, you’re giving away free content through various mediums in other to attract a legitimate customer base; these customers already know, like and trust you so they have more long-term value compared to customers from other forms of marketing.
You can leverage content marketing by creating whitepapers, special reports, building an email list, starting a podcast, using video marketing and other mediums that help you deliver great content for free, but one of the most effective ways to use content marketing is by starting a blog.
If you’re only going to leverage one form of content marketing, let it be blogging.
Don’t just create any blog. Instead, create a blog that regularly publishes articles relevant to what you’re selling so as to educate people in your field and get them to check out what you have to offer.
You then work on getting exposure for this content via various means, including through search engines and social media.
Some great examples and case studies of companies that were able to leverage content marketing to great success are:
• Kissmetrics: Without spending a single dollar on advertising, Kissmetrics was able to grow by starting a blog and building a content marketing team that worked on publishing consistent content and releasing informative infographics. The blog alone attracted over 1 million hits in its first 10 months, making Kissmetrics a top company today.
• Hubspot: Hubspot also leveraged the power of content marketing by starting an industry blog that significantly contributed to its success. Through its blog and other content marketing strategies, Hubspot achieved a 350% growth from 2010 in 2011. That was to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
• Mint: Mint was able to sell for $170 million just 3 years after it launched by actively leveraging content marketing; it developed a content marketing strategy around publishing personal finance posts, link round ups, videos, slideshows and infographics.
• American Express: Using its Open Forum blog that benefits from contributions from experts and thought leaders, American Express has been able to grow significantly. According to American Express, content is a core part of marketing for them.
I could list dozens of other great examples, but it’s undeniable that content marketing works.
Create a team to help you write quality and relevant content designed to educate, inform and attract readers. This will be invaluable in helping you spread your brand and grow your business.
If you don’t have the budget to create a content marketing team or the time/experience to do it yourself, you can hire a freelance writer. Kristi is highly experienced in this regards and has experience writing for the biggest blogs online.
2. Become an Active Guest Blogger
Another marketing strategy that will become very important in 2013 is guest blogging.
Now, guest blogging is also a part of content marketing but I believe it should be covered separately and isolated as a “marketing strategy” to help you get the best from it.
Guest blogging can be very effective, but only if it is done right.
Unfortunately, a lot of people approach guest blogging the wrong way today and are unable to get results from their efforts as a result.
There are two ways to approach guest blogging:
• You can guest blog for traffic
• You can guest blog for links
When guest blogging for traffic, the idea is to write quality articles for the top blogs in your industry so that you can build exposure, gain traffic and sales as a result.
This won’t be very effective unless you can find the right blogs.
Someone who was able to benefit significantly from guest blogging on top blogs is Leo Widrich from Bufferapp.com.
According to Leo, Bufferapp was able to gain its first 100,000 users thanks to guest blogging. He said, “There was nothing else we did, literally. Just guest blogging.”
Guest blogging can be that powerful if done right.
If you want to master the art of effective guest blogging, Kristi’s article on the Kissmetrics blog will be invaluable:
Guest blogging for backlinks is also very effective in its own way; the idea is to contribute quality articles to top blogs in your niche and get a keyword anchor text link in the bio of your guest post that can help increase your search engine rankings.
The effectiveness of this approach is in finding the right blogs and contributing quality guest posts. I’m testament to the effectiveness of this as I was able to increase my search engine traffic by over 120,000 visitors in one year by starting a guest blogging campaign.
If you want to learn how to effectively guest blog for backlinks, this article I wrote will be of help:
3. Be More Active on Community Sites
The final marketing strategy you shouldn’t ignore in 2013 is the power of community sites.
Sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers can be very powerful if properly leveraged; while you won’t usually be able to get a direct link to your website by being active on these sites, you’ll have a bio that contains your name and your website and more people will start seeing this bio once you become active on these sites.
The more active you are and the more thoughtful answers you contribute, the more people see and respect you as an industry thought leader.
This will help create discussions around you and your brand, lead to direct business opportunities from people who found your business helpful while at the same time generate press for you.
Here’s an article written by someone who was able to leverage Quora as a client-generation tool:
Have Any More Strategies to Share?
The above seem to be very powerful to me and I can see them getting a lot of traction in the new year due to their effectiveness. Do you have any marketing strategy that has worked for you and that you think will be very effective in the New Year? Let us know in the comments!