We made it. Another year is here. Welcome to 2012! As with any new year, the gyms are packed with resolution-resolved newbies and businesses are scrambling to figure out how to make this year better than the last. And, if you’re like me, it can be a bit overwhelming to look ahead at all of the to-do’s and goals in front of us. Right? Here are a few of my thoughts to make 2012 the best year yet. Are you ready?
Remember the old marketing way of buying slots in the phone book and getting a batch of 5,000 brochures printed – only to find out that a small change made them useless? Remember when you could hide behind your business and project that oh-so-professional image? Those days are long gone. The world has changed. People want to do business with people – not some cold company persona.
My challenge to you is to speak up this year. Find your voice and connect with people. How? LinkedIn is a good place to start. So is Facebook, Twitter and blogging (like the one that you’re reading right now!). Don’t be intimidated by the tools. Explore and see what other people are doing and jump in when you’re comfortable. Don’t wait too long, though. Just do it and you’ll have a renewed passion for what you do, will learn from others, and, who knows, might even generate REAL revenue for your business (ask me for examples; I have plenty).
At Forge3, we have our fingers on the pulse of online marketing. We spot trends before most others and love sharing what we know. So, here are a few predictions for 2012.
- The Dawn of Comprehensive Marketing – A few years ago, just having a website was good enough. Now, your game plan should include a great website (it’s home base), social media strategy, email campaigns and ongoing content creation (like blogging). The best bang-for-the-buck is when all of these elements work in perfect harmony. That requires a game plan. You should have one.
- Mobile on the Move – Mobile devices like the iPhone will continue to rule our lives. Your website should at least work on mobile devices. And, if your audience is mobile-heavy, consider having a dedicated mobile app developed. Traditional PCs are on the decline. Mobile is the new kid on the block. I predict that niche social apps like Instagram and Path will be huge this year.
- The Year of Facebook – It’s hard to believe that Facebook didn’t exist a few years ago. Now, it’s the place to be – both personally and professionally. In 2012, Facebook will likely “go public” and continue its growth spurt – perhaps exceeding 1 billion users worldwide (yes, that’s with a b). And, with its recent changes to profiles and new “subscriptions” model, I’m betting that businesses large and small will invest even more energy and money into using the platform in 2012.
- Twitter’s Plateau – Ah, yes. The often misunderstood, what-I-ate-for-lunch-today social network. Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of REAL business getting done on Twitter. Try visiting http://search.twitter.com and searching for something. You’ll see all of the people talking about that topic RIGHT NOW. Contact them and you’re well on your way to making stuff happen. But, as great as Twitter is, my prediction is that it will struggle this year and may even temporarily plateau. After all, there are only so many hours in the day for social networking, right?
- Hello Google+ – Perhaps you never heard of it, but Google’s social platform is on track to reach 400+ million users this year. Not bad for being two years old. You’ll hear more about Google+ this year.
- People Power – You and others like you will continue to dive into social media to learn, connect and refer. 2011 was the year social media became accepted. 2012 is the year it becomes powerful.
Where do you start?
Start with a plan. Figure out what you want to accomplish and determine how to get there. But, here’s a hint – your website is home base. If it’s old or not good, fix it. Then, once that’s firmly in place, ongoing content creation (like blogging) and email marketing should be tops on your list. Add social media on top of that and you’ll have a solid online marketing plan that will actually work.
Now, go make something big happen. Be brave. Be bold. Forge ahead.