Can you believe it’s 2016 already?

There are times when I’m still trying to get used to the fact that we’re no longer in the 1900s, and suddenly I realize that the 90s were twenty years ago.

Then, though, I look at people’s online marketing, and realize that a lot of them seem to have been gotten caught somewhere in the net of years that have raced past in the last decade or so.

So, I wanted to open the new year with some ideas that you should consider for your own online marketing in 2016.

1. Start a Blog

I kind of fell into Digital Marketing when I realized that I had so much more to offer my freelance clients than just content to fill their websites; but regardless, I’m a writer at heart, so it might seem like I’m a bit biased when I tell you that you need a blog for your website.

Are you ready, though, for some stats that may well blow your mind (and for those who know me, you know I don’t use that term lightly)? Have a look at these:

• Companies with blogs have 55% more website visitors
• 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads
• Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without a blog

Believe me, I’m not just telling you that you should start a blog in the hope that you’ll then decide you need to hire me to write content for it. I genuinely believe in the value of blogging for your business. The last figure I want to share with you is that 81% of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs.

Want to build the rapport and trust with your customers and prospects this year? Start a blog.

2. Give something away for free

You’re in business, and in most cases, people are in business to make money, so the idea of giving something away for free seems a bit counterproductive, right?

Well, on the surface it might sound a bit that way, but maybe it’s time to think about it a bit differently. What if you could give something away for free, that would bring more people into your business? Instead of spending all of your valuable marketing dollars on advertising, what if you invested some of your product or service into your marketing instead?

It might be a good old Facebook “like and share” competition, or it might be one of the latest crazes in email marketing, the e-book giveaway. Whatever it is, give it a go. Give something away for free and endear yourself to your prospects just that little bit more.

3. Refresh Your Website

I’m sorry to say it, but the vast majority of websites I see these days are falling behind. Take a break for a second right now, and look at your website. I want you to ask yourself three questions:

• Is it responsive?
• Is it easy to navigate?
• Does it load quickly?

The first is non-negotiable, these days. Over half of internet usage is now done on a mobile device. You need to be keeping up with this, so if your site’s not fitting on mobile screens, it’s time to do something to fix it.

The other two points aren’t far behind. The things that you can do with your website these days are amazing; and whilst it’s impossible to get it perfect, there’s going to be at least something you can do to make it better, even if you did just tick three boxes.

4. Create a Newsletter

It almost goes hand-in-hand with creating a blog, to also create an email newsletter, but the newsletter might be even more important than the blog.

Why’s that, you ask?

Because an email newsletter is to your leads and prospects to what a blog is to those who’ve never even heard of you before. Your blog is primarily there to give people a reason to turn up on your website’s front doorstep, but once they’re there, you need to invite them in and make them coffee. That’s where your newsletter comes in.

Email makes things personal. With a great email marketing plan, you’ll turn leads into customers, and customers into ambassadors to help you generate more leads.

5. Sell Online

I have spoken to a number of smaller retail businesses whose argument against online retail is that they don’t think they can compete with the bigger outlets online.

Rubbish.

Local audiences want to buy from local suppliers. The reason you can’t compete with the bigger outlets in the online retail scene has nothing to do with the fact that they’re bigger, and everything to do with the fact that YOU DON’T HAVE AN ONLINE STORE!

Build it, get it online, and watch the sales come in.

Now here’s the thing. All of this sounds like a fair amount of work, doesn’t it? It also probably sounds like a fair amount of money. Redeveloping the website, creating a blog AND an online store, coming up with content for a blog, an e-book, and a newsletter. It’s a lot.

Actually, it’s not.

I can tell you right now, if you do this right, you’ll barely have to lift a finger to manage it, and the cost will pay for itself and leave more money flowing straight into your pockets.

How do I know this? It’s what I do. So contact me today and let me know what it is that you want to achieve from your online marketing in 2016. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits.