Top Small Business Marketing Goals for 2014

Since 2014 isn’t quite upon us, it might seem odd to start thinking about online marketing goals for the new year already. However a lot has changed over the past 12 months, so taking some time to review current tools and trends can help you get a jump start on 2014.Top Small Business Marketing Goals for 2014 The first step is to solidify a checklist of thing you need to research, decide, and act upon before January 1 so once that time comes, you’re ready to go.

Refine Your Current Online Marketing Strategy

Unlike traditional marketing, the online marketing world moves fast. You can get away with having the same direct mail campaign for a couple years, but you should be constantly re-evaluating your online marketing strategy to incorporate new tools and processes. Begin by going through the big four segments of online marketing: SEO, Social Media, PPC, and Analytics. Spend some time researching the latest news in each category to find out if there is any new software, tools, or breakthroughs in the field. SEO and Social Media move especially fast, so those are the two to be the most mindful of.

Once you have a handle on what’s going on in the industry, figure out which new tools and processes are valuable to you and think about how you can incorporate them into your current way of working. Try to dive in head first with new technology, because chances are you’re using something outdated that won’t work quite as well in 2014.

Stay Up To Date on Google Algorithms

Google periodically (every month or two) puts out a new algorithm change that affects how websites are ranked in search results, and which sites are blocked from results altogether. If you own a small business website, you need to pay attention to what new Google algorithm changes do, because many recent ones have been particularly bad for smaller websites.

If you’re a person that learned some basic SEO 2-5 years ago and primarily use keyword optimization on your website, then read up on the new Panda and Penguin updates! Google is working very hard to phase out exact-match keyword optimization in favor of natural phrasing, rich content, appropriate context, and links that aren’t always keyword optimized. If your SEO strategy still includes keyword density optimization alone, you might be at risk for getting a Google penalty.

Monitor Your Website’s Performance

Because SEO requirements change so quickly, it’s highly important to monitor your website’s performance. If you already use an analytics service, like Google Analytics, that’s great – but you need to do more. Monitoring a website’s performance is more than just logging in once a week to see if your traffic has increased. You not only need to check for traffic indicators, but also Google penalty threats, inbound link reports, and more. There are many great tools available through Google Webmaster Tools (especially link reports and site status reports), Google Analytics (their new premium service has even more amazing features, discussed below), and Fruition’s free Google Penalty Checker tool – which works with Google Analytics to tell you how Google Penalties are affecting your website, and what each algorithm update does. Once you know the status of your website and how Google updates may be affecting you, you’ll know how to change your online marketing strategy to improve your performance.

Get On Board with Attribution Modeling

Attribution modeling is a complicated-sounding term for a fairly simple concept. Attribution modeling is essentially reading website analytics data to focus on the story of how users get to your website, move through your website, and why/how they leave your website. The focus is user experience and how they interface with the design and content of your website. Many small business owners are obsessed with just their traffic volume alone, which is a flawed way of thinking.

A single metric in Google Analytics doesn’t tell you anything specific. Only when you compare two or more sets of metrics against one another can you begin to assign any real meaning to the numbers. For example, if you’re having a lot of traffic volume come in from Facebook to a specific product page, but the bounce rate is really high, perhaps that could tell you a couple things: the Facebook posts that lead them to that page don’t really match what’s on the landing page in content or meaning; the users are encountering a technical problem with the site; or perhaps Facebook users don’t represent the target audience that would find that information attractive. It could be a number of things, however beginning to look at data in that way and ask user experience questions is a much better way of thinking than just assuming that more traffic is better.

Google Analytics Premium is a new paid service from Google that factors in attribution modeling, among other great new tools for advanced analytics, and is a big piece of evidence that Google really favors natural search, good user interaction, and factoring intent into design and content.

Next Steps

By getting a jump start on these simple tasks before 2014 even begins, your small business will be that far ahead on its online marketing strategy. The primary goal is to never be stuck in one pattern for too long, and to constantly be researching and evaluating new and better technology that can help strengthen your online brand presence, website performance, and online sales.

About Anca Bradley

Anca Bradley is a Search Engine Optimization professional with a reputation of success in her industry.

She is a geek at heart and enjoys all-things SEO and Social Media. Her experience includes several years of major contributions to a wide variety of projects, such as Pay-Per-Click ad management, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Campaigns as well as other web strategies that are crucial in today’s online business sphere.

She is currently the Inbound Marketing Manager at Fruition in Denver, CO.

Anca Bradley’s interests are family, music, biking, technology, and of course the internet.