Staying on top of the latest marketing trends can present quite a challenge. With that being said, there are a few ways that you can stay on top of the game and make sure you are using the most up-to-date methods of marketing your business.
As a business, it is essential to make your presence known. Keeping a professional website is the first step in making sure that is done. Your website is the “storefront” for your business and this is what actually sets the tone for those that express an interest by visiting your website. Make sure your website is search engine optimized. Having a perfectly optimized website is awesome, but make sure you gain the exposure you need in order see the success you are hoping for.
But having an awesome and optimal website isn't enough. You need to do your homework to stay on top of the latest and greatest marketing opportunities available for you and your business. But hey, I've done the homework for you! Check out these trend tips:
Interact with others in the community by visiting forums and read posts by others regarding marketing methods they have tried or those they intend to try. If you see a new opportunity that arises, take advantage of it. Few of my favorite marketing blogs to recommend (other than my own here!):
This will allow you to meet other people, many of whom are right on top of the game. This is a great way to gain useful insight and information that will prove to be invaluable for you and your business. This might mean planning for 1 conference a year that's not in your clients' fields, nor your own professional association, but a marketing-centric meeting or conference. Look for ones with other small, solo businesses so you can pick up tips from others facing similar challenges. It doesn't help to learn about tools that only the really BIG girls and boys can afford.
Take time to network with other business marketers. It's good for more than building your contact list, it can build your knowledge too if you ask interesting questions and listen a lot! Share information with others and gather information from those who are trying to do the same thing you are. This allows you to stay on top of the latest marketing trends, and extract information from others as to their experiences with certain methods.
You know this is one of the most important actions you can take that will help you gain knowledge about current marketing trends. Put your research skills to use and find information about the newest marketing trends. If anything in life is certain, it’s the fact that marketing trends are always changing. Keeping up-to-date can really be like a rat race if you don’t do your homework and commit time and effort in keeping up with the changes presented into today’s marketing world.
You can use Google Alerts and get an email any time Google finds new results anywhere that matches your topic(s). Use it for tracking your competitors, key influencers in your niche, tracking the main industries of your clients, and of course keeping up on specific marketing topics. Note: Google Alerts has been buggy and not 100% reliable for a little while.
Alternatives to Google Alerts:
You can subscribe individually to many blogs and get the latest posts emailed to you automatically (check the sidebar to the right and sign up for posts from me, The InfoHound). Or you can grab the RSS feed of a blog.
The RSS feed is NOT dead – and with many new magazine style apps out there for mobile, there are more ways to read and keep up with your favorite blogs (like this one!) and news sites. Basically, an RSS feed talks to the feed reader (aggregator) and every time something new hits a site you've subscribed to, it's sent to the feed reader and it's ready, waiting for you.
I personally love Feedly (Web-based version – I only use for making some adjustments and doing a lot of content curating to Hootsuite; I use the Feedly app on phone + tablet DAILY!) and have TONS of sites feeding in, organized by various topics. I can keep News and Politics separate if I want (hard to do in life!) and I have ‘folders' for Marketing, Tech, Photography, Libraries, etc. It's simple to set up and you don't have to know anything about RSS feeds really, you just tell it the URL of a site you want to have added to your ‘feed'.
I also use a similar app called Flipboard that pulls my preferred topics from an assortment of news sites and blogs. It shows all the images as well as original text and is easy to read on mobile devices.
Besides reading forums and blogs, go join some LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, or start a list in Twitter. Ask questions in those marketing related groups about what others are seeing as emerging trends, hot trends, trends that don't really matter, and their best practices. Create a list on Twitter of influential people, who post regularly with helpful Tweets, on the marketing for small or solo businesses [Here's a few I like: Melissa Galt, Edmund Lee, Ken Watson, Barbara Schenck, Viveka Von Rosen, Berrak Sarikaya, Melinda Emerson, SCORE Mentors (do find your local SCORE chapter too!) and Ian Brodie]. Add a few who are overall marketing luminaries (like Guy Kawasaki, Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, and John Jantsch) and see what they're talking about. You can even create a hidden or secret list of your competitors and monitor and learn from them in real time too – maybe see what NOT to do!
Make yourself readily available for change. Be resilient and flexible. Don’t forget what the main goals of your business really are. Think outside the box. Those are all ways of motivating yourself to entire ownership of the actions you take in marketing your business.
Sign up for 1-2 courses, workshops, online training or webinars every 3-6 months. The world moves fast, technology changes, best practices in marketing shift around – so stay on top and keep learning. Professional development and education expands your business mind, keeps you up to date, gives you new tools and insights to help clients with, and makes sure you stay on top of your game.
HEY – maybe you want to check out new offerings from me, The InfoHound!
Your success really is based on your efforts in putting your business name right in front of your intended audience. Using the information given will give you the insight and knowledge you need in order to help you keep up with the latest marketing trends for your business. So will reading the blog here with me, The InfoHound, and signing up for classes, webinars and the training I offer especially for small, solo info-preneur businesses like yours (and my own!).
I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.