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3 Sales & Marketing Predictions for 2014: Be Effective, Intelligent Marketing & Communicate Better

by Ramon Ray

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To help guide your sales and marketing for 2014, we got deep into the minds of 12 sales and marketing experts to get their predictions for 2014. These are more than predictions, but in fact, a road map of success for what you should (and should not) be looking at this year.

To kick things off, we have Seth Godin, Anita Campbell and Ann Handley sharing their take on what’s next in sales and marketing for small businesses. 

For many of these predictions and insights, it’s not about just checking them off, but it’s about strategically implementing these best practices in your business. Anyone can send an email blast, but that’s not email marketing. You need great subject lines and content to make it work. Creating a video is a piece of cake, but creating an engaging video that converts to sales is a lot harder.

This week, we’re sharing their advice in a three-part series on our blog, so stay tuned all week! Grab a cup of coffee (or I’d prefer a bag of Doritos and Root Beer) and see which of these predictions you should improve on or implement in your sales and marketing strategies this year.

1. The Year of Less and More

2014 is not going to be a year of dramatic shifts in marketing or new strategies, instead, look for gradual evolutions and changes, said author and speaker, Seth Godin. Don’t wait for the next big thing in marketing, it’s not coming and if you wait for tomorrow you’ll be too late. Instead, Seth advises, “Expect more mobile, less privacy, and more distrust.”

For some business owners, this could be challenging, but for those who manage their relationships strategically, it should be an opportunity to use 2014 to connect even deeper with your customers and prospective customers.

Here’s a video that we shot together that delivers his points powerfully:

Even subtle changes can have a meaningful effect on your business. Consider what little tweaks can render the biggest outcome for your customers and business.

2. Smart Email Marketing Will Continue

While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Foursquare and a zillion of other social networks are the sizzling attention-getters, it’s plain old, simple email marketing that still works.

Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends said it best, “Email marketing still rocks.”

To be effective with email marketing, ensure you have great headlines and that your content is written for your recipient’s delight! Sure there’s a flood of spam and unwanted email flooding your customers inbox. However, email that is anticipated and engaging will always break through the clutter.

3. Better Communication

What’s the common thread between all of our email marketing, Tweeting, YouTube video uploading and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems? It’s all focused on communication.

Ann Handley, CCO of MarketingProfs who also writes at AnnHandley.com said, “Words matter. Your words (what you say) and style (how you say it) are your most cherished (and undervalued) assets. Good writing is the basis of content that gets noticed, no matter what form that content ultimately takes. For businesses, good writing is a mirror of good, clear, customer-centric thinking.”

While your writing surely does not have to be perfect, it should clearly articulate your message to your reader and compel them to take action.

Oreos famed Tweet during last year’s Super Bowl was very simple – and went quite viral. The power went out during the game and they Tweeted an image captioned, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This was a highly relevant message and a great use of words. Flawless execution is key because millions of people turned to Twitter to comment about the outage, their message was seen and spread around in record time.

You can communicate with relevance and clarity every day. It’s about finding the opportunities to be humble, have fun and showcase your brand’s personality.

This post is part one of a three-part series on relevant sales and marketing predictions for small business owners. Stay tuned to the Infusionsoft Blog to read more compelling insights.

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