I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
If you're like most business owners, you find yourself looking at e-mails and text messages all day and night long. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: For better or worse, in all its various permutations, technology now plays an integral role in our everyday lives. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> It can be intimidating (and often impossible) to keep up with all the changes and developments in every new technology, application, and service. A far saner approach is to focus on understanding how to use a select group of new applications and technologies to aid your marketing efforts. Here are five strategies you might want to consider:<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>1. Make your Website mobile friendly—particularly if your company sells products or services that can be purchased directly from the site.</b> The user experience on a mobile device is decidedly different from the one on a Netbook, laptop, or desktop computer. You should also purchase a .mobi domain for your company. This is a domain that is specifically targeted at mobile users.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>2. Employ the use of Internet video as part of your everyday marketing strategy.</b> The fact of the matter is, people are more highly engaged when viewing video content as opposed to reading text. With the advent of products like the Flip video camera, shooting, editing, and posting videos to your Website or YouTube has become ridiculously easy. It's fun…and it helps build your brand. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>3. Become aware of and knowledgeable about Quick Response (QR) codes.</b> You may have come across those odd-looking squares that appear to be some sort of empty crossword puzzle. In actuality, they provide prospects and customers with a fast and easy portal to landing pages where you can highlight your offers and services. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> QR codes storing addresses and URLs appear in magazines, outdoor signage, buses, business cards, or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR code, prompting the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>4. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to broadcast news about your business.</b> Whether you publish a blog entry, write an article, win new business, or hire new team members, let the world know by posting a link to that information. Even if people don't click through to the link, the posting on its own can catch their attention. And by using a URL shortening service like Bit.ly, you'll be able to track who clicks your link.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>5. Make 2010 the year of data analytics.</b> Your business can gain a deeper understanding of customer engagement via the use of CRM systems like those from Salesforce.com and Oracle (or even free ones like Zoho.com). Almost all the systems are intuitive and offer dashboards to quickly review performance, as well as comparative data. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Mark Kolier is president of the direct and digital marketing agency <a href="http://www.cgsm.com" target="blank">CGSM</a>.</i>