Ready or not, 2015 is right around the corner – so it’s best to be ready. Looking forward into the new year, what are the best digital channels to grow your business? What will give you the most exposure for the best cost? How can your small business stay ahead? Consider Mabbly’s 10 must-take digital marketing steps to include in your 2015 plan.

1. Instagram

Instagram has more than 200 million active users around the world, the dominating demographic being younger generations, but a slice that represents a large portion of consumers with disposable income. Advertisers are getting behind Instagram (or rather, on it) and the social media platform recently allowed links to merchandise, making direct shopping easier.

2. Expand beyond Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a great way to drive business, but there are other search engines that people use. This year, the average cost per click on Yahoo! Bing was 10 to 24 percent lower than on Google AdWords. You can’t argue with lower customer acquisition cost.

3. Facebook lookalike audience

A lookalike audience lets you reach new customers and clients that are more likely to be interested in your company because they fit your target demographic. You can set a lookalike audience via Custom Audiences.

4. Paid promotion

Facebook has become entirely “pay to play” so businesses must invest in promoting on this platform. Adding as much as $5 to your Facebook promoted posts budget will yield significant results. Imagine what $10 can get you.

5. Email marketing

With all of the bells and whistles of modern digital marketing, email marketing still yields the best ROI. Aim for two newsletters per month, which should give you enough time to put together compelling content.

6. Twitter

Twitter is still a great marketing platform for organic reach. Put together a list of industry-related hashtags and those that interest your clients and customers. Use this as a platform for interacting with people interested in your business, and businesses that you’re interested in. Join a conversation, build relationships.

7. Facebook re-marketing

Facebook display re-marketing ads let your business place advertisements on news sites, blogs, and other sites to reach a larger audience. If you have ever noticed ads for sites or products pop up after a visit, this is just that.

8. Blogging

An interesting blog is important in generating business, as it is a big behind-the-scenes driver. Good blogs with strategic SEO can rank high organically on search engines, with 80 percent of blog visits coming from new visitors. This content can also be used to drive social media interaction.

9. SEO

Leads stemming from SEO have an average close rate of 14.6 percent, but outbound leads, which include cold calling and print ads, have an average close rate of 1.7 percent. The disparity is pretty big here, especially when you consider acquisition cost.

10. Content distribution

If you want more people to come to your site, you may have to participate in other sites. Writing a blog for another site in your field, one read by your target audience, drives traffic to your page. This will help you be seen as a thought leader, an expert in your field. It’s all about building a community.

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