This article forms the basis of a presentation that will be made at PIE 2014 by SMC Software’s COO, Mike Harley.

Plans; Long term, short term. It’s daunting to consider where your business will be in 2 years, 5 years, and much less 10 years down the road. A new decade will bring the year 2020; a time once thought of as “distant and futuristic” will have arrived. Where will it find you? What’s your vision for 2020?
Think of your Website as your vehicle. It’s nice. Or it should be, since it’s literally driving customers to your business. You want them to arrive in style, to feel good about visiting your establishment, so you’ve invested quite a bit into the whole deal. They arrive and immediately begin to search out what it is they came for.
Are they finding it easily, or are they becoming impatient and irritated at the confusion of it all? Are you ringing up sales or scaring away shoppers?
To top it all off, now you learn you not only have an unruly website, but you have neglected to offer a Mobile option for your site, which alienates millions of customers who typically search and shop the web on their mobile devices… Oh, my, this is not going to end well for you.
On to Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If your website is your vehicle, then SEM (SEO & PPC) is your vehicle’s engine. The essence of a successful website is promotion and that is precisely what SEM is all about.
Oh, and don’t forget about Video Marketing. Think that sounds like an accessory your vehicle just doesn’t need? Think again. Video Marketing is that extra something the cyber public eats up. Show off what you’ve got; give them a reason to deal with you, and not the competitor across the street. Video lends vision to your website.
Are you familiar with Social Marketing? It’s the boss of the web. Everybody uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and many others. If you aren’t engaging your customer base with a tweet or post of some sort, you’re missing out on new found revenue.
Vision continues to carry the theme in Email Marketing. Don’t underestimate the power of a rockin’ email campaign. A “Save the Date” reminder is a well-received heads-up. And don’t forget, over 40% of us check email on our mobile device at least twice a day, according to ask.com. An info-packed, monthly email will tether your customer base to your branded business.
All this talk about social, mobile, email and video marketing instantly brings online Reservations to mind, right?! Well, maybe not, but after this bit of enlightenment, you’ll hardly think of reservations the same again.
A guy wants to fly to Paris to surprise his girlfriend with an engagement ring. He goes to the internet and does what any human being in 2013 does; he buys his ticket and reserves his seat on the plane. He does this a few months in advance, and he’s not wrong for this action. Oh, sure, he’s excited and can’t wait to go, but there’s a method to his madness. He knows by doing this, #1, he’ll get a better price than if he waits to the last minute, and, #2, he knows he wants a window seat, so booking ahead of time guarantees a seat. He also knows what day he wants to fly out and reserving his flight early “saves the date” for the airline. He’s covered. He’s one smart cat. Online reservations will change your world. Having a reservations system embedded on your website will transform your business, and customers will become addicted to your brand.
Having vision means anticipating the needs, wants, and desires of your existing and potential customers. Vision ensures you are miles ahead of the pack; leading, not following; encouraging business, not stifling it.
Reservation processes come in many different shapes and sizes; forms, shopping carts, and content management systems to name a few. A Central Reservations System (CRS) is the real game changer because it allows your customers to experience vision, too. They want to plan ahead simply for the “peace of mind” experience.
It takes energy and gumption to plan ahead, however, like your customers who are reacting with glee to your newly implemented marketing plan and flocking to your cool new CRS, you’ll be supercharged to set new goals and sneak a peek into your future, once you begin to see the fruits of your labor. Your vision will be altered in such a way you’ll no longer worry about future business because YOU are writing the script for your future business.
2020 is coming and it’s bringing a whole new game with it. When you consider the year 2020 is a mere 6 years away, you realize your vision may not be as far-sighted as you once believed.
Why not begin now to step into your future, and prepare the way
for growth, prosperity, and more contented and loyal customers than you can envision!
Kim Seagle is Marketing Coordinator
or eMarketing247 and
SMC Software.

Article contributed by:
Kim Seagle
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