It may have only been recorded as a 5.3 magnitude tremor that rocked Melbourne last night, but the subsequent media exposure was phenomenal.

I was sitting outdoors at a Japanese restaurant when it happened and at first I thought my friend was moving the table with his legs. When it was clearly not him, we both looked on in amazement.

Then, a Japanese chef came racing out and asked us if we felt the earthquake. We both said yes, and I told her that I thought it was exciting, "My first earthquake".

That went down like a lead balloon. Of course, in Japan, earthquakes are very dangerous and has killed thousands of people - so in rememberence of that, being excited by it, may not be in seen in the best light. I remember when this happened in Japan. It was incredibly sad.

Moving on from that, the earthquake certainly was "trending" on all social media and within minutes there was a picture up on facebook with a table and four chairs. One had fallen over. I then saw that same image posted on at least 100 facebook accounts. The world of viral marketing.

Which leads us back to marketing.

Here are 5 tips on what small businesses can do to improve their marketing efforts in the next 12 months are:
Did the earth move on your marketing strategy?

6. Create a better customer experience: Your customers can be your biggest referrers, and by investing in them, you are investing in your brand's ability to reach more people with a qualified referral base. Like most businesses, if we focus on increasing our sales to our current client base and encourage them to be walking, talking ambassadors for our brand, we will increase our revenue by more than 30% per annum. First thing you need to do is realise how you can improve your customer's experience with your business. Does this mean that you start a newsletter, company blog, build new technology to improve efficiencies, add a client log-in to your website, develop case studies and referral programs - whatever it is, it will help you create a more connected experience with your customer.

7. Use Linkedin: Linkedin is the big business to business social media winner for 2012. Linkedin is emerging as a platform with more meaning and scope than any other particularly if you work in a b2b environment. Share updates on your business on your linkedin account, share slideshare presentations on what you do or your opinions on your industry/product/service, write blogs and share with groups and connect with every person you meet, there and then through logging into your linkedin account and requesting they join your network. Just today I received an inquiry from Perth for a website from my personal Linkedin account after a connection read my blog that came up on their page when I shared it.

8. I can make you famous, but can you?: Do you see your competitors in the newspaper or in your favourite magazines? Public relations mainly needs to be done by experts, but due to the amount of information that is online, you too can do it on the cheap. When writing a media release, look at the press releases pages on big companies websites and copy the format. See where they put quotations and how they explain their businesses in the first paragraph and the last. Read the editorial you would like to be in thoroughly. Then work out the various angles that the journalist has chosen to write on. From there, you are able to use this knowledge to work out an angle that would be appropriate for that editorial to communicate a story on you or your business. When you have written your press release, you can either proof read it and email it to the journalist, with a smart subject line and an introduction (or pitch as we like to call it), or you can email it to someone like Marketing Eye and have them proof read it for you for $95. Leave it a day or so, then ring the journalist up and talk to them about your story. Research on the internet to get some good ideas on how to do this. Also look up what "NOT TO DO" so the journalist doesn't hang up on you or block your emails.

9. Start a monthly newsletter: It's important as a small business owner to communicate what you do and your many successes and examples of how companies have worked with you. Make sure that your newsletter is branded and doesn't look like a backyard job. Go to a copywriting website, if you are not he best writer to have them put the copy together for you. Ensure that the newsletter is interesting.

10. Set up a twitter account or start using twitter properly: There are literally thousands of websites on how to use twitter to promote your business. Spend some time reading the tips from experts and implement them into your twitter strategy. While you are waiting to pick the kids up from school, or on the way to your next meeting - tweet away. I get clients every week from twitter and so should you.

There are more tips on what you should do. Tomorrow I will share 5 more, but I think this is a really good start.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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