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Every business wants to get ahead of the game. And what game could be more important than marketing?

Handled correctly, marketing is the business power tool that brings in customers, increases loyalty, bumps up turnover and gives your business a leg up over the competition. But as with every power tool, you’ve got to know which one is right for the job.

When was the last time you blew the dust off your SEO strategy? Or read up on the latest content marketing methods? Times they are changing, and to keep up with the competition, it’s time you sharpened those marketing power tools.

With that in mind, here are 4 marketing tips for 2015 with the help of industry guru, Neil Patel.

1) Brush Up Your SEO: Be prepared for more algorithm changes this year. Panda and Penguin shook things up a few years ago, and Patel predicts more of the same very soon. Ultimately, we’re advised that it will become much harder to manipulate search listings through SEO strategies, so Patel says it all boils down to good ol’ fashioned business.

“Focus on creating a better product or service”, he says. “And you’ll have to keep improving the content on your website.”

That doesn’t mean you should stop SEO altogether. Continue to focus on it, but bear in mind that techniques change. Ultimately, search engines want to reward good, honest sites and companies rather than those that invest in quick-win tactics.

2) Content is Still King: One constant we can still rely on is good content. As Patel says, you must keep improving the content on your website. That doesn’t just mean good words – it means real, usable stuff that your readers and customers can take away with them. Like research, good advice, helpful guides, free tools – that sort of thing.

And how do you get your content ‘out there’? “A lot comes down to the social media accounts,” says Patel. “Social media will become the cornerstone of blogging… For example, my personal blog is already getting 25,000 plus visitors a month. It’s not because my content is better than everyone else’s, but it’s because I have a large social following. With that social following, I can make almost any new blog, within my niche, popular.

“Companies will start seeing more value in social media, and they’ll spend thousands of dollars a month on building up their social media accounts.”

Don’t just sign up to every social media channel you can get your hands on. Get onto a small handful of channels that suit your sector, and focus on doing it well. Work slowly to build up a followership, connect with people both inside and out of your industry, and engage with them. Chat with your connections and post useful content – which includes your own beautiful content, of course.

3) Old School Marketing is Coming Back: SEO and PPC and digital this-and-that isn’t everything. Remember, people still like to talk. Patel gives the example of Gary Vaynerchuk, who plastered ads all over New York City for his new book and included his phone number.

“The campaign was so effective that it not only caused his cell phone to blow up, but it helped him sell more books at the same time,” he says. “Some of these creative marketing campaigns will yield an ROI, while others won’t. It is all about testing, and you’ll see companies doing more of this in 2015.”

4) It’s Time to Get Personal:

Patel says that personal branding is proven to generate a positive ROI for businesses – yet it’s rare for business owners to do this.

“Just look at my name. My Neil Patel brand is actually larger than some of the businesses I own according to Google Trends. And I’m able to leverage it to drive more signups to my business.”

Why can’t you market both your business and yourself? Patel has been doing it for years, and in his words “it has done wonders”. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to be the ‘face’ of your corporation. You’ll have to closely manage how you present yourself both on and offline. But the returns could be well worth it.

Ultimately, business is becoming more transparent, and 2015 could see a real shake-up in marketing techniques. The opportunities are there for the taking – it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and your business, and sticking with it.

In Patel’s words: “Don’t ever be afraid of change. Instead, learn to adapt. And if you can adapt before your competition, you can win.”

You can read more of his advice here.

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