THE BLOG
01/17/2014 01:33 pm ET Updated Mar 19, 2014

6 Ways to Rake in the Bucks in the First Quarter of 2014

If you haven't gotten started thinking about a growth plan for your small business for 2014, it's time to get cracking. Don't skimp on planning your business future or rest on your success from last year. Now that the calendar has turned the page on 2014, get in gear now -- so you can get on the right money track toward ensuring a profitable year. If you think about trying at least three of the marketing ideas in this article, you'll give your business a big boost during the first quarter. Here are six ways to rake in the bucks in the first quarter of 2014.

Rev Up Your Email Marketing: Existing customers know you best. Offer a special discount for orders made before March 1st. Use a basic email management tool like MailChimp (which is free up to 2000 email addresses) or an advanced email marketing program such as Infusionsoft to stay in touch with loyal customers. Develop a series of emails that focus on solving your client's biggest challenges going into 2014. This will keep your business top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase.

Send Out a Direct Mail Piece: Email is so prevalent; direct mail is making a comeback. If you are a local business, create a coupon that can be mailed out within a 10 mile radius of your business location. Be sure to have your logo, complete contact information, special offer, a QR code, and website featured on your direct mail piece.

Create a Social Media Contest: Choose one social media tool to focus your marketing efforts. Create a grand prize giveaway, and invite customers and fans to post videos or photos online, sharing how they enjoy your product for a chance to win. Consult your lawyer to develop official contest rules.

Create a Special Sale Day: President's Day, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day are occasions people plan to shop. Create a special offer online or host an in store event of your own to capture new and returning customers. Be sure to tell customers at least three weeks in advance to increase engagement. Once you're properly positioned, watch your bottom-line grow.

Invest in Online Ads: Facebook ads and Google Adwords are affordable methods for reaching target customers. Facebook insights and the Google AdWords keyword planner tool will help identify the right target audience for your small business. You can run a campaign for less than $100 a day that gets results.

Refresh Your Website: Make sure your company website is ready to transact business. There should be a system for collecting email addresses, accepting credit cards, and a clear path to purchase. Put the most important information above the fold. It only takes a visitor 30 seconds to form an impression so let's make it a good one.

Do you have any other easy to implement marketing ideas that will help get 2014 off to the right start?

This article was originally published under the title How to Make Big Money the Last Two Months of 2013 at Succeedasyourownboss.com

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady  is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TodayWall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.