In a recent post, Susan Gunelius outlines 10 Marketing Trends for 2011. Aimed at small businesses, this article identifies specific strategies for improving sales performance in a recovering economy. I will focus on 4 key topics for inbound marketing. What steps can you apply now in each of these areas to “move the needle” in the coming year?

Building reliable brand advocates

  • Engage more (and publish less) in social media
  • Build a community that focuses on solving problems
  • Ask questions and invite participation
  • Demonstrate your expertise without self-promotion

Creating quality content as a viable marketing tool

  • Create a few original, well written pieces
  • Focus on a few key topics that resonate with your audience
  • Ask questions and invite comments
  • Abandon “more is better”. Focus on “better is better”.

Increase in branded online experiences to meet diverse consumer needs

  • Go beyond Twitter and Facebook
  • Make your Facebook page a special place with unique content
  • Spend more time engaging in LinkedIn and Quora discussions
  • Diversify your content to YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare

Accepting that silo marketing is ineffective

  • Integrate online, offline and mobile content and campaigns
  • Add geotargeting and local channels, such as Foursquare
  • Add live presentations and meetups to your marketing mix
  • Maintain a consistent brand and message across all channels

These are just some of the important trends. Some require a bigger marketing investment, while others just need an updated strategy. In any case, you must be nimble and imaginative in 2011. The bloom is largely off the rose for marketing automation. Quality trumps quantity, and availability trumps reach these days.

What do you think? What strategies will you embrace this year, and what will you abandon as consumers and markets evolve?

Photo credit: robin_24