The holidays are finally over and some of you have set New Year’s Resolutions. Whether we keep them or not, most of us start the year wanting to do better in some area of our lives. Since this is a blog about advertising and marketing, lets start their. Below are a few suggestions to help you work toward a more prosperous 2011.

Resolution 1: Create a strong marketing strategy that reaches your target audience. For your marketing to be truly successful, it is important that you know and understand your target market inside and out. Ask yourself if your market is local, regional or national. Where does your target market shop and how old are they? Research, then test. Find out what marketing message works and what doesn’t.

Resolution 2: Participate (and that means do more than just join) in at least two networking groups. Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many businesses get this backwards. They think just by joining networking groups, more sales will magically appear. Make it a point to actually connect and begin to build relationships with people that will last for years.

Resolution 3: Look for ways to help your brand stand out from the crowd. You may not have the advertising and promotional budget of a major corporation, but people in your area are searching the web for products and services. Can people find your business online? Do you stand out? Are you worth talking about? Do you look believable, ethical and professional?

Resolution 4: Use various marketing techniques, both online and off. Successful marketing is all about consistency and multiple touch points mixed together to create a strong brand presence. So, your offline efforts (storefront, word of mouth, business cards and brochures) must be in sync with your online marketing presence (website, email and social media). Pick just the right mix of ingredients to entice your ideal customer. And, don’t forget the importance of timing!

Resolution 5: Start blogging and Tweeting. Don’t bother to make excuses because you can no longer afford to make them. You had better join in the conversation because your audience is already there! The reality is that people are talking about your product or brand. Do you know what they are saying?

In addition to these business goals, I resolve to exercise more, eat less and share my faith more often. Getting rid of those extra few holiday pounds will be the hardest for me – which, by the way, anyone want to split a box of chocolates?

Can you think of anything to add?