Businesses of all sizes need marketing for growth. The goal posts shift as customer behaviour changes. As consumers are becoming more resilient to traditional techniques, it is now more important than ever to keep tabs on the latest trends and leverage them to grow your business.
If you are a small business owner, the chances are that you haven’t got the marketing budget to spend on huge ad campaigns. For small businesses at the beginning of their journey every penny counts, and as such you’ll want to know what you’ll be getting for your money and what results you can expect.
Fear not, the monumental rise of digital marketing now means that some of the best ways to drive your business forward will not cost the earth. In fact many are low-cost or even free. For small businesses of today digital marketing is not something you should be doing, it’s a must have that you need to embrace. It can be affordable, drive website traffic, raise brand awareness, improve search rankings and most importantly increase sales.
Here are some key trends for 2017 and beyond that you’ll want to get involved with to stay ahead of the competition.
Mobile continues to grow
Recently Google confirmed that mobile searches have surpassed desktop search. This is made more significant considering Google lumps tablets in with desktop, so it’s really smartphones vs the rest.
“Mobile-friendly” is a mindset that has already been embraced. The big players have already moved on to a “Mobile first” mindset. Here at Atelier we take that one step further, our approach is "User first". We create websites that work perfectly and are designed appropriately for all devices.
Having a website is no longer enough. It is crucial for your website to be optimised for mobile. Websites which aren't mobile optimised will experience difficulties in mobile search rankings. Not only that but as technologies advance and consumer behaviour evolves, this will continue to grow.
Video is another area that has gathered pace throughout 2016 and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Spurred on by the continual growth of mobile usage, video has so many benefits to communicate your brand’s message and smart businesses have jumped on this.
Video allows you to communicate a lot more information in a shorter space of time, including to people browsing on the go, anywhere! Video has the power to amplify your total reach and broadcast a more indepth message than any normal blog could ever manage. YouTube is the second largest search engine and can not be ignored.
An easy way for small businesses to produce video content is to go down the “How to” route.
Also when videos are used in email campaigns, huge click-through rates have been accomplished.
Experience Based Marketing
Millennials have become a huge audience of potential customers. Now that they are working and have disposable income, they are packing some serious spending power. Having grown up with technology in their hands, the traditional marketing ruses no longer work. They don’t want to be sold to, they can sniff out a sales pitch masquerading as engagement from a thousand yards. They’re looking for new experiences, better experiences.
If you want to tap into this resource then you need to think about the customer experience, and more importantly how you can improve it. The simplest way to do this is to ask. By asking your customers you’ll be able to reveal the truth and uncover that crucial information. You will be surprised how few companies actually do this.
Big business has embraced personalisation and continue to invest in it. This is evident with Google and Amazon using your previous searches to influence the results in future searches. There are some principles that can be applied to the experience that your customers receive from your brand.
Personalisation is an immense part of improving the customer experience. It can be implemented in varying degrees and even the smallest touch can enhance the experience of your customers, promoting loyalty and increasing the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase.
A CRM system is not solely for big name brands. It’s possible to get an inexpensive, off the shelf version whatever the size of your business. Many even have the capability to be scalable and grow with your business. It is now an essential part of any business as the rewards you’ll see will go far beyond your expectations.
Having a CRM in place will assist you in delivering a basic level of personalisation through simple email automation. Small businesses can utilise these tools to establish an identity and generate brand awareness. If that sounds like a lot of work to squeeze into your precious time, then why not enlist a digital marketing agency to do it for you.
Conclusion – Think Beyond 2017
Marketing today has changed. It used to be about short-term campaigns that may eventually lead to success, but now it’s about thinking long-term and building trust. Consumers aren’t fooled by the marketing techniques of the past. They will only become your customers if they trust your brand. The key to long-term success is building that trust.
These four ideas will serve you well through 2017 and beyond. For more practical advice on how you can best grow your business, why not speak to one of our experts. Atelier is a web design and digital marketing agency in Hampshire, we have experience in helping small businesses get the most out of their marketing spend, no matter the size of your budget.