As a small business owner, you understand the importance of a well-executed marketing plan that will help you reach new clients and fill your sales pipeline. But with limited time and marketing dollars, knowing how best to reach your customers is often a challenge. So we’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you. Here are seven marketing trends to focus on if you want to make 2017 your most successful year yet!
1. Map Out a Clear and Focused Marketing Plan
Before you dive in and decide which marketing channel is best for your business, you really need to get clear about your primary goals and how you plan to achieve them. Developing a smart, focused plan is the critical first step. Only then will you know whether to invest your budget in a magazine ad targeted to your audience or an aggressive social media campaign to reach your clients in real time.
2. Invest in Great Content
Creating valuable content that answers your clients’ burning questions and resolves their problems is the cornerstone of any smart marketing plan. According to MDG Advertising, 70 percent of consumers prefer learning about a brand through content rather than advertisements. The importance of investing time and energy into serving your clients with quality information cannot be overstated. And there is no better way to differentiate your business from your competitors than by positioning your team or your company as the leading authority or subject matter expert in your niche or industry. http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/the-shift-to-native-advertising-in-marketing-infographic/
To accomplish this, remember that writing still matters in the marketing world. This may come as a surprise with the rise of social media and text speak, but studies show that poor writing damages trust in your brand. Make sure your marketing team includes experienced digital writers. If you outsource, be willing to spend the resources to hire qualified and reliable freelancers. http://disruptive-communications.com/what-customers-hate-about-your-social-media-channels/
3. Build a Website Your Customers Can Find – and Make it Mobile!
Your website has one primary purpose: to create quality leads for your company. So often, business owners get caught up in the site’s design (which is important, of course) but the functionality becomes an afterthought. All website projects should begin with a thorough understanding of your target market and – most importantly – the search terms they are using to find your business. The art and science of building a lead-generating site is called search engine optimization – SEO – and it is absolutely critical in today’s digital age,
Don’t forget that your clients are on the move – and attached to their smartphones. Marketing strategies are quickly evolving from being mobile-friendly to being mobile-centric, and you want to ensure that your clients have a user-friendly experience when they visit your site anywhere, anytime. Your website has to be responsive, meaning it will be viewable and easy to navigate on any type of device. If it’s not responsive, you’re losing customers – and your search rank will suffer. That’s right – Google will penalize you for providing a poor visitor experience!
4. Harness the Power of Video
There are over 1 billion people on YouTube on a regular basis. According to HubSpot, imbedding video in an email leads to a 200 to 300 percent increase in the click-through rate. Including video on your website landing pages can increase conversions by 80 percent.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics#sm.000011mjkei9ihfq3xf0vuu8m3llS. And Facebook clearly understood the power of video when they launched Facebook Live.
Simply put, video content will continue its rise in 2017 due to its effectiveness at grabbing people’s attention. Think about the power of video when you’re creating your marketing plans.
To use video successfully, it pays to budget and plan ahead and focus on content that will engage your audience. Good ideas include Q & A clips, “How to’s”, personalized storytelling, and customer testimonials.
5. Get Social with a Purpose
Many small businesses go into social media with the attitude that it’s a necessary evil. They “must do” social because everyone is doing it, but they’re not really sure why or worse, if it’s even working. This takes us back to point #1.
Have a clear and focused plan for your social. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with my social strategy?” Are you looking to create content that will delight your customers and offer value? Would you like to highlight your brand by sharing a case study? How else might you encourage followers to keep the conversation going? Align your social media goals with your website, email, and content marketing plans to ensure a seamless brand experience.
Companies using social media to communicate with prospects also need to focus on analytics. Data from your social media channels can help you optimize your interactions, increase sales, and get the most out of social media marketing. Which leads us to point #6.
6. Measure, Measure, Measure
Small business owners often launch a marketing campaign, get busy with their day to day, and then wonder whether their efforts are generating new business. Without a measurement plan in place, you are operating in a vacuum and can’t fully gauge the value of your marketing. In order to understand what’s working and what’s not working so that you can plan accordingly moving forward, you must carefully measure your efforts and fundamentally know where your customers are coming from.
7. Consider Outsourcing to a Marketing Professional
If you truly understand your primary business goals, have a big-picture marketing strategy to support those goals, and have the time and expertise to effectively implement your marketing plan, chances are you can handle your marketing efforts in-house. However, if you don’t have these pieces in place and an experienced marketer on staff, this may be the year to outsource to a professional.
As your virtual marketing partner, Hype is dedicated to delivering real results for your business and ensuring that you maximize your marketing investment. Are you ready for 2017? I’d be happy to chat with you about how we can help your business grow with smart marketing. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.