It might be time to forget all the marketing rules you learned as a business owner.
The new rules that allow you the capability to market your business without having to beg or pay for attention (TV, Radio, Newspapers) is nothing short of unprecedented. This is a great time to be a business owner. You can now build your own crowd to market and sell to without paying the mass media gate keepers that held you hostage (remember dealing with yellow page reps every year?). Here are the top 6 marketing trends small businesses must not ignore.
6 Marketing Trends Small Businesses Must Not Ignore
There are numerous social media networks that are at your disposal and with the right tactics and guidance, you can brand yourself across these platforms and access the many benefits of social media marketing. It comes at a cost that is far less than the traditional advertising we all grew up with. The real cost is complexity and time. To be effective it requires using multiple networks, constant creation of relevant content, SEO, monitoring and managing.
It’s not just multiple social networks and platforms to think of. It’s also about adapting all marketing efforts to new hardware platforms where consumers receive their information. This is no longer restricted to just TV (fading), radio (fading fast) and print (deathwatch) but has rapidly migrated to laptops, convertibles, tablets, and in a very big way, smartphones. Social media is a great place to blast out your Content Marketing.
The importance and role of content marketing and how it works across social media, Google and Bing searches, multimedia and mobile is becoming the primary focus for many brands. Most small businesses don’t understand the importance content marketing and how it underlies and supports almost all digital marketing. Brands such as Coca Cola, Taco Bell, and others have recognized this and changed their strategies to meet the demands of the mobile market.
Over the last 10 years, small business owners have been blinded by a shiny new toy called Facebook and think that Facebook marketing is all they should be doing beyond their day to day habitual marketing that they have been doing for years and years if not decades. That is just one piece of a large puzzle. Along with constant content marketing directed at niche and long-tail search engine research, don’t forget a correctly set up blog, twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and others to market your content to.
Content Marketing is the Alpha and Omega of digital marketing and is the reason people read, view, pin, like, favorite or most importantly, share.
The rapid rise of smartphones, phablets and tablets has caught most business owners flatfooted. Make no mistake, delivering marketing messages and content that is optimized for mobile platforms is a “must do now”. Increasingly, over half of all consumers are viewing content, receiving emails and buying products from “small screens”. Mobile marketing has gone from a “millennial niche” to the masses. The fastest growing demographic in mobile is Generation X (followed by baby-boomers).
Small businesses need to urgently redesign websites that are “responsive” (respond to all devices screen sizes for optimal viewing and user experience). Some websites are recording over 50% of all traffic from mobile devices. That should not be ignored. Since last April, Google has penalized desktop only sites in the search listings. This will cost you money and lead to missed opportunities, just as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow. A mobile-friendly, user-friendly website is the very foundation of any marketing plan, digital or otherwise.
Smart business owners are realizing that digital marketing should not be a “one and done” tactic. Social media and content marketing is impacting search results. Google created Google+ for a few reasons, including capturing social signals. Google is also integrating Twitter results (when it’s pertinent to the query). Strong, constant content creation amplified by social media, combined with Google Best Practices SEO (and perhaps PPC when needed) creates a digital marketing plan that grows your digital footprint every day of the week. That’s digital marketing.
Once upon a time, there was Facebook. Then along came YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram Vine, Periscope, Slideshare and more. With wider internet traffic lanes and 4G pipelines, beautiful hi-res images and video are now a fixture on the web. As a small business owner, if you’re not posting images or video of your store, warehouse, office, whatever… to personalize your brand, shame on you.
Bottom line, look at the “minimalist” social network, Twitter. You have just 140 characters to relay your message. Why would anyone give up 23 characters from that precious real estate? Because a tweet with a image has a 300% increase in views and shares.
We live in a visual world. While it’s true you need to get the word out, images help build your brand.
Last among the 6 marketing trends you just can’t afford to ignore is continuous marketing. Business owners need to realize that a strong trend is emerging as they see brands and their competitors do continuous digital marketing. The reality is that being found online (found in social network feeds, Twitter streams, getting pinned, and popping up in a Google search) requires constant SEO activity, constant content creation, constant publishing for web indexing and constant digital marketing.
As a small business you need to have a constant presence with fresh content across the web (Google/Bing Searches, Social Media) to grow your digital footprint. This is how you get in front of the right person at the right time, who becomes an inbound lead, then a satisfied customer, and then grows your business as they praise and share your content. Rinse and repeat.
And don’t stop.