Is Your Small Business Ready for the New Marketing Trends?

BY: ON TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016

Small Businesses that hope to have a competitive edge in the social media era need to understand what consumers are going to want to see when it comes to marketing – and are going to need to respond to those demands by adding all tools necessary to travel directly to the consumers’ minds.

Here is a layout for your small business.

Higher Speed Internet

High speed internet is almost as important as electricity nowadays; you can’t run a business without it. High speed internet customized for marketing needs is the absolute way to go. Stats say that marketing via online video will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019 and videos require high speed internet to be created and shared. Visuals are comprehended by the brain 60,000 times more quickly than text alone. People are simply wired to consume visual content more easily than words and the source of it all is high speed internet. Even businesses with smaller budgets can tap into the video camera on their smartphones and post engaging, informational videos for followers and fans as long as you have the right high speed internet service to deliver content directly to the consumer without delays.


Consumer-first content.

Since the Internet first went mainstream nearly 20 years ago, businesses have fought to get their goods and services in front of an online audience. This has often meant optimizing sites for search engines and figuring out how to get consumers to “click” and then buy. Increasingly businesses are realizing that laying the groundwork for loyal consumers, instead of chasing quick sales, is a better long-term strategy. What value are you adding that will keep people coming back to you year after year? Implementing content marketing strategies that give information to consumers while planting the brand’s message are incredibly valuable skills that businesses should hone.


Personalized content.

Blanketing a target demographic with a message is no longer the go-to marketing strategy. With better data technology, businesses can learn more about their customers and potential ones and then tailor messages that suit them. Consumers are willing to give companies some personal information about themselves if they see a benefit in doing so (like a discount, or specific offers that they can actually use). Delivering personalized content is an effective strategy, too. The CMO Council reports that 43 percent of businesses say personalized campaigns lead to more sales conversions. The most popular way to do this is through email marketing, though social media messaging and editorial content are starting to see a surge in personalized content offerings.


Digital ad spending.

At the end of 2015, digital ad spending represented 30 percent of all ad spending globally – a rise of 18 percent in just one year. Some analysts believe digital ad spending will overtake more traditional routes (TV, newspapers, radio) by 2019. More budgets are shifting to digital endeavors, as they should to meet consumers where they are spending time. It’s important to know your audience, though. If you aren’t marketing to a particularly digitally-savvy group, you may not want to completely drop traditional routes.


Mobile-first mentality.

Speaking of digital – mobile methods have become the most popular delivery of digital ads. This is a trend that will continue to see exponential growth from the past few years. Smartphones and tablets have morphed from places for texting and email (and games) to spots where people shop, make appointments, and manage all the details of work and family life. Businesses need to start considering their mobile sites and apps are the front line of customer outreach, not a secondary source.


Social media marketing.

The number of adults using social media grew by 10 times in 2015 and they branched out from Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are just a few of the social networks where people (particularly young adults) are spending a lot of time. Brands from Starbucks to General Electric are taking note, launching campaigns on these channels that appear in users’ normal feeds. Businesses should take social media marketing, whether paid or organic, very seriously and consider it a major part of their promotional strategies.


More streaming video.

Sites like Meerkat and Periscope gave the idea of live streaming feeds a mainstream path in 2015 and the popularity of live video will continue to grow in the coming years. Even big-name brands like Amazon and Netflix have noticed how much consumers enjoy watching live video and are planning their own platforms to stream live concerts and events. Businesses can still enter the streaming video market for a low price (free sign up on the sites mentioned) and really should get their feet wet in this up-and-coming marketing area.


Better transparency.

Native advertising has been on the rise for the past few years now and consumers are well aware that it is exists. Consumers can now spot the difference between a post that was written from a purely editorial standpoint and one that has paid content. This isn’t really a problem, as consumers say they actually don’t mind consuming quality native ad content that benefits them. They are also willing to share native ad content on social media if they find it relevant. Where businesses need to be savvy is in providing transparency. Tell your readers what exactly they are looking at, who paid for it and why it is applicable to them.


Bonus trend -- Virtual reality technology.

This is likely not the year that virtual technology, like the Oculus glasses, will go mainstream but these advancements aren’t as far off from living rooms as most people think. By 2020, virtual reality (and more-expensive augmented reality) devices are expected to rake in $150 billion worldwide. This is new territory for marketers but full of potential, especially given the way consumers are demanding more visuals in their online content. Don’t count virtual/augmented reality out as something of science-fiction. Pay attention to this technology in 2016 and its implication for businesses in the coming half-decade.


As businesses forge ahead with marketing strategies in coming years, it’s important to go where consumers lead. Staying one step ahead of the next big thing in advertising and consumer reach is important to marketing your business effectively – and improving your bottom line.



Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice.

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