As an owner of a small business, you wear many hats, including those of the marketing team. And it turns out that the hottest marketing trends of 2017 contain useful nuggets for even the smallest company. Here’s a peek at a few.
“Live”-ned up marketing: This year, major social media players rolled out live video options. In the year ahead, expect these videos to become ubiquitous as more users embrace the medium. In fact, some experts predict that by 2020, 75 percent of all mobile traffic will be devoted to streaming video. For the small business owner, live video is a powerful yet inexpensive tool to connect with customers, whether it’s to make a big announcement, unveil a new product, or simply lift the curtain for a behind-the-scenes peek.
More compelling content: The written and spoken word are everywhere. Yet in a recent survey, 70 percent of respondents said their company will produce more content in 2017. To stand out, companies are trying more creative approaches to content creation. One strategy gaining steam is storytelling. This narrative approach speaks to a customer’s concerns and experiences, and shows how a product or service can improve their life. In the small-business realm, these tales can easily be published on websites, social media, and even in an email newsletter.
Courting customer advocates: Businesses frequently make direct appeals to customers to post and share positive reviews. Why? Word-of-mouth and testimonials factor into up to 50 percent of purchasing decisions, especially for first-time buyers and expensive purchases. Larger businesses use software that nudges customers to post glowing reviews, sometimes offering them an incentive to do so. But smaller businesses don’t need automated programs to urge customers and clients to spread the love. Something as simple as a face-to-face request can do the trick, especially when it’s accompanied by a small promotional gift.
Chat with the guru: Disruptive marketing is a “radical” approach that is getting some buzz. Instead of reaching for a sale with a pitch, a business instead begins the exchange by listening to what customers are saying, and presenting itself as an industry expert. Perhaps this strategy resonates because it emphasizes meaningful conversation, a relative rarity in the digital age. Small business owners can certainly leverage this approach by taking time to talk to clients, both online and face-to-face, and offering up insights and advice.
Though these trends all differ greatly, they collectively confirm what customers want most: quality information to help them make the best decisions. If you act as an ally who can guide them to the right choice, odds are they will regularly turn to you.