As a small business owner, it might seem confusing when it comes to understanding how to best use the various digital marketing strategies available.
Let’s help you cut through all the current digital marketing trends so you can choose which methods will work best for your situation.
1. Focus on Your Overall Brand
It’s not simply getting customers to go through your sales funnel anymore. Instead, you need to pay attention to how your customers are making their buying decisions.
Must Know Statistic #1: 60% of consumers go looking for alternatives if they see 3 or more negative reviews about your company.
Consumers today are using the Internet to gain understanding about where they feel most comfortable making their next purchase. If they see too many negative reviews about dealing with your business, they will go elsewhere.
Once you know that most buying decisions are made prior to looking at the service or product information on your site or inside your local store, then you can see how important it is to create a fantastic overall brand experience.
Use these tips to help you accomplish this:
- Create a response website
- Create compelling branded content
- Focus on building your overall brand, not just a website
- Make it simple to interact with your business via mobile devices
All of the above takes place prior to the sale. People are looking at reviews. They’re evaluating your entire Internet presence. They’re trying to get a good feel about you and your company.
Don’t forget about what happens after the sale, as well. Make sure you continue a great experience so that your customers help bring in more customers. One advantage a small business has over the big box competition is the ability to stay closer to your customers.
Use these tips to help you in this regard:
- Look at any complaints as opportunities for growth
- Listen to your customers
- Build a brand customers enjoy sharing with others
- Encourage happy customers to write reviews
2. Get Good at Influence Marketing
One big digital marketing trend is influencer marketing. Using this tactic means you identify and pay people who already have influence with your target market. In return, these influencers use, talk about and help promote your company to their fans and followers.
It might be cost prohibitive to try partnering with a national or international celebrity influencer. There are many influencer marketing opportunities with smaller influencers or even local celebrities, however.
For example, pay close attention to anyone who is already talking about you and your brand. Reach out to them to say thank you. Then, explore how you might work together to further awareness about your company.
Look for “micro influencers”. They’ll have medium sized followings that match your target market. These people will often experience higher engagement with their audience than larger influencers.
Must Know Statistic #2: Over 50% of marketers are increasing influencer marketing budgets because the method is effective.
3. Use Content as a Long-Term Marketing Strategy
Don’t look at generating content as an expense. Instead, think of it like creating an asset. If you do this, you’ll reap dividends for years to come. You’ll create content, then reuse, re-purpose it and revitalize it over time. Even if you eventually sell your business, the buyer will see content as added value inside the transaction.
Must Know Statistic #3: 53% of businesses make blog content a top priority.
Content continues working for you over time. For example, a ranked blog post on your website might bring targeted traffic and customers years from now. You created or paid for this content once and then realize ROI far out into the future. The same will happen with a video on your YouTube channel or a guest post on another marketer’s website.
Here is how you might act if you look at content only as an expense:
- You aren’t thinking about how content impacts long-term strategy decisions
- You try to pay only the lowest bidders
- You aren’t concerned with how content affects long-term customer relationships
- You get impatient if content doesn’t yield immediate results
Here is how you might act if you treat content as an asset:
- You allow your content plan to gain momentum like a snowball rolling downhill
- You use patience as you grow a brand people enjoy
- You allow content to maximize your ROI over time
4. Get Smart About Segmentation
You’ll increase sales based on how good you get with becoming more relevant to each potential customer’s needs. People are more likely to click, view and connect with your company when your content is most relevant to them.
In order to be relevant, you must have a firm grasp on who it is that you’re speaking to. For example, what are their specific needs and interests? What triggers them emotionally?
You can store customer data behavior inside even the most simplest of email service provider software today. As your customers are entered into your database, tag them based on the interests they expressed when entering your sales funnel.
Create content around each customer segment and set up automation tools that send content only to segments that will find it interesting and relevant.
You might segment based on:
- Job role
- Buying behaviors
- A recent action on your website
Must Know Statistic #4: 83% of consumers want a more personalized experience from the companies they do business with.
5. Use Email Marketing
Don’t ever think social media is better than email marketing.
Must Know Statistic #5: Email marketing converts at 6.05% while social media marketing coverts at only 1.9%.
It’s obvious that your focus should be on email marketing. Using proper segmentation, as explained in the above section, will help you further your conversion rates over time.
Use segmentation, analytics, automation and high-level content quality to effectively communicate with your audience. Use your social media efforts to funnel into your email funnel. Use your website to funnel visitors into your email segmentation.
More email marketing tips:
- Use automation to reach customers at important moments
- Stay relevant to your customer’s life in order to stay out of the spam folder
- Engage through content, not only advertising
- Use email to nurture prospects into customers
Must Know Statistic #6: 73% of millennials prefer businesses to market to them via email.
6. Protect Privacy
There has been a lot of talk in the news over the last couple years about privacy. Just look at the issues Facebook has faced.
It was noted in the above section that people want a more personalized marketing experience. This doesn’t mean they want their data used in a harmful manner, however.
Put security methods in place to safeguard customer data. Train your employees properly so they know what is proper and improper when it comes to customer information.
Let your customers know how important you view their privacy and show them that you have safeguards in place.
Is this a marketing strategy? Yes, it is. The trend is toward being more transparent in this area. If you make a mistake here, no amount of marketing is going to help build back your brand reputation.
7. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
More and more of your customers are using their mobile phones to consume content and marketing messages.
Must Know Statistic #7: 75% of consumers use their cell phone to open email messages.
Your customers might be looking for online coupons as they walk down the aisle of your store. They might be in the parking lot ordering take out on their phone. They might be on vacation opening your email and buying on your website a moment later.
What is the lesson learned? Make sure your website is optimized for a great experience on all mobile devices.
8. Use Chatbots
Must Know Statistic #8: 55% of people say they enjoy getting instant responses and answers to simple questions from chatbots
You might not have the budget for a full customer service staff. On the other hand, you can afford to put simple chatbot software to use.
You might use a chatbot to:
- Answer simple questions faster
- Answer common questions immediately
- Defer to a human when the chatbot can’t answer properly
- Gain a 24/7 presence for your business
9. Use Video
Must Know Statistic #9: Video has helped 72% of all businesses improve conversion rates.
Video is getting consumed more and more as the years go by. Your customers love watching video content and so it’s important that you start using it as a part of your digital marketing strategy.
Must Know Statistic #10: 54% of consumers want more video content from the businesses or brands they support.
How you use video in your marketing plan:
- Facebook live
- YouTube live
- Instagram live
- Video explanations on your website
- Video “About Us” reveals on your website
- How-to videos that lead to purchase pages
10. Beat the Ad-Blockers
Must Know Statistic #11: Ad blockers are forecasted to cause businesses $35 billion in lost revenue by 2020.
You don’t have the budget to lose revenue when you do delve into any form of paid advertising. It’s important to know that ad blockers are a big part of digital marketing trends.
What can you do about it? Simply choose to advertise on platforms that are less likely to get targeted by ad blockers:
- Search advertising
- Hulu ads
- Search engine optimization
- YouTube ads
- Amazon ads
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
It’s important that you leverage all you can out of the latest digital marketing trends as a small business. Use the above tips and watch your digital marketing efforts result in increased revenue.
Thanks for reading "The Digital Marketing Trends Small Business Need To Know", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.