Attracting new customers to your small business and staying relevant in an often uncertain economic climate is no easy feat. While print media has long been the mainstay of smaller companies, to be successful in today's world, businesses have to approach their marketing differently.
Content creation for social media platforms and other digital marketing campaigns is essential. Failing to take advantage of these outlets means missing out on lead generation, branding and sales opportunities. While it's not always wise to follow the crowd, when it comes to content marketing, small businesses should take note of these five content marketing trends for 2018.
Videos will account for an average of over 80% of the consumer internet traffic by the year 2020. Rather than annoying visitors with long blog posts and infographics, video engages visitors and has a stronger impact. Not only is video marketing an excellent way to get a brand out in front of potential customers, but it's also a creative way to attract new talent by capturing their attention. Letting people in on a secret, sharing the company's founding story, and announcing new products are just a few of ways video can be useful. Live-streaming videos generate buzz around special promotions, new products and it allows for real-time interaction with the audience, further enhancing engagement.
Many brands have come to rely on influencer marketing as a way to reach their niche-specific audience. While there is a common misconception that influencers are only those with a vast number of social media followers, this is hardly the case. An influencer merely is someone with the ability to convince others to do something different. For them to be fully effective, they must also be able to reach a broad audience as a credible, trusted source for the type of content. Tracking likes, shares, and comments will reveal the efficacy of the campaign. The amount of time spent on each page, number of generated leads and per customer acquisition costs further help determine the return on investment for this type of marketing.
One of the most exciting business trends is the use of geolocation or location-based marketing. At its core, it's a way to target customers who have already agreed to receive information about the company. More specifically, it keeps them informed about the local availability of the business's products and services. Some companies use it to send relevant messages when the person is close to the store's location, or even if they're near a competitor's place. It's also used to pass on information about current and upcoming sales, or special promotions to customers when they're in the store. With the evolution of mobile technology, location-based marketing will become an ever more powerful tool for marketers.
Online marketing is a highly competitive, expensive endeavor, mainly if you're not targeting your audience correctly. Email marketing is all about breaking down the list into categories based on the person's buying habits and preferences. Similarly, paid advertising can be micro-targeted to specific audiences based on their previous activities. For example, rather than advertising your entire product or service line to a broad customer base, it's better to focus on specifics. Targeting prospects that are more likely to become customers, based on their interests and past purchases, results in more qualified leads in the sales funnel and, ultimately, more sales.
Giant corporations, health care providers, government bodies, and many other entities collect data, which is used to market products, and provide services. Small businesses are also finding that data collection and analysis is a useful tool for getting to know their customers.
Geographic location, demographics like age, and occupation, marital status and a host of other information points paint a clearer picture of the customer. That makes easier to determine their pain points and where they are in the buyer's journey. Surveys and questionnaires are a great way to get voluntary information, especially when you offer incentives.
Marketing any business in today's digitally driven world requires content creation. Evergreen topics in the form of blogs, articles, white papers and website content are all strong performers. That said, original videos and live-streaming are catching hold in a significant way. If they are to stay relevant and competitive, small businesses have to consistently produce unique content that drives interest and attracts new customers. What's more, they must adopt the data collection mentality of their larger counterparts to serve their customer's wants and needs better