Happy New Year! Did you enjoy your holidays? Good! Now that you’ve recovered from your holiday fun, it’s time to take a deep breath and get ready for a strong year with plenty of success. As anyone in marketing can tell you, yearly success is dependent on having your pulse on the latest trends. What worked last week or last month or last year isn’t going to get it done. At best, it’s a quick way to tread water instead of being innovative.
For marketers, it’s the lifeblood of their work. Anyone doesn’t do their research is bound to fail, and hurt their company in the process. In short, get your resume ready if you decide to take a long mental vacation to start the year.
A smart marketing executive should be prepared to present new plans to their boss on how to reach out and grab millennials, mothers and just about anyone in 2017’s business world. Here’s a look at the year’s top marketing trends. Use these, and your year will be a great one. (Disclaimer: not a guarantee.)
Mobile Is The Way To Move Forward
Let’s start with the facts. 80% of internet users own a smart phone. 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. 26% of consumers start mobile research with a branded app. 50% of smart phone users grab their smart phone immediately after waking up.
If your website isn’t mobile-ready, then be prepared to be that website everyone digs up on the Internet Archive in about five years, and not to marvel at its quality (if you know what we mean). The website that doesn’t have a version optimized for the ever-growing mobile audience is going to get left in the dust.
Not only will you have to get with the 21st century and craft a mobile version, there are plenty of cutting-edge additions mobile users are going to expect. Your site has to be mobile SEO-friendly if Google rankings are still vital (spoiler: they are) since the search giant made it mandatory for all sites tracked to have a mobile version. If you’ve got a retail section, people are going to want to buy things off of their smart phones. Easier access turns into easy sales after all.
Also, in this day and age, having a mobile website is simply not enough. Most businesses should be learning how to create an app to help increase customer loyalty and engagement. As customer’s continue to do more & more with their smart phones there is a huge opportunity for businesses to connect with customers through a mobile app. Needless to say, mobile should be at the forefront of any businesses marketing strategy.
Smile! You’re Using Video To Sell Your Product
One of the biggest elements of being mobile-ready that we haven’t touched on is the importance of video, specifically streaming. Studies have shown that video is a better tool for being able to get across your aim than a regular, bland blog post or email.
Want to give people a behind the scenes look at your latest product? Perhaps a peek behind the curtain of your company? Stream it! It’s an easy way to actually interact with fans and customers while adding a personal feel instead of hiding behind a blurb on the website. (Plus you can pretend you’re a big star, at least for the length of the stream.)
Need more convincing? 93% of businesses who use video believe that it has increased user understanding of their product or service and 36% of businesses believe that they’ve received less support queries as a result!
Freelancers Aren’t Free (But They’re Worth It)
While any company is going to have someone who handles marketing, hiring some help is typically not in the budget due to concerns over office space and similar problems (more people = more room for everyone). The best way to work around that is to hire a remote workforce. Need a guy who can whip up an article or two? Hop online, use your hiring website of choice and find him or her.
Don’t forget about the rapidly growing millennial/Generation Y population either, even if you’re a relative greybeard. Studies have shown that people in that age range are more likely to be more comfortable working remotely or for small companies (those with under 100 employees). Just don’t expect them to get all of your pop culture references when video chatting or emailing.
Light The Beacon For Your Store
While the majority of business these days is online and only growing more reliant on web purchases, the brick and mortar shop is still out there. Smart owners will use modern marketing tools to drum up sales, like beacon technology.
It’s where beacons are placed in and around a certain store that will send smart phones in the area a push notification through the company’s mobile app, which the would-be customer sees on the phone. Think of it as a modern twist of the flyers of old, except less annoying than a guy shoving a piece of paper in your hand.
Need more convincing? According to Search Engine Watch, 59% feel customers are more engaged in the store. 53% retailers feel they are able to create more relevant and compelling offers in the store. 24% retailers saw an increase in sales. 24% retailers saw an increase in offer redemption.
Of all the methods we’ve highlighted here, beacon technology is the newest. But it’s proven to be popular – a survey in 2015 showed that 73 percent of people would be more likely to visit the store pinging them.
Invest In A Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy
Even with the rise of social media, many recommendations still happen offline, with people sharing their experiences about a product or service. 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
People seek truth and share opinions online. According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness.
People are far more likely to tell a friend about a bad experience, but they’re also willing to tell a friend about a great experience. In fact, 54% of respondents who had shared a bad experience said they shared it more than 5 times, compared to 33% of those who had shared a good interaction.
Word-of-mouth marketing campaigns can seem like a mystery to many businesses but the options are limitless. Here are some strategies to potentially implement this year: create a referral program, create a loyalty program, create a mobile app, create a shareable #hashtag, create more sharable content on your website, create an email marketing campaign asking your subscribers to forward a message to a friend, or try creating an event around your business that will get people talking.
Using the strategies above will definitely help drive more word of mouth to your business, but remember that ultimately, it’s about providing a great product or service to your customers.
As noted above, smart marketers are quick to jump on the latest trends, even if they’re slightly behind the eight-ball when recognizing them. (But it doesn’t hurt, of course!) Staying on the curve is never a bad thing, you only get in trouble when falling behind it. Consider these tips a little primer on how to make the best of your marketing needs in 2017.
Your Turn: Which new marketing trends do you plan to implement in this new year? And what other new marketing trends do you see being crucial to success in 2017?
This is a guest post written by Andrew Gazdecki, the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps — making mobile apps affordable and simple for small businesses. We’re a do-it-yourself iPhone, iPad, Android & HTML5 app platform that allows any small business to simultaneously create, edit, and manage mobile apps without any programming knowledge needed. Think of us as “WordPress for mobile app creation.”