Digital marketing trends for small business growth in 2017

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If you own a small business, it is important that you stay on top of shifting trends when organising your digital marketing strategy. Although at first glance at the Google results for ‘2017 digital marketing trends’, you might feel a bit out of your depth, a it doesn’t take much to get up-to-date with new digital marketing tools can take your business a long way.

Experts predict that video consumption, mobile marketing, social media e-commerce interaction, content marketing and marketing automation will continue to grown at a rapid rate. Here we are going to take a look at these key digital marketing trends watch for 2017, and the results of changing usage and new demands from the purchasing public.

Video

We all love a good ‘cat attacks printer’ video, but alongside the streams of hilarious memes and clips which bombard our newsfeeds, video use within business spheres is on the rise too. Continued advancements in technology and mobile wifi has led the levels of video consumption to skyrocket, with Facebook alone racking up billions of videos every day! It is therefore vital for businesses to jump on the video train by incorporating video into their online content to keep up with their competitors.

Video is a great way to inform customers about your products and services quickly, giving them a visual summary which so they can engage with what you’re offering rather than just reading written product descriptions or looking at pictures. It’s also a cheap and simple tool, but can make a lot of difference.

The recently released YouTube Director app can make things even easier, as it is designed to assist businesses owners in filming, editing and uploading professional quality videos to inform people about their business without needing to be experts in video creation. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this new tool and how you can utilise it for your business.

Live streaming video

Live streaming isn’t a new concept, but one-click mobile streaming from devices that now have cameras and data plans to hold it are. We have developed a need to access online content instantly, and live streaming video let us do just that. Look at apps like Periscope and YouNow, and not forgetting Facebook Live- these have given businesses and organisations the ability to communicate with their audiences in real time, and for audience response and live reactions to be measured and analysed.

Live streaming offers businesses the chance to generate a more personal interaction between themselves, their services and their customers, giving a more personal touch. As a tool it can be used to give a behind the scenes insight into your business, demonstrate how to use products, explain how products work, and answer customer questions. What’s more, it isn’t going to break the bank.

Mobile marketing

Whether you’re sat on a train, in a shopping centre or just walking along a street, you’ll find it difficult to spot someone who isn’t using their mobile phone. Mobile use has grown exponentially over the last 20 years, and the devices we now carry around in our pockets have developed accordingly. Most of us have a smartphone these days, and they aren’t called ‘smart’ for no reason. These devices have come a long way from performing only the basic functions of calling and texting; now offering us so much more, with new apps being released on a daily basis.

We can now order taxis, edit photos, access news updates, find a workout and book a table at restaurant all at the tap of a thumb. This unlocks serious potential for business marketing and e-commerce which small-businesses can utilise with a few small changes to their digital marketing strategy.

It has been suggested that younger generations are increasingly comfortable buying over the internet as opposed to in stores, and this is feeding into the increasing rate at which purchases are being made on mobile devices. Making sure that your content is optimised for mobile-use is the first essential step to take, with the next being exploring options to make your online purchase options suitable for consumers on-the-go.

It’s also important to remember that being able to call your business straight from a ‘one-click button’ on your business’s app or a social ad makes the whole process easier for customers, so be sure to consider this when creating your ads to encourage potential customers to get in touch.

Social media ‘buy’ buttons

Social media is everywhere, and its increasing influence on business operations just can’t be ignored. Now people have constant access to their social media profiles via their smartphones 24hrs a day, it is vital for businesses to tap into this e-commerce goldmine. Instant ‘buy’ buttons mean people can go straight from engaging with something you have posted on social media, to buying your products or services.

Providing an instant buy option from your business’ social media pages make the buying process simple and easy, and we all know that for most of us, the easier it is to buy, the more likely we are to do so. These platforms offer huge potential to increase your business turnover in the social media age, don’t get left behind whilst your competitors cash in on the power of social media.

Content marketing

Content is a very broad area of marketing, referring to the ‘stuff’ that is created and put out there on the web for people to consume (visually, not literally…). One mistake many businesses make is not recognising the importance of content which fits within the broader spectrum of their industry, as often business owners have an attitude which is so inward looking that they do not realise they are basically just shouting on a street corner hoping someone will listen.

Millions of people engage with online content every day, and more of this content (than you might realise) has come from a business in order to strengthen their online profile; even if a piece isn’t directly selling their services or products. Publishing something engaging and relevant to your business, which also contains the right keywords to boost your Google ranking, has major potential to widen your customer base. Get your content right and you will generate serious revenue.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation makes those repetitive communications with customers a whole lot simpler. Businesses are increasingly using automated systems within their marketing strategies, as they can segregate customers by set criteria. This will allow businesses to target each customer with messages that suit their specific needs, providing a more personalised and direct approach. This software enables repetitive actions to be automated; such as emails, social media output and other responsive actions from websites, whilst still keeping them targeted.

It’s all about nurturing potential customers using gradual exposure to your products and services so they soon become keen to interact with your business. Although this result isn’t guaranteed, marketing automation is increasingly providing businesses with the potential to generate a relationship with a wider audience, whilst maintaining a personalised process of interaction. If this sounds like a whole loada’ digital waffle, get in touch with a technical professional who will be able to explain what this means for your business.

If you run a small business, you might feel that the whole scope of successful digital marketing and all of the branches which derive from it are a little intimidating. But they don’t need to be. With some simple research, and guidance from a professional if needed, you can utilise the tools available to you to drive the success of your business. Keeping on top of trends is vital so that you can match, or surpass, your competitors. Levels of marketing and purchasing activity are happening on online platforms, so there’s no use turning a blind eye.

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