4 Marketing Areas For SMBs To Focus On In 2017

As our economy and business environment become more complex due to rapid advancements in technology, business owners need to be aware of what they can do to benefit from a constantly changing digital landscape.

Remember the saying, “old ways won’t open new doors”? Embrace the new media world we are all a part of and you can capitalize on the various opportunities that exist for your business to shine and develop even deeper customer relationships.

Below are four hot topic areas with tips that will be critical to your company’s marketing efforts this year:

Human to human (#H2H) connection 

The digital age has created an extremely noisy media environment with countless products and services that customers can access through their platform of choice.  In order to stand out, SMBs must have a strong corporate brand showcasing their value and culture, and individual employees/professionals need an online personal brand that a customer can connect to, build a relationship with and gain trust from in order to take the next step in the sales process.  

Brands are expected to act as peers versus superiors, offering a positive experience with an emotional impact.  The cold corporate face is rapidly becoming obsolete and in its place is a more open and friendly brand personality that creates a true connection.

Rise of mobile and video marketing 

The number of mobile-only adult internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only internet users in 2015. This shift means it’s critical that SMBs become somewhat savvy on mobile marketing by having a mobile-friendly website (at minimum) and use this platform to regularly reach out to prospects and customers while they are on the move.  Related to video, Google says that by 2019, 80 percent of all internet traffic will be video content.  Watching a quick video is an easy way for a prospective customer to digest information; and it gives a sense of what it would be like to own and use the company’s product or service.  

Video builds a sense of trust faster than any other marketing piece because you can see and hear a person speak and gain a sense of the personality behind the business.  It ties into the old saying, “People do business with people that they know, like and trust.”  A short 20 second video talking about what you do and the value offered will speed up your company’s sales cycle.  The video should be professional (no selfies) in order to position you and your team as experts.  You can read recent stats here on a great video infographic.

Less spray and pray and more targeted outreach

Consumers and business buyers are highly informed and are constantly seeking greater knowledge in online channels that will assist them in their  lives.  SMBs can benefit by tapping into these ready-made communities when their target customer is looking for answers to specific problems.  Spending time in social media conversations offering helpful advice when a question arises builds an immediate connection, and positions you as the expert in your field.  Be careful not to self-promote though or you will come across as having an agenda.

Data analytics and understanding your customer’s journey

Most of us in business are familiar with the term data analytics, which has tremendous value when there is knowledge behind how to benefit from it. Many small businesses don’t have the expertise or the know-how to track their customer’s journey and behaviour.  

Understanding how data affects your business at a basic level of website and social media analytics will tell you a lot about where your target market is spending their time online and how they interact with your business even before they pick up the phone to call you, or make a purchase online.  The information gained through data analytics will enable you to more easily locate and engage with your target market, and deliver the exact experience they are looking for.

Loa Fridfinnson is the owner and creative strategist at Activ8 Corporate Relations, an integrated marketing agency helping small to medium sized businesses build their brands and make a meaningful connection with their target audience through digital media, print and public relations. Connect with her at www.twitter.com/activ8inc

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