By Tanya Mayer
Globally, the current prediction is that over the next five years’ advertisers will shift over 20% of their marketing budgets to content marketing and native advertising over from traditional advertising, mostly composed of print media.
However, as a small business owner, one should not shelve possibilities that any form of marketing can relay to the growth and stability of the business. To get the best out of marketing for your small business, it is best to consider the following trends in 2018.
Enhancing Customer Experience for Your Business
Customer experience is a term often used in web design contexts which means that all features of a product or service should always be designed with the end-user in mind. Customer experience (CX) entail user experience (UX), but should also encompass every base of interaction with your business regarding customers.
Enhancing your CX can be done by:
- Continuous training of employees on always putting the customer first, including friendly and warm attitudes and providing of the right information.
- Active social media engagements with customers. You can even have a one-on-one session directly with customers as the owner or CEO of the business.
- Enquiring for feedback for services rendered or goods sold through customer surveys to track customer satisfaction.
- Creation of chatbots on the business website which guide the customers/visitors to the right place while answering simple questions. However, automated tools should not be a replacement for live customer support.
Maximizing on Print Media
Even though print media is being faced out by digital platforms of advertising, involving the right mix of print media may be the marketing solution for your business. The fact that not many people use posted mail any longer may provide the golden opportunity to deliver high-quality marketing media through the target audience’s mail.
Research conducted by the Australian Postal Services showed that flyers and catalogs proved to be the most effective channel of print media advertising, with more than 62% of interviewees saying that it has a direct influence on their behavior.
Print media has been taunted as an effective mode of advertising even for young people (with Millennials included) mostly because they find it to be quite influential, more informative, and easier to make reference to later. As such, among the top ten marketing channels, three in the top five are print, with digital media coming up at number six regarding percentage influence:
- Catalogues and flyers (62%)
- TV (52%)
- Press (40%)
- Radio (32%)
- Personalised direct mail (29%)
- Email (25%)
- Outdoor (23%)
- Social media (17%)
- Online (12%)
- Telemarketing (4%)
Using Location-Based Marketing
Location-based marketing or geo-location is merely the ability to target your customers from your current location by use of GPS tracking. Of course, in order not to violate any customer or human rights, you will need your customers’ permission. The marketing platform mainly for small businesses allows you to send your current or potential customers messages of high relevance when they are in the vicinity of your shop or that of a competitor. Your business can also put an alert to customers on promotions and exclusive sales while they are in the store or close by. Location-based marketing is a trend that is gaining a lot of popularity, so it is best you make use of the opportunity early enough to boost business sales.
Collecting More Data
Big data is a term that is trending regarding marketing strides taken by companies, coming only second to content marketing concerning most significant marketing trends of late 2017 and 2018. Big data, which includes consumer and market insight as well as predictive analysis, accounts for about 14% of all marketing trends. So, whether your business is brick-and-mortar or web-based, compiling information regarding your customers is vital for the small business, just as the big firms. There are increasingly new and legal ways of obtaining information about your customers, i.e., who they are, their preferences, where they live, and so on. The data can be used to generate customer-specific content and choices.
Since marketing is increasingly becoming more competitive and expensive, it is crucial to have a target audience while identifying customer-specific needs. It is also critical for any small business to create customer segments using suitable categories. For example, if you have an email list for your customers, separate them into several listings by their buying patterns and preferences. A similar approach can be employed for paid adverts. Instead of advertising all your products in huge groups (or macro), you can target the adverts to specific audiences (or micro) by focusing on one particular product that is most likely to be purchased.
All of the above trends may become very popular for small enterprises for 2018 and beyond. It is worth noting that some of the trends are a better fit for some businesses than others, so one should not just implement a pattern out of its popularity. Learn your business and customer needs before implementing any marketing strategy. You might even need an intricate mix-up of several marketing trends for your business to have a breakthrough.
Tanya Mayer is blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to marketing,small business and tech.