While corporations and larger businesses likely have a team dedicated to developing successful marketing strategies, small and mid-sized companies may only have a one-person squad manning the marketing department. As 2018 is unfolding, new trends and marketing technologies that marketers should be aware of are emerging. It can be challenging to keep up with this fast-moving industry, but SMBs can have a leg up if they keep their ears open to trends. Here are five 2018 small business marketing trends marketers should keep their eye on.
1. Mobile App Adoption
In the past few years, SMBs have been slow to create and utilize mobile applications that promote their businesses. In 2016, fewer than a quarter of these individuals had a mobile app, and nearly a third were unlikely to develop one. However, almost half have plans to create one shortly. As a freelancer and solopreneur, this has reinforced the importance of becoming familiar with basic app development principles. While it makes sense to get a professional to handle mobile app development, knowing why audiences are more keen to align with businesses who have mobile apps will help others like me in the future see a reason for moving this way, and even develop apps of our own.
2. The Rise of Video Marketing
Video marketing is on the rise across all industries. According to an infographic by SocialMediaToday, video increases traffic from search engines by 157 percent. Also, the average visitor spends 88 percent more time on a website when videos are included. That’s a real eye opening and an easy small business marketing tactic to take ahold of. In the past five years, video has shown to be a tool all marketers should have in their arsenal. Since many SMBs are run by one-person teams, it can be difficult to put a focus on this, but as 2018 continues, video marketing should be a staple in SMB marketing strategies. I have personally put out simple one to two-minute videos that have received more engagement on Twitter and Facebook than posting written prose. Including visual elements such as video is a reminder that everyone learns and interacts with information differently, and video marketing is a way to acknowledge this finally.
3. Understanding the Outcomes of Marketing Strategies
According to a 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, SMBs are still in the dark about how their marketing strategies are benefiting the company. Nearly 49 percent of small business owners are not sure if their marketing efforts are effective. As companies continue to add to the culture of focusing on outcomes and putting a spotlight on ROI, SMBs will have to determine what impact their marketing has. All-in-one marketing tools, such as HubSpot and SharpSpring can help shed light on the successes of marketing campaigns and the overall areas for improvement. Checking Google Analytics was a daily ritual for me as a communications associate for an educational nonprofit. It gave me the knowledge I needed to understand why specific blog posts were more popular than others, and the types of content our constituents were looking for. Whether it is Google Analytics or some other software, keeping track of results will intelligently guide future endeavors.
4. Separating Social Media Usage from Social Media Marketing
In 2017, data from BIA/Kelsey revealed that 77 percent of SMBs utilize social media in overall marketing efforts, but only 32 percent invest in social media marketing. The majority of the U.S. population has a social media account, and marketers have to begin to look at social media as a viable method for gaining leads and generating conversions. For me, it was so easy to think that a large number of followers translated to success. In actuality, I should have been looking at engagement data and how campaigns I managed were performing. Social media, like anything else, has to involve a well-thought-out strategy to find the truth behind the numbers, and realizing this helped me to become more intentional in my planning.
5. Content Marketing is Essential
According to social media expert, Neil Patel, higher quality content creation was the number one factor contributing to marketing success last year. This trend does not look to slow down in upcoming years. Along with social media marketing, SMBs have to create relevant content for blog posts and social media sharing to draw in constituents. I saw this first hand when I started a blog for a previous nonprofit employer. I took time to survey constituents to see what they
wanted to hear from us. Not only did this increase page views, but it also made constituents more apt to donate and open newsletter content. Meaningful content will turn bystanders into active participants. As revealed above, many of the tips above reference relatively new technologies: social media, mobile app development, and digitally measuring outcomes. These tips help small and mid- sized businesses stay in step with competitors, reach broader audiences, and reveal who the company truly is through effective content.
Next Steps To Dominate Small Business Marketing Trends:
● Look for training. If readers are struggling with proficiency in social media or analytics
software participating in workshops or training to better understand these tools is a great
● Stay up-to-date on industry practices. If there is a push toward infographics in blog
posts or a new way of sharing video, then reading blog posts regarding these topics or
following influencers who share best practices is an excellent way to stay current.
● Decide what is the most important item to tackle first. Maybe the company is doing
well with video marketing, but a mobile app has been something leaders have seen a
need for. Marketers should make sure they have their priorities in line regarding what the
company needs most.
● Measure often! Metrics and analytics should become a major part of the strategy. Each
tip above should go hand in hand with ways to measure outcomes to know if plans are
meeting set benchmarks.
Which Small Business Marketing Trends Have You Noticed?
Even with a one-person team, SMBs can still set themselves up to be competitive in their respective industries by using smart small business marketing trends. As long as marketers keep their ears to the ground and remain open to learning something new, then they can reach success regardless of the trend.
Chanell Alexander currently resides in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not traveling and trying new restaurants in the Metro Atlanta area, she writes about the latest technology and tools for TrustRadius.