In our modern multi-media world, small businesses like yours can find it challenging in deciding the best way to market themselves. Adaptation and change are important to growing your business and it is now more vital than ever before to recognise that the way your customers find you is changing. When looking ahead into 2016, ensure you acknowledge these online trends to avoid being left behind the competition.
Firstly you need to look at your current marketing strategy and check whether it achieves your overall business goals. A good example of questions to ask of your business are:
• Who are your current competitors? e.g. Is it a couple of guys down the road or are national companies moving in on your patch?
• What are your business’ unique selling points? e.g Do you offer great customer service or stock a specialist product?
• Does your website list the most up to date services and products you offer?
• Does your website match the rest of the business branding?
Knowing your current position can help you plan for next year and decide where to focus. Next you need to make a plan and consider where you want to improve online in the new year.
Think mobile first
Social Media Today suggests that 80% of internet users have smartphones of which they use to access websites, with 48% of those users starting their online search with this device. It is becoming the norm for visitors to access your website via a mobile phone so therefore imperative that your website is mobile friendly next year. If you still don’t have a website that performs across different devices, this should be a priority for your business in the coming year.
Start a blog
Blogging content such as industry advice and tips offers more value to your products and gives real world context to them, as well as making you trusted experts in your field. Website blogs help hugely in your customer’s buying process. Brandanew.com suggests that websites which offer blogs attract 67% more potential customers than those who don’t. Adding your views and opinions can add huge benefits to your business success.
With the recent rise of YouTube and the ever increasing ease of filming on mobile devices, adding video into your marketing plan is now much easier. According to Cisco, videos will dominate this coming year with them accounting for 69% of consumer internet traffic by 2017.
Your customers love hands-on experiences, so creating videos of your products or services, including online demonstrations, is a great way to show your customers you’re experts and keep your visitors coming back. Good examples of this are businesses such as plumbers who can demonstrate how to bleed a radiator, hairdressers who can give tips on styling and bakeries showing how to make the perfect pastry.
Start using analytics
Website analytics can to some be classed as black magic, but what it does is very simple. In a nutshell, it’s the science behind the visitors that use your website. Where they come from, who they are and how they visit you.
Researching your website analytics can be crucial to help you plan for the future and improve on what you already have. If you receive help with your website, via an agency, they may be able to help you with reporting information. However if you do your own online marketing there are a number of platforms available which can give you useful information. These include; Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, as well as our own website product, which includes a great reporting dashboard.
Your business will evolve in 2016 and your marketing should not be left as an afterthought. Adopting just a few of the suggestions from above will help you maximise success and stay ahead of the competition, giving you a better return on your investment. Remember, there is not a one size fits all approach, so be prepared to adjust your tactics as you progress. In doing so will lead to better results overall.