Marketing Changes You Have to Make Now
If you thought marketing the last couple of years was a rollercoaster ride, wait until you see what next year has in store. So many changes are coming, in fact, the standard ways of building customer relationships and advertising goods and services simply won't work.
If you feel a panic coming on, take a deep breath. No one's saying that marketing in 2018 won't be a challenge, but you can do it. Here's how to get started.
Remember the date — May 2015. That's when mobile search traffic outpaced desktop traffic for the first time in history. What does it mean? It means that if you're not concentrating on making online content usable on mobile devices, you're losing out.
In fact, you'll lose ground with Google if you don't adapt. Google now penalizes sites that aren't optimized for mobile devices by giving more weight to those that do. Mobile will only grow from its already large 35 percent share of the market. Steer your marketing efforts toward making sure your website and content is optimized for people on the go. Mobile marketing can no longer take a backseat.
Relationships Are Key
You're right, building relationships with your customers is nothing new. How you do it is, though. It's no longer enough to send out a few emails, offer superior service and provide the occasional perk. Smartphones make it easy for consumers to quickly find deals, read reviews and compare prices. If you don't compare favorably, they’re out the door. How can you keep customers coming back in the age of instant information?
Krispy Kreme did it. The delectable doughnut company launched the "Red Light App" for smartphone users. When the "Hot Now" light comes on, users immediately know that a Krispy Kreme franchise near them has a batch of fresh doughnuts waiting. After the fresh doughnut alert, the app encourages customers to use the #KrispyKremeMoment hashtag to pass the word around to friends and family. Without spending a dime, same-store sales increased nearly 7 percent after the app was launched.
Starbucks always finds innovative ways to keep their customers coming back. One of the most successful relationship marketing techniques some Starbucks stores use is offering morning customers with receipts same-day afternoon discounts or free cups of coffee. Starbucks is well known for its willingness to listen to customers and chooses which seasonal drink flavors and treats to offer based on customer feedback. Listening to customers is always a winning strategy.
Can't offer a lot of freebies? You don't have to. Figure out a way to enhance your customer's experience and keep them coming back for more.
Location Is Everything
Gone are the days when you tried to appeal to every consumer on the planet. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, it doesn't make sense to spend money marketing to consumers thousands of miles away. Geo-precise marketing gives small business the ability to reach an audience of potential and very real customers.
Small business marketers can use statistics from their own analytics and purchase data that identifies nearby areas with high levels of purchasing activity. Mainstream advertising platforms offer location-targeting services that tell you exactly where to find your next buying customer. And, if you do business globally, they can help you pinpoint those customers as well.
The New Content Marketing Wave
Content marketing is certainly not a new concept, but it is more important now than ever. In fact, for small and midsized businesses, content marketing is a powerful tool. Offering free informational and instructional content is a real draw for customers.
Keep in mind that content marketing involves more than the written word. Digital video is fast becoming a must-do marketing device that accounted for $5 billion advertising dollars in 2015. Digital advertising is expected to overtake television advertising in 2016. A successful content marketing plan includes premium written content, digital video and effective infographics.
Don't Stop Doing This
There is one thing you can't stop doing even in this age of changing marketing dynamics and that's testing. There's no single marketing technique that's right for every business or audience. Study your results for each campaign. Experiment, analyze and adjust. You can't panic, but you can't stand still, either. Don't get left behind.