Promotions, email, events, and social media are marketing must-haves. But to take your 2017 plans to the next level, you also need to have your eye on some new trends. Which is exciting — there’s a ton going on right now.
VIDEO: advancements in video, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things are opening up a wide array of new marketing channels. And consumers’ increasing affinity with personalization and authenticity provide creative opportunities for your brand to differentiate itself and shine.
Here are five marketing ideas for your small business to think about this year:
#1. Host a live video event.Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and faster Internet speeds, live streaming platforms like Facebook Live are gaining steam. And Instagram just got into the game as well, launching a live feature as part of Stories late last year.
Streaming is a natural fit for media organizations (Buzzfeed uses it particularly well) and live events, but smart brands (like Benefit, Dunkin Donuts, and Chevrolet, to name a few) are also getting in on the action.
The good news about live videos is that they don’t need high-quality production (read: expensive). In fact, that “let your hair down” look may be what’s so engaging about them in the first place. That means there are plenty of live streaming opportunities for even the smallest businesses — hosting things like tutorials, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours.
#2. Launch a video series.Videos drive sales. Wyzowl’s The State of Video Marketing 2016 survey found that 74 percent of users who watched an explainer video about a product or service then bought it. And 77 percent of consumers said they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.
A no-brainer tactic here is to create an explainer video for each of your marquee products or services. But perhaps a more engaging strategy is to create an episodic video series. If you have a hair salon, for example, you could create a style tutorial every week. If you sell handmade or artisan products, you could launch a series on each artist.
#3. Interweave purpose-driven marketing.Consumers care about the what, but increasingly, they also care about the why. As evidenced by the success of businesses like Everlane and Tom’s, customers connect with brands that position their larger mission front and center.
So tap into the deeper purpose behind what you do. Then find opportunities to integrate that into all the components of your 2017 marketing strategy.
#4. Launch a micro-influencer marketing campaign.“Influencer campaigns” have been buzzy for a while. But while they’ve typically been associated with celebrities or people with millions of followers, there’s evidence to suggest that going smaller and more niche might be even more effective.
EXPERTS: A recent Experticity survey found that 82 percent of respondents were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. And though influencer marketing campaigns run through celebrities do yield conversions, activating 30 to 40 micro-influencers can result in even more business.
So drill down into the niches of your industry to find possible experts or tastemakers to tap for campaigns. It’s not large-follower accounts you’re necessarily after, it’s sustained, active engagement. That’s likes and comments, yes, but also a sense that the person is involved with their audience and community.
#5. Watch for opportunities in augmented reality and the Internet of Things.Two technologies are about to become part of our lives in a big way: augmented (and virtual) reality and the Internet of Things.
INTERACTIVE: One only has to look to the wild success of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game, to see the consumer appetite there. The New York Times just launched their own augmented reality app through their branded content arm, T Brand Studio.
As for the Internet of Things (IoT), BI Intelligence expects that there will be approximately four IoT devices for every human being on the planet by 2020. (The Internet of Things refers to the connection of devices — things like household appliances, health monitors, even cars — to the Internet).
What does that mean for marketing? New ways to reach customers. Watch these industries closely this year to spot potential areas of opportunity for your business.
Good marketing is not just about deploying the tried-and-true tactics, it’s about trying some new ones. Push the envelope by experimenting with some of these new campaign ideas this year.
Looking to review or refresh your strategy? Here’s our marketing plug, give us a ping at the follow: email@example.com
HOW CONTENT MARKETING CAN GET YOUR BUSINESS AHEAD DURING THIS CRITICAL SHIFT IN MEDIA LANDSCAPE.
With the media landscape shifting rapidly—newsrooms shrinking, audiences more connected than ever before, and “fake news” everywhere—your content marketing and branding are extremely critical. The need to self-publish is becoming key to forming that connection to your consumer. Traditionally, organizations issued announcements, or opinions, and would be ‘picked-up’ (earned media). Whether your business is B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer), self-publishing on multiple platforms will allow you to capture your target audience more easily and to continue to earn more trust in your brand.
Traditional media is no longer the most trusted source of news and information around the world, according to the latest annual Edelman Trust Barometer. The study surveyed 6,000 “informed publics” aged 25 - 64 across 27 markets, finding that online search engines are now the most trusted source of general news. Online search has also widened its lead over newspapers and TV as the first source for general information—the source used by most to confirm and validate news.
In light of these facts, content marketing—a tool so fundamental to increasing brand trust and product awareness—continues to be brushed aside by numerous brands and companies. So, how can you get your business ahead of the curve? Read on.
YOUR WEBSITE IS NUMBER ONE
For all businesses, the website is the most important step in closing a sale and driving engagement. Here are a few points to consider:
Maximize the use of what you’ve already created is your website:
Increase the use of video and its’ life-cycle by:
As the traditional media landscape continues to shrink, digital content will become increasingly important to guarantee exposure for smaller deals, start-ups, and SMEs.
Set up a communications system. Simultaneously post across all platforms, and don’t skip housing your content on your website, including:
Housing your content on your website allows you to share more in-depth information and move readers/potential clients through the purchasing channel. A trusted brand is earned through consistent and widespread information being communicated through every venue possible.
START A BLOG IMMEDIATELY!
A blog allows you to re-use your content, making it work harder for you.
It’s an excellent way to showcase your news, ideas, expertise and knowledge.
Launching a blog that covers relevant topics relating to your industry is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader. A thoughtful blog will make prospective and current clients confident that your services are supported by and built on industry expertise and knowledge.
Maintaining an active blog adds credibility.
Credibility increases trust—not only within your industry but with journalists as well. It is incredibly difficult to garner thought leadership engagement when no one has heard of you, and your website doesn’t validate your knowledge.
Blogging is the key that will allow you to organically improve SEO lead generation. A boost in search engine ranking (if you’re using the right wording throughout your posts) means more potential clients will find you through search. Google processes 40,000 search queries every second, so it’s important that you rank or score high to earn visibility with your consumers.
Blogging is a personal, down-to-earth method of keeping your current and prospective clients informed about your latest product or service offerings as well as your industry knowledge and expertise. What’s more, you company culture will also benefit.
Journalists are typically only interested in the facts. With a blog, you’ll be able to tell your story—in your way and in your “voice.” It’s one more piece of the trusted brand puzzle.
Securing a top-tier piece of media coverage is fantastic; however, as soon as a story has run in the media, it’s yesterday’s news. If it’s in print, it won’t be read the next day by someone who missed it, and if it’s online, you’re relying on someone having knowledge of your article/interview and searching for it. A blog on your website amplifies coverage by making it permanent and making it yours.
You’re in control.
With media relations, you’re at the mercy of the journalist, the editor, the sub-editor, the producer, or the photo editor when it comes to pulling together your story. You can’t control what ends up getting cut. However, with a blog, you are in complete control. You define the topic, you select the spokesperson, and you write what you want. But, keep in mind, you must be willing to stand by your comments if questioned and can back them with trusted facts. Further, when it comes to information, the same level of complexity and breadth of information simply cannot be matched through a media article.
It doesn’t always have to be news.
In the absence of company news flow, a blog is one of the best ways to keep your “conversation” with consumers going. Your senior employees have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and through an active blog, they can build their personal brand through thought-leadership posts that focus on a topic with which they are subject matter experts.
A well-written blog post targeting popular search terms will attract visitors via search, which could result in new clients.
You can be creative.
It doesn’t have to be limited to the written word. You can develop vlogs (video blogs), create some cool infographics to support reports, podcasts, etc. The creative license is yours!
Just remember—this is not advertising.
You should not explicitly promote yourself or your brand. It’s a way to show the world the culture, leadership, innovation and other aspects of your team (or organization) that a 30-second spot does not. It’s one of the most impactful trust-building tools you have in your toolkit.
We love a challenge and if you are interested in more insights or help in crafting your brands blog or vlogs, we are here to engage in the process. We love emails and comments too. firstname.lastname@example.org