How to harness the power of marketing trends as a small business
I know, I know, its April and trends are usually something to look at at the beginning of the year, but I think these ones are here to stay!
One of the first elements of my 1-2-1 content planning workshop is to look at current marketing trends. We then discuss to see if there are any areas that we can implement when planning out a new or refreshed content marketing strategy.
So, what are the top trends and how can you use them for your business?
Video is king for content
Could you have guessed the first trend? Video is here to stay. With Instagram stories rapidly becoming more viewed than “the grid” and more captioned-videos appearing daily on LinkedIn, there is no doubt that video has become one of the most powerful ways of getting your brand message out there. Not only that, but you don’t need a lot of equipment – these days people are looking for authenticity, so a tripod and bluetooth clicker might be all that is needed to get going.
Some of the stats below from a recent Forbes article really blew me away
- 90 percent of consumers say that product videos directly inform purchase decisions.
- 95 percent of consumers retain communicated information through video, while only 10 percent retain information from reading.
- Companies utilizing video content experience a 41 percent increase in traffic through web searches compared to others who don’t include video in their content strategies.
From talking to small business owners there are two things that hold them back from using video to talk about their work. Firstly there is the cringe factor – it feels so awkward talking to camera and is really nerve-wracking. But, think about the businesses you buy from or are planning to make a purchase from this year – how many of them are using video?
The second concern is that you might not seem professional without all the lighting and camera work. Again, the best thing to do is to take a look at what other small businesses are doing. Its great if you can invest in some professional videography for some channels, but for social media people are more than happy with a behind the scenes impression.
Last year I blogged about my own experiences doing a video stories Instagram challenge and the most important learning for me was that it helped me with pitching offline too.
Chatbots; using AI for improved customer service
Chatbots have been around for a while but these are now popping up (literally!) more often and in more sophisticated ways. They are set to continue grow as a method of communicating with end-users, usually for customer service or to make the purchase process as smooth as possible.
I have seen them successfully implemented on some small business shopping sites and also for customer service for bigger businesses like GoDaddy.
The most innovative use of chatbots that I have seen recently is from Emma Read VA. Emma has a little chatbot character that sends out marketing tips via FB messenger to customers and prospects that have subscribed for updates.
“Ok Google, tell me about voice search”
How many times have you seen people talking into their phones recently? My 81 year old step-Dad is a big one for his “Ok Google” searches. I wouldn’t call him an early adopter, but its interesting to see how advances in voice recognition have made it easier for people to search for information using the spoken word. In fact, voice search is now more than 20% of global search volume. We are also big fans of Alexa in our house, even my four-year-old (at the other end of the spectrum) can be heard yelling “Echo, play Frozen” frequently at one of our devices. Sigh.
How can you use this to your benefit as a small business? Whilst you may not have the tech skills to create an Alexa flash briefing like Steve Folland, it can be useful to start thinking of more natural ways that people might be searching for a business like yours and using more questions and colloquial words through-out your copy.
Influencer marketing and social selling
I don’t think anyone will have missed the rise and rise of influencer marketing, especially on Instagram and with the Fyre festival documentary on Netflix. For small businesses like ours, we may be miles away from the mega-influencers with millions of followers, but for any business that is active on social media there are still plenty of opportunities to look at influencer marketing as a strategy to raise brand awareness. You may hear of marketers looking to “Nano” or “micro” influencers. They may have a following in the thousands but in a clearly defined segment and with a very engaged community.
For B2B small businesses you could consider it a little like social networking and finding someone with a sphere of influence locally who you could collaborate with to raise awareness of your product or service amongst a mutual target audience.
Which trend will you experiment with in the next three to six months?
There you have it, four marketing trends that are here to stay. If you need to pick just one, I’d bet on video as the one to start experimenting with. I’d love to know if there are any other trends that you have spotted and would like to use in your marketing activities. If there are any you have seen that you would like to use but don’t know how, please feel free to drop me a message or get in touch.