I find it interesting to keep an eye on what is happening in the wider Marketing Industry, what are the big boys doing and what is it that people are predicting will happen in 2016? In January I have been looking around, with the small/ medium size business in mind there are several trends which are coming up. In this two-part blog I’ll touch upon which current marketing trends you should be taking notice of: Video Marketing is definitely on the increase; Email Marketing continues to be a key tool in your marketing toolkit; Social Media and Content continue to underpin everything. Read on to learn how to use video and email to your advantage, whatever your marketing budget.
1. Video Marketing:
Video marketing will be big news for 2016, and beyond! Cisco predicts that by the end of 2019, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic, so how can business owners like you jump on the bandwagon? If, like me, you don’t have a professional film studio in your garage, there are tools out there that are free to use. Video editing suites such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker can help you make your own promotional videos, so you can show off your service, product or workplace.
There are also some great, reasonably priced small businesses out there who can help too (get in touch if you would like to know more). Video marketing is particularly effective in helping to humanise businesses, so don’t be afraid to put content out there, just make sure it’s in line with your brand and how you generally communicate with your target audience. Don’t forget about the ongoing uptake in mobile internet usage, though, recent statistics suggest that mobile internet usage has tripled since 2012, you’d be foolish not to explore this growing avenue and optimise for on-the-go platforms.
Once you’ve finalised your content, the question is what to do with it. More and more businesses are embedding video into their website homepages, a trick that not only instantly engages visitors but can increase overall time spent on your website. Internet users have short attention spans so you only have a few seconds to get your message across, keep things concise and you’ll hit one of the trends for this year, too.
Shorter clips that are eye-catching and easy to digest will also promote likes, shares and re-tweets across your social channels, and if you’ve got the budget for it – Facebook’s video advertising could significantly help increase your reach. The trend of vlogging continues for 2016, too, so if you haven’t yet created your own YouTube channel, now could be the time.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning branded content, which will be big for 2016. Could you seek out partnerships with local influencers, news channels, vloggers or events companies? Attaching your name to relevant, entertaining content could help boost your audience and enhance public opinion of your brand. In their piece 6 Video trends of 2016, Video D suggests “Consider loosening up on the corporate angle, and let engaging, authentic stories help your brand shine.” Sounds like solid advice to me, but to reiterate – it’s important to think about what could be relevant to your audience first.
As for what’s coming next, 360o videos are the future. You may have heard about recent steps forward in virtual reality, but while you may not have access to this technology quite yet, it’s certainly something for small businesses to keep an eye on. Just think how effective a virtual tour of an artisan bakery, boutique shoe shop or florist in full bloom could be.
2. Email Marketing:
As you know I am a big fan of Email Marketing. Stats from Litmus show that, from the moment a customer or business prospect opens your email, you only have two seconds to make an impression. So – no pressure then!
As I mentioned in relation to video marketing, certain brands and industry experts are showing us that taking a step back from your corporate image can be a good thing, when done right. Have a think about how this trend could apply to subject lines. Companies like Groupon and BuzzFeed are winning the inbox wars with their brand of slightly quirky, personalised (and sometimes downright laugh-out-loud) subject lines. Consider if it could be appropriate for you to follow suit, you might just see the benefits reflected in your click-through rates.
Next on the agenda for in 2016 will be personalisation and localisation – e.g. relating each email to its specific recipient by incorporating their name or town. Make sure you’re managing your data lists with a tool like MailChimp, and pulling in the right data at the right places will be a cinch. As with video, keeping up with the popularity of mobile using responsive design will be key to delivering your content effectively.
Finally, while in previous years we’ve seen businesses rushing to get as many emails out the door as possible, the trend for 2016 will be ‘quality over quantity’. Whereas huge corporations can get away with sending out daily deals, small businesses will be better off dedicating time and money to creating interesting, well-considered email content. Put yourself in the shoes of your recipients – wouldn’t you be more inclined to click through to a valuable, attractive monthly newsletter than a daily dose of uninteresting ramblings?
Next time, I’ll be tipping you off about the next big trends in content marketing and social media – check back soon.