I have been reading with interest the emails coming into my inbox over the last week or so. The focus has very much been on a fresh start, new challenges and de-cluttering post the indulgences of the festive season. We all wish that we could predict the future, with this in mind I wanted to take a look at some of the valuable small business 2017 marketing trends which are on the horizon for this year.
The start of a new year always feels like a new beginning. It is a great opportunity to think about what you would like to do differently this year and where you would like to focus. For your business, take the chance to clear out both electronic and paper files; review your email marketing contacts; review your social media activity; and most importantly set your marketing strategy, so you know what you need to do to promote your business and when.
There are without question some very big challenges on the horizon in 2017 but also some very exciting opportunities too. I wanted to take a look at what valuable marketing trends, most relevant to the small/ medium size business, we can expect to see this year and how they have changed from last year.
Before we look at the trends around the practical usage of marketing, I wanted to firstly consider people. By this I mean your teams, people you work with but most importantly your customer. Truly understanding who they are and what they want should underpin your business and as a result, all of your marketing. If you don’t know who your customer is then how can you provide them with relevant and interesting products and services that they wish to buy. We will be looking at this more over the next few months. For now though, having done a little research and learning from my clients, here are my thoughts on the practical 2017 Marketing trends:
- Digital marketing, is a key part of the marketing mix, but in particular for small businesses, as it is responsive, quick and most importantly an economical way to speak to your target audience.
- Content Marketing, without question remains a big focus for any business today, but the challenge continues to be how to achieve cut through in a very cluttered environment. I am sure that we will see the focus on video marketing and images continue. Smart Insights and HubSpot research illustrated that more businesses are now using a strategic approach to their content marketing (est 40%), so this is a trend we can expect to see continuing into 2017. Their research also suggests that there will be more focus on trying to measure the return (ROI) on content, so if I invest £1,000 into video marketing or imagery, what business and revenue does this bring me?
- Email marketing automation, has been key over the last few years. It is no question that email marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix in today’s world, especially for a small business. But how can we make this more relevant, timely and effective? This is where the automation part comes in. This trend is reflected in Mail Chimp’s product update in October 2016, whereby they have invested a lot in making this functionality a more effective for their paying clients (please note this is not available as part of their free product).
- Social media marketing, continues to be an important element of the marketing mix for any small business. That said there is a noticeable decline in usage for some of the original networks, especially within the UK eg: Facebook and Twitter as they control more and more of what you see, when you see it and at what cost. Other networks such as Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are still growing in usage. CLICK HERE to read my recent blogs around the future of Facebook. For further reading also CLICK HERE to read Forbes Social Media predictions for 2017.
- Partnerships, for a lot of smaller businesses are often over looked, but for me I think such a valuable approach to speaking to your clients. The collaboration between two complimentary businesses is often a great way to expand the reach of any message.
So, a lot to think about for the year ahead, and these are only some of the trends which are being discussed, others also include SEO, mobile marketing, app development and PR, due to the cost implications maybe these are more relevant for the larger organisations.
So, here is to an exciting year and lots of great marketing!
You may also be interested to CLICK HERE and read my blog article on the 2016 marketing trends to see what my predictions were and how many of them came true!