Every year, small businesses need to look back and determine what worked for their business and what strategies may need to be adjusted for the coming year. The world is changing a mile a minute, and it’s hard to scale, differentiate yourself, and maintain trust in the ever-changing marketing world. The more you can plan ahead, the better equipped you feel to manage those changes when they happen.
But these adjustments don’t need to be reserved for January 1. If you want to get a head start on preparing your business for 2019, check out these tips, insights, and resources from members of the online small business community.
Adjust Your Marketing Strategy with the Loss of Google+
By now, you’ve probably learned that Google is shutting down Google+ next year. Though the popularity of this platform burned out fairly quickly, its loss could still impact some marketing factors for local businesses. Learn more about how to adjust your strategy in this Bright Local post by Jamie Pitman.
Identify Upcoming Content Marketing Trends
If you want your content marketing strategy to continue to be effective going into 2019, you need to consider what trends are affecting consumers and other businesses. Constant adjustments are important. So check out this TopRank Marketing post by Joshua Nite for more insights on the B2B marketing trends of 2019.
People are putting more trust in others they know and reputable content, not ads
We knew years ago that people were running away from traditional ads. A Nielsen study from 2015 showed that the top four most-trusted sources of advertising were: people you know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews. Ads are near the bottom of that list, and that fact hasn’t really changed.
In fact, 30 percent of all internet users are expected to be using ad blockers by the end of this year, meaning traditional ads now won’t even reach 30 percent of possible target audience members. So, does this mean marketers should abandon ads completely? Not necessarily.
I honestly feel there’s still a place for some ads, but they have to be more relevant and valuable to the consumer. This is why we see more money going to content marketing, influencer marketing, referral partnerships, and other methods that are designed to deliver actual value to audiences. This shift isn’t going to stop until ads start being more valuable for the consumer.
Use Voice Activated Tech to Up Your Content Marketing Game
Voice assistants and other voice-activated tech are changing the way people interact with online content. That also means that your strategy for reaching people online has to adjust. To update your strategy, check out this Content Marketing Institute post by Jodi Harris.
Solve a Common Podcasting Pain Point with this Automation Tip
Automation is working its way into so many industries and business functions — including podcasting. If you have a podcast and are looking to make the posting process easier, this post from Ileane Smith could help. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community here.
Measure the Effectiveness of Your Facebook Ads
Facebook recently introduced a new tool for measuring the impact of your advertising campaigns. Keeping track of this data is important for all businesses looking to achieve great ROI. So visit Search Engine Journal to read more about this update from Matt Southern.
Creativity, not conformity, will set successful marketers apart
People have been saying for a long time that print is dead, but I recently came across a company that used software to obtain physical addresses for clients and started sending them print newsletters. Imagine that. In the age of MailChimp and HubSpot, this company went against the grain and spent extra money to do it the old-fashioned way. I was also surprised to find that its campaign was extremely successful — but why?
Simply put, everybody else had gone digital, and this company saw an opportunity to do something different. Now, I’m not advocating that businesses should try to resurrect print marketing or do something only because it’s uncommon and not because it resonates with their audiences. But they should consider integrated campaigns and creative distribution tactics that focus on ways to engage audience members that their industry competitors might not be considering.
Find the Best Franchise Opportunities Online
If you’re thinking about buying a franchise, the options available to you could easily seem a bit overwhelming. With so many businesses to choose from, it’s important that you do plenty of research up front. And Franchise websites tend to offer a lot of relevant information — as long as you know what to look for. Joel Libava of The Franchise King shares more in this post.
Winners won’t be concerned with internal barriers
In my first point, I talked about the need to create engaging content rather than just advertisements. This engaging content doesn’t just help marketing. It can enable your sales team and be beneficial to recruiting, investor communications, internal training, and just about every other area of your business, too.
Every time I do a keynote presentation, I have people come up to me and say “John, we just can’t do this stuff! There’s too much red tape with other departments.”
My response? Companies that put up barriers between departments will fail in the long run. Leading companies are built on departments that work together. Creating engaging content isn’t just a marketing concern. Great content can fuel other parts of the company, resulting in better talent, lower costs, and improved relationships with investors.
Improve the Quality of Your Photos with These Mobile Apps
Quality images are essential to any site, social platform or marketing material. If you prefer managing your visuals on a mobile device, there are apps you can use to improve the quality. Shane Barker lists some of the top options in this post on the Social Media Examiner blog.
Benefit from Coworking Spaces and Serviced Offices in Hotels
Remote work has become much more common in recent years. And with that, people have started to realize the benefit of coworking spaces. Now, hotels are also getting in on the action, as Are Morch explains in this post. You can also see commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.
Enhance Instagram Post Conversions with These Tools
If you constantly post interesting content on Instagram but don’t see much of an actual impact on your business, you may have a conversion problem. You can increase sales and gain customers using the platform, but you may want to check out the tools in this Quick Sprout post by Neil Patel first.
Evolve Your Retail Tech Beyond 2018
Much has been made about the “death of retail” in recent years. But the retailers that still around understand how important it is to change with the times. Technology offers huge opportunities for retailers. In this Biz Penguin post, Ivan Widjaya details how you can evolve your tech beyond what’s available in 2018.
Helpfulness and authenticity will combat relationships lost through tech and automation
There’s no stopping marketing automation and technology. These advances help marketers scale more effectively, make better decisions, and save money. However, these advances sometimes come at the expense of the relationships those same marketers have typically built with members of their audience.
Although automation might cover basic tasks, it’s important to do your best to add a personal touch or offer direct help when possible. I was recently speaking to some contacts at a consulting company that had done an amazing job scaling marketing communication, but they still made a rule to visit their clients in person once every year to see how they could be helpful or improve the relationship and get to know the people better. They said that when they do this, the clients stay longer and spend more money.
Remember, there’s not a single “right way” to build a marketing strategy, but these fifteen tips can help you achieve any marketing goal.