This is the time of year when many small businesses look to 2017 to decide what they can do to take their business to the next level. As you create your marketing budgets and forecasts, there are a few marketing trends you need to know for 2017. Read on to learn more…

Content marketing continues to dominate

There is no shortage of articles, charts and other factoids out there trumpeting the importance of content marketing. Why?  Because it works!  It really does! But as a small business owner, you have to consistently, genuinely and enthusiastically embracing content marketing for it to work. It takes time, and there are definitely a few boxes you need to check off to insure you’re doing it correctly. If you started content marketing efforts in 2016, outstanding! Not seeing results yet?  Don’t worry…keep plugging away. Content marketing takes time but it can add huge value, so keep at it. It’s at the top of the list for strong marketing trends going into the new year.

influencer marketingInfluencer marketing

What exactly IS influencer marketing? According to Tapinfluence, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you. Now you might be thinking, “I barely have time to run my business let alone reach out to ‘key leaders’ to promote my brand!” but before you pass by this trend, remember this: people tend to trust recommendations from people they see as thought leaders. If that’s not your company (yet!) why not find someone who can help elevate your brand? Does your company have one brand evangelist who really thinks you rock?  A strategic partner or a client with high influence?  It’s worth asking them to give your brand some love. This is a huge trend and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Native advertising

This one has been around awhile and yet many marketers still don’t quite understand it. Native advertising is a type of disguised advertising, usually online, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. Examples could be native search engine ads where paid ads look identical to organic results. You’ll often see Twitter ads that look like “normal” tweets except for the small precursor “promoted by” in front of the source. Advertorials are a big one, where it looks like regular editorial content but are actually created to advertise a brand. Copyblogger provided a great list of examples of native ads.  You can see why they can be effective!

Video, video, video

If your marketing strategy doesn’t yet include video, 2017 is your year. If you spend more than 10 seconds on Facebook, you’ll see how much video dominates feeds. Videos are everywhere, and they’re not going away any time soon. Remember, people consume information in different ways, so its important to incorporate videos into your content marketing mix.

Focus on mobile

If you’ve ever spent any amount of time looking at your website’s analytics, or opened up your email marketing statistics, you’ve seen for yourself how much mobile has grown this past year. Internet traffic is now coming more from mobile devices than desktops. Don’t let your small business fall behind when it comes to focusing marketing efforts on mobile. The easiest places to start are making sure efforts you’re already doing are mobile friendly. Is your website optimized for mobile?  There are many tools that can help you check out what your website looks like on different devices. Make sure you have a well-designed site that resolves well on all different devices, especially mobile. How about your email marketing efforts?  Be sure to check that those email blasts are easily viewed on mobile, and links are easy to open and follow. And of course, go beyond just making sure you’re optimized. Look at your marketing efforts from the user’s standpoint:  does your marketing align with mobile users? If you push out offers through mobile advertising, make them personalized. If you’re a brick and mortar location, use location-based offers to attract people to your business.  Above all, honor the opt-ins and opt-outs of your list to keep your list effective.

As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of marketing trends you need to know. Not sure how to take these ideas and make them work for your business?  Reach out to small business marketing specialists such as Strategic Marketing Services to put a plan together for your small business.

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Patty Hughes

Patty Hughes is President of Strategic Marketing Services and has over 20 years of experience in marketing and sales strategy.Having been fortunate enough to develop exceptional business relationships with both customers and colleagues throughout the years, she has been honored to help small businesses grow and has enjoyed being a part of their successes by partnering with them to establish a well-developed marketing strategy and assist in managing their ongoing marketing needs.
Patty Hughes
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