Tips + Trends: 2017 Marketing for Small Business

It's that time of the year again...

Let the predictions for 2017 marketing trends begin! We've poured through the most recent marketing statistics out there, evaluated some of the pain points for small businesses when it comes to online marketing and came up with 5 areas to focus on. 

5 Focus Areas for Small Business Marketing in 2017

1. Social Media

You probably guessed this would be on the list. While most small business owners recognize and acknowledge the importance to be present in this space and have taken some steps to be there, we were shocked to find out that only 13% use it to talk to their customers, and many still lack a solid strategy that works towards business goals. 

A recent survey found that only 32% of small businesses that do use social media as a marketing tool actually invest in it, which is imperative to stay competitive. 

2. Mobile

People increasingly turn to the their phones for information. We found that 56% of all online traffic came from a mobile device, but 40% of small businesses still don't have websites that are responsive and optimized for mobile viewing. This is a quick way to lose a potential customer, especially as research has shown that when people search for local businesses on their smartphones, they're likely to be doing so with the intent to make a purchase. 

The good news is that websites aren't as labor intensive and expensive as they used to be. Many companies like Squarespace and WordPress make it easy to have a mobile optimized, responsive design without requiring any coding, technical or design knowledge. 

3. Content

Creating and curating valuable relevant content to share with customers online will continue to become of utmost importance. Even if you do have a responsive website that provides a customer the basic information of your business, you've claimed your business listings and your social media pages and post every once in a while, you'll need to have a plan for what you're sharing. Is what you're sharing relevant to your business? Is it providing value to your target customer or is it just another sales pitch?

Here are 5 Content Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!

  1. Write a blog post on your company website on recent industry news.
  2. Introduce a team member on social media with a photo and a fun fact.
  3. Share an article relevant to your industry.
  4. Take a behind-the-scenes video of how a product is made.
  5. Answer a frequently asked question you get from customers and post to social media.

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a business, it's important you're set up to be found online. This will only become more important in 2017. Creating a content strategy for your marketing will improve this automatically as long as you're consistently sharing relevant content, but take the extra step and identify some keywords that are relevant to your business. What words might your customers search for that you'd like your business to appear in search results for? Take an audit of your website, blog, posts and online listings and make sure those words are included in them. 

5. Create memorable experiences.

Perhaps more than anything else, 2017 will be a year where people expect brands to give them a high quality, top notch experience. Whether it's online or at your business, the customer experience must come full circle. What kind of service are you providing inside your four walls, and is that reflected in how customers interact with you online? Are you set up to respond to reviews and messages customers send you through social media or review sites? Does your online presence work to convert people who interact with you to actual customers? 

We know it's a lot, but as a small business owner, we know you're ready for the challenge. 

We'd love to hear about your business and how you're planning for 2017. Help us by answering a few questions in our Small Business Marketing Survey.