The digital marketing landscape evolves at breakneck speed. What was once considered a best practice may now be outdated, and what was once a niche marketing strategy (like email marketing) may now be mainstream. For small businesses, keeping up with these changes can be a challenge. Not only do they have to contend with limited resources, but they also have to be careful not to spread themselves too thin.
However, there are some ways that small businesses can stay on top of digital marketing trends without breaking the bank or overloading their staff. Here are five of them:
1. Use Data to Drive Your Decisions
Gone are the days when business owners could get by on “gut feel” alone.
Hard data is essential for making informed decisions about your business today. Without this data, you’re essentially flying blind, and you’re likely to miss out on opportunities or make poor decisions that could have serious consequences.
Data can help shine a light on which marketing channels are most effective for your business, what kind of content is resonating with your audience, and where you should be allocating your resources.
Are most visitors coming to your site from search engines? If so, you’ll want to make sure your site is optimized for search engine ranking. Are they spending a lot of time on your home page but not clicking through to other pages? This could indicate that your homepage isn’t effective at providing the information visitors are looking for.
Google Analytics is a great place to start if you’re not already tracking your website data. With it, you can track things like page views, time on site, bounce rate, and conversions. This data will give you a good idea of where your website traffic is coming from and how they’re interacting with your site.
2. Get Personal
Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world. But while this global reach is undoubtedly a good thing, it’s also important to remember that people are more likely to buy from businesses that feel personal and relatable.
In other words, your marketing efforts should be focused on building relationships, not just selling products or services. Examples of how you can do this include:
- Sharing stories about your team, your customers, and your company culture.
- Using images and video to give people a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making your products or delivering your services.
- Responding quickly when people reach out to you on social media or your website.
Getting personal also means taking the time to get to know your target audience and understanding what they want and need. It also means being genuine in your interactions and transparent about your business.
For instance, if lead generation is a key goal for your business, consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to track customer interactions. The customer insights you gain can be used to create more targeted, personal marketing campaigns instead of one-size-fits-all messages.
3. Think Mobile
With roughly half of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is optimized for mobile.
This means creating a site that’s easy to navigate and use on a small screen, with content that loads quickly and is easy to read. It also means making sure your site is responsive, meaning it will adjust to fit any screen size.
Some businesses are much more likely to draw mobile traffic than others. For example, if you’re trying to advertise your restaurant business, it’s important to make sure your menus and directions are easy to find on your website. If you run a retail store, you’ll want to make sure customers can easily find store hours and locations.
If you’re not sure how your website measures up, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a quick and easy way to find out. Just enter your website’s URL and the tool will provide you with a report on how mobile-friendly your site is.
4. Focus on Video Content
In today’s attention-deficient world, video is one of the most powerful tools you have for capturing and holding people’s attention. From product demonstrations to customer testimonials, there are endless possibilities for creating engaging video content that will help promote your business.
One reason video is so effective is that it’s highly shareable. Sending a link to a long article is far less likely to generate excitement than sharing a short, funny video. And with social media platforms making it easier than ever to share content, it’s a good idea to make sure video is part of your marketing strategy.
Not sure where to start? Try creating a short video that introduces your team or showcases your products or services. You can also create how-to videos, customer testimonials, or even live stream events as you grow more comfortable with video.
5. Implement AI and Chatbots
Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots are two of the most talked-about technologies in the marketing world right now. And for good reason – they have the potential to transform the way businesses interact with customers.
Chatbots can be used to automate customer service tasks like answering common questions, providing product recommendations, or even taking orders. This frees up your team to focus on other tasks and provides a better experience for customers since they can get the answers they need quickly and easily.
AI can also be used to create more personalized marketing experiences. For example, you can use AI to segment your customers based on their behavior or interests and then target them with more relevant content.
Digital marketing is always evolving, and small businesses need to stay on top of the latest trends to remain competitive. The five strategies outlined above are a great starting point for getting started with digital marketing. Build on this framework by testing different approaches and strategies and then adapting your plan based on what’s working for you.