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10 Biggest Marketing Trends for Small Business

Are trend and prediction listicles flooding your inbox? Same here, so I created my own specifically for small business owners. You may not be ready for, say, virtual reality, but these are the 10 biggest marketing trends that will affect small business owners as we move into 2018.

You’ll notice that some of these trends are not new but have evolved and/or gained in importance over the past year.

Let’s dive in.

1. Artificial intelligence

Good ol’ artificial intelligence (AI). Sick of hearing about it yet?

Me too, but bear with me.

AI is great for marketing, making it one of the top marketing trends.

You might even be using it already. If you use MailChimp for email marketing, you can use its auto-scheduling feature. Based on your list’s behavior, it will choose a send time that will optimize open rates.

Need help with content curation? A service called Rocco can recommend social media content that your followers will like.

Want to up improve your PPC ads? Frank will buy media and deliver ads to improve results.

Need help crunching the data? Agilone scours data from multiple sources to help you understand trends and customers.

2. Hyper personal marketing

You’ve been told to segment your lists. Now it’s time to do it. (Gosh darn you Amazon, with your recommendations based on our searches and purchases.)

Consumers are flooded with marketing messages. If you want them to pay attention to yours, you need to deliver personalized, almost one-on-one marketing based on their specific interests, needs and behavior.

There are a million different ways to segment your lists. One way to start is by allowing your list to self-select what information they get from you. Ask people what information they are most interested in receiving, what they want to learn, how often they want to hear from you, etc.

3. Voice search

SEO has changed dramatically thanks to Siri and Alexa. It’s no longer enough to be optimized for text search. Now your business needs to be optimized for voice search – especially if you’re a B2C or ecommerce brand.

Here’s why voice is different from regular web searches. Voice search is conversational, done on mobile devices and often locally focused. If location services are on, your mobile device knows where you and can suggest businesses that are close to you.

Devices look for short and relevant pieces of content on the Internet. They’ll look at your website and Google My Business listing. They’ll look for super long-tail keywords that are conversational and reflect the way people ask questions IRL (your FAQ page might need to be updated!).

4. Short, quick downloads

I just wrote about the major marketing shifts that have occurred/are occurring based on our mobile-first Internet usage. One of the biggest changes is the content we provide to clients and prospects.

People don’t have time to read long, drawn-out stuff.

People want super short, quick-to-read information.

Considering writing a 20-page ebook? How about boiling that information down to a one-page cheat sheet? Try it, and you’ll likely see downloads go up (which means more leads – score!).

5. Mobile apps (are eating the Internet)

In 2017, we spent 86% of our time on apps when using our mobile phones.

That means we are not going to the web for information when we’re using our smartphone or tablet. Instead, we are going to apps: social media, email, messaging, music, maps, reviews, weather, travel, banking, productivity, work, fitness, wellness, etc.

When it comes to marketing, you need to make sure your content is appearing on the apps your audience is using. Are they on social media? Do they prefer email? What about text, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger?

Depending on the app or platform, your messages must be easy to read, access and take action on.

6. Live video

We all know that people love video. I love video, you love video, we all love video.

Video is an easy way for people to get to know you. And because we work with people we like, video is an important way to build trust, rapport and credibility.

But live video is even better. People can interact with you in real-time, ask questions, provide their viewpoint, etc. Being heard and acknowledged are things humans crave. Being able to participate is even better (see “quick polls” below).

7. Empowered consumers

We are incredibly savvy, proactive consumers. Smartphones gives us instant access to tons of information and options anytime, anywhere. This raises the bar for marketing – so it might be one of the scariest marketing trends on the list.

So, how should you respond?

One way is personalized marketing – see above.

Another way is by using data. How are people finding you? Where is the bulk of your revenue coming from? Create content for them.

And be you – see the mention of video above.

8. Reviews

Check out these numbers from Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report:

83 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66 percent trust other consumer opinions posted online.”

If you are B2B, ask for recommendations on LinkedIn and reviews on Google. Publish testimonials and short case studies on your website. Share via your email newsletter or highlight in lead nurturing campaigns.

If you are B2C, ask for reviews on Yelp and Google. Share them on your website, Facebook and Instagram. Record video testimonials and let customers review products right on product pages.

9. Ephemeral content

Ephemeral content is the opposite of evergreen content. It’s only available for a very short period of time. Think Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories.

Why is this important for marketing?

FOMO – fear of missing out.

People know the content will disappear, so they jump on it quickly. And they keep coming back to see what else you share.

10. Twitter chats

As I wrote recently, Twitter is the only social media platform that lets you easily have conversations in real-time. Just like podcasts suddenly took off two years ago, I think Twitter chats will skyrocket in popularity in 2018.

You can host your own chat, or join an established one. Either way, don’t just blast out info.

Respond to people. It may turn into a side conversations. And no, that’s not rude.

Side conversations occur naturally in real life. Plus, it’s a great way to develop solid relationships and raise your visibility.

What do you think?

Which marketing trends are you most excited about using?

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