Feel like Marketing your business falls at the bottom of your list? Don’t know where to start or how to create successful strategies? Think it’s too expensive? Learn to work smarter and not harder with simple, easy, cost effective and tangible ways to connect with your current loyal clients and attract new customers.
At Balanced Body, we want you to be successful and will be bringing you an ongoing Business Building Series from multiple business owners, marketing professionals and authors. The following will give you a re-cap and introduction of general statistics, best practices and what worked for small businesses in 2016. Have a read and in future blog posts, we will be exploring these topics in depth, as well as providing specific examples and resources.
General Statistics Related To Small Businesses (SMB)
- 2016 Research (Source: RevLocal): 2 in 5 small businesses plan to increase their marketing budget in the next year.
- Digital will receive the bulk of this marketing increase.
- SMBs also hope to increase lead generation and quality.
- Most SMBs are now almost exclusively discovered online first.
- Mobile optimization has become critical, as customers and possible leads are using their smartphones to find you.
- 65% of SMBs take advantage of Social Media (primarily Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn).
The Power Of Digital
Websites and word-of-mouth are the top ways small businesses promote themselves, according to June 2016 research from Endurance International Group. Nearly nine in 10 small business professionals surveyed around the world said they had a website, and 76% said word-of mouth was key to promotions, pointing up the value of both digital and traditional forms of marketing for SMBs.
More than one-third of US internet users said they first find out about small businesses when researching online, according to a survey. Walking into a local store, meanwhile, was the least likely path to discovery. Vista Print survey statistics:
Almost 37% of respondents said they primarily first find out about small businesses through online research, closely followed by word-of-mouth (35%). Meanwhile, only 8.4% said they usually found out about such firms by walking into the store. (eMarketer Daily, September 2016)
The Need For Mobile Optimization
The aforementioned survey also tracked how often these internet users research a local business online before showing up at its door. Of those polled, 36.4% said they often check out the store online prior to visiting, compared to 7.2%, who said they don’t. Based on this behavioral research, and the millions of US consumers with smartphones in hand, small businesses should probably be thinking more critically about their mobile presence. In fact, many already are. In a separate study from Yodle, and Research Now 52% of small businesses had a mobile-optimized website in February 2016. However, alarmingly, 40% said they have not optimized their sites yet. (eMarketer Daily, September 2016)
In order to develop lasting loyalty, marketers need to go beyond the transactional side of the relationship. “Loyalty is an emotional state,” said Mark Taylor, senior vice president of digital customer experience at Capgemini. “The way to drive real loyalty is to create engagement through experiences.”
The fluidity of brand loyalty is true across demographics. A June 2015 survey of internet users in North America by multi-channel loyalty platform CrowdTwist found that 46.4% of baby boomers polled considered themselves “extremely” or “quite” loyal to a brand, slightly less than the 49.6% from Gen X and 50.5% of millennials. The relatively low level of baby boomer loyalty may result from their greater focus on financial discounts. “Making that dollar stretch is more top of mind,” said Geoff Smith, CMO of CrowdTwist. “They are motivated by the benefit, the discount.” Millenials (18-34): Although financially concerned, 63% participate in loyalty programs because it supports their lifestyle or personal preferences vs. 46% of boomers. (Creating Stickyness In A Distracted World, 2016)
To Groupon or not to Groupon?
What does Harvard Business School have to say?
- For retailers, discount vouchers provide price discrimination, letting merchants reach customers who know about the business, but wouldn’t ordinarily go there without a discount.
- These vouchers also benefit merchants through advertising, simply by informing consumers of a merchant’s existence via e-mail.
- For some merchants, the benefits of offering discount vouchers are sharply reduced if individual customers buy multiple vouchers.
- As a marketing tool, discount vouchers are likely to be more effective for businesses that are relatively unknown and have low marginal costs.
(The Profitability Of Deep Discounts, Benjamin Edelman, Sonja Jaffe & Scott Duke Kominers)
Why Social Media & Which Platforms For What?
Social media is one of the most powerful ways to reach and engage with your buyers today. Because it’s almost universally used—by consumers and brands—social media is one of the most effective (and perhaps cost-effective) channels to connect with your audience. Today, social media activity is higher than ever, with the number of users rising by 176M in the last year, based on data from Social Media Today— and that’s only expected to increase. According to eMarketer, 67.4% of internet users worldwide will use a social network this year, and research from Social Media Today shows that 12 new active mobile social users join every second. (The Definitive Guide To Social Media, Marketo)
- Facebook: 591 billion monthly active users!
- Always use a photo/clip if possible
- The more “blue” the better
- Post no more than once a day most of the time
- Make comments rather than just clicking “like”
- Instagram: 100 million monthly active users
- Think of this as your VISUAL social media platform
- Not for editorials or blog posts
- Great for video quick clips and photos
- Twitter: 307 million monthly active users
- Personal, quick, real
- Text based with link to photo, etc.
- Limited to 140 characters
- Great to interact directly with brand, personality, business
- YouTube: 1 billion monthly active users
- Free personal/business channel
- Longer video clips, such as testimonials, exercise tutorials, etc.
- Great for sharing on Facebook and creating video embeds into your website
Constant Contact surveyed 893 US small-business professionals and asked them what trends they think will have the greatest effect on how they market their business. Respondents were asked to choose their top three. More than half of US small-business professionals said video streaming was one the trends that will have the greatest effect on how they market their business in the next two to three years. Native live video via Facebook will also help you impact your brand/views/audience.
Pulling It All Together With Engagement Marketing
Most marketers are already personalizing their emails in simple ways—using the recipient’s first name, for example. But an engagement marketing approach goes far beyond email. Today’s buyers demand hyper-relevant communications that speak to them as individuals, and regardless of what industry you are in, you’re marketing to individuals at the end of the day.
True engagement marketing is a continuous process. According to Forrester research, today’s customers distrust and resent one-off campaigns that interrupt or intercept them—which is why your marketing should feel like a natural continuation of a conversation with your customer. The more time you devote to that conversation, the more you know about your customers, and the deeper your relationships can grow.
Today’s customer is everywhere—online and offline. She moves seamlessly from one channel to the next, jumping from her email inbox, to her Facebook feed, to her favorite blog, to your website, then back to social media—all without losing momentum, and from whatever device is most handy at the moment. Marketing is no longer about being “multi-channel”; it’s about being omnichannel. To meet your customers wherever they are, you need to deliver an integrated customer experience across every single platform. (The 5 Principles Of Engagement Marketing, Marketo)