Small business marketing has become almost overwhelming with the constant updated and revisions in new media and technologies. We are far from the days where an email marketing strategy and a few radio and print advertisements would suffice as an effective way to attract clients to your business. Search engine optimization and social media have severely alternated the effectiveness of the old media marketing strategies and will soon replace them entirely. Mobile optimization that is very user-friendly and contains excellent content that is short and to the point is perhaps the most prominent trend in business marketing. Most present day online marketing campaigns follow this trend.The 3 Online Marketing Trends Small Business Owners Must Be Aware OfEnhancing your Web presence can be accomplished using these 2013 marketing trends and helps your small business to attract new clients. These trends include mobile marketing, search engine optimization, and social media advertising.The Mobile MarketMore mobile phones and devices exist than there are people on the planet. Because of this constantly growing number of mobile users, small businesses must look to offer mobile versions of their webpages. Creating a marketing campaign that can be accessed by mobile users is essential. It has been documented that there is a consistent decreasing trend in the amount of traditional desktop searches because of the transition consumers are making towards mobile searches. Mobile marketing, or marketing through mobile sites, mobile applications, and mobile commerce is vital because most consumers will access the Internet using their mobile phone or device this year. Making your mobile website from your traditional website can be done at a reasonably inexpensive cost through a vendor. In 2013, small businesses have the ability to create mobile marketing campaigns and are able to accept mobile payments at very little to no costs.Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and a High-ranking Placement in Search EnginesThe search engine algorithm update that was introduced by Google in 2012 has done away with the old tactics of paying a few hundred dollars to place your website at the top of the search list and shifted the focus of small businesses to content and promotion. Search engine optimization is a very important investment for small businesses looking to maintain relevance in the online and mobile market. For example, thanks to Google’s newly updated algorithm, if someone was thinking of starting a small business in Texas, they would need to be able to produce high-quality website content and attract attention using various online and offline channels to be placed high on the Google search engine. Your website’s content is the most important feature here.Social Advertising is the Hottest #Trending TopicWhile there still is no perfect blueprint for a social media marketing campaign, the trend is still perhaps the most important one to follow for small businesses looking to attract potential prospects. The Facebook and Twitter users are a conglomerate of new consumers and clients due to the ever increasing amount of time consumers spend on these social medial channels each day of the year. Careful consideration of the target audience and effective use of keywords will help to create an excellent social media campaign and reach a large amount of new consumers at very little cost.New media has nearly made the use of old media advertising obsolete. Devices and mediums such as the mobile market, search engine optimization, and social media advertising are the most effective means of establishing an effective marketing campaign and online presence and will expose your small business to an emerging audience of new clients and consumers.
Before settling on a marketing plan, know your customer. A good strategy will target a specific customer base, those who view your product or service as filling a need or solving a problem. To advertise effectively, a small business marketing plan needs to determine customer motivation in order to expand your customer base and develop repeat customers. Identify what is special about your product or service and build on that uniqueness. Watch industry trends for additional services or products that may be of interest to your clients.Direct response advertising allows a business to measure responses. It’s a sales strategy that requires an action for the customer to receive a discount, free gift, or free information. Use this information to build on effective advertising methods, and eliminate the ineffective methods. Set an expiration date on your special offer to encourage prompt action. Direct response can be built into almost any advertising method.Phone books, magazines, and daily and weekly newspapers are advertising tools that take a message into a lot of homes. Circulars printed for a specific community are a good choice for a small business providing a personal and local service. Add a coupon, or a code that a caller or online buyer must enter to qualify for a limited time offer. Now you can measure the effectiveness and the efficiency of your advertising strategy.The internet is a powerful marketing tool that can be global. Websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are used by millions every second of the day. When a customer visits your website, elicit an immediate response with a link to click on, or a code to input, to receive a time limited offer for a free gift, or a discount on a purchase.Telemarketing, radio advertising, and cable TV are advertising strategies that reach thousands of potential customers. To track the efficiency of a telemarketing program, the call should set up a sales appointment or ask for a purchase decision. Radio and TV advertising can require the customer to give the call letters of the station to receive a special offer. Infomercials reach a large audience with demonstrations that stimulate desire. Add a special limited time offer for a quick response.Offer your customers discounted services for referring new customers. Remind them by leaving extra business cards and fliers they can pass on to friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Cross advertise with businesses offering related services. Let them leave brochures marketing their services that you pass on to your clients and ask them to do the same for you. With a coupon included in the brochure you encourage quick action and can track responses.Track the effectiveness of your direct mail advertising by including a coupon, or list a phone number with a code the caller provides. The code should identify to what advertisement the caller is responding. Catalogs can print a code to be requested when placing an order. Your customer is most likely to include the code in their order if a special offer is attached. Use this information to track customers preferred media for obtaining information.Clear and concise advertisement focuses on the needs and wants of the customer. Solve a problem and create desire. Keep abreast of market trends and price your service or product competitively. An effective small business marketing plan uses direct response methods that allow the business to qualify and quantify the responses to their advertising strategy. With this information define and target your customer base. Expand your customer base while spending your advertising dollars wisely.
As a small business owner, keeping up with the competition can be extremely challenging. The race to get the next dollar from your customer base sometimes requires squeezing your prices so low that the margins are barely keeping your doors open. If you have found yourself in this dilemma don’t despair. There is hope.While looking at your business sales results have you noticed that sales are stagnating or decreasing? Are you beating your head against the wall considering your available options to increase the traffic coming into your business thereby increasing your sales? If all of the solutions that you are coming up with are 20th century solutions, you are actually losing the battle of business survival.Media like television, radio and print are costly and slow in growing a business in the “right now” 21st century.Everyone knows that television is great in establishing name recognition when advertising is repetitive enough to become accepted in the minds of its’ viewers. The problem with television is that it is extremely expensive to create, produce and put on the air.Radio on the other hand is less expensive than television but again too expensive for most small businesses to maintain over an extended period of time. Additionally, radio is not nearly as effective in building name recognition because consumers are not listening to radio as much in the 21st century.Finally there is the great-grandfather of all advertising media, print. Print media has been around since businesses began advertising their wares and services. Print media, i.e., coupons, news print, post cards etc., are practically ineffective today. Consumers are bombarded with every form of print media advertising available. As such, most print media advertising die a quick death in the trash receptacles of consumers.So there you have it. Expensive television advertising, less expensive and less effective radio advertising and finally print media where your hard earned dollars rush to the consumers trash receptacle. What is a business owner to do to keep the numbers up in their business?There are the mediums of email marketing and text message marketing. Email marketing has become the assumed medium to reach consumers. Email marketing is inexpensive and when done according to the CAN-SPAM laws email marketing can be reasonably effective. The real downside to email marketing is that even when consumers opt-in they generally don’t check their email when received thus the risk of your marketing piece going stale resulting in minimal positive responses.Finally to get immediate measurable results with full control over your marketing and advertising campaigns there is the 21st century new media, “text message marketing.” Text message marketing puts your advertisement in the hands of your target market within seconds of sending it. The message is delivered to the smartphones of your opt-in customer base. Text message marketing is extremely affordable, measurable and flexible. If you have a campaign to increase traffic, you can do it within minutes with text message marketing. Statistics show that on average text messages are read within 4 minutes of being received. Another great benefit of text message marketing is that you can choose to do it yourself or have a text message marketing company handle the marketing campaigns for you. You simply submit your campaign to the text message marketing company and they handle the setup and transmission of your campaign based upon your directions, even to the minute of transmission.So if you want immediate measurable results for your marketing and advertising campaigns, text message marketing is the 21st century solution.