Whether you're planning to sell in 2017 or not, your marketing can be a powerful tool for the growth, health and reputation of your business.
As we round the corner into the new year, it's important to consider your marketing. Is it working? Are you actually seeing growth as a result of your efforts? Do you need to make some changes? What technologies should you be taking advantage of and do they really make a difference?
Here are three vital marketing things to consider as we head into the future.
- Your strategy
The marketing game is, in some respects, out of control. Busy business owners are rushing to adopt new technologies, share on multiple social media platforms and track new trends. Considering the frantic pace at which these things evolve, this rapid response doesn't allow much space for sitting back and considering strategy. The irony is that without taking the time to develop a strategy, you set yourself up to fail and the world rushes past anyway.
As 2017 dawns, pause to consider the core questions that shape your marketing. Who are you currently working with? Are these your ideal clients? If not, define who you would rather be working with and create a strategy to reach them. If you have to conduct surveys to learn more about your ideal clients, do it.
Once you know who you want to reach, find out where they spend their time. Are they even on social media? Every time Facebook updates its number of users, it's tempting to think, “Wow, 1.79 billion people. I must market on Facebook.” Well, maybe. First find out if your ideal customer actually spends time on Facebook. It is entirely possible that they have an account they never check or are one of the 5.5 billion not on the social network. Or their taste for social media is more geared toward another social site. Find out.
These are just two of the questions you should be asking yourself as you craft a strategy. Do the research, make a plan and work your plan. No amount of trendy marketing tactics are going to grow your business like a well thought out strategy.
- Pay Attention to Mobile
It’s no surprise that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches this year. In fact, users entered more than 100 billion searches each month on devices with screens smaller than six inches. In response, Google is working on prioritizing mobile when it comes to search rankings. When someone enters a query, Google will favor websites that give mobile users a good experience.
As a small business owner, this means your website needs to be optimized for mobile if you want someone to find you—even if your clients aren’t in the habit searching from their phone. With Google working on prioritizing mobile results, even desktop searches will default to websites optimized for a mobile experience.
At present this change up is still in beta, so you have the luxury of taking the time to prepare for the inevitability of mobile taking over the searching world. If your website has a mobile version (m.yourdomain.com) or is responsive (meaning the display automatically adjusts based on screen size), you’re already prepared. If not, it’s time to start implementing.
- Leverage Technology
Even if your ideal client isn’t technologically savvy, your marketing efforts can be greatly enhanced with software designed to attract, nurture and close your ideal customers. We are in the age of big data. The right software will help you distill all that information to answer the fundamental question, Is my marketing strategy working?
If you haven’t invested in automation software, make 2017 your year to research what's out there and decide what's best for your business. Odds are good that this kind of software will make a huge difference in your marketing efforts, if only because it provides the ability to scale your efforts in a way previously impossible without an army of salespeople and marketers. The right software will help unify the efforts of your marketing and sales teams, create feedback and accountability and provide metrics that will inform further strategy, prove your efforts are paying off and give you the ability to tackle the exact pieces of your marketing that aren't working.
Every advance in technology changes the way we market our business, but the principles that dictate our marketing don't change. Good business is still founded in good relationships. This is true today and it will still be true in 2017 and beyond. Keep that in mind as you embrace new ways of doing old things next year.
Transition with confidence.