Ask pretty much any SMB owner/operator what their greatest desire is, and most would say, “More business.” Now, maybe you’re not one of them. Maybe you’re thinking you have all the business you can handle. But chances are, you could always use more business or at the very least, you want to keep business steady. And since there’s no crystal ball telling you exactly how and where to find new customers, your best bet it to know, understand and implement the latest trends in SMB marketing.
Here are 3 of the top digital marketing trends of 2018 and how they can drive big success for your business.
We’ve seen this coming for awhile now, as a growing number of Google searches are coming from mobile devices, the search powerhouse was bound to start placing more importance on businesses being mobile-friendly. And while they’re not tipping their hat as to exactly what changes are coming or when—we do know that sometime in 2018 Google will be going mobile-first.
Mobile-first means they will be focusing on the user experience—ensuring that the most relevant search results are returned first. If I’m a consumer searching for “restaurants near me” from my mobile devices, I want only restaurants that are actually near where I am, and I only want to see websites in my search results that will render well on my smartphone. So, Google will be looking at all these things when they decide which results to display for that search. The good news is, as a business, there’s a lot you can do to maintain or increase your search exposure in Google.
Make sure that your business information (all of it) is correct online. That means your name, address, phone number, website, business hours, etc. should be correct not just on your website, but on Google My Business, Facebook, CitySearch, MapQuest, and all the other 100+ online directories. The more correct information is out there, the better you’ll appear in search results.
Second—and this is perhaps the most important tactic of all—make sure you have a mobile friendly website. Having a website that does not display well on a mobile device is the surest way to get dinged by Google and not appear in mobile search results. Remember, Google is placing heavy emphasis on user experience, so a website that requires a ton of pinching, zooming and swiping or takes forever to load is not a website they want to drive traffic to. These days, it’s not difficult to ensure your website is mobile friendly. Most tools and services out there on the market have that functionality built right in.
Content will continue to reign supreme
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times—content is King. This will continue to hold true in 2018 and beyond. The difference—new types of content and new distribution methods are bursting onto the scene. Whether it’s user generated content, generated by someone on your staff, or by a third party on your behalf; custom, unique content is a must-have.
Not only does content create a meaningful connection between you and your consumer, but that connection generates tangible results at a low cost—generating an exceptionally high ROI. Consider this: content marketing generates three times more leads per dollar spent than paid search. This is not to say you should forgo paid search—it’s still incredibly cost effective—this just illustrates how important it is to include custom content into your integrated marketing strategy. And since small businesses with blogs enjoy 126% more leads than businesses without a blog—generating custom content sounds like pretty much a no-brainer.
Video: worth more than 1,000 words
Since we’re on the topic of content, it’s important to note that content doesn’t necessarily mean words on a page. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth so much more. 2018 is touted as being the year of video, and there’s a few reasons why.
First and foremost, recent research indicates that landing pages with videos are 80% more likely to produce a conversion than those without. 80%–that’s a significant impact on conversion. But it’s not just the conversion rates that make video such a hot trend this year. It’s also the advancements in technology that make video a medium capable of generating engagement and connections unlike any other marketing tool.
Consider, for instance, the proliferation of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. The rise of live, socially distributed video allows users to not only connect meaningfully with brands and influencers, but it allows them some control over the conversation. The production of video is no longer one-way—we produce what we think you want and you watch it. It’s now two-way. We go live on Facebook, and through your real-time comments, the content of the video is adjusted. Feeling heard, connected with and valued drives major purchase intent with consumers.
Consider also, advancements such as 360-degree video. As marketers, we now have the ability to immerse our consumers into whatever environment we want. If I’m a home builder, landscaper, car dealer or myriad other business types, I can now bring my consumer right into the home I’m building, backyard I’m designing or car I’m selling. How could an experience like that not produce higher conversions?
The best part about these advancements is that for the most part they’re becoming more and more attainable even for the small business owner. Facebook Live can be managed from a smartphone—no fancy equipment or skilled videographer needed!
If you do nothing else in 2018, I urge you to explore these trends and what they mean for your business. With an integrated marketing strategy that includes mobile, custom content, and video—you’re sure to enjoy big success for your small business.