With the fourth quarter of the year gearing up, now is a good time for small business owners to begin crafting their advertising and marketing campaign for the new year. This campaign isn't something owners should just haphazardly toss together at the last minute. Instead, it can be a good idea to test out the latest channels' ability to connect with current and potential customers and clients.
Consider including one or more of these burgeoning trends in a marketing campaign:
The popularity of smartphones means people are reaching for their phones constantly to look up products while they shop or chitchat with a friend across the country as they compare prices. In addition, checking in at locations on a mobile device has become much more common. As noted by marketing hub, The DMA, 80 percent of millennials pull out their phones when they're in a store. Among these individuals, three-quarters of them are open to receiving location-based mobile alerts while they shop.
Retail and other customer-facing, brick-and-mortar companies can take advantage of advancements in beacon technology to provide relevant promotions and deals to customers as they walk in and through the store. This can include providing a digital coupon for those who check-in on social media, or even a pop-up alert of an ongoing sale.
Focus on video and visuals
Including a visual storytelling strategy in the marketing campaign is crucial to succeed in today's online environment. While many brands are hoping to strike pay dirt with a video going viral, the public's tastes are too fickle to rely on viral videos as part of a well-crafted marketing campaign. Instead of hoping a wacky or absurd video strikes a chord in the collective curiosity of customers, small businesses should focus on building a process and architecture for delivering insightful information and continued thought leadership in video format.
This also includes live streaming videos, which is also gaining popularity among social media users. Although several platforms have attempted to utilize the live streaming feature (Twitter's Periscope and the now-defunct Blab), Facebook "Live" has been attracting a lot of attention. BuzzFeed recently live-streamed two employees putting rubber bands on a watermelon to see if it would pop. At its peak, more than 800,000 people were watching the live feed of the event, and 315,000 people commented on the video post. This isn't to suggest that small businesses should embrace their inner-Gallagher, but live videos can be a great promotional tool to stream a new product launch, a grand opening or some other kind of momentous event.
Incorporate influencer marketing
As the size and scope of social media continues to expand, those individuals with large and loyal followers have the ability broadcast their preferences to massive audiences from their platform, whether it's YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or something else. By targeting these personalities and engaging them to promote certain products and services to their base, small businesses can potentially leverage this reach and exposure to their advantage. Dubbed, influencer marketing, this strategy combines word-of-mouth recommendations with social media to drive traffic and spread brand awareness with an amplified message directed at their target audience.
Utilize alternative financing
Crafting a strategic marketing campaign does not necessarily come cheap. While there are certainly ways to bootstrap a marketing campaign on a tight budget, greater resources can create a much more robust campaign that can leverage the types of methods described in this article. Small business owners that utilize a merchant capital advance or a loan to boost their marketing campaigns and include the latest trends have more opportunities to reach a larger audience, which can potentially translate into increased sales.