Marketing trends change all the time. And, if you’re a local business owner, it can be hard to keep up. Which trends should you follow? Are there any that aren’t worthwhile?
In marketing, you’ve got to pick and choose. Very few people have an unlimited budget that allows them to jump on every trend.
But that doesn’t mean you can ignore trends completely. The trick is to pursue the ones that have the greatest chance of earning money and attracting new customers – and disregarding the rest.
So, let’s cut through the non-essentials and get to the important stuff. Here are the trends you simply can’t afford to ignore.
You can’t go anywhere without reading about why online reviews are important – but a surprising number of businesses still aren’t prioritizing them. In other words, this isn’t a new trend, but it’s an essential one.
The numbers don’t lie. A recent survey showed that 86% of all consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, and fully half of consumers in the coveted 18-34 group say they always read reviews.
The solution? Claim your listings on Google My Business (more on that later) and crowd review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List. Set up a system for responding to reviews, both positive and negative, and encourage your existing customers to review your business.
Mobile payments are convenient and – when used properly – they can protect consumers’ financial information. Research shows that the mobile payment trend has been steadily rising over the past 5 years and is expected to top one trillion dollars in 2019.
Some of the best and most reliable mobile payment apps include:
- Square Cash
- Google Wallet
If you’re not sure what your customers prefer, ask them! You can pose a question on social media or ask people when they come to your store. Offering mobile payments provides peace of mind to your customers and can help you attract new customers who like to support businesses that support mobile payments.
When you hear the word “chatbots” are you thinking science fiction or reality? If you chose the first option, it’s time to pull your head out of the sand and step into the 21st century – because chatbots are here to stay.
The truth is that 1.4 billion people interact with chatbots every day. Not only that, adding live chat to your website can increase conversions by 20% and send your ROI skyrocketing by as much as 305%.
Programming chatbots can be complicated but it’s a worthwhile investment. You can start small by programming a chatbot to handle customer payment inquiries and other routine tasks. The trend is toward full virtual assistants, so keep that in mind as you move forward.
Interactive Video Content
Interactive videos are another trend that might sound like sci fi. The trend toward interactive videos in marketing is a huge one, though. Let’s look at the numbers:
- The click-through rate for interactive video is 8 times higher than for regular video
- 360-degree video has a 48% higher completion rate than regular video
- Likewise, the ROI on interactive video is 14% higher than with regular video
Major brands such as Johnny Walker, Samsung, and Porsche are using interactive video to connect with their customers. The benefits are that interactive video allows your audience to immerse themselves in a story and choose what they see and how they see it.
Google My Business
Google My Business is one of the best ways to increase the visibility of your local business online. If you haven’t already claimed and optimized your listing, then the chances are good that you’re losing business to your competitors as a result.
You can click here to claim your listing. Once you’ve done that, it’s a must to complete your listing and optimize it for local searches. Here are some pointers:
- Enter all information that Google requests, including your full business name, address, phone number, URL of your website, hours, prices, and so on.
- Upload pictures of the inside and outside of your business and any products that you sell.
- Include your company logo, slogan, and other marketing information.
- Include your most important local keywords in your business description and listing.
- Update your followers on important events and announcements by creating Google My Business posts.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews.
It’s also important to monitor your Google My Business listing since it’s possible for customers to change information on your listing. You’ll need to make sure that your hours and other information are correct.
Facebook Recommendations Insert:
Facebook is still the most widely-used social media site with more than 2 billion active monthly users. It’s also a place where your followers can recommend businesses (including yours!) to their friends and social media connections.
Facebook is continuously tweaking their options for local businesses. As of 2019, Facebook Recommendations show up at the top of your business page. You’ll see an average rating plus the number of people who recommend your business.
Anybody who clicks on your rating will have the opportunity to answer a simple question:
Do you recommend Business Name?
They’ll answer yes or no and then they can offer to share their specific thoughts with you.
You can use Facebook Recommendations to encourage your customers to leave reviews. The responses you receive can help you attract new customers or offer you opportunities to improve your products and services.
Location-Targeted Mobile Ads
It’s no secret that GPS technology has become commonplace. What you may not know is that you can use its sister, beacon technology, to engage with your customers and provide them with location-specific ads and offers.
To do it, you’ll need to:
- Create a mobile app and encourage your customers to download it
- Use the app to track their locations
- Use their locations to send push notifications with offers, coupons, and promotions
For example, you might set up multiple beacons in your store. Then, when a customer’s browsing, you can use the app to send them notifications offering special deals on the products they’re looking at.
Another option is to ping your customers when they’re near your business and entice them to come in instead of passing by.
Local marketing changes on a near-daily basis. The trends we’ve listed here are ones that are unlikely to go anywhere – and using them properly can help you to attract new customers without overspending on marketing.
Other articles in this issue;