As we close the door on another calendar year, it’s time to start thinking about effective marketing ideas for small business owners in 2017. Here is a list of seven tips to give you a competitive edge in the new year.
1. Get Into the Data Cleaning Routine
Data cleaning shouldn’t be an annual affair. And if you’ve been neglecting your database, your entire marketing strategy could be off-kilter. In fact, 75 percent of companies feel that dirty data is undermining their ability to serve customers.
Why? Because successful marketing relies on data-driven decision making. If your data is inaccurate, your decisions won’t be much better.
To ensure your marketing strategy is as targeted and on-point as possible in 2017, make data cleaning a monthly routine.
2. Get Reacquainted With Your Audience
Buyer personas are a great way to define your audience in terms of demographics, responsibilities and interests. Done right, a buyer persona will take on a life of its own and give you a target. Plus, these personas can be used to segment your list and better personalize your sales and marketing messages.
But don’t forget to take funnel position into account when creating buyer personas. Nancy Needs-Nurturing will require a different message than Freddy Sales-Ready, for example. You don’t want to push for conversion too soon — or too late.
3. Stay on Target With Your Content
When you know your audience, it’s much easier to create targeted, relevant and (above all) valuable content. A thinly veiled sales pitch just won’t cut it in 2017; you want to reach your audience on the most personal level possible. Let them know you understand them and care about their wants and needs.
Instead of pushing product, focus on providing insight, information and even entertainment. Believe it or not, this approach is a much more effective means of guiding prospects along the buyer’s journey.
4. Pay Attention to the Details When Optimizing Emails
Email marketing is a tricky business for small business owners. Even if you have great content, there’s no guarantee that recipients will open your email. There are, however, ways to improve audience engagement, open rates and conversions.
First, make sure your emails are coming from a recognizable sender name, preferably a business address. Next, think about your email subject line. Does it tell the reader what’s next? Is what’s next worth clicking? If not, you’d better head back to the drawing board.
Now, let’s assume the recipient opens the email. Is your content optimized for mobile viewing? Does it deliver on the promise of your subject line? Is it visually appealing and easy to read?
What about your call-to-action (CTA)? Is it easily executed?
Check out Understanding the Anatomy of an Email Newsletter for more on proper email optimization.
5. Give Your Social a Much Needed Turbo Boost
As social media algorithms evolve and it gets harder to gain traction organically, paid advertisements and boosted posts have become the best way to level the playing field. In fact, paid ads are expected to generate $11 billion in revenue by 2017.
And it’s hard to argue with their success — 76 percent of B2C content marketers in North America used promoted posts in 2016, with 61 percent reporting these posts were effective. Social ads ranked slightly lower, with 74 percent of B2C marketers using them and 59 percent reporting them effective.
If you need a quick guide to the world of “play to play” social advertising, these links are a great place to start:
6. Take a Show-and-Tell Approach
A well-turned phrase still has its place, but visual content is where it’s at as we move towards 2017. After all, the human brain processes images 60 times faster than words.
Of course, if you want to be on the cutting edge of visual content, stop hiding behind your keyboard and step in front of the camera! Video content (as seen on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Live) is all the rage. And it’s an easy way to engage your audience.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Marketing Automation
No matter how hard you try, you can’t do it all. Why start the new year bogged down and overwhelmed by responsibilities that could easily be delegated and automated for efficiency?
If you’re looking for marketing ideas for small business owners that will save time and money, keep you top of mind and maximize referral leads and customer retention, you can’t do better than marketing automation.
Make the most of every customer interaction, identify warm leads and put sales-ready leads on the fast track to conversion, follow up with unprecedented efficiency — and do it all automatically.
There you have it. Seven marketing ideas to help small business owners improve their game in 2017. And about that last tip — Marketing automation is what we do!
Bonus Email Marketing Guides: The Fast Lane is an interactive, condensed version of our much larger guide — The Scenic Route. Along The Scenic Route, you’ll find additional sections, examples and details on each topic covered in The Fast Lane.
In a rush? Breeze through the fast track of our 2017 Email Marketing Roadmap.
Ready to take it all in? Spend some time with the comprehensive version of our 2017 Email Marketing Roadmap.