Well, it's that time of year again. Time to slow down, take a breath and get ready to hit it again hard in the new year.
So what's your marketing program going to look like this year. New marketing trends pop up all the time. If you’re a local business owner, it's pretty tempting to jump on the hottest new thing and hope it works out for you.
If you've got an unlimited budget you can throw a quite a bit of mud against the wall and wait around to see what sticks. But chances are, you don't have that luxury.
You're going to have to get a little cut throat. So which trends should you follow and which should you let go by the wayside?
The trick is to go all in on the fundamentals. Those trends that are tried and true. The ones that have proven that they'll deliver the customers you're looking for. Then dump 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.
If you haven't prioritized online reviews to this point, the new year is a great time to get on board. Online reviews can hardly be called a new trend. However, just like that trusty hammer, screw driver and tape measure, some tools just need to be in the tool box.
You can't ignore the numbers! A recent survey pointed out that eighty-six percent of buyers read reviews before they'll commit to buying a product or service.
What's more interesting to note is that half of buyers in the age group of eighteen to thirty-four indicated that they always look at reviews before they reach for their wallet.
So what does that mean for you as we head into the new year?
That's simple. Job #1 is to ensure that you have claimed your listings. Especially on Google My Business and some crowd review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp.
Once you've claimed your listings, be vigilant in responding to ALL OF YOUR REVIEWS. The good ones and the negative ones. Finally, create the habit of encouraging current clients to leave a review of your business as well.
And when I say create the habit, I mean build that process into your business systems. You wouldn't forget to send out an invoice for payment would you? This should be just as automatic.
Unlike online reviews, this is a new trend. And if you're not on board yet, it's time to catch a clue and get on board. Ignoring chatbots is like having a death grip on your Blackberry when the rest of the world has moved on to iPhones and Androids.
Chatbots are not science fiction. They are part of the reality of the modern business world. 1.4 billion individuals have interactions with chatbots on a daily basis. Adding live chat to your website, can result in your business achieving a jump in conversions by as much as 20%. This can in turn provide a return on investment of as much as 305%.
Now, I hear you! It's true that programming chatbots doesn't seem like the easiest task in the world. But let's get real. Your a business owner. You shouldn't be programming chatbots anyway.
At Chris Carter Local, we build chatbots for our clients. It would seem pretty odd to build an entire website for someone, turn it over to them and then have them struggle to build a chatbot.
Chatbots are an investment that's truly worth it. They can get pretty complex so it's a good idea to start small. Have a chatbot programmed to take care of routine customer inquiries on such things as payments.
As you get more comfortable, expand your capabilities to free up more time for you and your staff. You can even expand their use with the additional of virtual assistants. This trend can multiply your productivity immensely.
Video marketing is huge and it has been for quite a while. At this point, there is no question how effective it is:
- Nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Hubspot)
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. (Insivia)
- Including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%. (Unbounce)
- 97% of marketers say video has helped users gain a better understanding of their products and services. (Hubspot)
If you're marketing anything, this should be one of the tools you use on a regular basis. As powerful as it is, one of it has one major challenge. It can be tough to keep viewers attention long enough to get your message across. This can probably be attributed to the fact that there is so much content online and it' all just a click away.
That explains the rise of the interactive video trend. Even with its challenges, video is powerful. Interactive video takes that up a notch. The results show that interactive video retention and click-through rates are as much as eight times higher that traditional linear videos.
Interactive videos are viewed until the very end by a factor of forty-eight percent. But the most important metric is the bottom line. An interactive video presentation has as much as fourteen percent increase in return on investment when compared to regular videos.
It is no wonder that large brands, such as Porsche and Samsung, actively engage interactive videos as a method of forming connections with their clients. The secret of interactive videos is the viewer isn't a passive passenger along for the ride. They are fully engaged within the context of a story, and are able to decide what they want to see and how they will view 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.
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. Google has an app for iOS and Android phones that makes it easy to respond to reviews when they come in and to receive communication about your listing from Google.
A Constantly Changing Landscape
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.