Author: Jackie Holbrook
Marketing is one of the most important elements of a small-business plan. It drives customers to your shop and improves name recognition, which boost sales. Still, marketing is anything but straightforward. Customer habits change, making it tough for business owners to track what works.
Let’s review some of 2018’s top marketing trends for small businesses.
Several social media platforms use livestreaming video, including Facebook Live, Twitter Live, YouTube Live and Instagram Live. These platforms are transforming how customers engage with videos. Photo Credit: The Fond du Lac Reporter.
Video has always been an important and popular marketing tool. Customers were wooed for years by expensive, professionally produced television ads. Today, video marketing is much more accessible to small businesses. Short videos on social media have risen in popularity, especially live videos.
“There’s a certain excitement generated from live videos that you can take advantage of for marketing,” writes Kalin Kassabov in her Forbes article “Five Small Business Marketing Trends to Jump On This Year.” “It helps you generate buzz around new products and promotions.”
Several social media platforms use livestreaming video, including Facebook Live, Twitter Live, YouTube Live and Instagram Live. These platforms are transforming how customers engage with videos. “You can interact with your audience in real time and answer questions,” Kassabov wrote. “Livestreaming is a powerful branding tool that helps you engage with your audience.”
Consider livestreaming a league night or when you stock new products.
Social Media Engagement
Facebook is overwhelmingly the most popular social-media platform for small businesses. In fact, 75 percent of small businesses plan to use Facebook in their marketing plans this year, according to Infusionsoft. But to succeed, businesses must focus on engagement. Facebook announced earlier this year that it changed its algorithm to focus on posts from friends and family, not businesses.
That change doesn’t mean small businesses should give up on Facebook. Instead, they should adjust their plans and effort. The Facebook change encourages small businesses to create meaningful content that engages customers. In the Forbes article “13 Ways to Boost Facebook Content Engagement Post-Algorithm Shift,” Forbes’ Communication Council suggests using Facebook stories to target specific audiences by posting videos, and tailored messages and visuals.
Engagement also means holding meaningful conversations with customers. When customers ask questions on your web page, answer them promptly. Social media require interaction. Ask customers to post their hunting photos, and then share them on your Facebook page.
Company websites are another vital marketing tool for small businesses, but simply having a website isn’t good enough anymore. It must be functional and search-engine optimized, and it must be compatible with voice-search technology.
Cell phones and smart-speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo have increased the number of customers using voice search. When customers ask their smart devices questions like, “Where’s the nearest bow shop?” you want your website to pop up. To show up with voice search, your website must use the right key words.
Giving customers incentives to opt-in, such as discounts on sales and service. Push your opt-in on your website, social media and in-store flyers. Photo Credit: Inside Archery.
Recurring revenue is money you count on every month, and that’s a great thing! You might think recurring revenue is impossible in archery stores, but a little creativity can generate results. For example, try offering customers a monthly range fee for unlimited practice time or one tune-up per month.
Texting is an easy, affordable way to reach lots of customers. With opt-in texting, customers voluntarily provide their cellphone numbers. Be sure to provide relevant information when texting them. Also, give them incentives to opt-in, such as discounts on sales and service. Push your opt-in on your website, social media and in-store flyers.
Holidays offer many fun marketing options, such as Cupid-themed shoots on Valentine’s Day, a 3-D prairie dog tag for Groundhog Day, and discounts on women’s bows and free range time on Mother’s Day. With a holiday available nearly every month, they’re great opportunities for themed-shoots or discount offers. If you need more inspiration, consider these holiday marketing campaigns.
Those are just a few marketing tactics to consider. If you have questions or need help making a marketing plan, contact the ATA. Its Retail Growth Initiative helps members capitalize on their strengths, and explore new methods for serving current and potential customers.