The top marketing trends of 2016

Wow, what a year! As 2016 comes to a close, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the top marketing trends of 2016, and how they relate to your business.

Mobile email and mobile first

Mobile marketing saw a continued steady growth in implementation and use. It’s no surprise that more people are on-the-go and on their phones, and so marketing that is tailored to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first, did much better in 2016. 

Social media: not a strategy, but a channel

This was the year that saw a shift in how social media has traditionally been viewed. Social media is not a strategy, but instead a channel, one of many your business should utilize to support its broader campaigns. This is often why social media marketing as a tactic is often more effective than if it’s utilized as a campaign on its own.

Marketing automation

With better UI came a way to create easier multi-channel touch campaigns, and 2016 saw the merging of email marketing and marketing automation. More time was spent on marketing automations, and less on scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts. As it becomes easier to import third-party data to enhance a company’s information about its customers; and as technology continues to improve, marketing automation will become a foundation of future marketing campaigns and strategies.

Hyper-personalization and relationship marketing

This was the year of hyper-personalization and a trend towards relationship marketing versus the hard sell. Again, technology advancements in deliverability, testing, live content, remarketing options, and analytics helped create new ways to connect (and stay connected) with customers and prospects. Many businesses chose to focus on relationship marketing, which meant changing their marketing strategy to be longer-term in focus—building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement, rather than quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales goals. This helped many businesses develop strong, emotional connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation. Relationship marketing and hyper-personalization go hand-in-hand, as the ability to know how to market to your customers comes from knowing more about them – through data.

Modular templates and interactivity for emails

An interesting marketing trend of 2016 was the choice of many major brands to begin a shift away from one-off, complex and unique emails for every campaign to choosing a more modular template design—one where you can have several different versions of an email from the same template. This saves time and creates a familiar brand identity for your customers, as they begin identifying a certain look to your company or service. Added to this was a rise in animation and interactivity in emails, as marketers sought to keep content fresh, unique, and engaging.

More visual content

Today’s world is one filled with so many different things competing for the attention and eye of your customer. This goes for emails and marketing as well. Your customers need more than plain text to engage. They want valuable content that not only educates, but entertains them as well. That’s where visual content can help. People remember visuals 6x more than plain text, and platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are great forums for visual content.

2016 Marketing Imperative for Small Businesses – Strengthening Your Online Reputation

Did you know that there are 3 billion+ Internet users across the globe, and this number is growing at a rate of 9% per year? That’s a lot of potential customers for your business, and a great opportunity to promote your name and reputation.

Of all the marketing trends we’ve seen this year, one stands out as imperative for businesses that want to continue to grow and attract new customers. The 2016 marketing imperative for small businesses is: to take immediate steps to strengthen and manage your online reputation.

Why your online reputation is so important

Your online reputation is your most important asset because it allows you to achieve all your business goals. It’s a digital age, where over 77% of searches for businesses begin online, and 92% of consumers read online reviews before making a service provider or purchasing decision.

A strong online reputation influences consumer decisions and trust, and when consumers trust you, they buy from you, become returning customers, and refer you to their family and friends.

In fact, a recent Pew Statistics poll showed that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations over any other marketing – like ads. Professional marketers will tell you that trust is the #1 factor in making a positive first impression. Don’t believe it? Ask yourself: do YOU trust someone with a bad reputation? Neither will your customers.

A positive reputation can drastically improve your bottom line

There are many statistics that prove consumers value online reviews, and look at them before making a decision on where to go, or what to buy. And there’s even more evidence that a bad reputation can hurt your business, as a poor reputation leads to decreased word-of-mouth referrals, consumer trust, and bookings.
So what can you do about your online reputation?

So what can you do about your online reputation? First, you need to figure out where you are with it right now. Ask yourself these questions to gauge your current status:

  • When was the last time you searched for yourself on Google?
  • When was the last time you checked out your website? Do you have a website?
  • Do you have a Yelp, Google+, and CitySearch page?
  • Do you have social media set up – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
  • Do you send emails to your customers?
  • Do you have a loyalty program, recall process, or welcome email set up?
  • What is your current rating on the most popular review sites?
  • How do you handle feedback or comments online? Do you respond? How quickly?
  • How easy is it for people to book an appointment with you?

The answers to these questions can help you understand how visible and engaged you are currently with building and managing your online presence.

Some Quick Online Reputation Wins to Jump-Start the Process

Here are some quick wins you can do to immediately bolster your online reputation.

  • Respond immediately to any feedback or review posted online
  • Utilize email marketing campaigns for your new, current, and lapsed customers
  • Make sure you own and update your Google Local, Yelp, and social media pages
  • Request reviews from your customers/patients – the more reviews you get, the more legitimate and trustworthy you seem to be to others

Building a strong online reputation does not happen overnight, but if you establish a good foundation and you have a way to manage and track everything you do, you will be well on your way to strengthening your reputation and growing your business. If you want a partner who has experience with helping businesses like your achieve quick and lasting results, Demandforce can help.

Demandforce is an all-in-one platform that can help your business with its marketing, its customer communications, and appointment reminders and confirmation process. You can automate reminders, set up custom email campaigns and send newsletters, track confirmations and easily follow up with unconfirmed appointments, and even work on customer recall.

Visit www.demandforce.com to find out all about what we can do for your business, and if you’d like to speak with someone directly – you can at (866) 507-7016. You can also sign up to view a demo, to fully understand all the features and benefits of this powerful marketing and business tool. View the Demo Now.