Keeping Current: 4 Marketing Recommendations for 2017

Keeping your business relevant and competitive has become increasingly difficult, especially for smaller companies with lower budgets. Many business owners struggle to identify where and how best to spend their marketing budgets to most effectively connect with their current and prospective customers.

Understanding the future of marketing can help you make smart decisions now. In this blog, we list four marketing trends you can expect to see this year.

  1. Customer-First Marketing

In recent years, there’s been a shift in customer focus. Rather than prioritizing the quality or availability of goods and services, contemporary consumers are concerned with the individual customer experience. What does this shift mean for your marketing strategy?

Industry experts recommend personalizing and individualizing the experience. Your goal is to make each customer feel like he or she comes first in your business. One of the easiest ways to create this perception is to make recommendations based on the products or services each customer has already used. For example, when you buy anything from Amazon and a number of recommendations pop up.

You will also want to provide surveys and results because contemporary customers look at other people’s experiences with your company before working with you.

  1. Interactive Rather Than Static

Currently, the best marketing campaigns encourage customers to engage with the content rather than just view it. For example, lots of successful marketing campaigns have encouraged customers to tweet a common hashtag, upload videos of their favorite products, or post pictures of how they use the product.

While much of this interaction happens on digital platforms, you can also encourage customer interaction by taking digital to the next level.  Hold contests to make your customers feel like they’re an integral part of how you do business. One of my favorites is the Orvis cover dog photo contest. Thousands upon thousands of people send in a picture of their dog in hopes of being named the “cover dog.”

  1. Personality Over Authority

While you want your customers to see you as an authority in your industry, contemporary consumers are more concerned with your persona than with your credentials. If your prospective customers don’t see your company as trustworthy and likeable, your actual level of experience may not matter. Share with your audience any community service work or volunteer efforts your company participates in. This will help humanize your company persona.

In addition, your personality could be judged by the shift toward influencer marketing. In influencer marketing, you rely on recommendations and endorsements to help sell products. Many of these influencers are social media personalities, rather than traditional celebrities. If you can find out who your customers trust and whose lives your customers are interested in, you can identify the type of influencer who can revolutionize your company persona.

It’s also more important than ever to establish a consistent persona in your print and digital media. Humor and storytelling, which we’ll discuss in more depth in the next section, can be major assets for giving your company a personality.

  1. Story-Based Selling

You may have noticed a trend in commercials where the ad creates a narrative rather than just hawking a product. While story-based selling is hardly a new concept, it’s a strategy that you should emphasize in the coming year.

One of the easiest ways to improve the narratives that your company tells is to livestream and add more videos to your website and social media accounts. High-quality video content conveys a lot of emotion quickly.

You can also shift the focus of your print advertising from the product itself to how the product may change the customer’s life. Actual customer testimonials and stories are a great starting place.

The marketing needs of your business may differ from these general recommendations. To ensure that you’re keeping up with the times and thinking ahead, partner with the experienced marketing experts at FUSIONWRX @ Flottman Company. We pride ourselves on multichannel marketing that makes your message clear.

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4 Steps for Using Social Media to Connect Your Business to Your Customers

While print media remains essential for communicating with your customers, business owners must also develop a strong online presence. Because many prospective customers will first encounter your business online, multichannel marketing has become more important than ever, as we discussed in our previous blog, “How Multichannel Marketing Can Improve Your Business.”

In this blog, we discuss one of the most difficult and yet most crucial forms of digital communication: social media. Here are four steps to establish a strong social media-based connection between your business and your customers.

  1. Discuss Your Needs with a Marketing Team

While it may seem fairly straightforward to sign up for a Twitter account and proceed from there, successful digital communication can be complex. Unless you run a small startup company that isn’t ready for full-scale marketing, you should work with a reputable marketing team.

Look for a team that has experience in both print and digital media so you don’t have to work with two different marketing strategists. Many of the following steps will be a lot simpler with the guidance and expertise of your marketing team, especially if your past and current use of social media is limited.

  1. Choose Your Platform

Once you have established a partnership with a solid marketing team, it’s time to come up with a social media plan. Your first order of business is to decide which platforms will work best for your company and which social media platforms to focus on.

Start with the basics. Most businesses should have a Facebook page and LinkedIn profile since these accounts help both prospective customers and employees find your business. In most cases, you’ll also want a Twitter handle.

From there, your best choices depend on your business. For example, a bakery should seriously consider an Instagram account where they can show off their best delicacies while a bookstore may prefer to interact with literature fans via Tumbler.

  1. Understand Each Platform You Use and Format Accordingly

Once you choose your social media platforms, spend some time browsing. It’s important to understand the spirit and common usage of each platform so that any inexperience you may have doesn’t distract from your message. For example, misusing or overusing hashtags on Twitter may get you more rolled eyes than new customers.

Work with your marketing team to get as intimately acquainted with the demographics of each platform as possible. You’re targeting vastly different people when you use Facebook than when you use Tumbler.

Learn to format your posts to their best advantage for each platform. Returning to our Twitter example, shorten URLs you use so you have more room for your message, stick to single tweets, and keep your content as current as possible.

  1. Prioritize Social Media Engagement

As a business owner, you oversee many different marketing efforts. However, it’s vital that you prioritize your social media presence. High-quality social media interaction can improve your search result rankings, generate customer loyalty, and increase your company’s overall visibility.

If possible, hire an employee or small team who can dedicate all of their time to creating a consistent, engaging social media presence. This way, you can ensure that you respond to all relevant messages without diverting energy or time away from your primary products or services.

Using the same people for most of your social media posts also ensures that your company maintains your chosen persona across multiple platforms, which can increase brand loyalty and improve prospective customers’ first impression of your company.

Use these guidelines to begin building your online authority and your social media follower count so you can better communicate with your target audience. If you need assistance, our FUSIONWRX team here at the Flottman Company can help ramp up your marketing communication.

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