4 Emerging Marketing Trends for Small Businesses

May 16, 2016

9:45 am

Startups and small businesses have to stay competitive in their marketing strategies in order to be relevant and get in people’s faces. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t often have a marketing team (meaning business owners often have to handle marketing on their own) or a ton of money to put into marketing. This means they need to be strategic and creative. They need to think long and hard about their target audience, their brand, and the message they want to send.

Here are four emerging trends that small businesses are adopting to build a loyal consumer base. Some of them may seem risky, but in the ever-evolving world of marketing, taking some risk is necessary.

1. H2H Instead of B2B or B2C

H2H = Human to Human. Businesses don’t have emotions, but humans do. Even if you’re a B2B company, think of the other “B” as a group of humans just like your own company. Within that “B” there are several to many “H”s that have their own personalities, emotions, struggles, hopes, wishes, and all that other mushy stuff. To get them interested in what you have to offer, it helps to appeal to their emotional side. Find the commonalities in our humanity and portray it in your marketing efforts. Strive for story-driven communication that is personal, conversational, empathetic, inspirational, and humorous.

2. Downloadable Content Over Social Media

While social media can be a powerful tool for sharing content, but it’s not the only tool out there. Also, in the world of Facebook, content can get buried quickly or never even reach your intended audience. What is becoming more and more popular is downloadable content (e-books, webinars, white papers, et al.) that people can receive, for free, in exchange for their name and email address. This is a way to identify and follow-up with potential customers. One downside is that this content can be time-consuming to create and many small business owners or startup founders simply have the time. But if you do have the time, it’s worth it.

3. Email Marketing Is Not Dead

Email marketing still provides the best ROI according to a study by the digital marketing firm Econsultancy. You may think that tweets and Facebook posts are where it’s at, but according to a report compiled by Infusionsoft and Leadpages, 86 percent of digital marketers at companies of all sizes regularly use email marketing and “consider it more effective for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention.” Email is the best way to “nurture” prospective customers who have shown interest in your company as well as keep in touch with existing customers.

4. Letting Your Audience Speak on Your Behalf

Also known as brand community collaboration, a lot of companies are leveraging the power of their audiences by encouraging them to spread their brand’s message. People like to feel that they’re a part of something big and growing. This tactic empowers your audience and gives them a voice in helping the brands that they love continue to grow. Aside from spreading your brand’s message, it could also lead to valuable feedback and ideas from your audience that can help to strengthen your brand and your company.

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy