There’s no doubt that marketing is a fast evolving area of business with a wide range of traditional and interactive platforms. In our connected world it’s never been more important for small businesses to keep up with the latest marketing trends. Any modern marketer knows that an understanding of your audience and position in the market is integral. Digital marketing isn’t the only way forward but it is an invaluable asset to any business hoping to stay up to date. #1. Be social We are living in a world where people continually share what they are doing with whoever will listen and social media has become an integral part of a strong digital marketing strategy. By enabling you to connect with customers in real time and engage with them on a personal level, social media posts also humanize your brand and make it more user friendly. Other benefits include an increased brand recognition, higher conversion rate, increased customer insight and improved brand loyalty to name a few. Most brands already have a presence on at least two social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) but why stop there? Top tip: Spend time as a user on various platforms before committing to campaigns! Each platform has a different purpose from image driven (Instagram and Pinterest) to business specific (LinkedIn). Using various platforms allows businesses to gain access to a variety of different audiences. #2. Go mobile Making your website available on different mobile devices will give you the competitive edge. In the wake of Google’s new algorithm earlier this year mobile optimisation has never been more important. We are an on-the-go society and we want to access information everywhere we can. With the technological advances of the last decade there are now an ever evolving array of mobile devices to choose from. Top tip: It’s definitely worth testing your site. If you are unsure whether your site is mobile friendly, Google has a great free tool that you can use to find out. #3. Use apps The mobile revolution has led to the booming ‘app economy’ and apps now serve as vital marketing tools. Apps can allow businesses to quickly communicate with customers and increase productivity by replacing time consuming tasks with efficient alternatives. Now facilitating a range of tasks from contact management, social media scheduling, and real time media monitoring to email tracking. Top tip: Use online tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to help you manage your social media schedule. Conversocial and other similar tools can help you track conversations through social media and manage integrations with your Client Relationship Management software, if you use one. #4. Content Everybody loves a good story. In turn, marketing needs creativity as well as logic. Content is storytelling for your business – whether it’s photos and videos or in-depth articles, good content makes an impression whilst reinforcing your brand’s authenticity and representing you as a subject matter expert. Content needs to be original and dynamic, accessible and easily shareable, generating a positive reputation and gaining the trust of consumers whilst acting as expression of the brand. Top tip: Use tools like Pocket and Instapaper to save interesting webpages you find when you’re browsing the web. Having all these in one place can give you a great sense of inspiration when you’re creating your own content. #5. Establish your brand Branding is the face of the business, responsible for how the customer perceives it, it also promotes recognition helping your business to stand out and connect with others. Branding is one of the most important facets of marketing and with the help of social media and our digital obsession it’s now easier than ever to establish a name and a strong brand presence. However, this can work in two ways as an advantage and as a disadvantage and it can be more difficult to establish a positive brand presence. Almost anything is available on the internet and with our reviewing culture, it has been proven that people are far more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one. Top Tip: Encourage your customers to leave good reviews (some businesses even provide an incentive like entering into a draw to win a prize). Deal with negative reviews quickly, and where possible, publically. #6. Enhance your customer’s experience The customer experience is at the forefront of driving satisfaction and loyalty. Centering your marketing strategy on the consumer is a straightforward way to modernise your marketing strategy. Personalising your service is also an excellent way to deliver a good brand experience (and a quick-fire way to win the customers heart). The digital experience means that we can now access more information about the consumer, enabling a more personalised and informed interaction. Top tip: We all know that getting the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible is a priority. However, those extra few minutes of your undivided attention will ensure that your customer is fully satisfied and will most likely result in a positive experience for you too i.e. Customer referrals and repeat custom. #7. Use data Data is a valuable and powerful marketing tool so use it as an insight and to your advantage. It is the foundation for strong reliable information and the base on which research, automation targeting and personalisation are built upon. Marketers can now access the customer’s location and the type of device they are using – meaning that you no longer have to personally know your customer in order to get your marketing right. Top tip: Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool and can be set up to track the behaviour of your customers. Google has notoriously high quality guides on using their tools, and they’re all free. #8. Integrate With multiple platforms and touchpoints, modern marketing encompasses more than just the ‘mobile’. Both online and offline, marketers need to seamlessly integrate the digital and the classical skills, connecting the two and blurring the boundaries between them. Integration should also take place between the customers facing elements of the business, collaborating marketing with different departments such as editorial, sales, HR and customer services. Top tip: It is vital that you and your team are working in sync. If you have multiple team members working on separate parts of the same campaign make sure that you keep on top of meetings to make sure everyone is ‘on the same page’. This will help to ensure a sense of consistency across all channels. Images “Marketing Strategy Branding Commercial Advertisement Plan Concept/ Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.