Current trends for bricks and mortar businesses
Written on the 7 June 2010
This has been a big thing for a while and is an essential strategy for business. Past marketing was about defining your target market as one group. Niche Marketing is about finding subsets within that group to concentrate your marketing on to find you golden baskets. The scatter gun approach of marketing no longer works, as the media options have grown - so it is essential for business survival now to find your niche markets and start marketing to them. The next question is to ask where do you find them in the greatest concentration. Pursuing a particular market segment is critical in order to achieve a surge in sales. This is a simple fact; consumers will purchase products from specialised places and experts who know what they are doing in that particular field. For example an Accountant may concentrate his energies on a couple of industries - marketing to them in places of high concentration which maybe through a client in that industry through their own network, or industry magazine, association or network group in the area, through a website or forum they frequent, or even through an expert or person of influence they all follow on Facebook or Twitter. This Accountant will also need to have pages and articles within their website dedicated to this target market - so when they come they are feeling at home finding information talking directly to them, also enabling the business to target specific keywords for that target market in search engine optimisation.
2011 will see the rise in the number of social media channels and it will continue to grow in popularity as it plays a important role in creating inspiration, influence and works as a indirect tool for business. Make sure you have a presence in the various social media channels, play with it, watch others in your industry and what your target market are doing on it, then start working out your medium, purpose and strategy for your business (eg. customer relations, viral marketing, SEO etc). Facebook and Twitter were the standout social networks from 2010, and their popularity will continue to surge in 2011 with both introducing new features. The newest social media type has been the increasing popularity in locational options - where applications like 'Four Square' allow the user to register their location, see who else is there, and even get offers from businesses in the area.
It is no longer a FAD, it is here to stay and many of your customers, target market are using it. Many a business have amended their budgets this year to ensure their competitors don't get the mark on them and are taking it very seriously. As the significance of social networks continues to grow, businesses are investing more in community building as a marketing driver. 2011 will be the year in which businesses must jump on social media or risk being left behind by the competition.
Webinars are already changing the landscape on how people meet for business on the cheap. Whether you use for lead generation (online seminar), customer loyalty (online workshop), business or sales meeting, internal meeting, or customer support it holds value in saving time, reducing costs (logistics, travel etc) as well as immediacy if needed. Software and services that enable “virtual,” real-time meetings on the Web are becoming more and more popular due to their ease. A Webinar or online meeting can involve a few people or larger group of people, with a single or multiple hosts giving a presentation and answering questions from the other attendees.
Use of mobile web devices to increase
The convergence of mobile Internet and wireless communication technology has promised customers anytime, anywhere access to wireless services and communication. Therefore next year we will see a number of companies bring mobile marketing strategies to the forefront of their campaigns as the use of mobile web increases. Mobile web users are most prominently using their phones for searching, with 73% of mobile internet users having conducted an internet search on their mobile, representing an increase from 30% just one year ago. This is increasing the need to ensure your websites are fully optimised (SEO) for the keywords your target market are searching on. Approximately 67% of respondents who have shared negative feedback online have not had a response from the company they complained about. This represents a massive missed opportunity for companies and brands to engage with unhappy customers. 67% of complainants have been ignored, leaving them to act as influential detractors online, potentially having a negative impact on other purchasers' behaviour. Regular and comprehensive monitoring of online sites and social media would enable companies to pick these comments up and proactively act on them.
Email marketing has already made its mark with the businesses who are maximising the power of this tool. They are increasing their prospects, conversions, loyalty, referrals and revenue as a result. It allows you to manage your list of contacts, create and send professional emails, personalised postcards and messages, surveys, send SMS messages, manage events and track the results of all your activities. Cost effective, highly leveraged, and simple to use it is now becoming the norm for every business. The areas businesses are focusing on now is giving more to their customers, to retain them longer and encouraging their repeat business with not only sales messages, but also information of value, and simple messages that just demonstrate you care eg. client anniversary, birthday messages etc. The other area, like marketing to attract - marketing to retain is also about the niches - to ensure the information is relevant to the audience receiving.
In the past, few companies had, or valued, customer level data. It was perceived as too hard, or time intensive to pull together a list of contacts - now essential as other companies are doing so, taking away the customers once had. In regards to hearing what the customer says, feels their decisions in the past were made on sample research - this was traditional market research. Today, more and more companies are seeking detailed customer level data from surveys to guide their strategic decisions. Customer knowledge provides specific direction for which action to take, which is based on actual customer behavior and information. Database Marketing is the now for business, an essential tool -
Online video is hot property and evident in the billions of dollars being thrown in the video end of town on acquisitions such as YouTube. In 2010, online video will keep growing, keeping pace with the good trends of this year. Online video is interactive, memorable, widely accessible, cheap to create and highly shareable, that is why entrepreneurs and business owners are willing to invest even more on video for lead generation, training and customer loyalty. It is crucial though, that you do not overlook your text content for video. As powerful as video can be, it can be more cumbersome than text because you cannot scan a video as quickly as you can scan a page of headlines, links and text to quickly find the exact information you need.
Blogging is booming in the business world due to its simplistic nature and relatively cheap installation and most importantly, it is an excellent vehicle for communicating, sharing corporate expertise and connecting with existing and potential customers. A great business blog has a continuous stream of fresh and interesting content which helps establish relationships with website visitors. Blogs offer businesses a chance to build their own online communities where people can post comments and updates and interact with one another and your brand. Businesses are actively using blogs as a way to interact with their prospects and customers, it is also can feed content into your facebook or twitter presences, as well as assisting with your search engine optimisation.
Ensure your website is set to get you results
Websites have well and truely gone past the online brochure stage - where you have a pretty website, that you don't update, that is just there to say who you are and what you do. The internet is too widely used now, that if that is all you have you are probably not getting the people searching for your type of business, service or products - as you don't appear high in the Search engines for the words they are searching for, and when they get to your site they are probably leaving as you have nothing to engage them, encourage them and take them down the path of phoning you, filling out a form, coming in to your business or buying online etc If this is all you have, get in contact with your Internet Consultant - so you can get the results you deserve are currently missing if your online presence is not maximised to take advantage of this powerful medium.
The envy of traditional media, online advertising boasts 100 per cent tractability. This translates to precise ROI figures - the dream of any marketer. This enables you to test out any online advertising and knowing its effectiveness. Finding advertising opportunities in your niche markets may provide a cost effective option for you to test and measure your advertising, offers and other forms of attraction. Create pages that your advertising links go to, and measure the response and actions of the individuals through software like Google Analytics (that can run through your website). Gaining the most momentum continues to be pay-per-click advertising, particularly Google’s AdWords program. The drawback is the new breed of moving popup ads that invade our screens while traversing some media websites. We will continue to see more of these throughout 2010. Pay-per-click is incredibly popular with e-commerce websites due to its scalable nature and suitability to both small and large budgets.
Online shopping may be one of the most useful services that the Internet age has brought us - online shopping is convenient and often presents us with more choices and better deals than we can find locally. The speed and around-the-clock convenience of the internet for browsing and comparing prices is helping attract more time-poor Australians. The sad trend at present, is that Australians spend more money on overseas e-commerce websites as they believe Australians don't have what they want online.