With the first quarter of 2015 now in the books, most experts agree the U.S. economy continues to build momentum. Small business owners are stepping up business plans: a February Wall Street Journal/Vistage small business CEO survey shows that 64% of firms surveyed report recent economic gains, and 52% of them plan to increase business investment spending for the remainder of the year – the highest percentage in the survey’s history. Another survey by American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor says more than two-thirds of small businesses have a positive outlook.
With a robust economy, your customers are clearly more inclined to spend, and that’s why now is the time to heat up the marketing initiatives that were moved to the back burner during the recent down years. If your marketing plans have been on hold for a while, here are 5 trends for small business email marketers to keep in mind in a thriving economy:
- Mobile-Friendly Content Is Now a Must: Due to the widespread (and quickly growing) use of smartphones and tablets, marketers must create content that’s accessible to mobile users. After all, according to Forbes, “87% of connected device sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” That means email and web content must work for mobile devices. It’s critical to provide a positive experience to users that are browsing via a mobile device. Otherwise, it’s easy to frustrate and lose customers to competitors who have already adapted to this trend. As the shift from traditional PCs and laptops to mobile devices continues, businesses that aren’t on board will likely suffer.
- SEO and Social Signals Are Joined at the Hip: Although social signals don’t yet carry the same weight as traditional search results, it’s undeniable they now play a role in organic search rankings. As Google and other search engines strive to provide users with the most relevant content, it makes sense that they would factor in the number of social shares that an article, blog post or product page receives. The more people that are sharing a piece of content, the higher quality it’s likely to be, and therefore its position should increase within the search engine results pages. As such, top-ranking search results tend to have plenty of social shares. In addition, social shares convey to
page visitors a trust signal – along the lines of a stamp of approval. If visitors see that a post has hundreds or thousands of shares, it’s likely to be something of value. To ride this wave, small business marketers should install social share plugins and encourage their customers to share as much as possible.
- Targeted Content Is (Still) King: Marketers (still) must establish authority and gain trust by consistently creating valuable content, and delivering this through a variety of channels. Such content can use relevant industry information to provide insight or even entertainment to an audience, steadily building rapport with target prospects and developing a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, business articles, e-newsletters, case studies and videos. By using one or more of these means with specific, targeted content, small business marketers can build a positive reputation within their markets. General, mass-marketed messages (think television and radio ads) are dying – or already dead.
- Stand Out with Animation and Video: Innovative email marketers are finding that animated gifs or cinemagraphs are an effective technique to capture attention as more recipients are able to access and download images. In addition, it can be easier to embed video (video animated gif or static gif) in emails with HTML5, rather than clicking through from an email to play it. Such video can not only help you stand out from other emails, but also illustrate an interesting or unique facet to your product to initiate interest.
- Get (Location) Specific with Email: As the world becomes more connected through technology, marketing is becoming more regionalized, more localized and even more individualized as consumers resist homogenization. Personalization and localization are here to stay, which can transform how marketers manage their brands. Localization demographics allow small business marketers to refer to the local events, landmarks or stores that are most relevant to their targets, and can help drive them to purchase.
As businesses expand when expectations are strong, favorable conditions exist for small business marketers to increase their activities, and extend their tactics as previously frozen marketing budgets are thawed. Doing so will help your company rise above the noise, and reach prospects at an optimistic time when they are more likely than ever to be receptive to your marketing message – and convert into paying customers.
As your marketing program heats up, reaching the right prospects with your email marketing efforts is essential. To add to your list and gain more precision with your email targeting at the same time, consider giving BizFACTZ’ B2B marketing data a try. Click here to register on our site and use the offer code “INTRO” at checkout to receive a 20% discount on your first order.