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Promotions, email, events, and social media are marketing must-haves. But to take your 2017 plans to the next level, you also need to have your eye on some new trends. Which is exciting — there’s a ton going on right now.
Advancements in video, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things are opening up a wide array of new marketing channels. And consumers’ increasing affinity with personalization and authenticity provide creative opportunities for your brand to differentiate itself and shine.
Here are five marketing ideas for your small business to think about this year:
1. Host a live video event.
Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and faster Internet speeds, live streaming platforms like Facebook Live are gaining steam. And Instagram just got into the game as well, launching a live feature as part of Stories late last year.
Streaming is a natural fit for media organizations (Buzzfeed uses it particularly well) and live events, but smart brands (like Benefit, Dunkin Donuts, and Chevrolet, to name a few) are also getting in on the action.
The good news about live videos is that they don’t need high-quality production (read: expensive). In fact, that “let your hair down” look may be what’s so engaging about them in the first place. That means there are plenty of live streaming opportunities for even the smallest businesses — hosting things like tutorials, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours.
2. Launch a video series.
Videos drive sales. Wyzowl’s The State of Video Marketing 2016 survey found that 74 percent of users who watched an explainer video about a product or service then bought it. And 77 percent of consumers said they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.
A no-brainer tactic here is to create an explainer video for each of your marquee products or services. But perhaps a more engaging strategy is to create an episodic video series. If you open a salon, for example, you could create a style tutorial every week. If you sell handmade or artisan products, you could launch a series on each artist.
3. Interweave purpose-driven marketing.
Consumers care about the what, but increasingly, they also care about the why. As evidenced by the success of businesses like Everlane and Tom’s, customers connect with brands that position their larger mission front and center.
So tap into the deeper purpose behind what you do. Then find opportunities to integrate that into all the components of your 2017 marketing strategy.
4. Launch a micro-influencer marketing campaign.
“Influencer campaigns” have been buzzy for a while. But while they’ve typically been associated with celebrities or people with millions of followers, there’s evidence to suggest that going smaller and more niche might be even more effective.
A recent Experticity survey found that 82 percent of respondents were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. And though influencer marketing campaigns run through celebrities do yield conversions, activating 30 to 40 micro-influencers can result in even more business.
So drill down into the niches of your industry to find possible experts or tastemakers to tap for campaigns. It’s not large-follower accounts you’re necessarily after, it’s sustained, active engagement. That’s likes and comments, yes, but also a sense that the person is involved with their audience and community.
Email marketing is a great way to promote micro-influencer marketing campaigns. By targeting customers who would be interested in your micro-influencer’s story, you are likely to get better engagement for your campaign.
5. Watch for opportunities in augmented reality and the Internet of Things.
Two technologies are about to become part of our lives in a big way: augmented (and virtual) reality and the Internet of Things.
One only has to look to the wild success of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game, to see the consumer appetite there. The New York Times just launched their own augmented reality app through their branded content arm, T Brand Studio.
As for the Internet of Things (IoT), BI Intelligence expects that there will be approximately four IoT devices for every human being on the planet by 2020. (The Internet of Things refers to the connection of devices — things like household appliances, health monitors, even cars — to the Internet).
What does that mean for marketing? New ways to reach customers. Watch these industries closely this year to spot potential areas of opportunity for your business.
Good marketing is not just about deploying the tried-and-true tactics, it’s about trying some new ones. Push the envelope by experimenting with some of these new campaign ideas this year.
Image of Facebook Live courtesy of the Facebook Newsroom.