For may businesses, 2017 means big things. As we look towards the new year, many of us are hopeful about what continued technological advancements and changing demographics will mean for our businesses. We want our businesses to excel, but without the right tools, techniques and plans in place some businesses stand to fall behind. Ensure that you are positioning your business for success this year and seek ways to refine your business in 2017. Below we have included our recommendations to help you along the way.
Boost Your Social Media Game
It’s almost unheard of for any successful online business to not have a social media presence nowadays. If you’re wanting to make information about your business widely available or to directly engage with prospects, you’re going to want to have a solid social media presence. It now acts as a platform for a business’s customer service to shine. People take to social media to make their complaints and get their justice, so not having a presence means you are unable to intercept and solve these issues before they blow out of proportion and you’re left with a bad reputation. By being ever-present and interactive online, prospects feel supported and are more likely to engage with you about their questions and concerns.
When you’re on social media replying to people’s questions, posting relevant and engaging content and going out of your way to communicate with people, you create happier more satisfied customers and prospects, which ultimately works to boost sales, so it’s well worth investing in a solid social media strategy going into 2017.
Focus on Content Marketing
For online businesses, standing out in the crowd has always been tough, but nowadays, it’s becoming even harder. Marketers now have to go to great lengths to generate any kind of attention, so you need to ensure that all of your efforts aren’t wasted. Content marketing goes beyond the ads, the email marketing and direct sales tactics to provide something that customers and prospects actually want and need. This includes things such as videos, blog posts, guides and webinar series. The key to succeeding in this field is innovation and finding new ways of attracting prospects through the creation and distribution of useful content.
Map out your content calendars to ensure the right content is ready to be posted at the right times for maximum impact. This will ensure that you posting fresh content consistently and regularly, it also helps you add some dynamism and avoid clashes in time slots and topics, which is all important for any good marketing strategy.
Harness the Power of Your Satisfied Customers
Most business owners know that there is a lot to be said about the efficacy of a customer testimonial or review. Nowadays, people are extremely time-poor and so when trying to find solutions and sorting through all of the competition that exists online alone, reviews can often influence the decisions of consumers immensely. Not to mention the fact that consumers have become more savvy and are often guarded when making their purchasing decisions. Rudimentary marketing tactics that use to work now stand to create the opposite effect. This is where testimonials become helpful. In seeing that someone has genuinely had a good experience with a product or business, consumers feel more at ease and investigate further with a more optimistic outlook.
All businesses should be using the reviews and feedback they receive in their marketing strategy if they wish to create a more trusted reputation for themselves and become a competitive force in their field.
On the same hand, affiliate marketing programs are becoming more and more popular amongst online businesses who see the value in customer referrals. Typically, if a customer is happy with your product, they’ll let you know. So why not give them a platform that rewards them for sharing the love? Let your customers take care of your marketing for you by recruiting more clients through word-of-mouth recommendations and their respective social media channels. Personal recommendations are invaluable for a business, so promulgating this kind of positive attention for your business is always going to deliver great results.
Consider Beneficial Partnerships
Partnerships can be a great thing for two businesses with products and services that can complement one another. Say you’re an online business that specializes in health and wellness consulting. You might be able to partner with an online fitness business and decide upon arrangements that could see you both profiting off a shared client base. This could be done in a number of ways, through referrals or discounts that might be short term or long term, depending on your needs. You just need to ensure that you’re engaging with businesses that have a similar size client base to yours or larger – there’s no real point entering into a mutually beneficial agreement with a business that gets a higher return from your customers than you do from theirs. This is why it’s always good to go short term in the beginning, so you can test the waters and see what works for you. As long as there’s continued value to the shared audience, strategic alliances produce streams of referral business, which is ultimately what will benefit you most over time.
A large part of branding a business has to do with staying on-trend. Going into 2017, you want your business to be seen modern and professional you want to appeal to the interests of a larger demographic. Even if you’ve been in the game a while and your business values its more traditional image, it’s still not a bad idea to spruce things up a little. This can be anything from changes in your visual elements such as logos and color schemes or re-adjusting your marketing strategy and trying something new with the content you’re creating.
Research Your Competition
If you want to find new ways of improving your business, it can be extremely helpful to analyse your competition and see how you stack up against the rest. If there are things that they are doing that you think might work well for yourself, or ideas that you think could work better in other contexts – find new and innovative ways to incorporate those ideas. For example if you’re an online consultant, it might be work attending a few free workshops, or looking at their video content to see what kinds of information they are providing. In doing so you can identify their strengths, weaknesses and perhaps some of the gaps in their information. Apply this information to your business and see what a difference it can make.