2016 is right around the corner, and I wanted to catch you before it arrives. If you have a marketing strategy already defined, just make sure you have the following included (otherwise, it’s not too late to add them into your plan).
If you don’t have a marketing strategy – it’s not too late to create one. As you do, make sure you include the following elements.
Smart phones, tablets, and now wearable devices are among the top used tools to research products, services, and businesses. Back in April of this year, Google responded to this user preference and updated it’s algorithm to increase the rank of mobile-friendly sites on mobile device searches (also referred to as “Mobilegeddon”).
Google’s main concern is the user – not your business. It uses its algorithm to provide the best results and experience for users, hence the update. What this means for you is this: if you haven’t already, you need to make your website mobile-friendly, and you need to make it a top priority in 2016.
Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He also said, “Good marketing gives us a view of the world. Bad marketing offers us a product to buy.” Marketers everywhere are shifting their focus from selling products and services to creating communities of believers – with great success!
As human beings we are in a constant pursuit of belonging – and as businesses and brands, we can fill that need. You can do it through the products and services you offer, the social channels you are present on, the interactions you foster after the sale, the events you host and so on. Develop and encourage your community of believers (also known as Brand Advocates) in any way you choose, just make it a priority in your 2016 local marketing strategy.
#3. Give Your User a Voice
Today, like always, your customers want to be heard. In our content driven world, there are plenty of opportunities to tell and hear your customer’s experiences. Whether you ask for the stories, in the form of testimonials or case studies, or they are shared via review platforms, such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, they hold a lot of power (positive and negative).
It is your job to recognize that power, use it, and respond to it. Even negative customer stories can have a positive twist if handled responsibly; in the best circumstance, you can use it to correct the situation/repair the damaged relationship, in all other circumstances you can simply humanize your brand by responding politely.
#4. An Outside Perspective
On your drive home or to work in the morning, do you ever find yourself on auto-pilot? You know the route so well that you don’t pay complete attention or you take certain signs or signals for granted?
This can happen with your business, too. As you drive business growth, it is easy to lose perspective or get lost in the weeds. Having an outside perspective can prevent this from happening. This may be a business consultant or advisor – they are there to stop and ask why, question your next move, and challenge you to think differently about your business, all with the intent of helping you achieve your business goals.
When looking for this outside perspective in 2016, find someone you trust, who also understands your business and where you want to take it.
#5. Stick to the Basics
While #1-4 on this list may be new to your local marketing strategy, you also need to stick to the basics that have gotten you this far. In terms of strategy, those include:
- A Goal – this is the foundation of your success, and all the tactics outlined in your marketing strategy should contribute to your achievement of this goal.
- Superior Service – your actual performance holds far more weight than your promises. When you do have the opportunity to serve a customer, make it one they will remember, and hopefully share with their friends, families, and communities.
- Transparency – be honest, be open, be vulnerable. Admit your failures and celebrate your successes. Humans connect with humans. Do yourself a favor and humanize your brand by being transparent with your audience.
If you include these five components in your local marketing strategy next year, you’ll be set up for success. Good luck!