Looking back, 2017 was a great year for small businesses, as many experienced more opportunities and growth. While it’s exciting to reflect on the ways that small businesses succeeded, it’s important for entrepreneurs and business owners to always be looking ahead at what’s next.
Whether you have a startup or an established company, you can stay ahead of the competition by being aware of trends in the local business environment, online and around the world. These trends will impact your business no matter what industry or market you serve. While some may change the way that you interact with customers, other may impact the way that you work every day. Here are some trends that can help you drive success in 2018.
Having a presence on mobile is not only a valuable addition to a small business’s marketing strategy, but it’s also a priority for business success. According to a study conducted by SmartInsights, more consumers are accessing the Internet through their mobile phones than Desktop computers.
A recent CNBC article revealed that customers aren’t just browsing the web on their phones, but they’re purchasing too. Over the holiday season mobile shopping gained speed and is expected to rise more quickly than desktop purchases through 2018.
With that said, the time has come for small businesses to optimize their mobile presence. If you focus on mobile in 2018, you will increase overall traffic to your website and improve your SEO ranking in the process. Ultimately, you will get your business in front of more potential customers and improve your overall bottom line.
Automation software is finally beginning to grow in popularity amongst small businesses thanks to new tools developed specifically with small business success in mind. Small business owners and employees everywhere are getting more done with less effort, all thanks to automation tools. According to a recent report published by Salesforce, small businesses who were experiencing growth were “1.6 times as likely as their stagnant counterparts to say they’re using technology to automate business processes.”
There are tools that focus on a range of different types of work, including financial management, data entry, marketing, customer service or project management. Take some time to consider which parts of your business could become more efficient through automation software.
Personalized Customer Service
Personalized customer service is becoming more important to consumers than ever before. This is exciting for small businesses, who can differentiate themselves from bigger brands through great customer service and a personal approach.
According to a study from Vistaprint, “27 percent of consumers say that they’re likely to shop at a small business more often in 2018 than they did in 2017.” Further, 69 percent of these consumers said that they would be more likely to shop at small businesses if the owner knew them by name.
Based on these statistics, small business owners should take some time to improve and personalize their customer service. There are a variety of ways that you can offer a personalized approach, from starting a loyalty or rewards program to personalizing email communication. It’s important to make all communication as sincere as possible. People today want to know that they’re dealing with an actual person, not just a nameless website.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has grown in popularity over the past year. In 2017, over three-quarters of small businesses claimed that social was integral to their overall marketing plan. Many sources cite that small businesses will focus more attention than ever on social media marketing in 2018. As social media platforms continue to grow their user bases, small business owners will continue to demand more and more space on various social media platforms.
There are a variety of different ways that you can use social media to grow your business. Take some time to consider which platform could best meet your specific businesses needs. Check out our blog post The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Social Media to learn how you can maximize your social media presence.
There are a variety of ways that you can improve your business this year and beyond. Take some time to consider the following:
- Consumers are using their mobile devices to make purchasing decisions more than ever before. Make sure that your online presence is optimized for mobile.
- Automation software will continue to establish a strong foothold amongst small business owners. Consider ways that you can make your business processes more efficient through automation tools.
- Customers are becoming more interested in personalized experiences offered by small businesses, so make sure to differentiate yourself from big businesses with excellent customer service and a personalized approach.
- Social media is becoming more and more popular, so consider ways that you can use social channels as a publishing platform.