As we move into 2017, today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape continues to place more demand on small-business owners than ever before. Although many small businesses lack the capital and resources for a marketing team, the development of modern business technology can empower small-business owners to reach potential customers in untapped markets across the world. In order to drive growth and success for a company, small-business owners must remain competitive by staying informed on the latest marketing trends that can help deliver brand messages and resonate with their target audience.

Here are three emerging trends for marketing your small business in 2017:

1. Targeted social advertising spend forecast to skyrocket

Gone are the days where organic reach is enough. As social media channels have matured, new algorithms are being employed that increasingly limit the percentage of your social audience who can see and engage with your posts. As a result, business owners are finding it more difficult to leverage the social audiences they’ve worked so hard to build.

In response, we’re seeing a shift toward companies allocating a larger portion of their marketing spend to digital advertising. A recent study revealed that, for the first time, digital ad spending in 2016 surpassed that of TV. This comes as no surprise, given the sharp rise in social, mobile and video.

The use of social advertising, in particular, is forecasted to skyrocket in 2017. According to HootSuite, social advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past two years – going from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016. By 2019, social advertising spend in the U.S. alone is expected to rise to more than $17 billion. That’s no small number. Companies are clearly recognizing and harnessing the power of social media as an effective advertising tool to reach their coveted social audiences.

In addition to being highly targeted, social advertising allows you to easily track ROI in terms of views and clicks. However, some platforms perform better than others. In a recent survey, 95% of social media marketers said Facebook produces the best return, followed by Twitter and Instagram. In fact, Facebook ads generate eight to nine times higher click-through rates than traditional web ads.

2. Marketing automation will streamline repetitive marketing tasks

Despite marketing automation emerging as a buzzword in the marketing industry, many companies still have no clue what it does and how it can benefit their business.

In its simplest terms, marketing automation refers to software platforms that streamline and automate repetitive marketing efforts, such as emails, social media and website actions. By maximizing employee productivity with minimum time spent, marketing automation frees small-business owners up to focus their energy on larger projects.

For instance, marketing automation is often used to improve the effectiveness of email marketing efforts. It allows companies to deliver a series of highly targeted emails that are specifically tailored to their prospects’ needs, as opposed to mass distribution of generic email blasts with the hope that a few prospects will bite.

Ultimately, this boosts open, click-through and conversion rates and produces more qualified leads. In fact, companies using automation technology generate 2X as many leads and are perceived to be twice as effective at communicating. Further, 67% of B2B marketers saw at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, while 15% had opportunities increase by 30% or more.

3. Video will become a key part of content marketing

Last, but certainly not least, video is taking the marketing world by storm – and for good reason. Research reveals that, when offered as a content choice, video is preferred over all other content, including white papers, case studies, webinars and e-books. In fact, 55% of people pay more attention to and engage with videos over other forms of content, according to a recent survey by HubSpot.

As the demand for video continues to rise, it’s becoming a key part of a business’s content marketing strategy. A recent report revealed that 73% of marketers plan to increase their use of video in general, and 50% will use live-streaming social platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope and YouNow over the coming year. The other half wants to learn more about live video.

Companies using video in their marketing efforts are finding great success. Video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined, and attracts 41% more web traffic from search. Further, having video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. Given this statistic, perhaps it’s not surprising that video users grow their revenue 49% faster year-over-year than non-video users.

And with the explosion of affordable video creation tools, companies no longer need to partner up with a pricey production team and studio. Video can easily be produced by just one person – which comes as welcome news to small businesses looking to create videos on even smaller budgets.

Want more ideas on growing your small business?

Contact Evolution Capital Partners at (216) 593-0402.

Jeffrey Kadlic

Author Jeffrey Kadlic

Jeffrey Kadlic is a Founding Partner of Evolution Capital Partners, a nationally recognized and award-winning private equity firm dedicated to driving small business transformational success. His passion is simple: arm and inspire entrepreneurs today with the operational leadership, capital management, and success drivers that competitive markets demand. He is a creator of Evolution’s Five Fundamentals, the systematic organizational change agent that transforms the challenges small businesses face into sustainable and profitable growth.

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Contact: (216) 593-0402