With the New Year right around the corner, this is the time of year when small business owners and entrepreneurs should pause and look back at the year — as well as plan for the future ahead.
It’s hard to be 100% sure of the marketing trends to plan for in 2016, but we’ve gathered some likely predictions based on the trends seen in the latter half of 2015.
Now’s the time to start planning how you address these changes so you can be ahead of the curve.
Video, Video Everywhere
From product previews in the eCommerce world, to Google advertising — you can expect to see a lot more video in the coming year.
According to HubSpot, 50% of all mobile traffic is spent watching videos, and as many as 78% of people watch online videos every week. That being said, it’s a good idea to figure out how you can tie in this visual media in your online efforts, too — so you’re not missing out on this growing audience.
YouTube shows positive indicators of growth in video watching, too. With more than 1 billion users and about 6 billion hours of video watched per month, hungry audiences are consuming this media at an ever-growing pace. What’s more: Watch time on YouTube rose 60% in the second quarter of 2015.
Now that content marketing is widely used, companies are realizing that they need a competitive edge to stand out from the noise. Releasing data and research is one way do to that — and to build up your link-building opportunities, too.
Think about all of the blogs you read that mention statistics. That data has to come from somewhere, right? Don’t you want to be the source of that powerful data that people keep linking to? Publishing research and studies means building your authority and credibility within your industry.
In 2016, the masters of content marketing will be the ones who conduct case studies and research — and then share their insightful findings.
Personalization and Customization
Thanks to tools that enable marketing automation (think Hubspot and other CRMs), more and more businesses are starting to focus on delivering personalized content — from email to shopping experiences.
This trend has already started growing quickly: 42% of CRM users plan to increase spending in marketing automation, according to Software Advice’s 2014 “Customer Relationship Management Software UserView” study.
Online marketers know that in the future, customers will come to expect fewer one-size-fits-all marketing messages and will search out companies that make them feel like their relationship with the business is more intimate. That means businesses have to start doing things like using customers’ first names in email messages and tailoring eCommerce product selections based on a shopper’s preferences.
More Mobile Browsing, Less Desktop
In mid-2014, the number of mobile users passed the number of desktop users for the first time in history, according to ComScore. And paired with Google’s news about penalizing non-mobile friendly websites — it’s clear now is the time to make being mobile-friendly a top priority.
Looking ahead, it’s important to address everything from your website to email marketing templates to ensure your efforts aren’t going to waste — you need to accommodate your mobile audience.
If your online resources aren’t displaying correctly on mobile devices in 2016, you’re going to lose revenue — plain and simple.
Email Remains King
And finally, it’s important to note that one marketing trend is here to stay in 2016 — it’s email marketing. While efforts on different social media platforms sometimes tend to fizzle over time, small business owners know that without their ever-growing email lists, they’d be in trouble.
As one of the highest ROI-producing tools, Campaign Monitor estimates that for every $1 spent, email produces $38 in ROI. And as brands take advantage of advanced segmentation of email address lists and send more triggered emails that automatically go out to customers who complete a specific action, this resource is becoming more dynamic and valuable than ever before.
Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2016: Be Prepared
Set aside some time over the next few weeks to really think about how you’ll tackle the changes that are coming in 2016 — and on how you’ll leverage tools that are already serving your business well.
What other trends do you think entrepreneurs should plan for in 2016?