If you’re getting started on your business’s marketing plan, knowing and understanding the latest consumer trends is the first step towards developing a well-rounded strategy before it’s too late. Marketing isn’t just about how you send messages to your customers, but also about how your customers interact and communicate with your brand. And if your business can create a marketing plan that melds these ideas together, you’re going to set yourself up for success in the New Year. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of the top 5 marketing trends to consider incorporating into your marketing plan.

Promoting User-Generated Content

Whenever consumers are making a purchase, they’re looking for cues to affirm their decision making.  This is especially true for online purchases because they can’t touch or feel the product in question or make inquiries with a knowledgeable employee that’s standing by. Shoppers alone have to rely on affirmative clues to decide: is this something I feel comfortable purchasing without ever seeing it in person?  And those cues need to come from a source they trust. For example, a fellow consumer posting comments and reviews about how much he loves a product will always carry more weight than a business owner who talks up her own store. A recent study shows that 66 percent of consumers trust other consumer opinions posted online, compared to 46 percent of consumers who trust ads on social networks.

This notion captures the underlying concept behind user-generated content, which is broadly characterized as any type of content (e.g., photos, comments, reviews, etc.) created by consumers to convey their interaction and experience with a business’s product or service. By incorporating user-generated content on your website, you can provide your online shoppers with a more immersive, relatable, true-to-life feel for your business. Here are some ways to gather user-generated content for your business:

  • Search your business by hashtag to find photos you’ve been tagged in.
  • Encourage photo submissions on your website and provide users with a hashtag.
    • Take it one step further: Supply website visitors with a fun how-to guide on how to take a great photo. Users will like the free photography tips and you will get better content in return.
  • Encourage users to interact with social posts by using prizes and giveaways.
    • “Comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a free coffee!

Being “Local”

In the sketch-comedy Portlandia, the show parodied Portland’s obsession with everything local in a skit where a couple wanted to know if the chicken they are ordering for dinner was local, if it had a nice life and if they could visit its farm. Actually visiting the home of your soon-to-be dinner entree is a ridiculous notion. However, this parody was funny because it carried some truth, especially in Lancaster County. Businesses that sell local products or hand-made items in Lancaster County are flourishing, and if your business can get in on the action, you will too. Shoppers in Lancaster County are willing to drive farther and pay more to get authentic goods because they want to support the community in which they live and work. Additionally, local produce and products tend to be of a better quality, almost making their purchase a status symbol. So how can your business show local support? If your business has a physical location, try a mutually beneficial strategy like partnering with a local artist to have their paintings hung on your walls. If your business provides a service with no physical location, try researching local products to replace those that you currently mass order.

Going Mobile

In 2017, researchers at Adobe predicted that more than half of holiday website visits would come from mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop computers. Mobile usage will continue to grow making mobile advertising one of the top methods for businesses to reach consumers with their ad messages. Mobile also stands out for its geographic targeting capability called geofencing. With geofencing, business owners can send their ads to mobile users in any location. If you’re a business owner, consider the benefits of displaying your ads to people who are near your store, or even near your competition. LNP Media Group will work with your business to determine the best location for you to target mobile users in Lancaster County or throughout the United States. Then, we help you with your ad message, ad design, and targeting to users within your chosen location.

Video Advertising on Social Media

Have you ever said you’re getting on Facebook “for just a minute,” to find yourself 30 minutes later trapped in a loop of cooking videos about making bloomin’ onions? Many of us have found ourselves in situations like this because videos captivate us through story-telling, more so than photos alone. Studies have found that video content gets 135 percent more reach than photos on Facebook. Furthermore, video is consumed thoroughly by 55 percent of users, making video content perfect for Lancaster County business owners who want their messages heard.

Businesses with limited resources can use the live video feature that Facebook offers to give users a sneak-peek at new items or promote upcoming events. If your goal is to create a video with staying-power, investing in video story-boarding, production and placement is key. Well-produced videos can live comfortably on different platforms like social media, websites and YouTube. If you want to add video marketing into your strategy, LNP Studios can help. Contact us today to starting building your brand through video.

Being Authentic

The name of the game is authenticity in advertising; and like many trends, this one is driven by the millennial market. Authenticity doesn’t mean that sales and coupons should go out the window. For millennials, authenticity is about brand trust. And how do you build trust? It all goes back to delivering on what you promise to your customers and doing what’s right. Here are some best practices to follow that will help you build brand trust, thus becoming more authentic:

  • Building a reliable website with helpful, up-to-date information
  • Being open during your listed business hours
  • Having a reasonable return policy
  • Showing support for your community
  • Being environmentally friendly

If you’ve identified areas of improvement within your own business, now is the time to begin making adjustments in preparation for your marketing plan.  If your employees aren’t opening on time, set firmer rules. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, contact LNP Media Group for help converting your site to responsive design. Making these small changes now will ultimately result in a better experience for your customers.

Ready to Get Started?

When you consider the top marketing trends, they’re primarily focused around the same goal: creating a great customer experience. If you can design a marketing plan with these principles in mind, you’ll be setting yourself up for marketing success for years to come. Not sure where to start? Contact LNP Media Group today for a free consultation.

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