Now’s the Time for Change: Small Business Marketing for 2016

  Shopping for the Christmas season has reached fever pitch, and the credit card bills aren't even signed and delivered yet, but it's time for small businesses to start looking forward to 2016. With just over two weeks left in 2015, the time has come to turn some attention to the changes that will impact marketing for your small business in 2016.

Audit Your 2015 Marketing Plan

The most important step you can take is an internal audit of your 2015 marketing plan. Did your business thrive in 2015, or did you fall short of expectations? What approaches worked to generate consumer spending for your company, and which ones failed to hit the mark? Regardless of the trends that are expected to guide small business marketing in the year to come, an understanding of your current successes and failure is important in crafting your approach in 2016.

Get Comfortable with Relationship Marketing

As important as it is to generate contacts with new consumers, your business cannot thrive on new consumers alone. You need to start forging long-term personal relationships with your consumers. Shoppers are increasingly turning to mobile devices for shopping reviews and advice. As such, consumers want ongoing service and a relationship with a brand, which means you cannot simply focus on the short-term win. It's time to look at the steps you can take that go above and beyond to win customer loyalty.

Stop Ignoring Geo-Targeting

The beauty of the World Wide Web is the ability to turn a small business in the suburbs of any major city into a potential national or international brand. At the same time, you can't expect to compete on a global scale. Now's the time to embrace geo-precise marketing that helps you find the right customers, not just a broad base of customers. If your business already uses Pay Per Call marketing through services such as Google AdWords' new call-only ads, you have the tools you need to find the perfect customers. Google's analytics provide a wealth of data about active zip codes and even IP targeting.

Don't Go Stagnant

You should never stop testing your marketing tools. Even the tools that work should be reviewed, tested, and tweaked if necessary to ensure you still get the best bang for your buck possible. You should regularly study analytics from your campaigns, tweak as necessary, and test the results to see what's working and what isn't.

Marketing is a fluid concept within the world of business. If you aren't constantly adjusting, you're fumbling around in the dark hoping to find consumers.

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