With 2019 behind us, we’re looking at where we’re going and the marketing trends we’re likely to see more of in 2020. We hope these insights and tips will help you position yourself for growth and success so that you can make 2020 your best year yet.
01 / Expanding marketing landscape
The average small business uses more than 8 tools and features to communicate with their customers. As of 2019, however, there are more than 7,040 different marketing technology solutions available. For small business owners who are already short on time, keeping up with all of these marketing tools and digital channels can be an overwhelming task.
62% of marketing decision-makers agreed that they want to try new things and adhere to current best practices, but they simply don’t have time to figure out what those best practices are or how to implement them. Given that data, it’s no surprise that 31% of small business owners cite marketing as their number 1 challenge.
Start with the platforms that matter to your audience. Multichannel campaigns tend to outperform single-channel campaigns, so try and test to find the right mix of channels that will resonate with your audience.
Plan ahead. Content creation can be daunting when approached without a clear strategy, so start planning your 2020 content calendar now.
Test and iterate. Do you need to scale up on social media? Should you send emails once a week instead of once a month? Test your content and channels to see what’s performing and improve what’s not.
Audit your tools. Efficiency is a key tenet of sustainable growth. Assess the tools you’re using and see if there’s a way to streamline and consolidate your work. Look for ways to make optimal use of your time and budget.
Find trusted partners. The small business journey doesn’t have to be a solo venture. Find folks who are plugged into your industry and seek out their wisdom. Subscribe to newsletters that spark your inspiration.
02 / Building brand awareness is the first step of an effective growth plan
Both new and established businesses are interested in growing their business, but growing awareness isn’t always a top priority. For brands to be successful, this formula needs to be inverted, which means it’s time to start thinking about marketing differently.
The definitions of marketing differ widely across business owners. While 100% agree that determining product-market fit and customer research are the most important milestones along the business journey, only 22% considered marketing during their product-market fit phase. But marketing isn’t just a single campaign or something that only happens after launching your business.
Broadcast your beta. Start growing awareness of your product, business, and brand while you’re still in the research and development phase. Invite members of your intended audience to participate in a beta test so they can try out your product or service before you launch it to the general public.
Build anticipation. Create brand enthusiasm and loyalty by allowing folks to take a peek behind the curtain as you prepare for launch.
Evolve your brand as you grow. Branding is not something that’s ever finished. It can (and should) grow and evolve alongside your business. Some of the most recognisable brands in the world tweak and update their branding frequently.
Consider the entire customer journey. Every interaction between your audience and your brand matters, so give careful consideration to the ways you communicate with people over time. As you’re broadcasting your beta, think about the steps you need to take to turn the earliest of adopters into lifelong customers.
03 / Email and social media are crucial channels for a small business
Although the marketing landscape has become more saturated in recent years, don’t overlook the tried-and-true channels of email and social media. Based on the data, these two channels are still the most important tools for small businesses.
79% of small businesses said they use email as a key channel to communicate with their audience. And according to eMarketer, 26% of adults said they’ve visited a brand’s store or website or purchased a product or service after receiving a promotional email.
In a separate report, eMarketer also noted that adults spent 38 minutes per day on Facebook and 26 minutes per day on Instagram in 2018.
Always be testing. Learn something from every marketing dollar you spend. Unsuccessful campaigns aren’t failures; they’re valuable insights into the ways you can improve in the future.
Focus on optimisation. Using data to determine your next best step will be pivotal in 2020. Focus your strategy with data-driven decisions. Use the data at your disposal to make smarter choices with every campaign.
Personalise and scale your marketing. Personalisation plays a vital role in optimisation, but you’ll need the right systems in place to scale effectively. Be sure your marketing tools allow you to break your audience into segments and target them with personalised, relevant content across different channels.
Aggregate your data from day one. Optimisation and personalisation aren’t sustainable or scaleable in a spreadsheet, so use a marketing platform that crunches the numbers for you.
04 / Why technology should be your first marketing hire in 2020
According to the Rule of 7, your prospects need to see your message at least 7 times before they start to take action. When you combine the necessary redundancy with all the other media vying for consumers’ attention, the need for technology and automation in the coming year becomes clear. However, 80% of small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of digital tools such as data analytics and more sophisticated online tools.
Automate everything you can. Audit your workflows to find opportunities where technology and automation can save you time and increase your return on investment (ROI). Even if it’s as simple as using an integration with your software or moving your data out of spreadsheets, don’t waste your time on busywork.
Create systems that are working even when you’re not. No one can work 24/7, but technology can. Whether you want to automatically say hello to your newest customers or bring back your most loyal ones without lifting a finger, automation will help you scale your business and create repeat engagement for your brand.
Seamlessly market across channels. Don’t waste your time copying and pasting the same message across a bunch of different channels. Use a tool that allows you to create a consistent brand across all of your channels with the click of a button.
05 / How funding and finances for small business are changing
Every entrepreneur goes through the arduous process of determining how to fund their business. Should you pull from your life savings? Get another credit card? Apply for a loan? When it comes to financing your idea in 2020, there are more options available today than ever before.
22% of small firms pull from their personal and family savings, making it the most common source of capital to finance business expansion. That’s followed by business profits and assets (6%) and business loans from financial institutions (5%). While Series A funding scenarios — in which startups receive their first round of financial support from an investor — get a lot of press, crowdfunding campaigns have become the launchpad for many successful ventures.
Explore your options. Don’t lock yourself into just one path for funding. You could, for example, start by bootstrapping with savings. Then, you could have a small investment round just for friends and family, followed by a crowdfunding campaign.
Consult an expert. Whether you hire a financial consultant or just get some free advice over coffee, be sure to run your idea by someone who can help you cross all the legal and financial hurdles you encounter. If you’ve found your small business community, there’s a good chance that one of your peers will be able to point you in the direction of an expert who can give you advice.
Take a leap. Some of the best ideas-turned-businesses were built with more sweat equity than monetary investment. Be scrappy and innovative, and don’t worry if you’re not fully funded just yet. It doesn’t cost 6 figures to get your business — or your marketing — up and running.
U.S. Small Business Administration FAQ (2018)
WalletHub.com: Best & Worst States to Start a Business
Mailchimp’s Product Tracker
Mailchimp’s Platform Positioning and Messaging Research
Mailchimp Report: Why Small Businesses Should Start Marketing on Day One
eMarketer.com: Email Marketing StatPack 2018
eMarketer.com: Time Spent With Media 2019 – U.S. Social
Edison Research’s Infinite Dial report
Mailchimp’s Research with Accelerators
Deloitte: “Connecting Small Businesses in the U.S.”
Mailchimp user data: Aggregate total since January of 2018
Mailchimp user data: Sourced July 2019
Mailchimp user data: Aggregate total since April 2017
Mailchimp user data: Sourced April 2018
Statista.com: Number of people working in coworking spaces in U.S. 2015-2022
Coworkingresources.org: Global Coworking Growth Study 2019
U.S. Small Business Administration FAQ (2016)
Guidantfinancial.com: Small Business Trends