Now that New Year’s Eve has passed into history like all the countless ones before it, we can again look towards the future of a prosperous new year in 2017. Growing trends are continuing to flourish as usual. The competitive nature in which small business owners have to contend with is still also ever-present. Unforeseen changes can lead to both crushing business losses and missed opportunities. This is why it’s always important for small businesses to keep up with the newest technological advances and the latest changes in the marketplace. Just like in 2016, small business owners will have to face many problems in the new year as well. Knowing about the latest business trends is crucial to being able to adapt to, and overcome those inevitable problems that always come up.
The Millennial Market
There are over 70 million people in the U.S. ages 18 to 34 that are categorized as American Millennials. This puts the demographic group’s disposable income into the hundreds of billions. Generation Y is one of the most popular marketing targets for this reason.
A small business owner must follow the millennials habits and drives, making sure to accommodate them into their future business plans and ventures – or risk overlooking a vast ever-maturing consumer market that still has a pretty good shelf-life left to it.
Millennial Marketing Tactics:
- Social Media – Texting, sharing, tweeting, Facebooking, and interacting together across the World-wide-web. This is where you will reach the American millennial – online. Make sure that your marketing budget and strategy includes the internet.
- Communicating – In order to reach millennials, you will need to learn to speak their language. As stated above, learn what their interests are, where they congregate, and of course, what is trending in their world. If you can’t communicate with your target audience, you can’t reach them.
- Old Marketing’s Out – The days of snail-mail campaigns are over. Millennials just instantly put the ads straight from the mailbox into the recycling. 18 to 34 year-olds want to feel like they are connected and part of a group of like-minded actively involved individuals. Snail mail and e-mail can’t provide this for them. On the internet, Pop-up ads are also considered to be equally as ineffective going into 2017 – not to mention annoying to everyone.
- Inbound Marketing’s In – Millennials like to research the best products and read reviews from other actual consumers. This is where blog posts, Tumbler and Pinterest come through for small businesses with their shared meme’s and images, plus of course, the almighty YouTube. They all come together to provide a fertile ground for growing a marketing campaign with millennials that reaches them with something they can actually relate to. They will then happily and willingly pass it on to countless others in their online demographic group.
- Mobile Marketing – It’s seldom that you see a youth or millennial these days that isn’t totally glued to their cell phones. It’s estimated that one-quarter of consumers get their retailer information and the latest shopping trends on their mobile phones, on-the-go.
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In the retail world, customer data is king. By using CRM software, (Customer Relationship Management), a business can analyze their customer interactions and form databases on a consumer’s whole history with the store or service provider. CMR systems automatically categorize a full list of each customer’s preferences, buying trends, and average purchases, etc.
These are the common strategies and technologies that major corporations use. In this modern age, it’s getting more feasible for small businesses to also utilize these big business tactics; in order to drive their own sales growths upwards.
For small businesses with websites and mobile apps, CRM systems also track consumer to company contact, and vice versa. They do this via the company’s website, telephone interactions, live web chats, direct e-mail correspondence, plus other marketing outlets and even the customer’s likes, shares, and posts on the company’s official social media accounts. All of this information can be accumulated throughout the year, and then used to plan the next year’s future business and marketing strategies as well.
Brick & Mortar Meets Cyberspace
It should be no “Shocker” or “News Flash” that E-commerce will continue to be statistically on the rise in 2017. Companies such as Shopify have made it easier and cheaper for small businesses to market their items and services online, and are usually compatible with most company blogs and marketing-oriented websites such as BlogSpot or WordPress.
Facebook has also opened up extensive and affordable marketing ground for the small business owner, by selling ad-space on their social media website. They offer customized marketing, plus an adjustable demographic that reaches across the state, nation, or the World, depending on your business needs and marketing budget.
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The Remote Workforce
Many small business office duties that once required expensive employment ads and time-consuming job interviews, just to fill part-time positions, can now be done remotely by a freelance professional.
This has been a growing trend due to the cost effectiveness of having remote workers employed online, part-time, full-time, or on call. There are many online agencies available on the internet that broker between their client members and freelance remote online workers.
Utilizing tools like skype for meetings, interviews, and conference video calls, have also streamlined small businesses tech choices and also hiring choices as well, negating the need for in-person meetings.
2016 was a year of fast-paced change with plenty of unforeseen curveballs. 2017 is turning out to be just as brimming with carried over continual change and plenty of ongoing controversy. This can really affect a small business in a time of social division and economic uncertainty. It will remain to be seen who is correct in their predictions of America’s economic future. Watching and engaging in the right target market and following the latest business trends will help to successfully guide a properly prepared small business through any tough times.
The “new” small business owner will have to focus on being more connected with their customers, leaving out the old-fashioned hard sales pitch, and replacing it with affordable access to newer and more socially engaging consumer choices. Today’s marketplace is growing immune to the same-old limited business and marketing tactics of the past. Riding the winds of change and adapting to the latest consumer needs will continue to help ensure that your small business keeps prospering well beyond 2017.
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