This is the space where we like to list marketing trends for the new year — all the hottest tools, tips and tricks small businesses can use to position themselves well with their customers going into 2018.

But as you know, there aren’t any magic bullets when it comes to business marketing. Certainly, there are tips that can help, and we’ll get into all those over the coming year. But the most important thing to mention right now is this:

Content marketing is the best thing you can do to promote your business in 2018.

The folks at Smart Insights call it “the ‘engagement’ fuel that powers all digital communications.” And that takes work.

Why? Because customers want — and deserve — engagement, interaction and value. And businesses want — and deserve — actions that take them closer to achieving the specific, measurable goals they’ve set up for themselves.

The early days of the Internet promised the value of automation, that technology was going to make everything 10 times easier and that money was just going to roll in via online advertising, affiliate marketing and more. Those things do work, but we’ve all learned that it’s not that easy. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it, one-size-fits-all economy.

Your community wants genuine, personal engagement; they want to know your story and to be a part of it. Here’s how to get started:

  • Get to know your audience. The more you listen to your community, the better off you’ll be. Set aside some time as often as possible — once a week, at least — to listen to customers chat in your store or to read what they’re posting online. More often than not, you’ll see common themes emerge.
  • Engage with your people. You’ve heard that conversation is a two-way street. Armed with your understanding of what makes your community tick, chat with them! Respond to them, joke with them, answer their questions. Meet their needs. Customers don’t want to be marketed to, they want to be acknowledged and engaged with.
  • Write to the intersection of business goals and customer needs. Once you get to know your customers, once you know who they are and what they want, take a hard look at the goals you’ve set up for your business for 2018. Maybe you want to sell 10 more tickets each month to specific events. Maybe you want to increase sales of a certain product by 10 percent each quarter. Once you know your customers, you can begin to write and share content that helps guide them to what they need. As always, feel free to contact PR Consulting for any help writing blog or social media content that works.

The coming year can be one of great success if you commit to listening to your customers, to interacting with them and then to tailoring your content-production strategies to meet their needs and yours together. Here’s to a fun 2018!

 

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