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6 Technology Trends for 2016

Now that 2015 is officially in the books, it is time to start looking forward. Marketing technology is huge for 2016, and there are plenty of new technology trends for small businesses to sink their teeth into. We’ve identified six technology trends that will help your business thrive in the new year.

Future Tool printed on blue and green brick

Source: Flickr Scott Smithson

  • Live Streaming Videos

    YouTube, Vine and .gifs have been a part of marketing strategies for years, but Periscope and Blab are taking those videos to the next level and allowing for live streaming. Live streaming can help break the fourth wall, and create an intimate connection between client and business by giving clients a peak inside the inner workings of a business. This technology trend is a top way to reach the millennial client base.

 

How to start live streaming:

What is Periscope – Read this simple guide to get started
How to Use Periscope — A list of awesome content ideas
This Entrepreneur Uses Periscope as a Growth Hack — A real life example.
How to Get Started on Blab – Simple startup and set up guide.

telco-multipath

  • Omnichannel Campaigns

Social media, as a marketing avenue, has finally hit its stride. According to experts, business have finally begun to treat social media as a channel, rather than a strategy. Now that the issue is nailed down, more companies will be moving to omnichannel campaigns. Omnichannel marketing is a way of spreading the love, and allowing multiple channels to be utilized throughout the purchasing experience. Domino’s rocks this model with their Twitter and mobile app ordering system.

How to start a basic “omni-channel” marketing strategy:

Get a consistent look to your branding and your messaging. ?This is a critical first step. Omni-channel marketing means that your brand is consistent across all devices and channels. ?It helps to get consistent right now before you step into multiple channels.

Get a picture of your WHOLE customer. ?Everyone is bouncing from one device to another. ?If you don’t have the money for expensive market research (and who does?) Take time to simply OBSERVE your customers in their natural habitat. ?Even if you’re in the B2B space, you have an opportunity to grab your customers’ attention if you treat them like consumers instead of “businesses”.

  • An Increase in Mobile Technology

With a growing customer base that wants what they want, how they want it, and where they want it, more small business owners are going mobile. Mobile technology that is being utilized by small business owners to help them freely move away from their office is was on the rise in 2014 and really hit its stride in 2015. Square, for example, allows small business owners to take payments even on the road.

  • Automated Marketing

According to recent data, one of the reasons small businesses fail is because of a lack of marketing knowledge. A good way to combat this problem is through automated marketing. Automated marketing is a type of software that makes it easy for a small business to manage content across different channels, and to automate the repetitive tasks to ensure marketing initiatives are implemented in the right way. This is just a technologically-savvy way of saying ?leave it to the computers?. Before you pick a software, however, you’ll want to find one that meets your specific business needs. Research is necessary.

Looking for a great marketing automation tool?

10 Digital Marketing Automation Tools: A Primer on Marketing Automation and some suggestions by Jeff Bullas.

Select an email marketing service: Get a quick review comparison summary of marketing automation tools at ChooseWhat.com

7-Web Marketing Automation Tools:?I like the tools listed here because they cover the spectrum of small business applications and budgets.

  • Communicating Effectively

Whether you are developing a marketing strategy, or getting your staff on board for a takeout lunch, you need to be able to communicate effectively. Effective communication is key in today’s changing marketing, and technology is making it easier to communicate with your staff and your clients no matter where you are. Apps like Fuze (video conferencing) and Addappt (social maintenance app) makes it easy to keep all your ducks in a row and reach out to your people more effectively. This spills over and create a more streamlined business, overall.

Other Great Apps to Keep Your Team on Track:

Trello: ?I really love this simple project management app. ?I use it with several clients and teams. ?It’s not sophisticated, but it really serves as a great agenda and project tracker. ?I love it for brainstorming ideas and to-do lists.

Skype. Google Hangouts and Chat: These free apps are wonderful and offer a free way to connect with your virtual team or clients via voice, video or both. ?You can also record your meetings for future use.

  • Direct Mailers are Back, with a Twist

Recent research has shown that direct mailers are actually an effective form of marketing to millennials, who, apparently, find the idea of getting physical mail “quaint”. Add a twist to direct mailers in 2016, by adding QR codes to the mailing, so young consumers can use tech to interact with their physical package. This is also an easy way to collect data you’ll need to tailor your campaigns as you move forward into the year.

My recommendation for direct mail marketing:

I am a big fan and user of 3DMailings.com – don’t listen to me, check out the web site! All you have to do is choose a pre-designed campaign, send them your list and their friendly staff will run the entire campaign for you! ?Just tell them Ivana sent you. (This is an affiliate link. ?I only promote products I’ve used myself and gotten great results with.)

Now that 2016 is here, it is time to get going and utilize these trends to help your business thrive in the new year. Coupled with your existing marketing campaigns, these tools might just give you the advantage over your competition.

About the Author Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com. She ranked #21 out of 30,000 influential people on the Internet in Fast Company. Ivana is also one of D&B Top SMB Influencers. She is the book editor for Small Business Trends, a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum and has appeared on MSNBC.

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