2016 Trends for Small Businesses

It’s a new year and small business owners need to keep an eye out for trends and changes that can affect their business, employees, marketing and more. Here are 5 of the biggies!

Embrace mobile

It's official: There are more searches on mobile than desktops or any other devices. Google now penalizes sites that aren't optimized for mobile by giving more relevance to those that are. Adjust your thinking and picture your customers in line at the grocery store glancing at their phone rather than sitting at a desk. Make sure your site looks perfect on smaller screens and use more visual content.

Tap Into On Demand Workers

Uber shook up the transportation industry by giving ride seekers the ability to summon a car with the swipe of a finger. The same revolution is going on with today's work force. Three years ago, the independent contracting site Upwork had 1.5 million freelancers registered; now they have more than 10 million. Instead of bringing on a full time employee, taking on those costs and risking a layoff if there's a business downturn, look into freelancers to perform needed tasks like web design, accounting, copywriting and more.

Testing is Key

For small and large companies, testing marketing campaigns is always vital. Make it a priority to look at analytics and study the results. Although it might take more time that you believe, testing provides valuable insight that can shape the future of your small business.

Utilize geo-precise marketing

Small businesses can reach out to find customers and increase conversions using geo-precise marketing. Google Adwords, Facebook ads and other advertising platforms can help your business find the perfect consumer based on location.

Utilize the Cloud

A recent survey showed that 52% of small businesses use cloud storage. But what exactly is this “cloud”? Cloud computing means that instead of hardware and software sitting on your desktop or inside your company's network, it's provided for you as a service by another company. All data is accessed over the Internet. Dropbox, Microsoft Office and Google top the list as the most popular cloud products for small businesses.

Content is Key

A low-cost ways to drive traffic and build brand awareness for your small business is through content marketing. Content marketing isn’t just for large companies; it’s a perfect strategy for many small businesses. What that broad term means is creating and distributing relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience. Content marketing can include social media, blog posts, YouTube videos and more. If you’d like help developing a content marketing plan, you can find free help through your local SCORE office or an SBA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

Do you need extra working capital to increase marketing efforts for your small business? Visit SmartBiz today and discover in about five minutes if you’re qualified for an SBA loan. SBA loans are the best bet for small businesses with low rates, long terms and low monthly payments.