4 Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners in 2017

12/16/2016 03:46 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2017

Being a small business owner is not always easy, especially when you constantly need to stay up to date on all the new trends, strategies and algorithm updates in marketing. How can you continue to ensure that your business operations are running smoothly, while also growing your audience and customer base?

It's hard.

Here are four marketing tips that can help you ensure that 2017 doesn't throw any curve-balls your way.

1) Invest in SEO

As a small business owner in the digital age, whether you run an ecommerce business on Shopify, or whether you have a brick and mortar business, SEO is an absolute must. Over 81% of shoppers in 2014 conducted online research first, before shopping. That number just keeps going up as more people adopt smart technologies. If you want people to buy from you, you need to be extremely accessible. Whether you choose to invest in an SEO agency, or whether you decide to learn the skills yourself, a strong SEO strategy will certainly lead to a major increase in revenue for your entire business.

2) Run Experiments

Ross Simmonds is an entrepreneur who runs multiple businesses. One of his main strategies for growth is running experiments to identify which channels will in turn lead to success.

Rather than putting all your money into one strategy that hasn't been proven, is not the best technique for marketing your small business. Instead, find a way to test your hypothesis first. Maybe you think that making infographics will lead to an increase in engagement and brand advocacy? Test the concept out for a couple of months. If it works well, double-down and put more money on it. If not, move onto the next strategy.

3) Produce Relevant Content

What does relevant content mean? It means creating videos, infographics, blog posts, and eBooks with useful information for your audience. The trick is to tie in how your business will help them answer their questions. A great example is the Will it Blend? YouTube series. This viral content marketing campaign was the result of a series of infomercials highlighting a blender created by Blendtec. In order to showcase just how effective the blender was, the Founder of the company would blend just about anything, including an iPhone 6 at one point. Another example of relevant and engaging content is the upcoming web-series, Drunk Entrepreneurs, where entrepreneurs are invited to tell their business stories over drinks.

Not saying you need to blend an iPhone, or get entrepreneurs drunk to go viral, but finding a way to produce content that correlates with your business is integral to getting people excited about your product. If you are looking to create videos, look into Wistia, which is a great tool for hosting videos and collecting useful data from those videos.

4) Don't Use Pop-ups

You may have read many articles by marketers that rave about the positive impact of pop-ups and interstitials on their websites. But the truth is, in 2017 Google will be penalizing sites that frustrate the mobile experience. As more and more people use mobile to engage with content, it's important that the experience remains positive. Pop-ups block that experience and are difficult to escape on such a small screen. Instead, you can take a look at these pop-up and interstitial alternatives. Other alternatives to pop-ups include gated content, or using a tool like NudgeSumo, which is a more subtle approach to asking for an email and not as intrusive.

Whether you are an experienced marketer, or a new business owner just getting into the game, it's crucial that you understand how to get your business seen by new people. The above strategies are just some of many. If you have other tactics that have worked for you in terms of business growth, please share them in the comments!