6 Trends for Small Businesses in 2024.

Written by Dyfrig

2 Jan, 2024

LEFf Business

As we start 2024 I thought I’d take a look at the trends that will impact your business and especially the client lifecycle during the year.  This is not exhaustive and only indicates what I’m planning to focus on in content and my own business.

1.  Email Deliverability changes

This doesn’t take much “crystal ball gazing” since Google have been very clear that what was good practice when sending mass emails will now become mandatory.

It’s all about authentication, interaction and reputation.

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, Google’s latest updates to email deliverability are set to significantly change how businesses manage their client communication in 2024. The changes, primarily aimed at enhancing user experience and security, will be changing the way emails reach inboxes, emphasising the importance of content relevance and sender reputation. For businesses, this means a shift in strategy is essential. Client lifecycle management will now need a more nuanced approach to email marketing, focusing on personalisation, engagement, and the cultivation of trust. You’ll need to ensure that emails are not only relevant and valuable to your audience but also adhere to Google’s stringent standards. This will help in keeping high deliverability rates, ensuring that communications reach clients at crucial stages of their lifecycle, from onboarding to retention.

The impact of these changes by Google extends throughout the client lifecycle, affecting acquisition, engagement, retention, and re-engagement strategies. In the acquisition phase, the challenge will be to land in the primary inbox, avoiding spam filters through verified domains and relevant content that resonates with your target audience. For client engagement and retention, the focus shifts to crafting emails that foster interaction, such as feedback requests or personalised offers, thereby signalling to email algorithms the relevance and value of your communications. The re-engagement stage becomes more significant since sending to contacts that have not engaged for an extended period will impact on your sender reputation.   The new deliverability rules will need more creative and value-driven approaches to re-capture the attention of dormant clients. Overall, Google’s email deliverability changes are pushing businesses to refine their email marketing strategies, aligning them more closely with the holistic journey of their clients, thereby fostering stronger, more meaningful relationships in the digital space.

 

2.  Hyper personalisation

The more you know about your client the more personalised you can make each interaction.

In 2024, hyper-personalisation will be a critical part of small business marketing, particularly in the context of client lifecycle management. For small businesses, the ability to tailor marketing efforts to the individual needs and preferences of each customer is no longer just a competitive advantage but a necessity. Hyper-personalisation goes beyond basic segmentation and generic content; it involves using data analytics and AI to understand each customer’s unique journey, preferences, and behaviours. This deep level of customisation allows you to create highly relevant and engaging experiences for your clients at every stage of the client lifecycle, from first contact and acquisition to retention and advocacy. By using hyper-personalisation, small businesses can effectively out-compete larger corporations by offering unique, personal experiences that large-scale operations often cannot match. This approach leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, higher conversion rates and customer lifetime value.

At the acquisition stage, hyper-personalised content and recommendations can attract more qualified leads, resonating with your potential clients’ specific needs and interests. During the engagement phase, customised communication and offers, as well as preferred modes of communication, keep your clients connected and interested, dramatically enhancing the user experience. In the retention and loyalty phases, this tailored approach fosters a deeper emotional connection with clients, making them feel valued and understood, which is crucial for to you building a loyal customer base.  Similarly, re-engagement strategies, where understanding past interactions and preferences can help craft offers and messages more likely to reignite a client’s interest. In 2024, investing in hyper-personalisation technology should become easier as the technology becomes more available and user-friendly, and the strategies indispensable for navigating and thriving in the increasingly competitive and client-centric market landscape.

 

3.  AI will be the business owner’s friend

OK, another one that doesn’t take a lot of thought to come up with, but the boom in AI tools really can help small businesses

In the realm of small business marketing, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a pivotal factor, especially in the context of lifecycle marketing. AI technologies offer small businesses the capability to automate and perfect various aspects of their marketing strategies, tailoring them to each stage of the customer lifecycle. This includes everything from lead generation and nurturing to customer retention and loyalty programs. AI-driven tools will enable you to glean valuable insights from client data, such as purchase history, browsing behaviour, and engagement patterns, allowing for more accurate targeting and personalised experiences. The use of AI in lifecycle marketing not only enhances efficiency but also elevates the client experience, a crucial factor in building brand loyalty and increasing customer lifetime value.

AI-powered chatbots supply a consistent and instant customer service experience, crucial for maintaining customer engagement and satisfaction throughout the lifecycle. In content marketing, AI can help you in planning and creating personalised content that resonates with individual clients, thereby increasing relevance and effectiveness.  AI in lifecycle marketing is not just a technological upgrade; it’s a strategic imperative for small businesses aiming to grow and nurture their customer base in a dynamic market environment.

 

4.  Video is still big!

Many businesses are already using video and it’s a great way of creating reusable and easily consumed content.

In 2023, video content had become an indispensable tool for small businesses, playing a crucial role in engaging customers and enhancing their marketing efforts and this will continue in 2024. The power of video lies in its ability to convey messages in a more dynamic, engaging, and easily digestible format compared to traditional text-based content. For small businesses, this is particularly significant as it offers a cost-effective way to create a strong brand presence and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Videos can showcase products, share customer testimonials, and tell the brand’s story, thus helping small businesses to stand out in a crowded market. The versatility of video content also enables small businesses to reach a wider audience across various platforms, including social media, websites, and email marketing. With the increasing prevalence of mobile internet usage, videos have become more accessible and influential, making them a powerful tool for you to increase visibility and attract potential customers.  The increase in the number and variety of apps that can support and enhance video content will also be a boon.

Applying video content to lifecycle marketing strategies in 2024 provides small businesses with a unique opportunity to engage with customers at every stage of their journey. In the awareness phase, introductory videos can help attract attention and build initial interest. During the consideration stage, how-to videos or product demonstrations can educate and persuade potential customers. In the decision-making phase, testimonial videos or case studies can supply the social proof needed to encourage purchases. Post-purchase, instructional videos on product use or maintenance can enhance customer experience and foster loyalty. Additionally, personalised video messages can be used in re-engagement campaigns, reigniting interest among dormant customers. The integration of video into lifecycle marketing not only enriches the client experience but also enables small businesses to communicate their value proposition.

 

5.  Incorporating sustainability and ethics into your business.

Consumers see this as almost an expectation for their favoured brand. Ethical behaviour and a sustainable business model should be at the forefront of your identity

Incorporating ethics and sustainability has become not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for your businesses. As consumer awareness and demand for ethical practices and sustainability grow, small businesses are finding that these elements are critical to their brand’s reputation and competitiveness. Consumers, especially younger generations, are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on a company’s environmental impact and ethical standards. For small businesses, this shift presents an opportunity to differentiate in the marketplace. By adopting sustainable practices, such as using eco-friendly materials, reducing waste, or supporting fair labour practices, small businesses can appeal to a more conscientious consumer base. Additionally, ethical and sustainable practices help build customer trust and loyalty, leading to long-term relationships and positive word-of-mouth referrals. This trust is vital for small businesses, as they often rely on their community and client relationships to thrive.

Integrating ethics and sustainability into business operations can lead to operational efficiencies and potential cost savings for small businesses in 2024. Sustainable practices like reducing energy consumption or minimising waste can lower operational costs in the long run. Moreover, embracing these practices often stimulates innovation, leading to the development of new, more efficient ways of working or novel, eco-friendly products and services. This innovation not only drives business growth but also attracts top talent who want to work for responsible and forward-thinking organisations. In essence, for small businesses in 2024, embracing ethics and sustainability is not just about being socially responsible; it’s a comprehensive strategy that enhances brand value, strengthens customer relationships, promotes innovation, and drives economic benefits, ensuring that the business is well-positioned for success in a rapidly evolving global market.

 

6. Conversational and Educative Marketing

Your content can’t be one way. It needs interactivity and responses. Interactive content, chatbot responses, email and social engagement

As 2024 unfolds conversational and educative marketing will become crucial components in the arsenal of your business strategies. Conversational marketing, which uses tools like chatbots and messaging apps, provides small businesses with a platform for real-time, personalised communication with their clients. This approach facilitates a more engaging and interactive customer experience, fostering stronger relationships. For instance, use chatbots to offer personalised advice or answer client queries instantly, enhancing the client’s experience from the discovery phase right through to purchase.  Using questionnaires can provide feedback to the client along with information to the business which can help you better target your prospects. Similarly, in post-purchase stages, these conversational tools can be used for feedback collection or providing after-sales support, ensuring ongoing engagement and customer satisfaction.

Educative marketing, on the other hand, focuses on providing value to customers through informative content, helping them make informed decisions throughout their customer journey. This form of marketing is particularly effective in building trust and establishing you as a thought leader in your niche. For example, a small business specialising in eco-friendly products might use blog posts, how-to videos, and webinars to educate its audience about environmental issues and sustainable living, thereby aligning its brand with these values. In the initial stages of the client lifecycle, such content can attract and engage potential customers. As the relationship progresses, more detailed and personalised educational content can be provided, helping to nurture the customer relationship and encourage repeat business. In 2024, for small businesses, the combination of conversational and educative marketing is essential not just for attracting and getting new customers but also for keeping them and fostering long-term loyalty by continuously providing value and enhancing customer experiences.

 

As with all such predictions, some will be right, some will be wrong, and there will be things that we currently have no idea even exist that could impact your business!  You are welcome to get in touch to discuss any of the above.

“Let’s do more in 2024”

My Name is Dyfrig and I help businesses think in terms of Smart Client Lifecycle Management to plan and implement the systems and automation that improve client experiences, create a sustainable business, and increase revenue.

Click below to send a message or book a Zoom Call.