Up, up, and away! While it is true that the Great Recession was long-lasting and its recovery sluggish, it is also true that the economy was never quite as bad as it was made out to be during the last election.
“Slow and steady” might have been an apt description for it then.
“Poised for takeoff” is what we are seeing now:
► The unemployment rate is at a 16-year low of 4.3%. A million new jobs have been added since Trump took office.
► Housing prices are up 6.5% this past year, and they were already increasing before that.
► The stock market is at an all-time high.
Overall, the U.S. economy grew at a 3.2% clip in 2017. Very solid, and good news for small business owners.
Retail is not dead: Mark Twain could have been talking about the purported retailocolypse when he said, “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Stories of Amazon taking over the world are legion, yes, and in some cases warranted. And it is equally true that the retail landscape has changed and is changing in response to the Internet generally and Amazon specifically.
But that said, what physical small businesses have going for them are things Amazon cannot match, namely, that very few buying decisions are based on price alone. Other things come into play, things such as a friendly, personalized experience. No one does that better than the small business.
But, even so, retail is dead, is it not? Not by a long shot. Get this: According to Goldman Sachs, 85% of retail sales are still made in physical stores.
Personalized marketing is ascending: That consumers want and expect a more personalized experience is a years-long trend that is only growing stronger. Part of that is the expectation that the physical experience will be more personal and part of it is that the online experience will be more personalized, as well.
A variety of online tools are now available that help you personalize your online customers’ experience and it would behoove you to learn about them and adopt some.
The evolution will be televised: Live streaming is the Next Big Media Thing.
When we talk about personalization, this is a very tangible way to look at it. It is difficult for a business to make a personal connection online as easily or well as they can offline. Live streaming video is an antidote for that.
Businesses can live stream sales and events, Q and A sessions, webinars, product reviews, parties, what have you. By most estimates, people would much rather watch a live feed than read a company blog. Live video allows you to connect with people online and that is a rare thing.
Pay-to-play social is growing: As Marketingland.com put it, “Since at least 2013, organic reach on Facebook has been on the decline. Its death knell would not be a surprise. … Facebook’s News Feed has been largely pay-to-play for Pages for years.”
Facebook is now testing several new features that are sure to decline the organic reach of your social posts even more. What this means is that small businesses will increasingly need to consider and use paid reach to get their social message seen.