If you’re a small business owner, decision maker or manager – then there’s little question about whether or not you’d like to see your business grow.

As 2018 approaches, so do new and developing areas for your business to expand into. Sure, there are universal fundamental truths about how to grow your business generally – but if you want to rocket your growth on the back of what your customers are looking for right now, you won’t go wrong by adapting your business to account for some of these trends…

Do social – and do it well

Here’s a stark truth – Facebook probably holds more data about you individually than most companies hold about all of their customers combined.

Social media isn’t about talking to your friends – it’s about harvesting masses of data so it can be used to retarget you – offering the best service to paying advertisers.

If you’re one of those advertisers, you can give yourself a massive head start by nailing your presence on the platforms you choose. Let’s carry on with Facebook as the example:

You start your page, you gather a few likes by putting out a few comments and doing a little advertising – but really, what use is that tiny cross section of your audience? Probably not a lot. So, with that in mind, you need to maximise your social presence and naturally build your following. Every time you add someone to that ‘likers’ list, you give Facebook more data to work with when it establishes your target audience.

Combine your demographics with Facebook’s algorithms and you can watch your advertising relevance go through the roof.

Get blogging

Remember someone telling you the customer is king? Well, it’s shortly going to be 2018 – which means they’re now wrong. Content is king – and your customers agree.

You can provide the slickest, best service in the world – but unless you’re offering value, you’re going to struggle getting into people’s consciousness for them to convert to being someone you can wow with your service.

2018 will demand, more than ever before, high quality, readable and informative content. Make it about subjects your customers want to consume, write it in a style that’s easy for them to read and let them easily share it to their own followers and readers.

Shoot video

Okay, perhaps we were a little hasty to crown content as being king in 2018. The regal crown still belongs to Google of course – and while Google loves great content, it’s also got an increasing fondness for video – a fondness your customers share.

The power of video is increasing virtually daily. You must have noticed auto-play sneaking into all your feeds? It’s because we love consuming video – it’s at a nice pace, it’s concise, we can make great judgements based on what we see – and ultimately, we don’t have to go trawling through numerous sites and thousands of words to find the info we want.

Also, 60% of consumers opt for video over any other form of content – so the message is clear: Shoot video, blog with embedded videos, support your customers with video and build video into your email marketing. If it’s what the people and the king want – who are we to act otherwise?!

If you dont have video on your website then this may be something that you would want to consider adding, if you dont have the technical skills in-house to do this then you could work with an agency such as Think Zap which are one of the top Glasgow web design companies.

Bring data to the table

When you get a ‘gut feeling’ about something it’s data that’s informing your brain.

You might not think it is, you might think you’ve got a 6th sense that means you’ve just got a good feel for business things, but honestly, science says you’re wrong.

What you’ve actually got is a massive unconscious part of your brain where all the data you’ve ever encountered is stored. This data seeps out – meaning that trends, predictions and other seemingly psychic market intuition is actually being formed by experience and knowledge – just not the same stuff that’s written in your notepad.

So, instead of just bringing your slightly leaky unconscious to the boardroom table, you should also bring the actual data. Drag it in from everywhere, your sales processes, your CRM systems, your marketing funnels and conversion rates, customer profiles and demographic information, Google analytics – and so forth.

It might take some interpretation – but this is going to be time extremely well spent. Hiding in the data is an area where you’ve never considered scaling up or changing your practice – do it in 2018 and let the maths deliver the results.

Email marketing

Okay, email marketing is hardly going to be a new trend for 2018 – but we’re not just talking about new tech here, we’re also talking about smarter and more productive ways of using current growth methods.

If you want to be virtually guaranteed to get through to your customers, email is the golden ticket. Social targeting might or might not get to them and cold telephone marketing is likely to turn them off, so email represents a nice middle ground – you’ll reach that person – but you’re doing so in a non-invasive manner.

Instead of going in with a ‘buy me now’ call to action, email in 2018 should be used in a similar way to your blog – a means to provide your customer with great and informative content – but in this instance, delivered right to their inbox.

Next time you log into Mailchimp to design your 2018 campaign, check for aggressive sales pitches and strip them out. Think more about expanding your mailing list and offering more value – and watch your following and click-throughs grow.

Cater for mobile users

So, mobile is our final tip – but we’ve put it here strategically, knowing that you expect us to save the best until last.

And you’re right, catering for mobile users is the way forward for growth in 2018 – not only that, but it’s the foundation stone for everything else that’s on this list. If you forget mobile – you can forget about explosive growth.

The real message here is to view mobile as the standard way that customers are going to interact with your brand – from accessing your site and viewing your video to making payments and seeking customer support.

Ask yourself, do you have any services that would be more accessible as an app? If not, could your site design more resemble the app functionality customers are coming to expect? Consider how customers interact with you – and make sure that as 2018 develops, so does their ability to do it with mobile.