4 Trends in Business Development to Keep an Eye On

Which parts of your business development strategy need updating to help you drive growth and increase revenues? This list may give you a few new ideas.
September 12, 2018

Being able to identify and take advantage of advanced technologies can help you craft a business development strategy that is up-to-date and competitive.

That said, keeping pace with technology trends is not always straightforward. It can be time-consuming and take you away from running your business day to day. But it helps to explore some trends that can have a positive effect on your business development plan.

With that in mind, you may want to consider these four strategies when you're looking to update your business development approach. This list of business development trends is not exhaustive, but it's a start to get you thinking. 

1. Focus on client education as part of your business development plan.

Offering client education may be a smart addition to your business development strategy.

Today's consumers are demanding a personalized online experience.

Take the legal industry as an example.

2018 Business Development Trends Across Law Firm Demographics survey by business development firm Ackert Inc. canvassed over 100 legal marketers and business development professionals from small firms (1-30 lawyers) to mega-firms (700+ lawyers). Ackert found that client education was ranked as one of the top revenue-generating strategies.

It's important to note, however, that client education is not marketing. Client education is about providing customers with skills and knowledge to get the most out of your services and products. It's empowering your customers while at the same time increasing opportunities to grow your business and gain new customers.

Think of your business. What kind of educational initiatives can you offer that could yield a high ROI? Consider using:

  • training,
  • seminars,
  • workshops,
  • webinars,
  • client panels,
  • case studies,
  • hands-on experiences,
  • videos,
  • online customer forums or
  • e-courses.

2. Optimize your content and site for voice search.

Emerging technologies may have a bearing on your business development initiatives.

Voice search is speech recognition technology that allows you to use your voice to search for items online. Voice search is a growing trend that will be hard to ignore. Increasingly customers are using search assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri or Google's Voice Search to search for and buy products and services.

As more and more consumers use voice searches, you may want to consider optimizing your website for the growing trend of voice-activated searches. Have you considered how voice search might affect your business development initiatives? Let's look at pay per click (PPC). If you use PPC as part of your business development strategy, you may need to ask yourself if your PPC campaign is getting voice search traffic.

A voice search ranking study released by SEO training firm Backlinko in 2018 analyzed 10,000 Google Home Results to find out how to optimize a website for voice search.

Some of the factors for optimizing a page for voice search results include:

  • Page Speed: Page loads in 4.6 seconds (52 percent faster than the average page).
  • HTTPS websites: Over 70 percent of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.
  • Simple, easy-to-read content: Written at a 9th-grade level or below.

3. Upgrade to progressive apps to maximize your business development efforts.

Are you using a mobile app as a marketing or business development tool for your business? If so, you're likely using a regular app that encourages users to download it.

But this may turn out to be a challenge. Why? Mobile users may have downloaded too many apps and may consequently have little storage left on their mobile device.

Instead of missing out on potential customers, look into the next generation of apps, known as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These apps are web-based and don't require downloading and installation. They make it more likely that a customer might want to use your app.

The website PWA Stats provides case study examples of companies that are benefiting from PWAs. Chances are your competitors may move to PWAs, which could give them an advantage. Consider how you might be able to take advantage of this evolving technology trend to help enhance your business development initiatives.

4. Personalize email marketing to increase engagement.

Today's consumers are demanding a personalized online experience. A 2017 study on The Value of Personalization by Liveclicker shows that 55 percent of consumers opt out of or delete email marketing messages because of the lack of relevance. (Liveclicker is a provider of email personalization solutions.)

The study surveyed over 300 advertising and marketing professionals from three key industries: financial services, retail and travel and hospitality. It shows that implementing more sophisticated personalization tactics pays off. For example, 42 percent of email marketers using more sophisticated personalization enabled by machine learning saw a 21 percent improvement over those that use just basic personalization tactics such as the customer's first name.

Examples of smarter, more personalized tactics are:

  • including items that customers can pick up in their local store.
  • recognizing the customer as a member/showing loyalty point balance.
  • only presenting items in the customer's size for items such as apparel.

If you're using email marketing, you may want to give personalization some serious thought. This requires technology that can use real-time data. Liveclicker's report outlines some categories of data to consider, such as

  • Behavior Data: page views, site and click behavior, site or cart abandon data.
  • Native Open-Time Data: live location, which can be used to change the offer at the time the customer opens the email based on location, weather, or information that is specific to the customer's device.
  • Preference Data: information about the customer such as their name, demographics and interest categories.

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