It’s the start of a new year, and it’s always a good idea to check out what the next 12 months has in store for us! Our sister company and call answering service Face for Business undertook some research to see what the predictions for 2015 trends are, and we were motivated to see the suggestions that we, as a call handling service, can use to our advantage!

Virtual Assistants Were Among 2014 Start-up Trends

This time last year we were excited to be amongst the top 14 trends, as reported by The Telegraph. (See here). Although we’re a telephone answering service, we also fall under the ‘Virtual Assistant’ category, and this was cited as one of the big start-up trends of 2014.

It was a great year for us, in which our client based increased five-fold as well as our company brand being recognised across all our social media platforms and more importantly, 2014 saw our Google rankings becoming more prevalent with our website residing on page one for the majority of the latter part of the year. See here for a rundown of our 2014 highlights.

So, what’s predicted to trend in 2015?  Our top five of the suggested trends are as follows:-

Sales and marketing will marry up more

Sales and marketing will be more integrated with plans created to obtain the better customer rather than measuring success on views or clicks, online. Forbes see the role of the sales person evolve to take on a more consultative role, by identifying opportunities within their business for their target audience to relate to. Marketing will also become more bespoke, with marketers changing their tact to attract the more sustainable customers, rather than obtaining customers for numbers. Marketers will understand the more emotive side of customers buying habits. ‘Results’ should be your key selling point, using examples of customers you’ve obtained, and the lead magnets that you used to pull them in.

Start exporting and using pop-up shops

Food based businesses should make the most of the opportunities to sell their products outside of their normal workplace. Even online businesses are beginning to use pop-up stores. And, if you stock sherry, Persian food or are experimenting with fermentation, you’ll be amongst this year's food trends! ‘Niches’ are expected to attract major attention this year. Export is the other huge push for 2015, with The UK Trade and Investment campaign ‘Explore Export Week’ pushing SME’s to reach markets abroad. Only 12% of small businesses export currently, and the Confederation of British Industry figures suggest that a business is 11% more sustainable if they export.

Ensure you have mobile supported webpages for your customers

With consumers using mobiles increasingly to obtain information with a reported 79% of smartphone owners purchasing goods via their mobile. Therefore, it is important that 2015 is the year to ensure your website is fully functional on a mobile device. If you want to be a leader in this area, revise your SEO strategy to consider the increase in mobile users. As mentioned later in this post, social media is key to increase brand awareness and leads, which further supports mobile usage.

Freelancing and work/home balance will strengthen the family

NatWest Business Sense reported that workers will delve into the prospect of going freelance, which has been steadily increasing over the past six years. The Office for National Statistics reported that the number of freelance workers has increased by 38%. Employers seem to be taking this on board by offering staff flexible working, with the bigger companies offering unlimited holiday allowances, to retain their best employees.   Forbes reports that employees are becoming more aware of the sacrifices they make for their employers, and that in 2015 people have substance, and well-being will be incorporated within staffing plans.   The Telegraph notes that the family unit will strengthen, with children staying at home longer and men talking a more proactive approach to childcare.   Have a look at PolicyBee's ‘freelance tool' to see if going down this route would suit you.

Social Media will help you sell more this year

Clicky Media tells us that Social Media is not going away this year, and is expected to help your business more than ever. Businesses will use more engaging content to increase their online SEO, as well as using this medium for hard, and soft, sell. Using Social Media has always been a great way of improving your brand identity, and using this form of marketing more effectively, will help to establish your brand. For tips on effective social media, see a guest post we wrote here for The SM Experts, including how to use Hootsuite to your advantage. NatWest Business Sense also suggests that Social Media will become more consumer based, with intentions to transfer money via tweets!

We hope this post provides you with some food for thought, and that you may incorporate some of the suggestions within your sales and marketing plan.  Good luck, and do let us know if any of our top five trends help your business.

Article Sources

NatWest Business Sense
The Telegraph
Clicky Media