By Tasha Cunningham
With just 44 days left until the end of 2012, now is the time to take a look at what your small business should focus on in 2013 to market more effectively online. BizBytes has prepared a list of 13 trends to watch.
1. Consumers will become marketers. With online product reviews, social media and viral video, consumers are more empowered than ever to share their opinions — good or bad — about the products and services they use. 2013 is being hailed in the world of branding and advertising as the year of the consumer. Big brands and small businesses alike will have to stay on their toes to make sure that the products and services they’re offering are quality. If not, online consumer backlash will have a detrimental effect on the bottom line.
2. Manage your reputation online. You should be spending significant amounts of time controlling your online reputation. You can either pay a company to do it or do it yourself. Either way, protecting your rep is going to be essential in 2013.
3. Discounts will drive social sharing. Take some time before the end of the year to plan discounts and sale promotions. In 2013, discounts are going to drive social sharing across the board. If you want
consumers to share information about your small business, put the power in their hands with incentives.
4. Mobile wallets will drive online purchases. Moreconsumers than ever will use their smartphones to pay for purchases. According to Sony Ericsson, smartphones account for more than 50 percent of new mobile devices purchased worldwide. That growth is expected to skyrocket in 2013. Mobile wallet platforms like Passbook, Square and Google Wallet are predicted to become the top mobile payment platforms. Think about offering a mobile payment solution to your customers. Design special online offers and highlight the convenience your company offers by giving customers the option to pay for purchases online.
5. Content sharing as advertisements. Many small business owners would love to advertise their company everywhere. But for most, it’s cost prohibitive. In 2013, content sharing is predicted to become the low-cost advertising alternative for small businesses. Instead of spending money to place ads on search engines and other websites, small businesses will turn to content sharing to advertise their products and services. If you go that route, remember to always tag your content with information about your business, including your website and links to your company’s social media platforms.
6. Sponsored content versus display ads. It’s predicted that the new year will bring a shift from display advertising to sponsored content. You’ve probably seen sponsored content on many websites already. It is also available on social media platforms like Facebook, where you can pay to sponsor a post you create. If you’re planning your ad budget, take a look at the cost of sponsored content versus display advertising.
7. Mobile marketing will be a must. Did you know that 84 percent of small businesses that use mobile marketing strategies report an increase in new business for their efforts? That’s according to a survey conducted by Web.com and Lab42 earlier this year. That means you need to invest some time and effort into creating an engaging mobile presence for your business. Start small and use tools like Groupon, Foursquare and Facebook to get people to check in.
8. Geo-target locally. To increase new business in 2013, think local. If you’re a Miami business, target customers in the South Florida area, especially if you have a traditional brick and mortar location. Also, most platforms like Facebook have geo-location tools to help you zero in on perfect potential customers.
9. Photo sharing will become cost-effective. Platforms like Instagram and Flickr provide a great way to share photos of your products, charity work, or anything else you feel is relevant to what you do.
10. Social gamefication will become the new way to engage customers. Adding fun gaming elements like badges and points in online marketing is expected to be the new way to draw customers in 2013.
11. Turn your website into a destination. Transform your website into a place that people want to visit. Make sure you’ve got videos, games, interesting articles and product reviews. Consumers will spend more time on your site, which will increase their chances of buying.
12. Making your website mobile-friendly. Responsive Web design, which makes your website easier to manage and gives mobile users a better experience, will be talked about more. You create one design that fits almost all screen and device types. When your customers access your site, the website will sense the device being used and respond accordingly.
13. Connect online strategies to offline promotions. Start by including your website URL, QR codes and other information on your brochures and other materials you use offline.
For more tips for 2013, visit www.BizBytes101.com