Now that we’ve gotten comfortable writing 2013 rather than 2012, I revisited all the “top trends for 2013” blog posts and articles I saved over the past two months to see what stood out the most and could potentially have the biggest impact on small businesses. Here’s what I found:
1 – Loyalty
Loyalty programs are shifting. Traditionally, you reward your customers for spending, but now consumers expect rewards for taking certain actions and sharing their activities with others. Additionally, consumers are responding to more variety in redemption options, so think about the “near-cash” rewards you can offer.
2 – SEO
SEO, social media, and content used to be completely separate areas in marketing. Now, they’re overlapping thanks to changes in search engines, which reward social sharing and linking, and content-focused marketing strategies (an active blog and fresh content). Continue to focus on engaging your customers through social media and valuable content to see benefits around SEO.
3 – Local
Local will continue to grow, especially since local businesses know their local customers and are as good at – or better than – engaging with them online as big companies. If you don’t already, use location in your online advertising, and continue to focus on customer service.
4 – Partnerships
Big companies (airlines and hotels, for example) continue to create partnerships to reach more customers. I have seen a lot of small businesses partnering together, based on neighborhood or industry, to increase their reach as well. Who can you partner with?
5 – Ecommerce
Online consumer spending is soaring. According to comScore $304 billion was spent via ecommerce in the U.S. during 2012. It almost goes without saying, but if you sell products, now is the time to consider putting together an ecommerce site.
6 – Mobile Devices
Smartphones and tablet usage soared in 2012 – more than 120 million people in the U.S. own a smartphone and more than 48 million people own a tablet (again, those stats are courtesy of comScore). Aside from having mobile-friendly sites, take advantage of geo-targeted marketing by “pushing” relevant information to your audience if they are in your area.
7 – Real-Time Analytics
By using a social media dashboard (like Hootsuite) and Google Analytics for your website, it is dead-simple to get real-time insights on what is going on online – from conversations about your brand to a blog post that is getting shared like crazy. With this information readily available, you can make quick changes to improve your marketing and customer service.
What trend do you think will impact you the most? Why?
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