As we look towards 2014 and make plans to ensure it is the best year ever for our small businesses, I decided to scour the Web for the top marketing trends every small business owner needs to be aware of as we close out 2013. Here’s what I learned:
Consumer expectations rise
According to Forbes, consumer expectations have risen 20% over the past 5 years. This is the time to ramp up customer service, focus on quality, and differentiate your brand – stand for something! – to avoid being viewed as a commodity, or something that is available anywhere.
Emotional marketing gains steam
One way to stand out is by communicating your values (people tend to do business with brands that have the same values as them) using emotional marketing. Think about what drives your clients’ decision-making, and tap into those emotions in your marketing.
Images trump text
You need look no further than the ascendancy of visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram and the fact that Facebook rewards image-based posts (because they are engaged with more often) to know that images are becoming more important than text in marketing.
Mobile marketing improves
Thanks to GPS technology and social apps like Banjo, Path, and Foursquare, it will be easier to hyper-target your audience with offers based on their location. Start thinking about how you can incorporate mobile marketing into your strategy.
Social media strategies expand
Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Vine are already popular, and their user bases will only increase in 2014, making it important to establish a presence on these networks.
Paid advertising picks up
If you want to cut through the noise and clutter on social media, paid advertising is the way to do it. We are already used to paying for advertising on Facebook, so start thinking about using paid ads on other social media platforms as well.
Video marketing goes short-form
Video marketing isn’t going anywhere – it is still one of the best ways to tell your story and connect with your audience. The use of short-form video on Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat will increase, making it the perfect way to reach an audience with an increasingly short attention span.
Real-time marketing gets easier
Engaging content is relevant content, and relevant content often responds to what is happening … now. Use content discovery apps like Flipboard, Pulse, and Fancy to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry, local market, or the economy so you can respond to new developments quickly.
Ad re-targeting becomes a small business conversion tool
Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t use ad re-targeting. Try using Adroll or Google Remarketing to reach people who visited your site but didn’t download an offer or ebook, buy anything or contact you.
Which trends are you most excited about? Worried about doing it right? Already doing and enjoying successful outcomes?
Keep up-to-date with online marketing trends in the coming year by registering for the Web.com Small Business Forum Online. Being a member of the Small Business Forum enables you to ask questions about online marketing, comment on our numerous articles, get to know other small business owners and receive special offers on business services from our partners. Sign up now to accelerate your online marketing potential!
Image courtesy of cvm.ncsu.edu