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 now.
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 your bottom line.
2. Manage your reputation online.
What consumers say about your business will become increasingly important in 2013. You should be spending a significant amount of time controlling your online reputation. You can either pay a company to do it for you 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 the discounts and sale promotions you’re going to offer to consumers in the first quarter of 2013. Why? 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.
In 2013, more consumers 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. What does this mean for your small business? Think about offering a mobile payment solution to your customers. For example, if you decide to use Square to handle your company’s mobile payments, promote it on your website. 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 — online, in print, billboards and the like. 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 2013 ad budget, take a look at the cost of sponsored content versus display advertising and see if it will work for you.