If you started your small business more than 3 years ago, email marketing, print ads or radio ads were the best way to bring in new customers. Small business marketing has taken on a whole new shape in the past couple of years.  You need to be working with social media, email marketing, e-commerce website, and even SEO. In 2013 we are seeing a couple more aspects be added to the fold.  You will be expected to have mobile optimization and create top quality content for your site.

Below you will find a list of the top 5 marketing trends to expect in 2013 according to top marketing experts.

Mobile Marketing

108073-1280Most people now a day have a smartphone or at least know what a smartphone can do.  With smartphones comes a wide range of possibilities for marketing opportunities.  As a small business owner, you have to keep in mind the mobile versions of web pages and marketing campaigns.

Last a year a study by Macquarie Group, a company that tracks the Web, said they saw a decline in the traditional search model and an increase in mobile search.  This trend is going to consistently increase as long as phone technology continues to advance.

The good news for small business owners is that getting into the mobile game has become drastically easier in the past few years.  You are now able to have a mobile web presence and even accept mobile payments with minimal upfront costs.  There are even sites dedicated to helping you build your own smartphone app for as little as $49.

If you are unable to afford to go fully mobile, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress are optimized for mobile use. Consider using Facebook and Twitter to connect with your customers.

Content is King

“Content Is King” has been a cliché around Internet marketing for years now, but it stills holds true.  With Google and other search engines putting even more emphasis on great content, the backbone of any good online marketing campaign is content that people want to read.

In 2012 Google released a very hard-hitting algorithm update that hit most of the Internet world, and change the way that SEO is done.  In the past you could pay for valuable links and rank high, now you have to earn great links to rank high.

For your website to succeed in SEO you will need to produce high-quality content and promote it using online channels.  You should also focus on both on-site and off-site ranking factors.  But the truth of the matter is that Google could change the algorithm at any time.

In the past, you could build your site, forget it, then reap the rewards.  Now 70% of your SEO effort should be spent creating buzz around your site.

You may be an expert in your field but not a good writer or you don’t have time to write.  No need to worry, outsourcing article writing can be very affordable.  Depending on the audience you want to reach, you can update your site as little as once a month.

Strong Email Marketing Focus

You may have had success with email marketing in the past, but now email is focused on mobile.  In 2013 small business owners need to focus on optimizing their email for mobile subscribers, such as smartphones, and tablets.

If you own a small business where your customers access you locally, where they come into the store; it is an important tactic that they can access coupons or specials through their mobile devices.  You can place barcodes in emails so that people don’t have to print in order to use them in the store.  Another idea is creating an app for your store so that people can access the content when they come in.

One of the biggest challenges to making your emails mobile is having them render the correct format on every mobile device as well as on a computer.  You can use sites similar to Email On Acid to test your email configurations before they are sent out.  These sites will reformat your emails so that they work in a variety of browsers.

When writing emails for mobile delivery it is also important to think about the message.   A mobile message is similar to a billboard message you see on the side of the road.  Your message should be accepted within the first 8 seconds of viewing it.  In a mobile message entice your readers to take further action with a strong call to action.

Email marketing can be a tricky thing sometimes.  The best option is to test, then test again, and test some more.  There is no one single magic formula for everyone.  Each small business has a different audience they are trying to reach.

Also, keep in mind that not all emails sent need to be promotional in nature.  It is important to engage with your audience from different angles, such as top 10 lists, how to videos, and even personal stories.  If you are a local company, the more that your audience connects with you the more comfortable they become.

Personalized E-commerce Marketing

If your small business offers some type of e-commerce on your website, personalization is a big trend in 2013.

In recent years we have seen the growth of daily deal sites, but the market has shown that it is getting oversaturated and aren’t producing the results they once did.  Just look at how the stock price of Groupon has dropped since the release of its IPO.

Just because daily deal sites seem to be going by the wayside, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer daily bargains on your site.  When you have a hot item, with a great price point, the word seems to spread fast across social media and others forms of word of mouth.

Now to the personalization part.

When visitors come to your site to see the deal of the day, you ask them to sign up for your newsletter, which offers then the deal directly to their email box (With a barcode … remember!).  With some simple manipulation of most email marketing software, you can track the habits of your customers buying a frame of mind.

When you know the buying habits of your customers you have the ability to provide them with the right product at the right time.

Another big trend in 2013 is small business owners looking at branding.  For so long most people just thought that only the large companies have the ability to brand their company effectively, now just about anyone has that opportunity.

Branding can be something as simple as using a customized shipping box instead of a brown box…  The cost of a customized box is minimal compared to the effect that it has from a branding standpoint.

Large companies understand the importance of branding.  Most of their ad budget is focused on branding and not direct response.  Branding can take time to build trust and recognition, but once done, it becomes a powerful marketing tool.

Social Advertising

If you have a Facebook or Twitter account you know about social advertising.  Most experts are still up in the air on the best way to deliver advertisements via social media.

The biggest thing that social advertising has going for its ability to target an audience.  Every minute of time spent on a social media site is tracked by the website.  They use that information to make sure that the right and is placed in front of the right person.  In very few places is the targeting window as narrow as the one with Social Media sites.  With sites such as Facebook, you are able to target extremely specific audiences even on a small budget.

Another aspect that a lot of small business owners don’t think about is the actual social aspect of social networking.  People inherently try out recommendations from friends before trying out something else.  Facebook gives you the biggest opportunity to get your message out there with word of mouth.

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