Small businesses are launched from a founder’s passion or a great idea for a service or product. These first steps, however, are not enough to run a successful company.
Small business owners have to wear a lot of hats, including marketing their companies in today’s digital world. 2022 may have thrown curve balls your way, but it is time to wipe the slate clean and focus on better goals to make up for lost time. SmartSites believes that a good starting point is to leverage small business digital marketing strategies to increase website traffic, generate valuable leads, increase sales, create upsell opportunities, and improve customer retention.
Email Marketing Will Remain Relevant in 2023
Email marketing ages like fine wine but it remains one of the most compelling digital marketing trends. Sending email newsletters is the go-to method for promoting brands and strengthening customers’ loyalty. In addition to reaching a large audience, email marketing campaigns also allow small business owners to demonstrate industry expertise and highlight their social responsibility initiatives.
Modern email marketing software enables business owners to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, which is an invaluable data source. They can learn what works and what doesn’t to improve their online marketing strategies. Last but not least, emails are excellent mediums to convey a business’ message directly to customers without restrictions from filters.
Influencer Marketing Becomes Increasingly Popular on Instagram and TikTok
Influencer marketing has grown to become a successful small business digital marketing strategy. This trend is expected to maintain its pace in 2023 and it applies to both small and medium-sized businesses. Marketing specialists, industry thought leaders, and influencers are increasingly collaborating with each other to gain fans, boost brand advocacy, and increase sales conversions.
Business owners who cannot afford to hire celebrity influencers may consider working with micro-influencers instead. The latter consists of social media promoters with thousands or tens of thousands of followers. Although micro-influencers have small fanbases, their posts still pack a punch due to high levels of engagement. This type of influencer knows their industry well and are considered “everyday” people. Therefore, their followers are more likely to trust their recommendations and opinions.
Live Streaming and Short-Form Vertical Videos Remain Invaluable
The popularity of live streaming is expected to improve in 2023. One of the biggest reasons small business owners stream on YouTube and Facebook is because it is free. Additionally, these platforms allow them to build buzz and anticipation, and interact directly with their audience members. Similar to how TV shopping channels work, live stream shopping involves brand ambassadors and influencers promoting products, which can be purchased instantly by viewers.
Instagram first debuted their Reels feature in 2019. However, it only allowed users to post Reels of up to 15 seconds long. To compete with TikTok, Instagram Reels can now be as long as 90 seconds. Short-form vertical videos have become a digital marketing essential in 2022 and will continue to do so next year. They can feature footage direct from your company or the latest product information. In addition to helping bring a brand to life, these videos are quick to make and can be repurposed across multiple platforms with minimal editing.
User-Generated Content Becomes the New Normal
Also known as UGC, this type of content refers to online materials created by people who are not direct brand representatives. These individuals can be brand loyalists, customers, and basically anyone. User-generated content can consist of a brand’s backstory as well as customer ratings and reviews. Other forms of UGC also include:
- Comprehensive case studies
- Product unboxing videos
- Written or filmed product/service reviews
- Newsletter or blog commentaries
- Guest appearances on live streams and events
User-generated content does not only show the positive aspects of a brand, but it also displays a sense of authenticity. To get the most out of your UGC efforts, proactively ask for reviews, converse with customers on social media, and plan for content creation opportunities with potential customers when you meet them. Business owners, however, are recommended to create an interview process that adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Avoiding Mundane Tasks with AI Chatbots
AI chatbots have been enabling small businesses to keep pace with digital transformation, especially throughout the pandemic. These live chat solutions have helped automate repetitive tasks that typically require human intervention. In addition to serving their general purpose, AI chatbots also played a crucial role in collecting relevant user information. For example, marketers could monitor website traffic through these interactive communication tools and dedicate the right amount of resources to improve the website and end-user experiences.
Providing Customer Support through a Small Business’ Social Media Account
Leveraging a business’ social media accounts as customer service tools is quickly gaining traction. Millennial and Gen Z consumers are increasingly communicating with companies and marketers via direct messages (DMs), and vice versa. Because social media platforms — Facebook and Instagram — are expanding their eCommerce capabilities, it has become more important than ever to provide excellent customer service on these platforms.
Employing a Conversational Approach
Businesses are adopting a conversational tone in their messaging to provide a more welcoming experience for their customers. If a company’s voice is too formal, consumers may find it alienating, uninviting, and boring. Therefore, more small businesses are expected to bring humor into their messaging.
Business owners can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they do not have to sacrifice professionalism to stay relevant. Being witty and funny can highlight your business’ unique personality, which helps you stand out from the competition. To create content that sounds less formal, you can:
- Express more emotions in writing
- Use contractions (e.g., it’s instead of it is)
- Use simple words and shorter sentences
- Write with “I”s and “You”s instead of a third-person voice
- Tell a story
- Ask your audiences questions
The main goal is to sound more human and less robotic. Write as though you are talking to a friend.
2023 will certainly present itself with unique challenges, and small business owners and their digital marketing teams will need to explore various trends to drive their industries forward — with an open mind. The New Year is a great time to create space for new and innovative ways of thinking, conducting business online, and communicating with consumers in a fast-paced digital era.
How companies implement these small business marketing trends is just as important as what they choose to implement. Go ahead and inject a conversational tone into your brand’s marketing campaign. Highlight the best and most relevant user-generated content in your next email marketing campaign.
Get your creative juices flowing as you repurpose content and demonstrate brand alignment across your channels.