It’s a new year! Hold on to your hats folks, because this year is going to be a roller-coaster of excitement and nail-biting. Presidential election years are known to have an impact on the economy and small business. Add that to the rise of social media, the Euro crisis, and the state of America’s economy, and you have an unprecedented time of change for business. With that being said, here are our Top 5 trends that we think will impact small businesses this year:
Daily Deals meet Customer Loyalty. This year we think daily deals will morph beyond just attempts to bring in new business. Some small businesses are having a tough time figuring out if daily deals help or hinder their small business. And, both daily deal companies and small businesses are realizing that repeat business, not just new business, is the key to growth. So, expect to see more targeted methods and systems designed to not only attract, but retain and reward loyal customers.
Mobility. As the explosion of smartphone sales continues, small businesses will want to harness the power of those mobile devices. We think businesses will spend more on advertising and marketing to mobile device users, specifically using geo-targeting marketing to reach potential customers within close proximity of their small business. In addition, iPads are flying off the shelf, and there are more than a million apps in the App store. Customers will expect to interact with your small business via mobile, so be thinking about how to do that for your small business!
Video. Did you know that last year, almost 200 million Americans watched online videos every month? According to Cisco, online videos now make up 50% of all consumer Internet traffic. This is a huge opportunity that small businesses will step up to this year. People LOVE video, and it is proven by companies like Zappos that video increases sales! Post some instructional videos, testimonials, a tour of your store, or something else fun; it doesn’t have to be professional!
Location. We saw a very successful Small Business Saturday campaign last Thanksgiving, and the shop local movement is really increasing in power. Add that to the focus on sustainability and local food and the growing use of location in social media (check-ins and mobile device marketing) and you have a growing trend for small businesses this year.
Social Media. The use of social media by small businesses is continuing to rise. According to a recent study, about 50% of SMBs are already using social media, and another 25% plan to do so within the next 12 month. Many small business owners think they just don’t have the time, or can’t measure the value they are getting from their social media efforts. But, with 80% of online visitors using social media daily, it’s a trend that small businesses can no longer ignore. As new social media tools take shape, those small businesses using social media will gain business ground on those not using social media, in an exponential manner. And from a competitive standpoint, small businesses simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of social media any longer.
So there you have it, our top 5 trends that we think will impact small businesses this year. What do you think? Are we on track, or are there other trends you think will affect small businesses this year?