One thing is certain as we head into a new year: things will change. Change is especially inescapable when it comes to technology, and unless small businesses adapt their marketing strategies to fit these trends, there is a real risk of being left behind.
So as 2013 begins, small businesses need to think about ways to harness change in order to future-proof their marketing strategies. Here are five key trends to watch out for.
Good content is still the main driver behind SEO and remains the number one marketing strategy that businesses can use to rank higher in search engine results. Good content will increase the number of links to your site, as well as position you as a leader in your field – attracting a greater number of visitors and generating more sales.
Search engines have tightened algorithms in recent years, filtering out content that appears to be irrelevant or poorly written, making high-quality content even more critical. To stay ahead in the search engine results and drive more traffic to your site, it’s imperative that you generate high-quality content. It’s your number one future-proofing marketing strategy online.
Search engine algorithm optimisation
Keeping up with search engine algorithm changes is admittedly challenging. Since Google owns the majority of the search engine market, most marketers focus their efforts on keeping up with the hundreds of updates the search engine giant makes each year.
Since early 2011, Google has been more focused on keeping its search results as clean as possible, taking great measures to lower the rankings of ‘content farm’ material from its searches.
To improve SEO in the post-Panda and post-Penguin era, it’s time to stop focusing on plugging keywords into content and put more emphasis on creating valid content. By focusing more on link building and valid content and less on keyword density, marketers can succeed within the new restrictions.
The desktop days are on the way out, and perhaps laptops aren’t far behind. With more people expected to search the web from mobile devices than desktops for the first time ever this year, the 2013 electronics consumer market is clearly shifting to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
And with growing numbers of people making purchases from tablets, savvy marketers know that in addition to having a mobile-enabled site, optimising their sites for tablets is essential. If a programmer isn’t in your budget for the new year, try tools such as Mobify or Pressly.
As smartphones continue to overwhelm the mobile phone market, small businesses must begin to prioritise location-based marketing. Retail or service-oriented businesses especially can no longer get away with just a Yellow Pages ad, and must look to promote their business on sites like Google Places or alternative location platforms.
With increased numbers of consumers searching for local businesses while travelling, the first results will likely be the only results that matter. As such, a location-based marketing strategy is a future-proofing marketing strategy most businesses can’t afford to ignore.
Marketing goes visual
The success of sites such as Pinterest and Instagram has led marketers to realise that consumers respond to visual cues. Businesses that learn to harness the power of these sites, which are popular with the key demographics of mums and teenagers, will make big wins in 2013.
As technology continues to evolve, marketers will struggle to stay abreast of rapid changes to remain competitive. But by learning to future-proof their marketing strategies, small businesses can continue to succeed, no matter what changes the market brings.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.