This year has thrown all sorts of curve balls, leaving small business owners to rapidly adjust their operations to ensure productivity and increased profitability against the backdrop of tumultuous economic times.
Now with the year steadily drawing to a close, and many looking to welcome in the new year, small business owners will need to become more tactile and resilient amidst changing consumer behavior and high levels of uncertainty.
Though many small and medium-sized firms have by now grasped the potential of digital marketing, ongoing changes to the digital tools they use and new trends are making it difficult for some owners to keep their marketing strategies palpable while ensuring they can deliver the results they seek.
While it’s easy for some businesses to rapidly adjust their strategies as trends come and go, those with less financial leverage can quickly find themselves in the deep end if they’re not clued up enough about ongoing developments.
The key challenge here, aside from the latter, is that many are struggling to allocate the right amount of capital resources to ensure their digital marketing strategies are up to standard.
And while there is no industry standard, on the broader spectrum, a survey from August 2021 indicated that on average a small B2C firm devotes an average of 13.7% of its revenue to marketing.
In the same breath, B2B product firms only spend about 6.7% of revenue on marketing.
This figure is relative to the business and the industry under which it operates. But research suggests that the average expenditure on digital marketing topped at 13.2%, only to dip back down to 8.6% in 2021.
While these figures are valuable indicators, overall some small businesses devote around $30,000 to digital marketing tactics each year, and this number is only set to increase again in the coming months.
While the cost of operations has gone up significantly over the last several months, high-performing strategies will play an ever bigger and more crucial role in 2023, as more consumers move to online and eCommerce shopping and the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our everyday lives.
With so much development happening in the world of digital marketing, what are the trends to look out for in 2023?
While creative flair has always been a non-negotiable when it comes to digital marketing, next year will see web designers and digital marketing firms dedicate more time and effort to establishing new creative trends that will set the tone for the year.
Not only will this be an important thing for businesses, but for consumers as well, as many will be looking to create interactive user experience content that will help make websites and social media accounts look more unique and creative.
There will be more focus on how businesses can make a lasting impression on consumers through their physical brand presentation, rather than their services or product offerings.
Waiving Third-Party Cookies
This is perhaps a big one, to say the least, but Google is finally moving away from Universal Analytics and introducing Google Analytics 4.
What this means is that more browsers and websites will now start blocking third-party cookies and ads, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to compile consumer-based analytics.
While this is a big shift from what we’re currently used to, we’re glad to see that companies and browsers will now have fewer user data available at their disposal.
Google Analytics 4 will only track website engagement on marketing sites, including the likes of eCommerce and native mobile apps.
Regardless of whether you’re on the fence about this trend or not, influencer marketing has proven to be one of the most successful digital marketing strategies out there.
This applies to both small and medium-sized businesses, and in 2022, it was estimated that roughly 72.5% of marketers were using influencer marketing as part of their strategies.
At the same time, influencer marketing has helped businesses achieve common goals, with the majority – 86% – using this sort of marketing tactic to raise brand awareness.
There is also a common focus on reaching new audiences, helping brand advocacy, and increasing sales conversions through the use of influencer marketing.
In 2023, we’ll see more businesses leverage this as platforms such as TikTok and Instagram become increasingly applicable to consumers.
Chatbots and Interactive Features
Chatbots have grown in popularity since the onset of the pandemic, providing companies with practical and real-world solutions to mitigate the need for human intervention with mundane tasks.
Aside from their general purpose, chatbots will play a crucial role in generating and harvesting relevant user information.
Through the use of interactive communication tools such as these, marketers can monitor web traffic and dedicate more effort to resolving issues related to the website and end-user experience.
A survey found that 34% of users find websites too hard to navigate, and in this case, chatbots or live chat forums will be the most practical solution.
Already we see platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, among others, offering users educational content, either through videos, photos, or other types of digital formats.
For businesses, using educational content to help boost brand visibility and increase website traffic to boost sales will help provide them with a medium through which they can share useful and practical information.
Educational content will largely focus on the business and its product or service offerings.
This would mean that businesses that do end up using educational content as part of their digital marketing strategy should closely measure what their target audience is looking for and how they can leverage this opportunity to their best advantage.
Next year, will be a time when small businesses become more comfortable with conversational marketing to help improve the user experience (UX) and streamline the service cycle.
This trend, which follows closely in the footsteps of chatbots, live chats, direct messaging, and virtual assistants, will help to deliver a more personalized experience.
This would mean that customer queries can be resolved faster and conversational AI could be implemented to increase the response rate.
As previously mentioned, with Google ending the use of third-party cookies, conversational marketing would mean that data can be collected from the available interactions and generate a target audience pool from the harvested data.
On top of this is also the fact that this tactic will work to establish one-on-one marketing for businesses with their clients, helping to attract people to the brand and develop more personalized strategies.
Sustainability and Inclusivity
Brands have been allocating a lot more time and resources to create digital market strategies that focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
This comes at a time when the economic and political divide is more apparent than ever before, and for companies looking to hone in on their target audiences, changing for the betterment of the community and environment will be a key driver to success in 2023.
Nowadays, consumers care about the brands they support, the product they buy and use, and the services they acquire.
This is reflected largely in the company’s pledge to improve not only its direct environment but also its pledge itself to help build a better community and take on more social responsibility in the long term.
Accommodating all types of users will also start playing a more important role, leading digital marketers to develop tools and methods that can be better utilized by underrepresented audiences such as those with disabilities.
Making the internet more equally accessible is a field that’s gathering major attention.
Taking On the New Year
As we start to approach the tail-end of the year, small business owners need to consider the key strategic points that helped them through the challenging year.
While these tactics helped develop a foolproof marketing plan, going into the new year would require them to think more broadly about the type of audiences they want to reach, the message they want to share, and the lasting impression they want to leave.
2023 will present itself with its unique challenges, and it will be left to small businesses and digital marketers to take charge of developing the tools and resources that can help drive their industries forward, creating space for a new way of thinking, conducting business, and above all, communicating with consumers in an ever-growing digital era.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
L O A D I N G
. . . comments & more!