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Originally Posted On: https://www.pwmedia.com/8-small-business-marketing-trends-to-watch-for-in-2022-part-2
Small business owners and operators have experienced a year (or two) like no other. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the massive marketplace and economic shifts that have left many reeling — and wondering what the future of business will look like.
As businesses rely on online marketing and shifting consumer behavior, it is vital that trends are monitored and new practices adopted to stay competitive and relevant. In the first article from our two-part series, we looked closely at four trends that businesses must understand and begin to pivot their operations to meet head-on:
- The Fast Rise of AI and Chatbot-led Marketing
- The End of Cookies and FLoC
- SEO Practices Still Lead the Way
- Bigger and Better Content is King
In part two, we will look at four more market trends that will help you make 2022 your best business year yet:
The shift from brick-and-mortar businesses to e-commerce has changed the marketing landscape in a big way. Even small, local businesses need to market their products or services online and utilize new marketing methods to stay competitive in the modern marketplace.
It may seem like a daunting task, but learning how to market your business online is an essential skill for any entrepreneur.
In our first part of this 2-part series, we will take a closer look at four trends that you should be aware of as businesses adapt and change to local and global market realities:
1. Brand Alignment with Inclusivity & Diversity
Brands focused on providing good to their community are going to be more successful. Promoting diversity and inclusivity to build a better and healthier company with increased brand loyalty is not a trend—it’s imperative.
Make sure that you are creating an inclusive workplace where everyone is represented and treated with respect.
Use tools like surveys or focus groups to collect feedback from current and former customers. Make changes to your programs based on what they tell you about how you can improve diversity and inclusion efforts in 2022.
2. The Use of Online and Hybrid Events
In 2022, more events will be integrated with online elements. More conferences and webinars will be available for free online so that businesses can easily participate without traveling to an expensive live event. Hybrid events can include:
- Online information and registration
- Live information sessions from key speakers at a conference or webinar
- Live networking events with face-to-face interaction opportunities between presenters
- Online tools, contests, and rewards to increase audience engagement
While bad customer service makes for great comedy, it makes for bad business in real life. Negative reviews based on subpar customer service and experience can damage a business’s reputation and bottom line.
3. Continued Focus on Customer Service
The success of businesses in 2022 will depend on how effectively they deliver customer service. What does this mean? Transparency and engagement.
Customer sentiment continues to gain importance in the digital advertising space. Reviews and feedback are vital to your businesses’ Google ranking. If customers have a negative view of your business, you will want to address their issues or concerns, as feedback can mean the difference between a bad review and a good review.
4. A Focus on Customer Experience
Make sure that your website is designed for ease of use so customers can get the information they need quickly and efficiently. Things like difficult navigation, dark contrast, and autoplay features are just some pitfalls in faulty UX.
Don’t make your users work for your content by having to search for it. A good user experience design is essential to build trust with new visitors who aren’t familiar with your business. Don’t forget to include frequent call-to-action (CTA) linking!
Inspire Your Business Strategy with the Newest Trends
The trend of online shopping has made marketing for small businesses much harder. Experts recommend that brands maintain their focus on the trends emerging with today’s modern consumers to stay competitive.
As a resource to return to in your yearly planning, here are the top eight marketing trends to follow for 2022:
- The Rise in Chatbots and AI Marketing
- Death of Third Party Cookies and the Rise of FLoC
- Local Marketing Through Best SEO Practices
- Content Marketing for the Win
- Brand Alignment and Inclusivity/Diversity
- The Use of Online and Hybrid Events
- Continued Focus on Customer Service
- A Focus on Customer Experience
You will notice that one idea exists in all eight trends in this series: loyalty to your current customers is still essential. If you have methods and programs in place to show that you appreciate your customers, then those customers will reward your engagement with their loyalty.
Make 2022 Your Best
A solid and consistent marketing plan will pay off for small businesses in 2022. The brands that grow their audiences through content marketing and branding campaigns will connect with their current and potential customers for longer-lasting relationships and a better bottom line.