5 Online Marketing Trends Affecting Small Businesses Beyond 2013

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Online Marketing Trends 2013

A frequently asked questions video series is a great online marketing strategy. Image: Flickr

The last few years have been crazy for small businesses. Five to ten years ago the approach to online marketing was pretty straightforward. Companies would invest a certain amount of the marketing budget in paid search ads and perhaps try a little bit of search engine optimization. Cost per click on paid ads was relatively low and it only took a few links to rank for important keywords. Website traffic would roll in and the business would earn new customers.

But things have changed and small businesses now face different challenges.

Today, there are so many different aspects of online marketing. Search has changed. SEO has changed. There are a million different social media networks. It’s hard to know what is important and what is best left alone. However, there are a few key areas where you can feel safe investing your time and money.

1. Content-Driven SEO

Many small businesses have noticed a change in SEO during the last two years. For some, the change has been a drop in organic search website traffic. Google has pushed out two major updates – Panda and Penguin – that changed the emphasis for high rankings.

Google and other search engines continue to repeat the importance of producing content that people find interesting. This means blog posts, videos (more on that later), slideshows, and all kinds of content that will entertain, educate, and enlighten.

Search engines are getting better at determining the most relevant results for keywords. For small businesses, this means starting an ongoing content strategy in order to continue getting organic search traffic.

2. Mobile Devices

By 2017, an estimated 68% of the US population will be using a smartphone.

Smartphones are changing the way people access information. There is a higher demand for information and any company focused on providing that information has the opportunity to grow.

Small businesses have the opportunity to access target customers throughout the sales process. When your customer has a question on their morning train ride to work, your blog post could be the first answer they find when in Google. That’s content marketing.

When your customer is checking their email before bed,  your email newsletter can give them something interesting to read and an offer for your newest service. When your customer is near your location, a text message can alert them to your daily deal.

In the coming years, people will access the Internet primarily from their phones. Optimizing your marketing strategy for that new reality positions you for marketing success.

3. Higher Design and Usability Standards

Simply having a business website is still good enough for some companies, but there is a higher importance placed on design and usability. And in the coming years, websites optimized for the mobile experience will find a growing audience.

Consumers want fast experiences. Networks are improving, but websites and apps need to keep pace. Consumers won’t wait for a website to load. If it takes too long, there are plenty of other places they can find the same information and service.

Design and usability are no longer a complement to your marketing strategy. Design and usability are quickly becoming an  essential part of marketing efforts because if users don’t like what they see they’ll leave. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for with a fast loading site that is easy to navigate.

4. Video Production

More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. Internet users are watching more video than ever and they’re demanding more. Search engines like Google are also giving more real estate to videos in the search results. If you want access to your target market in the coming years you’ll need to build a video strategy.

Product videos, demonstrations, testimonials and more can all be part of your online marketing strategy. As others struggle to figure out video you can take advantage now and start earning new customers before everyone realizes the importance of video in online marketing.

5. Social Media Audiences

Every business relies on an audience. A small, local business depends on their local market for new customers. They build up a customer base and those customers tell their extended network by word of mouth.

Today, social media presents a huge opportunity for small businesses to grow an audience with no location barriers. Building an audience of followers on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn, and subscribers on YouTube gives you access to an nearly unlimited amount of potential customers. It’s is quickly becoming an essential way to grow your business.


If you’ve noticed a change in the way your small business has acquired customers in the last couple years, you’re not alone.

Many businesses have been caught off guard by the change in online marketing. But strategies like better content, greater social media engagement, and video production will be the big items to focus on going forward. By putting a strategy in place today, you can start getting ahead of your competition.

Andrew Pincock
CEO and co-founder of Trafficado, an internet marketing agency. Interests include entrepreneurship, small business, internet marketing, and economics.
Andrew Pincock
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  • Srish Agrawal

    We have seen that Conversions from Social Media and Videos are increasing every passing day. InfoGraphics are also a nice way to pull attention.

  • Vrinsoft

    Convincing content would be key factor of any business website either it would texts content or visual content. Appealing landing page would increase conversion. Andrew has cover almost important points here!

  • Alex Shamy

    Totally agree that consumers want fast experiences on mobile. It’s remarkable to see the lack of attention paid towards mobile optimization to this day. Using adaptive design to serve up the proper content on mobile will be top of the mind in the coming years.

    Don’t think many brands have figured out a solid video strategy – do you have any examples of NON-video based brands that do a great job communicating through that channel? Nice write up! – Alex

  • b.andy

    Great post! For a company building a strong marketing strategy is the first step to be successful!
    I’d like to highlight another tool for media marketing that is not mentioned in this post, I’m talking about reviews. The flow of reviews on your website generate continuous fresh content marketing!
    Other positive aspects of using a feedback system are the increase of the CTR (Click-Through-Rate), the decrease of PPC, the activation of Google seller ratings extension, the boost the conversion rate and the Google five golden stars!
    Last but not lest, reviews are the best way a company has to increase its transparency and reliability.
    The feedback management companies on the market are every day more and more, but the benefits mentioned above are provided only by some of them, I know that the best on the market at the moment are eKomi and Bazaarvoice.
    Considering the raising competition on the web market, a good ecommerce should not underrate the factors listed above.

  • Stuart

    We see almost over 50% mobile usage across our app, the experience is so important to get right. Anything you can do to make life easier & reduce the amount of actions/data entry is key.

    That being said, the world is fast changing from the days you could just post an ad in the Yellow Pages for your SMB. So much so that chasing business takes up a lot of time.

    For example I saw a post on Reddit, someone was mentioning they were managing a Facebook page for a gararge door manufacturer & found it boring. Someone suggested doing a weekly “what’s behind this door” reval on the page with some prizes – simple but really engaging 🙂

  • Melody Campbell

    Internet Marketing / Mobile Marketing is now central to a marketing plan instead of a branch of the plan. Other marketing tactics should be planned with IM central. This gives a real advantage to small business owners to compete on a level playing field if the SBO will educate themselves in what to do.

  • Nicko

    If you look at alexa.com it`s expected that social media marketing and content marketing is the way to go in 2013, since (facebook, youtube, linked in) pretty much runs the web now.