How Small Businesses Can Prepare for the 2023 Marketing Landscape

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As 2022 comes to a close, many small businesses are creating their plans for 2023 – particularly plans related to their online presence. Even at the surface level, it is easy to see that the marketing landscape will be more crowded than ever thanks to the numerous challenges that have impacted businesses over the last year. 

Political unrest, inflation pressures, the rise of the creator economy, and overarching data privacy changes are just a few external factors that continue to shape marketing trends. Additionally, a renewed interest in SEO and the expansion of social commerce have marketers reevaluating their priorities to stay ahead of socioeconomic factors as we approach the new year. 

The best way for small business marketers to keep their brand relevant with their desired customer segment and target audience is to acknowledge these shifts in industry trends and adjust to them. To help guide what this may look like, here are a few predictions on marketing trends in 2023.

Social Commerce Climbs the Ladder

Social commerce will be leveraged in 2023 by brands and consumers alike, as it creates a smoother, more direct experience for all. In the early days of social media, a brand or influencer hoping to spark engagement would promote a business or product with a “link in bio!” call to action. 

Now, users do not need to click and navigate through multiple pages to buy. Social commerce lets us click on that holiday sweater featured in an Instagram photo and be redirected to the website to buy. 

How do small businesses take advantage of this trend, though? It’s best to remember the roots of social commerce: authentic influencers and unique, creative content. With a revitalized interest in supporting local, the powerhouse of these two contributors will be the name of the game for encouraging followers to click through, interact, and hopefully purchase from the small business. 

Video Content Increases Engagement 

The best marketing strategy in 2023 will be one where video is integrated into written content. Despite the advances in augmented reality, one will not triumph over the other. The written word is not dead, for websites still need text to convey information to customers, and blogs are still widely read and used as a resource. But adding video to a website to showcase products increases engagement and trust, and reformatting and reusing content for social will easily help marketers expand their reach in the new year. 

Video content doesn’t need to be of a grand scale either, as there are a multitude of time-efficient, simple, and low-cost options for small businesses to explore. Smartphone cameras can nearly rival professional photography and video these days. TikTok and Instagram Reels are free options that have the capabilities to go viral and reach a widespread audience. 

Moreover, social videos do not need to be high production, as transparency, authenticity and relatability are valued by users on these apps. Social media followers want to see those handmade scarves on display — even if they’re just posed against the white wall in your living room. 

It’s all about showcasing you and your business’s true personality online. Small businesses can build an effective social and video strategy by meeting their target audience where they are and communicating to them with creative and bite-sized content. 

Personalized Content Cuts Through the Noise 

Developing content that is personalized to a small business’ core audience will remain one of the biggest trends for marketing success. With constant disruption experienced across multiple industries, creating individualized content that speaks to a unique user experience is the best path through an overcrowded landscape. 

For example — selling personalized dog collars online? Share your passion for canine health and wellness with your followers and share photos of your own pups. This creates a personality for your business that your audience can connect with and remember when they’re ready to buy. 

Marketers should tailor content to answer the needs of their core audience such as more information on a subject, how to solve a common problem (plumbers, share those DIY sink drain tips!), or acknowledging frequently asked questions. 

The Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) of websites and brands will play an important role here as well: who demonstrates expertise and authority the best via personalized content, and which website sends the best trust signals through customer reviews and ratings?  

Data Privacy Changes Emphasize Transparency

In terms of the value of personalized SEO content, outside sources, such as Google, have been very vocal on the need for marketing assets to be helpful and truly useful. Brands should focus on writing for people and share frequently on their website, blog and any other online resources they have on hand.

As an added challenge for marketers, privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA and Apple’s privacy changes have marked a monumental change for businesses and consumers. Now that consumers have the option to opt-out of data sharing, small businesses will need to adjust strategies and work harder to find and appeal to the right audience.

The SMB selling sherpa-lined baby jackets online may no longer be able to simply just create and target ads to new parents — now, they need to craft a cohesive and authentic online presence that connects their website, helpful blog content, engaging social media presences, an intuitive email marketing campaign, and search ads together to establish them as the place for winter baby jackets.

For small businesses, doubling down on local SEO and tailoring your SEO for niche markets helps your ideal audience discover you. While it’s vital to publish high-quality, useful content, it can be difficult to outshine content put out by big brands. Instead, using keywords that relate to a particular neighborhood or niche market will ensure small businesses reach their precise audience. Alicia Pringle is Senior Director of Online Marketing at Newfold Digital.

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