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The online marketing trends small businesses need to know in 2022 and beyond

With the business landscape and spending patterns dramatically changed due to the pandemic, e-commerce is now more important than ever, particularly for small businesses and start-ups.

Learning what is critical for customers and optimising the way that messages get delivered amongst all the online noise has become paramount. What’s more, a targeted e-commerce strategy will help you gain valuable insights into what customer expectations are.

Here are some key marketing predictions to be aware of over the next 12 months, which will help you really nail your marketing in the new business world.

Prediction 1: People will buy brands, not products

Having a strong product or service alone is no longer enough. Consumers are wanting to invest their dollars into brands that they trust, believe in, and align with their core values while also providing an exceptional product/service.

Commit to elevating brand awareness, developing an active online community, and building trust. Including details about the transparency, sustainability, or ethics of your business is important. If you have a compelling backstory include it on your online site. If you feature in the media with positive pieces, include that as well.

Be a brand that customers will be proud to talk and even brag about. If you are a small outfit, don’t let that hinder you – cultivate the idea of you being a “hidden gem” or “best-kept secret” to build the intrigue.

Prediction 2: Video content will continue to thrive on social media

Between platforms like TikTok and features on Instagram like Reels and Stories, video content has seen a massive spike in popularity over the last few years which will only continue to increase. The need for quick, digestible content is highly prevalent on social media. Focus on implementing this crucial marketing tactic into your strategy by leveraging reels and short videos that either entertain, educate, or solve a problem.

If you don’t know where to start, contact people who have expertise in this area or are of a generation who are most familiar with fast-moving platforms.

Prediction 3: The pandemic will continue to affect consumer behaviour

When it comes to consumer trends and buyer behaviour the long shadow of COVID-19 will continue throughout 2022 and beyond. Make sure your brands, products, and services are meeting new consumer needs in regards to convenience, innovation, and safety.

There will be an even bigger push toward e-commerce sales and the digital community as well as “failsafe” policies that make consumers feel like they have nothing to lose when trying out your product or service, such as seamless returns, money-back guarantees, free samples or trial periods.

Prediction 4: Influencer marketing is going to gain even more relevancy

Influencer marketing will become a global $13.8 billion dollar industry in 2022 and is predicted to only grow from there. Influencer campaigns inherently provide context, familiarity, and relevance to your audience if you pair up with the right influencers.

Begin to look for opportunities to engage in influencer marketing this year. Start by making a list of influencers you think would appeal to your target demographic and are a realistic match for your business based on their popularity and your own budget. If you need help, then various companies can engage influencers for you.

Prediction 5: Hyper-personalisation set to become critical

Hyper-personalisation – creating custom and targeted experiences through the use of data, analytics, AI, and automation – will become critical for brands wanting to leverage key moments with consumers. This will become common practice for brands when delivering unique experiences for their customers. As daunting as it may sound, it’s worth getting in on this early and exploring options with a specialist. The market is constantly changing and you don’t want to fall behind the pack.

This story originally appeared in our sister publication, Inside Small Business.

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