Predictions are a dicey proposition…you will be wrong about something because nobody can see the future. It is even more difficult considering that 12 calendar months is like a lifetime in technology, not to mention the rapid changes any entrepreneur, online marketer, or small business owner might navigate through.
That said, there are a lot of online marketing predictions flying around, and while humble pie is part of the territory of predictions, these are areas everyone who is successful marketing online is concerned with, or at least should be.
Email Deliverability Challenges Continue
With continuing economic challenges more professionals will start their own business and start learning email marketing. For a number of reasons this will make it more difficult for all of us to arrive at subscribers inboxes.
Email marketing strategy will continue to have a growing emphasis on email deliverability in 2009. More and more online marketers understand the sheer impact undeliverable emails have on profits. There will be investments in technology to solve this problem, but the social investment must not go ignored. Part of deliverability is the motivation of the subscriber who wants to read what marketers have to say. The best thing you can do for email deliverability is build a conditioned subscriber base that looks forward to your content.
Offline to Online Marketing
As important as it is to maximize legitimate ways to make money online with a solid web marketing strategy, offline marketing has been making a comeback as people learn of their email deliverability issues (some as high as 80% undeliverable). This trend will continue in 2009, and not just for small business marketing. If marketers can build a list that connects with customers and prospects viasnail mail and email , results will improve. Some are so numbed by waves of email that they read their snail ´junk mail´for fun! Consider an online marketing plan which starts by engaging prospects offline.
Tip: purchase a targeted offline list, and mail them a piece enticing them to your website with a special report or video.
Important point, marketing offline has a greater short-term expense, so always measure your results.
Email List Building
Having an energized, vibrant group of subscribers is one of the most valuable assets any online marketer can have. You have a good plan to engage subscribers and deliver value with a special report, video series, or ebook? In 2009, marketers of growing businesses will broaden their reach. Every marketing effort should have a list building component. While there are many well known online places (website, blog, etc.), there are some offline places to consider as well:
- Business cards
- Product brochures
- Public speaking presentations (chamber of commerce, etc.)
- Yellow page ads (yes, these still work)
- Newsletter sponsorships
- Tradeshows (drawings for attendees only)
Bottomline, you must have a plan to build your list, and not only a plan, but goals and metrics, as you measure and tweak the system you can continually improve results.
Pay Per Click Marketing
One of the first things that people do during a stressed economic times, is stop investing in activities which get them new leads. Pay per click marketing is a way to get new leads, and in 2009 it will become more affordable to have elevated PPC search engine placement as PPC providers seek to reach more customers. Whether you are spending $10 a day or $1000 a day, seek to optimize the compartments of your Pay per click marketing to maximize results. Compartments could be:
- Keywords that ultimately convert to sales
- Headlines that increase your click-thru rates (CTRs)
- Ad copy that increases your click-thru rates (CTRs)
- Landing pages that are optimized with a call to action (CTA)
- Fine tuned landing pages which are designed to increase your CTA rate.
Marketers in 2009 will invest in products that help them fine tune these areas. Automation is the name of the game, the faster winners can be identified, the faster they can be exploited for increase market share.
Social Marketing, It´s Not Just for Teenagers
With the boom of social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others in the last 18 months, the general internet public is on-board, and realize that social networks are fun, and for real (and for some, addicting!). Some of these casual users who also own a business or have a leadership role in a company will begin using social networking as a social marketing platform. Those who idenitfy a solid social marketing strategy (hint: bringing social media followers onto your email marketing list) and implement it will succeed.
With this, mistakes will be made, and marketers will also have to pay attention to managing their (or their companies) online reputations. As the old saying goes, “a bad word travels faster than a good one” at no time in history will this truth will be more evident than with social marketing in the next year.
In 2009, you will see the launch of tools and teaching products to help feed this demand.
2009 Marketing Predictions, a Dicey Proposition
Sure, offering predictions can be dicey, but they have another effect…they make you think. Consider some of the areas in this post for your own small business marketing, and how you can take advantage of the opportunities before you in 2009. Email delivery, offline to online marketing, email list building, pay per click marketing, and social marketing are solid pillars to set any business or small business marketing strategy upon.
What are you anticipating in 2009? (comment below)