A lot has changed within the past couple of years, and it’s ultimately affected how businesses operate. The United States currently has about 32.5 million small businesses in active operations. However, a looming recession, rising inflation, and inventory issues are all curve balls that could ultimately make that number change.
If small businesses are going to not only survive but thrive, this coming year, then they need to be one step ahead of what’s to come. There are trends to look out for, and if small business owners prepare and plan as soon as possible, it could help them stand out against bigger businesses they may be in competition with.
Would you like to know what’s on the horizon for small businesses? This article gives insights into the trends your small business should capitalize on this year. Let’s take a look.
6 Small Business Trends for 2023
1. Integrated Marketing
With the rise of digital media, integrated marketing has become an essential tool for small businesses. By delivering a consistent message across all channels – from social media to email marketing to blog posts – businesses can ensure that their audience will not only recognize them but easily identify them and connect.
This is an important trend, given the current marketing landscape and the way consumers engage with brands. Consumers interact with brands more than ever before and across multiple touchpoints. They might see your ad on TV, look up your business on their phone, and then see your ads hit their feed on social media. If the message is different at each touchpoint, it becomes confusing, and there will be no easy brand recognition.
A consistent message creates a better customer experience because there’s no confusion. It also lends itself to the following:
- A cohesive brand identity – your branding will match no matter what channel you’re reaching your audience on.
- Improved marketing campaigns – with consistency across platforms, your marketing campaigns will have a focused message.
- Increased brand recognition and visibility – customers will know your brand just from the messaging.
- Increased credibility – when you’re consistent across channels, your brand appears more organized, focused, and in tune with the needs of your customers.
- Reduced marketing costs – it’s expensive to adjust marketing campaigns, but when your marketing is integrated, there’s no need to make changes for consistency.
In a world where countless small businesses compete for attention, a strong and consistent identity is crucial. As a small business owner, you need to jump on integrated marketing for your business’s success.
2. Social Media Selling
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are home to millions of active users per month and growing. Social media selling, also known as social commerce, is an excellent way for small businesses to reach their target audiences and generate more sales. It can be an extremely effective tool in your small business’s sales arsenal if done correctly.
Instagram is home to over 200 million business accounts, and it’s no surprise. More and more businesses are using social media channels to connect with prospects and leads, develop relationships with them, and engage for conversions and sales. And why? Because social commerce is effective.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when using social media selling:
- Ensure that your social media pages are set up for success and that you’re targeting the right audience.
- Be aware of the different ways to engage with potential customers on each social platform your business has a presence on.
- Keep an eye on updates. Instagram changes pretty frequently, and there are features your small business shouldn’t ignore that will help you sell your brand and/or products.
- Make sure you advertise. Whether it’s on Instagram or Facebook, getting your brand out there with target social media ads is crucial.
- Be prepared to listen to your audience and answer questions that prospects and customers may have about your products or services throughout the sales process. People love going to social to reach brands directly, so don’t neglect that channel for supportive interactions.
3. Personalized AI Tools
Personalized AI tools are becoming more popular in small businesses. These tools deliver optimal customer experiences in real time, targeting the individual’s needs instead of grouping your audience into broad categories.
AI-powered personalization is driven by the increasing availability of data and the need for businesses to better understand their customers for improved customer-business relationships and client satisfaction.
Small businesses can implement personalization using AI in their business in different ways. One is the use of chatbots. Chatbots simulate human conversations, and they can improve customer support and experience by providing quick responses to common questions about your products or services.
Data analytics is another aspect to capitalize on for your small business. Data analytics helps you understand your customers better so that you can make more informed decisions about your marketing and product development strategies. By better understanding your customers, you can improve your business’s chances of success.
In email marketing, you can use personalized AI tools to deliver personalized content and product recommendations. This helps to keep customers engaged with your brand and increases the likelihood that they will make a purchase. BenchmarkONE’s marketing automation and CRM tool is powered by AI, so you can tap into how your customers interact with your website and content, where they are in the buyer’s journey, and their social profiles. These features enable you to tailor your outreach and add them to personalized drip campaigns that will convert them over time.
If you haven’t already, use these tools for your small business and get your message to those interested in it.
Get started today with BenchmarkONE’s free plan!
4. Hybrid and Remote Work
Foundry’s Future of Work study found that 71% of companies will keep their remote and hybrid work policies permanently. The pandemic caused a significant shift to remote work, and now, many employees who want to maintain a good work-life balance are keen for remote/hybrid work to be the new status quo.
With flexible working arrangements increasingly popular, companies want to retain talent. Many businesses are offering employees the option to work from home part-time (hybrid) or full-time. With this setup, you can provide employees and team members with the flexibility they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance and save on office space and costs.
However, you’ll need to prepare to manage employees who are spread out across different locations. Ensure that all employees have access to the necessary resources and remote work tools, and put in a system to maintain communication and collaboration among team members.
5. Leveraging Digital Tools
For small businesses, time is money. By adopting digital tools, small businesses can save time by automating tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. To stay ahead of the curve, leveraging digital tools is necessary for your business’s success.
You can use online appointment scheduling software to automatically schedule appointments and send reminders to customers. You can free up employees’ time to focus on other important business tasks.
Digital tools can also help small businesses reduce business costs and save money. Online invoicing and payment software can help you save on paper and postage costs. Digital marketing channels are also less expensive than their traditional marketing counterparts.
As mentioned above, the rise in remote and hybrid work needs the support of digital tools to become successful. With the right digital tools, employees and team members can work remotely without issue. This ensures that operations can continue, and employees can access all business resources without needing to be physically at the office.
Plus, you can automate business processes and have centralized storage that you and your employees can remotely access from any location.
6. Outsourcing Business Tasks
In the past, businesses would have to hire somebody full-time to handle specific business tasks. With the rise of the gig economy, businesses can outsource some tasks by hiring somebody on a per-project basis. This is a great way to save money and get expert help for your small business when you need it.
With outsourcing, your business can leverage the expertise and skills of professionals for important tasks, allowing you to focus on your core competencies and leave the non-essential tasks to those who are better equipped to handle them.
When you outsource tasks, you cut costs and save money, improve the efficiency of your workforce, and free up time for important tasks that will enhance your small business’s bottom line while getting the right help your business needs.
However, when outsourcing, choosing a reputable and reliable service provider is vital. Otherwise, you may end up with subpar results that may cost your small business more.
As a small business owner, prepare yourself and your business for whatever changes come your way so you can thrive in 2023. Keep an eye out for these small business trends and be prepared to take advantage of them to help your business succeed.
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