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December 21, 2012

Guest Post :: Must Haves for 2013

stevenIt’s that time of year when most of us are trying to wrap things up and take a few well deserved days off. Before you do, I want to share this guest blog from Steven Boggs. We all need to be thinking about the “must haves” that will help our small businesses in 2013. Here are a few great ideas to get you started.

Essential Programs and Services for Small Businesses

By Steven Boggs

 

In order to succeed, small businesses have to be on the bleeding edge of innovation and work hard to keep up with the newest trends that are winning over customers and helping companies to grow. Because of this, what these businesses “need” is always changing.

That being said, there are a number of things small businesses are going to find essential to their success in the upcoming year. Here are just a few.

Branded marketing. This is a trend that’s been growing steadily for a while now, but by 2013, it should make up the bulk of the way small businesses advertise. What does “branded” marketing mean? Well, it’s a fancy way of saying that you’re going to advertise your company and services to people by entertaining and informing them without making a hard sell. Think blogs and videos with story-driven content and well-done product placement. The term “branded” is also a way to differentiate this kind of advertising from the “disruptive” kind we’re used to from old-school commercials that interrupt the content we actually want to see.

Tablet-optimized sites. This year, mobile made up 12 percent of all internet usage worldwide. Considering the fact that mobile web has only been around for a few years, that’s a staggering number, and sites have been playing catch-up to make sure they work well on smartphones. Well, with the continuing rise in tablet usage, that’s going to be the new frontier. Small businesses that optimize their sites for tablet browsing now are going to be ahead of the game by the time usage really explodes.

Crowdsolving. Essentially, this is crowdsourcing under another name, that technique whereby businesses and organizations toss a problem out to “the crowd” and let people compete to come up with the best way to solve it. Alternatively, it can just be the equivalent of a suggestion box where people write in with various ideas and pitches. This process is becoming more and more popular, and by 2013 you want your business to be involved on both ends – posing questions to your own “crowd” to help you work through problems faster, and putting yourself out there as an organization with the right skills and abilities to help.

Online video content. No longer are videos just something for media organizations and larger companies. YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world (next to Google, naturally), which means that having video content plays a huge role in your site’s search ranking. Neglect this aspect of your business and you could see your numbers drop drastically. But don’t think that means you can switch over from SEO or social media to just making videos – all three play a part in the algorithms search engines use, and all three are increasing in importance.

Games. Social and casual games are a great way for small businesses to put branded entertainment out there that will allow them to keep their customers’ interest for long periods of time, all while coming up with clever ways to pitch their services. Even better, often these games can be incredibly inexpensive to produce, especially when you consider the amount of use that you can get out of them and the value to your brand.

About the author: Steven Boggs is an award winning freelance writer with many years under his belt covering the best topics in the business and technology industries. When he’s not busy reviewing Enmast’s resources for small businesses, you can find Steven working on his goal of competing in a triathlon by year’s end.

 


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