Five ways you can take your small business marketing and communications to the next level in 2023
Just like the ocean and its tides, if one gets caught in a current, one can choose to move with it or get tired fighting it and get pulled out to sea. In the same way one can either see trends in branding and communication styles, themes, and methods and go with them or be left out. As a small business trying to build your brand and gain momentum, it would be quite important to move with the trends or die trying to fight it with your inability to adapt.
‘When the Internet came along, at first it was just a medium for moving text around − books first, then pictures, finally video. Each time the bandwidth expanded, so did the capabilities of the medium, and each time it happened, the Internet cannibalised pre-existing formats. And each time, those formats had to adapt. Or die,’ says David Gerrold.
Gerrold sheds light on the everchanging century we live in and the fact that we must indeed evolve, or face being stuck behind − in other words, ‘adapt or die’. Considering Gerrold’s quote as a backdrop, let’s look into some of 2023’s trends in branding and communications. Let’s do a deep dive into five focal points that you as a small business can build into your marketing and communication plans for the year.
FIVE FOCAL POINTS THAT ARE TRENDING
- A customer’s digital experience is key − If your business has a customer-centric culture, meaning your customers are a focal point, then you need to be thinking of all the areas that your customer interacts with your business, whether it be face to face, on websites, at networking events, on social media, etc. Managing your customers’ digital expectations has become an important aspect of any business, especially post-COVID-19. Henry DeVries, a contributor to a Forbes article, recently commented: ‘Customer experience has progressed to include all digital aspects. When companies think about that experience, the digital component is a key factor. How are you managing digital expectations?’
Response times to direct messaging on social media, transparent and honest feedback on digital public platforms, as well as response times to WhatsApp for business profiles, are a key area you can work on for your small business.
- Video integration into your online stakeholder channels can boost your market strategy − Text information on websites and digital platforms for business are still very much relevant and needed. However, trends have shown that marketers can no longer just depend on local buyers/clients but need to broaden their reach. The 2022−2023 trend has shown that integrated video and written copy on websites to showcase products or services will help small business owners expand their reach to a much wider audience.
Looking after your current customers pays off − As much as companies put big value on chasing new leads and generating new potential clients, 2023 trends have shown that prioritising retention is where your pay-off comes from. Why? Loyal customers that are ‘taken care of’ will not only stay longer as clients but will also refer others to your business more often when you show you understand and value them, consistently.
An example of what to investigate this year is customer relationship management (CRM). Businesses are starting to develop and invest more energy and funding into their CRM systems in order to optimise their databases and processes with a view to staying connected with their retained clientele.
- Short-form content for mobile keeps people watching − The rise of TikTok as well as ‘shorts’ on Facebook, YouTube, etc has opened the market for small businesses to get their brand talking. Successful ‘short-form’ videos tend to be between 15 and 30 seconds long and must be kept punchy.
Clodagh O’Brien from the Digital Marketing Institute speaks into some more tips for short-form mobile videos when he says: ‘Include a surprise twist at the end of your video like a reveal or transformation or think about adding an interesting caption like “wait for what’s next” to keep people watching.’
LinkedIn is swiftly becoming the new home for hosted professional conversations − LinkedIn has upped its game over the years and has integrated video ‘live’ functions for businesses to use as a tool for long-form videos. Unlike Facebook or YouTube, which has a much more social/informal feel about its video content, 2023 highlights LinkedIn as the platform for professionals to go live on and host webinars and conversations in their targeted spaces and industries.
So, there we have it: five focal points that are on the hit list of marketing and communication trends for the year. Set your business up for a win and review your marketing and communication efforts this year.
Kelly Pretorius, Communications at SAICA Enterprise Development