2011 Internet Marketing Trends for Small Business Entrepreneurs

The new decade (2011-2020) of Internet marketing promises significant change in consumer behavior. As an Internet marketer, blogger and small business owner, you need to keep abreast about these changes because it will certainly change your perception and marketing strategies for and beyond 2011.

2011 Internet Marketing TrendsHere we have listed various Internet marketing trends for 2011 on the basis of past experiences and future possibilities, keeping in mind the evolving social media marketing to a wide consumer base.

Dynamic Search Engine Marketing:

Unlike the earlier decade, search engine results from Google, Yahoo or Bing is not restricted to the display of content from non-social media websites only.

With Google realizing the need for more content oriented search engine backing, the search engines have been manipulated to display images, videos, news and social media results along with other basic results on the first search result page.

For a marketer, this signals the necessity for reassessing existing search engine marketing strategies and devise new ways to optimize search engine results through the use of social media, video marketing and press releases (news).

Nevertheless, focus should always be on the content. Google, especially, is concentrating more on content-oriented websites to rise up the search engine rankings.

Small business owners cannot ignore this trend as it is a prime source of communication with potential consumers / clients, thus, businesses have to optimize this option.

Direct Marketing Revisited:

The past few years had seen a decline in direct marketing. Marketers and SMEs concentrated on using bulk marketing tactics like sending thousands of spam mails to ‘potential’ clients or bombarding website visitors with a marketing pitch through pop-ups or unwarranted newsletters and updates.

In short, the personal feel of marketing had completely vanished. It was like consumers were interacting or purchasing from ‘invisible’ retailers who were not bothered about consumer satisfaction.

However, the changing consumer preferences have raised the need to change marketing practices. The use of social networking sites like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook demand use of personal communication or direct marketing.

New age SMEs and marketers realize this emerging trend and therefore, their business strategy is primarily governed by direct marketing features.

Direct marketing enables marketers to customize, classify and specify a narrow group of consumers than focus on a large demography of buyers. This narrowed down outlook helps to prepare effective and relevant direct marketing campaigns and generate meaningful consumer data.

Remember that it is always better to appeal and sell to top 2o% leads that convert than waste money on 80% leads without any assurance of leads converting into sales.

Focus on direct marketing. You need to find out the desire, wants and needs of consumers to sell them your product.

Social Media Influencing Consumer Purchase:

After 2009, there was a notable shift in how consumers perceived social media. Marketing reports have repeatedly suggested a growing dependence on social networks for product and service purchase than search engine results or clicking on AdSense.

Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are the places where users share product reviews, rate and recommend products.

Start-up businesses cannot ignore this evolving trend. Big business brands like Reebok and Pepsi have reaped heavy benefits from Facebook especially.

Read our Creating a Marketing Plan with Facebook ideas. It will be your practical business decision to associate your company with popular social networking sites and remain active as well.

When you ask users on social media platforms to review your products free of cost, you are not only giving them something of value but the review you receive goes a long way to boost your sales.

Assuming that you are an active social media user yourself, you are not immune to the power of WOM. (Word-of-mouth) How many times have you received ‘like’ page requests or product recommendations? Plenty! Do you view all requests and recommendations? No! You select and choose those that are relevant.

Now, place yourself on the other side of the table – you are the owner of a small business and you wish to advertise. If it’s on Facebook, you choose their paid Facebook Advert program, prepare an ad and make it ‘live.’

Again, you will receive responses to your ads based on the criteria you selected for your promotion. If your business is about selling pearl jewelry in Saudi Arabia and your Facebook ads are targeted towards global women Facebook users, you would never receive a satisfactory response.

In other words, your advertisement is misguided. This is what evolving Internet marketing trends wishes to change by making it possible to choose and market geographically and product demand specific consumer groups. Undeniably, social media plays a very important role here.

Mainstream Video Marketing / Video Display Ads:

YouTube Marketing is not a new trend in Internet marketing but the reason for its rising popularity in the current and upcoming years will be the reduced cost of video production.

Forget professional videos, how long does it take an amateur videographer like you and me to record a marketing message on mobile and upload it on YouTube? Barely 30 minutes and the cost of production is less than $5 if you count the Internet upload data usage.

Pew Internet Research’s recent report about video marketing and popularity showed some interesting facts:

  1. Out of 10 adults, 7 adults use the Internet daily to watch videos, that is, 69% of the total Internet users.
  2. In the US, the above data translates to 52% of the total adults in the US.
  3. Men are more inclined to watch video online – 65% : 57%
  4. Three age groups – 18 to 29; 30 to 49 and 50+ adults – display different online video viewership – 84% : 74% : 53%
  5. College graduates are more inclined to watch videos than high-school graduates -75% : 57%
  6. Families with more than $75,000 household income watch and download useful videos than those families with less than $50,000 household income – 78% : 46%

Video marketing is a great way to create an effective website SEO plan because video ranking on Google is fifty times more likely than text content.

Presently, video blog marketing is in the booming stage and is likely to continue for the next few years before the bubble bursts. Since users can view videos repeatedly, it adds to its marketing popularity.

However, video marketing should not be your only marketing strategy. Consider it as a supportive factor to your overall marketing plan. You can attract a lot of traffic to your site if you can create compelling and attractive video content on particular themes and issues.

Application Program Interface (API):

API or Web Apps is an aspect of Internet marketing futuristic trends. Presently, they constitute only one percent of Internet usage but the next few years will see a huge boost in this sector.

Why? API and other web apps will make possible content locally and enhance Internet searching or SEO. These web apps will provide features like discussion boards, smart connects and social connects to develop a strong inter-connected link of high value websites locally.

APIs do exist now but they are not that popular. Websites like freelancer.com recently concluded an API designing contest and the winner from Bangladesh won $25,000 prize money.

Such initiatives will streamline web apps development to mainstream social media. The APIs will act as a condensed platform for consumers to put together RSS, social media, news and basic web at one place where it can easily be accessed, modified and added.

Final Thoughts….

Internet marketing is expanding by becoming more localized while maintaining its global flavor. New marketing strategies will make it easier for marketers and SMEs to reach a targeted audience or consumers that will convert into real sales.

Bulk marketing or mass marketing is redundant, a passé. As a marketer or business owner, you need to focus on strategies that allow you to connect with consumers’ real time. Once you have this in mind, it will become easy to chart out your 2011 marketing plan.

Creating a Marketing Plan with Facebook

Facebook – the largest social networking site presently – is a phenomenon that is hard to ignore, especially when it offers a lucrative platform to promote and advertise your business.

With millions of active users, Facebook provides the best form of social marketing exposure.

Creating a Marketing Plan with FacebookHow does Facebook help?

When you have a website, you need traffic to make the website popular, right?

This is what Facebook does. With accurate search engine optimization, you can use this social networking platform to build and grow your online businesses. You get targeted traffic to your website, build your brand name and also increase your profits.

There are two ways to market on Facebook; free marketing and paid marketing. But before we go into the details, let’s check out the reasons why marketing on Facebook is so beneficial:

  1. With 450 million users worldwide, out of which more than 50 percent of members are actively involved on Facebook, it represents a potential market. An Internet marketer would be foolish not to tap into this market and allow your competitors get ahead of you.
  2. If you think Google is the best search engine ever because it receives unprecedented amounts of traffic, think again! Recently, Facebook surpassed even Google due to getting the most traffic in a single day.
  3. Facebook is multi-dimensional because it provides lots of profitable ways to ‘soft – sell’ your product or services. Unlike Twitter where marketing and advertisement is restricted to 140 characters or… unlike StumbleUpon where promotion is limited to bookmarking or showing ‘thumbs up’ or thumbs down’, Facebook allows you to promote your business through multiple ways – creating groups, fan pages, social advertisement, adding pictures, updating profiles, uploading videos and others.

In short, Facebook gives you three things important for marketing – potentially an untapped market, lots of free traffic and multiple ways of marketing and promotion.

How successful you are in utilizing this resource optimally rests on your shoulders!

Now that we have seen why Facebook is extremely beneficial, let’s learn the differences between free marketing and paid marketing.

Free Facebook Marketing

Assuming that you have a Facebook account, you must have noticed pages and groups where the owner regularly posts updates about new products and services, and invites group members to join them.

Not all of them are business – oriented though. Some people create them for charity organizations and whatever donations are received are promptly given to the charitable organization.

Creating a Facebook ‘Group’ or ‘Fan’ page is easy and free. If you want to market any product or service as an affiliate or you want to promote your business, this is where you should start – the basic level.

What you do is go to the Facebook settings page and select either ‘create a group’ or ‘create a page’ option.

There you fill out complete details and then forward its link to your friends. Some Internet marketers use this medium only when they have thousands of people added on their “friends” list.

Suppose you have 3,050 friends. When you promote your group or page and your friends visit and ‘like’ them, those pages are published on their ‘home’ page as well.

To give you a quick idea about how creating ‘groups’ and ‘pages’ will impact your business, note the following: you create a ‘Page’ and send it out to 3,050 friends on your list.

Out of those, 2,500 show interest, visit your ‘page’ and ‘likes’ it. Now the friends listed on your friend’s profile can see the ‘like’ update and visits your original ‘page’ and if this number is 500 per friend, you receive 2500 x 500 = 1250000 visits in a matter of a few days.

Therefore, we can say that by investing 2 hours in creating a ‘fan’ page and sending it to your friends, you receive 1,250,000 free traffic visits.

Does this sound like a lot of investment?

Like this, it creates a viral page of sorts. Even if you are not making sales in the beginning, you are surely getting lots of traffic and that is a POSITIVE OUTCOME.

You can create as many ‘Groups’ and ‘Pages’ as you like!

Paid Facebook Marketing

The advertisements published and visible on the right hand side of Facebook pages are the paid advertisements.

Facebook offers paid advertisement services to any small, medium or big business enterprises. They are search engine optimized and target a particular demographic section of Facebook users.

This is the reason why not all kinds of Facebook advertisements are displayed on a user’s profile.

Facebook marketing department takes note of the user’s preferences, hobbies, tastes and interests and then decides which advertisements to display on a user’s profile page.

As an Internet marketer, you want users to click on your advertisements which can be achieved through using well researched and solid long tail keywords.

Major businesses like Honda, Coca – Cola and Budweiser have found immense success with paid Facebook advertisements in a creative manner.

The Marketing Solutions forum of Facebook gives us examples of their creative advertising campaigns. Few months back, Coca – Cola created an advertisement campaign through which they sold virtual coke bottles and promised to donate $1 from each sale to a charitable organization.

Budweiser received a viral response when they encourage social interaction between its customers when they offered them the choice to select which commercials to show during televised sports games.

Similarly, to maintain its brand name and keep its customers faith intact, Honda used Facebook advertisements to keep consumers updated after their Honda recalls.

Apart from products and services, Facebook has the functuality to advertise relevant causes, links, contests, photos, videos, business events and business USP.

You can also integrate offline advertisement campaigns with your online campaign and get real – time information from your “fansumers.”

Facebook phenomenon has led to the creation of new terminology – “fansumers,” who are people who has “become a fan” of a particular Facebook brand, according to Forrester Research.

If you want to create a fantastic list of “fansumers”, you need to make your brand page interactive.

An interactive fan page will engage a participant; otherwise, people will remain a spectator but this strategy will not yield any long term results.

When your brand “fans” endorse any product or services, it increases brand value and your popularity rises.

The paid Facebook advertisements can be ‘online’ for as long as you want. From an investment perspective, they are not that costly at all. At least, they are less expensive than other forms of mainstream advertisement.

Concluding Statement

From the lengthy discussion above, we can infer that both free and paid Facebook advertisement is beneficial to promote your business.

If you wish to optimize on the untapped Facebook market, use both options wisely.

First, optimize on the free marketing option and then when comfortable, go for paid advertisements. The cost of paid advertisements can easily be recovered when you make sufficient profits from sales through Facebook.