As the year comes to an end many business owners will be taking the time over the holidays to review their goals and to adjust their marketing strategy for 2010.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 online marketing predictions for 2010:
1. Mobile Marketing
Over the past few years mobile marketing has had a lot of mention in the press, but the ability of the average business owner to take advantage of mobile marketing has been limited. With the debut and massive uptake of the iPhone by consumers, mobile marketing has quickly become a viable marketing channel for many businesses of all sizes. In fact, we are already seeing some very promising results from some of the mobile marketing initiatives which we have implemented.
2. Facebook Advertising
2008 saw the launch and extraordinary uptake of Facebook. 2009 saw Facebook become part of the every day. 2010 will see Facebook become a profitable advertising channel for businesses. With the combination of keyword targeting and a pay-per-click model, Facebook will become a reliable source of sales / sales leads for its advertisers.
3. Twitter Marketing
In 2009 Twitter really took off creating a mass hysteria on the Internet and quickly becoming one of the most visited online properties. While the usage of Twitter exploded, the ability of the average business to capitalise on Twitter as a reliable source of revenue was near impossible. Now that the Twitter has settled and it has become more part of the everyday (like Facebook) it will become a viable marketing channel for small businesses. With over $100m raised and no clear revenue model our prediction is that they will introduce some form of paid advertising model in 2010, similar to Facebook, where you can target ads based on what people are Tweeting about.
4. Social Media
Social media has taken off in leaps and bounds. A recent report from Hitwise stated that traffic to social media and forums surpassed search engines in New Zealand in the first week of December, and is set to do the same in Australia by the end of 2009. In addition to Facebook, Twitter MySpace and Linked In there are many hundreds (if not thousands) of other social media properties focused on music, videos, photos, social networking, social bookmarking, content sharing and more. 2009 remained a year where the extent and impact of social media was unknown and hard to measure. While social media is a very different medium to search, the exposure available to business is significant. 2010 will see an increase of strategic social media campaigns that produce measurable results.
5. Video Marketing
Since the sale of YouTube to Google, online video has been growing exponentially. In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, after Google. And while online video has been mainly used for entertainment purposes, 2010 will see a further increase of video used on websites forming part of their sales message. Anecdotal evidence shows that adding video to a website can significantly improve a website’s conversion rate, and in an environment where conversion rates effect the amount that advertisers can spend on online advertising, online videos will quickly take off.
6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
2009 continued to see huge growth in business awareness of SEO and their subsequent investment in SEO, whether on their own or through an SEO company. While SEO is still within the budget of small business owners, it will quickly become too expensive for many small businesses to effectively compete. Google will still be the main search engine to focus SEO efforts on in 2010 and the profits earned from a top ranking will continue to increase with the increased use of the Internet overall.
To the joy of the majority of the SEO industry, 2009 saw the launch of Microsoft’s rival search engine, Bing. Nobody likes a monopoly, and many believe that Google currently has a monopoly over search and who can blame them with such great products and service. While it is hoped that Bing will become a viable alternative to Google it is still very much in its early stages and won’t come anywhere near Google in 2010… maybe in 2011?
8. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
When you think of PPC advertising you think of Google Adwords. They still control around 90% of the search market in Australia and the USA. 2010 will continue to see a major focus on Google Adwords for PPC advertising but there will also be opportunity to run PPC advertising on Bing, Facebook and (hopefully) on more social media properties.
9. Content Strategy
The success of all of the above strategies will be based on the quality of the content you produce (eg free reports, articles, tips) and your ability to market that content effectively online. As the online market continues to become more competitive every day, the companies that achieve the greatest results are those that base their strategy around what high value content they can give away for free. Online marketing follows the same principles as offline marketing – give significant value upfront, build a relationship over time and then make the sale. The companies that embrace this methodology and create marketing and sales systems about this will be the ones that dominate their respective market online.
10. Cloud Computing
While cloud computing is not really a marketing strategy, it does influence how we market our services online. With a better system for managing sales, marketing, accounts and the business overall, cloud computing will play a much larger role in online business in 2010. We are already using cloud computing in our day-to-day operations and the productivity benefits gained from cloud computing should not be underestimated and importantly will only continue to grow.