As we watch 2011’s social media and web trends come to a close, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to the new technology and mindset that 2012 will offer the web and marketing worlds. Pick one or all of these new trends as your resolution and let us help you get started on your way to success in 2012!
Cold Calling vs. Referrals
In the past, cold calling was the effective sales method of choice. Now, people answer their phones less and screen the majority of numbers, so one of the best practices is using a reward system to influence client referrals. Offer your customers deals and discounts for any referrals or prospective clients they bring in, such as 50% off when they refer three friends to your business. If your customers are happy, they should be more than willing to pass on your business card.
Daily Deals vs. Email Campaigns
Daily deals, such as the ones found on LivingSocial and Groupon, are great for getting your business on the radar and creating a buzz, but companies often lose money on these amazing offers. To avoid the risk of losing money on a deal , offer your coupons or product/service updates through a series of emails instead. This will keep your company fresh in a customer’s mind while growing your database of interested customers.
Rounded Corners vs. Circles
In 2011, web design trends focused on drop shadows and rounded corners to give a clean, well-designed look. Now, top design and creative agencies have reported a growing demand for using circles or shapes in web elements such as portfolios, navigation links and footer icons. If you’re not ready to jump all the way into circles, try a simple circular button or circle badge that grabs attention or displays an award.
Stunts vs. Information
Crazy marketing or social media stunts are dying out because customers have learned to look out for these outrageous tactics. In 2012, more people will be drawn to your website and social media if you consistently provide them with valuable content. As the smoke-and-mirrors entertainment fad slows down, being a strong, expert informational source will be what lasting customers value.
Perfection vs. Humanism
While correct grammar and spelling will always be essential, new trends show that customers relate better when personality and flaws show through social media and content. Don’t be afraid to log on to Facebook and simply start talking with your audience, no fancy messaging needed.
Word of Mouth vs. Search Engines
Thinking your company isn’t applicable or relevant to the Internet, for example if you are a small local grocer, is growing into a bigger and bigger mistake. In the coming year, if your business isn’t running a website and getting found in search engines, then you don’t exist in the minds of your consumers. You should also claim your company in Google Places, Google Maps, Bing and Dex Knows, and make sure all the information on these sites is correct to increase the volume of customers finding you.
Web vs. Mobile
Mobile is king. Your site should be optimized for phones and tablets, offer text coupons or reminders, and have total functionality for all Smart phone platforms or offer a relevant app. For example, hair salons are now sending automated text reminders for appointments and allowing appointment sign ups via Facebook (see Brow Bella) and Starbucks is letting customers pay with their phones.
Spamming vs. Customer Service
Companies in past years have used Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to give audiences a hard sell or spam them just to stay in their news feeds. This coming year, companies will be using these social platforms as a customer service interface by fielding concerns or questions. Those will have the greatest success will be the companies that make their audience aware of their expertise in their field and consistently prove that they are the best at what they do.
Articles vs. Infographs
Infographs are blowing up around the web due to their easy-to-consume presentation, fun design aspects and quick information. Most infographs are large visual documents that flow through all necessary information of a certain topic with graphs, data, studies, charts and images.
Content vs. Content Sharing
Everyone in 2011 preached that all you need is more content, but in 2012 you will need more than that to effectively reach customers. Your blog should have social media sharing buttons for all platforms and the new Google+ if you really want your content to make an impact.
Site Traffic vs. Traffic Conversions
Just getting site visits and lots of traffic on your website should no longer be your goal. Instead, start counting how much of your traffic converts into a sale, download or share. These numbers will give a much more accurate depiction of how your site is succeeding. Five sales is definitely more successful than 100 site visits that don’t result in any interactions.