As a small business owner, you’re probably always looking for new ways to stay ahead of the curve and keep your business growing. Well, you’re in luck – because we’re about to dish on the latest marketing trends that you need to pay attention to in order to plan your
Get ready for an exhaustive list of marketing trends for 2023 and they are all pointing in one direction – trust building. It’s as if we’ve all been to a party and lost our collective minds and people (both consumers and businesses) have had enough. The question is, are you bold and brave enough to get off the bandwagon and do whatever it takes to build trust?
Read these in order! I’ve listed these in a specific order that literally trickles down and layers one trend on top of the other.
First, let’s look at consumer trends because, in the end, we are all consumers. These trends will cover the technical, societal, and governmental trends that will impact our customers and our businesses.
Communication is Broken
As if you haven’t noticed. We’re not very good at talking to each other. This recent survey by the folks at PrePly collected data from 2,200 Americans and found the following:
- At work, 40% of Americans have experienced cultural miscommunication.
- 5% of respondents said their manager was the worst communicator in their life.
- Being interrupted is America’s #1 communication problem.
- Each generation feels less effective at communicating than the previous one.
This is a HUGE brand building opportunity for businesses and their teams who commit to clear communication.
- Make clear and respectful communication part of your brand. Believe it or not, this can be your most powerful customer-getting and customer-keeping strategy. People are yearning for civility.
- Create product and service sheets for each of your offers and make them accessible and require everyone on your team to know and to be able to answer customer questions about your offers. (You’d be amazed at how few businesses and their teams have a clear understanding of what’s included and not included in their offers.)
Disenchantment is the Default
Not only is communication getting worse, consumers have come to terms with expecting a massive disruption every two years or so. It feels like death by a thousand cuts. Everywhere you turn you see undelivered communication, unmet expectations, and thwarted intentions.
Cynicism has been growing, and this is driving an overall cocooning behavior.
In fact the Edelman Trust Barometer Shows that distrust is the default!
In general, we are all dealing with some level of:
- Loneliness: Despite being the most connected group of people on the planet, people are feeling an element of loneliness.
- Worry: Whether it’s politics, climate, economics – any aspect of life, there is a sense of worry about anything and everything.
- Desire for transformation: Underneath it all is a deep desire for more peace, more simplicity, and more visible results for the effort
How to use these trends in your business:
- Look for opportunities to create in-person connections and events.
- Connect with your customers in a personal way. “We are in this together” is a key message.
- Eliminate worry by showing how you do this all day every day. It’s new to your customer but it’s what you do and have done for years.
- Show how your product or service will make them part of a group, eliminate worry, and make achieving their transformation easy, possible, and successful.
Brand-Standing for the Win
Research has shown over and over again that consumers want brands to take a stand on social issues. While some brands have done so, most have fallen short according to consumers. In fact 71% of consumers feel that few brands have actually delivered on their promises.
The secret to success in solopreneur marketing is developing a strong personal brand. When you’re running a business by yourself, you are the face of your company. You have to take responsibility for it and use it to your advantage. I believe that this emphasis on personal branding will become a big trend among solopreneurs in the near future. They also respond very well to powerful stories and personalities. Today, customers are compelled by more than just an excellent product or service. They also respond very well to powerful stories and personalities. As a solopreneur, you must have the confidence to put yourself out into the world. Engage in active social media posting, start a YouTube channel, appear in videos, and conduct podcast interviews. The idea is to increase your personal visibility as much as you can because your business will eventually benefit from it.— Martin Lassen, GrammarHow
While this data applies to larger enterprise brands, this serves as a warning to all businesses. Regardless of size, your business makes a brand promise and consumers apply the same logic to all of the businesses they purchase from.
How to use these trends in your business:
- Make a point and a plan to clearly define your brand, and develop a brand promise that you can deliver 110% of the time. That means you deliver every time and then some.
- Extend your brand into supporting a social issue that you care about or that complements your brand. If you’re in the health and wellness market, find a charity that supports healthy eating or lifestyle.
Interest Driven Communities Create Silos
Life runs in cycles; centralized to decentralized, open to closed, and back again. Our social engagement is no different. Global wide open communities are now becoming interest-driven semi-closed communities.
Twitter’s disruptions have created a mass search for new social squares. But most of the options are leaning toward segregated and segmented private communities.
This could be a good thing or a bad thing.
It’s great if you can find and join a community that includes your customer or partners to play in. And, we already know it will become HORRIBLE when fun “getting-to-know-you” conversations turn into sales pitches. Like your LinkedIn DM box across a dozen platforms.
I don’t need to tell you that it won’t take long for aggressive marketers to piss in their own pond as soon as they figure out a way to make money out of these communities.
Thereby – you guessed it – destroying trust and adding to cynicism.
Heads up – many of these new social platforms have gone to the extreme and blocked accounts at the slightest whiff of selling something. So be very, very careful.
While this may not be a ‘trend’ in the traditional sense, it’s where solopreneurs need to be. Let’s face it, as a solo entrepreneur, you’re limited in the marketing initiatives you can be a part of because one person can only do so much. When you’re recognized as an authority and a thought leader, the barriers to conversion come down because you’re known and trusted in the industry. This isn’t something you can do overnight, I admit. In the meantime, you can use joint venture partners – which will still help your credibility if you choose them correctly – to get more revenue through the door and increase your sphere of influence.— Daniel Ndukwu, UsefulPDF
How to use these trends in your business:
- People want to buy from people who are like them. This means that you’ll have to be part of the community you’re selling to.
- Start exploring different social communities that match your ideal customer profile.
- If you’re a thought leader, this is a good time to start a community.
- Stop selling and start serving
Double Down on Quality Over Quantity
The pandemic helped us see what was most important. It sort of stripped away the veil of what we thought was important and laid bare what really mattered.
Reliability and stability are sexy again.
This point of view has trickled into all aspects of life and business as well.
When you layer the trend of privacy and data control, and inflation on top of the impact of the pandemic, people have shifted their focus from quantity to quality.
Big brands have pushed consumers in this direction with blatant shrinkflation, but with few alternatives, consumers have had to put up or shut up.
Small businesses will not be so lucky.
There is this overarching opinion that we don’t like who we have become. And we’re looking for ways and means that will help us transform into who we see ourselves to be.
How to use this trend in your business:
- Look for ways to upsize your offer. Be careful, you can increase the price but make sure that your customers get guaranteed value.
- Stop worrying about the size of your email list, followers, any of those vanity metrics. Instead focus on engagement, strength of relationships.
- Create a “Keeping-Customers” strategy. Get closer to your customers and find new things you can offer that will help them in their transformation.
Technology advancements continue to trickle down to smaller businesses as automation and artificial intelligence features become more affordable.
One unique thing about modern businesses is that they are thriving greatly by going digital. It is the best trend that a solopreneur in 2023 should utilize. It begins by creating a website with transactional functionality to enable the selling and buying of whatever product or services you are offering to the market. Digitize your adverts to market your business on social media and ensure that you remain consistent. If the solopreneur adapts and takes advantage of these digital advantages, they will advance and grow their businesses at a faster rate.— Yongming Song, Imgkits
Explore Metaverse and Virtual Spaces
The metaverse and virtual even trend is impacting solopreneurs by giving them new opportunities to market their businesses. This trend is included in new virtual event software, which allows businesses to expand their worldwide audience exposure. Virtual events are becoming more popular, so it is important for solopreneurs to take advantage of this technology and use it to promote their businesses.
Start Using Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone mainstream. The trend will be how you as the business owner will implement it to help your customers go through your sales and marketing funnel. AI can help with lead scoring, identifying potential customers, and automating the sales process. By using AI, you can improve customer engagement and increase sales.
I think it would be a huge advantage if solopreneurs could fully integrate AI into their business as part of their marketing. The benefits of AI are starting to reach micro businesses, including solo business models. AI can do countless things for solopreneurs to help them save a ton of time, which is their most precious asset, and be more productive. For instance, if you run a website, AI can write social media posts, blogs, copies, and other content. It’s useful if you’re stuck with a writer’s block. It also helps you brainstorm ideas. If you run an eCommerce business, you can use AI to automate specific tasks and create a chatbot to simulate a chat with your potential customers. You can even use it to file your expenses in online accounting software.Jeffrey Zhou, Fig Loans
Create Seamless Sales Funnels
You might have heard this called omni-channel marketing. The idea is to hold your prospect’s hand all the way through their buying journey.
This is often done with a series of “best in class” technologies and software. But this trend of omni-channel or seamless sales will be much easier to manage if you use integrated business software or marketing software.
One big disadvantage of using AI and technology is that it can be overused and dilute the high-value customer experience that you’re going for.
Use technology judiciously.
How to use these trends in your business:
- Do an audit of your business software. Check to make sure that it has robust security features and data protection.
- Look for an all-in-one unified platform that best meets your marketing needs. In other words, limit the number of tools that you use so that you can gather as much data as you can.
- Using an integrated business software will help you take advantage of the power of artificial intelligence when it comes to data analysis and any metrics that you are following.
Email Marketing Trends
Email is still the most profitable marketing channel, assuming you have connected to the right audience and focus more on attracting potential customers over email addresses.
As a solopreneur, your resources are limited, so you want to ensure you’re not wasting time and money. For this reason (and many others!) Email marketing is an opportunity that you should not miss out on. Email marketing comes with many benefits, most importantly, a high return on investment; when you have a well-planned email— Georgi Todorov, ThriveMyWay
marketing strategy, you will make money. On top of the financial aspect, email marketing can help you build relationships with customers, generate new leads, and promote your product. Email marketing is a powerful tool for solopreneurs that will save you time and energy so you can focus on the big picture. So get the right strategies and tools in place, and your email marketing needs will be taken care of.
Respect Privacy and Personalization
Consumer demand for more control over their data has driven tech companies like Apple to launch systems that give consumers more control over their personal information and what’s shared with apps.
Segment that email list! Subscribers are struggling with bulging inboxes and won’t tolerate receiving emails that don’t interest them
There are a lot of marketing trends that solopreneurs should keep an eye on for 2023, but if we had to choose just one, it would be personalization. Personalization has been a big trend in marketing for a few years now, but it’s only going to become more important in the coming years. As more and more businesses adopt personalization strategies, customers will come to expect it as the norm. Solopreneurs who can capitalize on this trend early on will be at a big advantage.
There are a few different ways to personalize your marketing, but some of the most effective methods include: Using customer data to segment your audience and create personalized messages; targeting ads to specific customer segments; sending automated emails that are tailored to the recipient’s interests; creating landing pages that are customized for each visitor; and offering product recommendations based on past purchases —Erik Emanuelli, ErikEmanuelli.com
Buyers vs Emails
Smaller, more engaged lists of customers, prospects and potential buyers are better than large numbers of non-responsive emails
The best emails are between 50 and 125 words. They are clear and don’t waste anyone’s time. Most people only read part of an email, so make sure it is easy to understand and has a good design.
How to use these trends in your business
- Stop and take a fresh look at your email systems and strategies. Remember your goal is to build trust, so make sure that your emails are relevant to what your prospects wanted and signed up for.
- Use surveys and quizzes to collect relevant customer data for segmentation.
- Implement segmentation – create segmented lists and put a calendar in place to send relevant emails to those groups.
- Send fewer but more relevant emails. Marketing experts say to send frequent emails, but I disagree. You can send weekly emails, but send them to targeted audiences.
- Create special offers for your VIP customers and only share via email
SMS and Text Messaging
I know, texting is so tempting with stats like this:
93 percent of Americans open SMS messages, 81 percent have opened an SMS from a business, and 94 percent have clicked through a link within SMS – proving it’s an engaging mobile experience for consumers.
If you want to get these type of results, then you can’t overuse texting. Remember, your goal is to build trust.
Here are some trends that you can use:
Automated Sales and Confirmation
If you’re a solopreneur (hair salon, restaurant, repair, landscaping, etc) and you’re busy working and missing out on appointments, you can use text messaging apps to take appointments and fill your calendar.
Here are a few platforms you can try:
Live shopping is a marketing trend that solopreneurs should take advantage of. It can drive an average sales conversion rate of 17% to 30% by combining two key initiatives: product demos and genuine interaction between the brand and the consumers. Live shopping provides sellers a platform to talk about their products and answer queries about them. On the other hand, potential customers are expected to purchase while watching the stream. Aside from being informative, a live shopping event must be equally entertaining. This way, it can attract viewers. Online audiences usually have a short attention span, so a solopreneur turned streamer must employ fun gimmicks or approaches to make them stay and buy or reserve products on the spot.— Max Hauer, Goflow
Workplace Trends for B2B Marketers
Your team is an often ignored marketing asset. If you have infrastructure and employees in your office, these trends will be most relevant to you.
But even if you are outsourcing your marketing, these trends will help you manage that team.
If you’re a B2B business, these trends are critical to your sales and
Be very clear about who your decision-maker is. It’s everyone for themselves in B2B organizations. Business owners are dealing with labor shortages, lack of qualified or experienced workers. Managers are dealing with overwhelmed, disengaged team members.
While small business owners and entrepreneurs have been toiling away to work ON their business and not in it, managers, employees, and freelancers have also embraced the idea of working to live instead of living to work.
Why? They haven’t seen the rewards of any productivity gains.
This work-to-live philosophy has gained even more steam since the pandemic resulting in”
- Labor shortages – qualified, engaged, enthusiastic
- Project-based economy – hustles – work from home —
- Hybrid Work — what does that mean for businesses, what does it mean for workers
Upskilling and Transformation
Put your business where your team is! In other words, turn your team into raving fans and your most profitable marketing machine by giving them access to your products and services.
This goes beyond being able to use facilities or open access to products. I mean give them the VIP treatment!
Recent Microsoft research shows that more than 80% of leaders have little trust that employees are being productive in a hybrid environment while nearly 80% of employees say that they’d stay longer if they could LEARN.
While this example is from a major employer, small businesses (especially coaches, consultants and trainers) could really benefit from delivering on the promise they make to customers – to their employees.
Culture Add vs Culture Fit
The standard for adding team members has been “culture fit”. The trend is toward “Culture Add”, according to the Gallup Organization.
A more diverse team in terms of skills, communication styles, age, etc. is more likely to help you attract a more diverse client and customer base.
How to use this trend in your business:
- Put your team inside your programs and work to make them successful. These team members will have first-hand experience with your business and your offer. They can contribute ideas for improvement. Some may grow into additional staff, and will be able to generate an extra stream of income. WIll they leave? Some will, but they can also generate replacements through referrals.
- Look for team members with a broad range of skills, experience, styles, age, etc. Use this diverse group of members as giving you access to a broader audience.
Trends for Coaches, Consultants, and Course Creators
The great resignation and COVID have just added to the number of independent coaches, consultants and course creators.
Niche Down as Much as Possible
It’s harder than ever to stand out. And, with so many experts across social media selling courses, systems, and software, it’s harder than ever to stand out. If you want to be a subject matter expert and build your brand, you’re going to have to niche down into an area of expertise and double down.
AI Coaches on the Rise
In line with getting specific with your expertise is the rise of a new type of consultant. With new technology comes a demand for people who know and understand new technologies and AI is one of those.
87% of clients feel that trust has become a more important part of their purchasing decisions. This is in line with the results from the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2022 that said 80% will buy from a brand they trust. Remember we said that cynicism is at an all time high.
This means that your offers have to be on-point with clear deliverables and no over-the-top marketing language.
Processes to Platforms
Whether it’s Ryan Deiss and his Digital Marketing Certifications, Russell Brunson with Click Funnels or Ryan Levesque with his Bucket.io Quiz Funnel Software. Millionaire marketers are expanding their empires with software and systems.
One of the great things with selling software and systems is that it provides a low-cost but monthly revenue stream and offers plenty of opportunities for high-ticket upsells for coaching and consulting.
Don’t worry about the technology, your bigger challenge is going to be systematizing your process in a way that can be translated into a platform.
Today there are dozens of low-code, no-code tools out there that will help you translate your process into a platform.
Partnerships and Referrals
Tier 1 coaches and consultants are expanding their reach with increased JV partnerships and affiliate offers. These folks are using their software platforms to partner up with other coaches and consultants and offering
On the heels of using Summits to cross promote a variety of coaches who share tips and strategies is something called “The Bundle”. Bundles are like an online summit without the presentations.
A single host recruits experts to share their lead magnets and basic courses and offer them for free or for a deep discount. The host and the participants promote the bundle event to their lists and in return they build a list of potential clients.
On the plus side, bundles are an easy way to build your email list. On the down-side, you’ll get a list of people who like to get deals. This means that you’ll have to do a great job to sell those folks.
Solopreneurs typically have less pocket change for marketing so it’s crucial to find a low-cost advertising plan that works. As all forms of branding – and everything else for that matter — appear to be increasing in cost, it’s imperative to keep expenses in check. That’s why personalized giveaways are a growing trend for companies seeking fast famedom without emptying advertising budgets. Putting your name and logo directly into the hands of your customers ensures exposure. Using practical items people can use every day such as keychains and water bottles gives solopreneurs a healthy marketing advantage over their competition. Why? Because everyone loves free stuff and will remember the great company that gave it to them.— Shelley Grieshop, Totally Promotional
There’s nothing new under the sun – we just like to give it new names. This week it’s called “Fractional Consulting”. Fractional Consulting is really nothing more than a C-level consultant that you hire as a consultant rather than a full-time employee, .
This started in the late 90’s but has finally hit the mainstream with a new name and a much higher acceptance rate by small and midsized business owners as they invest big money into production and less money into executive-level salaries and benefits. Fractional executives win because they can 3-10x their executive salary by scaling their skills.
How to use these trends in your business:
- If you’re a small business looking to scale, hiring a fractional executive can really give you that 6-figure quality and experience for a much smaller price.
- If you’re an executive that’s decided to start consulting, this is a great way to leverage your skills and reduce the level of income risk by serving multiple clients.
- If you’re not comfortable with technology, there are so many easy to use platforms that will help you leverage your expertise and monetize your content and training. I recommend Zoho One, Kartra, Kajabi, and Gumroad.
Content Marketing Trends
Driving traffic (and ultimately sales) with organic content is getting more competitive and more difficult – but it’s not impossible.
SEO Goes Back to Basics
AI has hit the content marketing world with a big bang. More and more SEO tools are using AI to create content and to analyze the top ranking sites and provide fool-proof ranking advice.
This is both a problem and an opportunity for content marketers. You see, these SEO tools analyze the top ranking sites and give you suggestions (based on those results) for what you should include in your content. The problem with this is that it creates a self-reinforcing system that creates a bunch of look-a-like content.
While this trend is helpful for affiliate marketers and ecommerce content – it’s not a good way forward for thought leadership.
What I’ve heard from professional content marketers and this includes my own experience, if you are a subject matter expert – stick to creating your own unique content with your unique spin.
As a solopreneur, anything you can do to build SEO that doesn’t require active, regular updates is a great way to maximize impact and minimize time. Creating different landing pages for different product offerings is one way to market your business and boost organic traffic with very little effort. Though it might cost you a bit up-front if you work with a professional website developer rather than building it yourself, the initial cost will likely pay for itself several times over. Make it easy for your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, contact you, or set up appointments – your site should boost your revenue, not be a roadblock. —John Li, Fig Loans
Riches in Niches for Bloggers
I’m going to borrow the name of this marketing classic and apply it to blogging trends. If you want to make money blogging, it’s easier than ever to monetize a specific skill or hobby that you enjoy.
It’s easier than ever to make money from ads and even more money selling training and content that helps your readers learn and implement something you already know and understand.
A podcast can be the most cost-effective method of marketing for any solo entrepreneur amidst the competition they are facing today. Podcasts help in directly connecting with potential users and increasing discoverability while providing a knowledge-first orientation of your brand. Creating a podcast can help in controlling the narrative of the product, promoting it, and building a network of ideal customers. It is a highly scalable means of building thought leadership and credibility. A big plus of doing a podcast is that all that information gets recorded and stored on your channel permanently and is ready to be easily accessed by new leads as an engaging ready-made sales pitch.— Rishabh Bhandari, Content Beta
Advertising is a valid and powerful
People who click on ads are 50% more likely to buy products than organic visitors? That’s crazy!
This just goes to show you that people complain about ads, but they do click on them and as this stat points out, they buy.
If you have a specific customer base with a specific problem and you have a solid offer that guarantees a solution – place that ad!
Want proof? I have a friend who built a $10 million dollar company on Google ads alone. Sound good to you?
Let’s look at what’s hot in the world of advertising that you should pay attention to:
AI Improves PPC
You used to have to do a lot of trial and error with PPC advertising. But now, AI is in on the game and making it so much easier to create more successful ads for less money.
Google has invested huge amounts into fleshing out their automation options. To make the most of PPC, you need to help algorithms work for your benefit and assist machines with learning about conversion tracking settings. Here are a few tips:
Set up accurate ad copy that targets specific audiences by identifying keywords or phrases related specifically towards them (this will increase ROI);
Use A/B testing if possible so as not be left paying more than necessary based on guesswork alone!
Also, don’t forget about the power of social advertising. While Twitter is figuring itself out, Facebook is still strong and definitely check out the power of TikTok advertising.
If there’s one marketing trick that all solopreneurs can benefit from, it’s using TikTok. At this time, we’re still seeing a lot of businesses shy away from TikTok, while many influencers and some select solopreneurs are really taking advantage of the power behind the platform. Solopreneurs have the benefit of creating genuine content, which does well on the platform. At this time, there’s tons of trending audio files that business owners can use to push the value of their company and really let their brand shine. TikTok users really gravitate towards authentic content, which gives solopreneurs an edge over larger companies. By speaking directly to their customers, as a business owner and not a corporation, they can easily build a strong following that will share their content and help them thrive. TikTok can be confusing for some business owners to start using, however, once they get the hang of it, the returns are well worth the time commitment.— Kyle Risley, Lift Vault
Vertical Short Form Videos
Speaking of TikTok, vertical short form videos are still all the rage – especially for advertising. Here are just a few stats to keep in mind:
- Ad content created for TikTok and in partnership with creators has a 93% higher engagement rate.
- Gen Z is discovering and buying products on social media more than any other generation.
While TikTok boasts some powerful statistics, Instagram still outperforms TikTok. Instagram Reels reached 389,298 users and received 604,350 impressions while TikTok only reached 199,477 users and received 228,538 impressions. Cost per 1,000 people reached for Reels was also about half that of TikTok at $2.60 vs $5.03.
The benefit of being a solopreneur is that it’s easier for your audience to connect to you as the face of your brand. However, this is only effective if you’re proactive about your social media strategy. Instagram is one of the most used social media platforms this year, and it’s likely to continue with those statistics in 2023.
As more users are responding to short-form video marketing trends, we expect features like Instagram Stories to take the spotlight. Stories are one of the best strategies any solopreneur can use to get in front of their target customers in a personal way.
Reels have become the tool for infusing entertainment into your brand. On the other hand, stories allow you to share behind-the-scenes details about yourself and your mission that can make you more relatable to your audience and drive more engagement and sales to your page.Stephen Light, Nolah Mattress
Facebook Ads Get Expensive and Complicated
Meanwhile, Facebook ads are getting complicated and expensive. Even though Facebook is still one of the most affordable platforms for advertising, you’re going to need to run a much more sophisticated strategy to get the results you’ve been used to.
The shifts in privacy brought in by iOS 14 have really put a wrench in your ability to target as specifically as before. Which is why you’re going to need much more of your own customer data to create look-a-like audiences with the most results.
How to use these trends in your business:
- If the best use of your time is working directly with clients and don’t hae the time or resources to invest in long-term marketing campaigns – advertising is a great choice for you.
- Make collecting customer data (emails, interests, product purchases, etc) a priority so that you can create targeted audience and get the most out of your advertising investment.
- Create an advertising campaign series that follows the AIDA model or the PAS model. That means you’re going to create a series of ads that collects interested audiences and funnels them down toward your offer.
Solopreneurs should get into the gamification of their businesses to boost their marketing strategies in 2023. Gamification, a growing industry in today’s digital age, is an excellent way to incentivize audience engagement and activities through interactive content and games. It helps fuel business growth, take advantage of seasonal promotions, and drive higher sales. Gamified marketing strategies are effective in compelling consumers to participate in the sales journey, so solopreneurs should start exploring this industry as soon as possible.Nunzio Ross, Majesty Coffee
What Does it All Mean
Let me break it down for you using the 80/20 rule. If there is ONE thing that you should focus on as a small business in the next three to five years it’s BUILDING TRUST.
Throughout every single trend that I’ve mentioned here, trust is at the core of success. Unfortunately, trust takes years to build and a single click or post to destroy. So you’d better get started.
My recommendation for marketing in your small business is to make trust-building the foundation of your business and
Granted, your competitors are going to be flashy and splashy, but now is the time to zig when they zag.