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Cultivating Loyalty Through Online Marketing

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Photo: © iStockphoto / Baran Özdemir

Staff Writer |

WALTHAM, Mass. — With the economy still knee-deep in recovery mode, more small-business owners, including coin laundry owners, are recognizing the value of cultivating loyalty with the assistance of social and mobile marketing tools, says online marketer Constant Contact.

The emergence of SoLoMo—the integration of social media, local merchants using location-aware technology, and mobile device usage—is increasing merchants’ ability to tailor marketing efforts to individuals.

“We live in a world that’s more social, more ‘all-the-time’ and interactive than ever before. That’s both bad and good,” says Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman. “On the plus side, the new tools we have at our fingertips, coupled with the predisposition of our audience to engage, presents a fantastic opportunity for small businesses. On the flip side, standing out from the crowd and respecting the relationship with your audience is more important than ever.”

2013 will bring innovation that integrates marketing channels and helps small businesses market like the “big guys,” Goodman believes. Constant Contact offers these predictions:

Socially integrated, permission-based e-mail marketing campaigns will achieve success

E-mail is expected to grow. It will remain the preferred method of communication among consumers, and continue as their preferred marketing channel because they have control over it, Constant Contact says. The power of video in e-mails will continue to grow, as will integration with social channels. And if e-mail isn’t permission-based, it will be harder than ever to make it to the in box.

Mobile search continues upward trend

Mobile search continues to aggressively trend upward, with millions of Americans shopping by browsing hundreds of directories, web sites and mobile apps that provide local business information.

Events are gateways to engagement marketing

In-person and online events will play a more prominent role in driving customer engagement, with their full impact no longer limited to what happens on-site, Constant Contact says. Small businesses and non-profits are increasingly looking at their events with a wide lens, bringing into focus the role they play in their overall marketing efforts.

Social media marketing is business-critical activity

Small-business attitudes toward social media have evolved from dismissive passivity to cautious curiosity over the past five years. Despite larger brands’ exuberant embrace of social engagement, most small businesses have been slow to implement social as a primary channel in their marketing mix. In 2013, there will be a significant transition as small businesses approach social media marketing as a business-critical daily activity. Small businesses will begin to see the value these channels bring to their businesses, and learn how to measure it.

Constant Contact believes more small businesses than not will be using social media marketing to drive their business results by the end of this year.

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