As always, new changes are afoot online, and if you stay ahead of the curve, you can sometimes profit handily.
An article from Forbes gave me some ideas on how these changes could impact your business.
1. Working with the 'Crowd' is now mainstream and provides almost endless opportunities. First, you've got Uber, Lyft, eLance, Mechanical Turk, TaskRabbit and HouseCall doing nearly endless kinds of jobs that free you up to focus on building your business.
Next, IndieGogo and Kickstarter can provide you with capital for new projects.
Then there's Raynforest and OpenDorse providing social marketing
Bottom line: Consider using the crowd to solve your problems and even get your work done, and you'll find you can grow your business faster and bigger than trying to go it alone.
2. Prospects will know if you have good or bad customer service before they ever buy from you. Thanks to social media, if you offer lousy customer support then your prospects will hear about it before they make a purchase. Result? No sale.
And it's not enough to anymore to offer adequate customer support, you've also got to get your customers to sing your praises through social media.
3. Where there's a problem, there's money to be made. This one isn't new at all, but the article gives a great example. You know how you hate going through security at the airport? Qylatron has created a solution that lessens the inconvenience of getting yourself and your items through security.
Watch for what people are complaining about. The more complaints, the bigger the opportunity to find a solution.
4. Athletes + social media + your product = gold. Just getting an athlete or someone with social clout to mention your product on social media can drive sales.
5. Simple way to keep your endorsements legal – Comp.ly. Maybe you're a blogger and you sometimes recommend a product. Comp.ly automates the disclosure process to make the process painless and ensure you stay in compliance with the law.
6. You think crowdfunding is a great opportunity now? You ain't seen nothing yet.
Even companies like Orange County Choppers are using crowdfunding instead of traditional, stuffy venture capitalists or banks. Crowdfunding and eventually using unaccredited investors is the future, not a fad.
7. Ads are out, branded content story telling is in. Interruption advertising is becoming less effective by the day as consumers don't want to see your banner ad or pop-up.
But when you integrate your product into your story, you're entertaining, educating and positioning your product in such a way that the consumer is delighted rather than annoyed.
8. Think like a sports team. Look at the Fannect app and you'll find highly engaged fans coming back time and again. Figure out how to get your fans to engage with each other in friendly but competitive ways and you've got a business that will take on a life of its own.
9. Whenever possible, use growth-hacking. Traditional marketing methods cost too much and gain you too little, especially if you're competing against well-entrenched companies.
Think of it this way – they're using armies you can't afford, so you need to use guerrilla warfare. They're spending millions on advertising, so you need to give out free samples, etc. Internet marketers are especially good at this.
10. Customers don't want privacy, they want deals. And they're willing to give up their personal information to get those deals. Mobile location-based couponing and other location based services are going to grow, and grow fast. If you're working with offline businesses, this is a great service to offer now.
Bottom Line – Take advantage of the new directions and trends in marketing and you'll stay ahead of the competition and keep your customers and clients happy.