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Top Marketing Trends in 2023 for Small Businesses and Freelancers

Since the advent of social media marketing a decade ago, marketing trends have evolved rapidly, some say at the speed of light. By the time you design and deploy a 12-month marketing strategy, the tactics have shifted and you’re marketing is out of date.

Stay ahead of the marketing trends for 2023, with this quick marketing forecast for small businesses and freelancers (or solopreneurers).

Trend #1: Stay In Tune With YOUR Audience

While the newest and flashiest marketing tactics are ever-changing, this trend stays constant and gets easier. It’s getting easier because more and more advertising and social media channels are providing detailed audience data. But let’s narrow our definition a bit. What Who is your audience?

YOUR audience is the universe of people and businesses who care about your messaging and the solutions you provide. The key here is to focus on them. Where is their attention? How are their needs changing? Who else is providing solutions to them?

Your audience is probably not Nike’s audience, so ignore their marketing tactics. Your audience is likely not the same as McDonald’s, so ignore their marketing plans. Even parallel (not direct competitors) companies within your niche – you can ignore them.

The key here is to focus on works with your audience. Then double down on it. Explore the 2023 top marketing trends listed next, but only stick to the ones that work.

2023 Marketing Trends [Highlights]

  1. Influencer marketing will be commonplace.
  2. Video content goes shorter.
  3. Micro-influencers will grow in importance.
  4. Audience data will be more important than short-term ROI.
  5. Social media will become your first touchpoint for customer service.
  6. Social media is for engagement, not direct sales (unless you’re an e-commerce brand).
  7. TikTok continues to dominate, LinkedIn finds a new role, and Twitter has potential.
  8. SEO services are mainstream, and businesses that don’t use SEO services will fall behind exponentially.
  9. Marketing teams will need graphic designers less as design becomes automated.
  10. More businesses will not just purchase ads but will earn money from ads.
  11. The metaverse, AR, VR, and blockchain will slowly increase their importance to marketers.

Trend #2: Influencer Marketing Should Have Common Place in Your Ad Budget By Now

Part of my personal marketing research involves my YouTube channel, and it’s given me loads of insights into how businesses connect and why they connect with an influencer’s audience. Find the influencers in your niche, whether they’re on conference stages, Instagram Reels, TitTok stories, or YouTube episodes. Then reach out with an offer to tap into the ready-made audience that matches your buyer personas (here’s our persona/customer profile service).

And don’t discount the power of micro-influencers. These are social media personalities (like my YouTube channel) that have a few thousand followers up to 10-20 thousand. These sources typically expect less investment from you but have a finely tailored audience that doesn’t include inflated numbers. Beware of larger influencers with 100k or 1 million+ followers. Unless you sell a pop culture item, you’re not getting good value for your investment.

Trend #3: Look For Short-Form Video Content

This has two prongs: for influencer marketing and for your organic growth.

Short-Form Influencers. More platforms will begin monetizing short-form content in 2023. For example, Instagram pays us $10 per reel @thefosterjourney and YouTube is monetizing in February 2023. This means short-form will take the attention span by storm. A low-cost $50, 6-second call out on a reel might garner you thousands of views and become a powerful brand awareness tactic.

Organic Growth. Your own content marketing strategy needs to shift to this trend, if you haven’t already. Think about the long-form 3-10 minute videos that you used to product back in 2018. No one is watching those in 2023. Think in terms of 1-3 second clips combined to make 30-second videos. And use voiceovers with captions. 80% of short-form videos are watched with sound off, and captions garner more views.

Hey reading teachers, that’s good! People are reading. lol

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Trend #4: TikTok Ads Are Here To Stay

If you haven’t already started your ads manager account on TikTok, get there and get started (and we’re glad to help!). The ad manager received significant upgrades in 2022 and continues to grow to support businesses on TikTok. As Facebook continues to evolve toward the 40+ age group, TikTok dominates the market of young professionals with cash ready to spend on your products or services.

Trend #5: Videos For Everything and Everyone

As mentioned above, videos with captions are ruling the day. But videos in general continue to rule. Especially in B2B (business to business/organization) marketing. If you’re on LinkedIn, the days of posting an article you read are coming to a close. Video posts are getting more reach, sometimes of 5 times more, than posts without videos.

What does that mean for you?

Create videos that people value (either informative, emotionally stirring, or for fun). Yes, it’s okay to have fun on LinkedIn!! Here’s what’s happening in the world of video:

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

Trend #6: Content Marketing Drives Engagement, Not Sales

Don’t skip this one. This top marketing trend of 2023 is essential to your sales and revenue. Content marketing is not for driving revenue (And here are the details on why businesses make this mistake in their ads). Content marketing includes your blog posts and all the social posts that derive from your blog (or vlog) content.

If you’re using content marketing with the expectation that people will see your posts and then say, “I Want To Buy!” then you’ll be frustrated. Instead, flip your expectation, and your messaging, to use content marketing to build engagement. Then watch as you reach more people and more of your audience engages with your brand.

Then your revenue will grow. There’s something special about the social proof that comes with engagement. It shows that there are value-driven relationships growing, and your brand holds a place of meaning to your audience. Value + meaning = sales.

Ultimately, a content strategy that focuses on engagement shows that your brand is in tune with the community and it’s not just me, me, me, me.

Trend #7: Keep Your Eye on the Metaverse and Blockchain

In my education company, we’re eyeing the potential that blockchain has for educational assets (that’s all I can say about that publicly). And you should be keeping an eye on the opportunities too. We will see the beginnings of this marketing trend in 2023. While growth is still slow in the metaverse, businesses are playing.

And remember, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are included here too. Their potential as tools in your marketing plan should not be forgotten. Your competitors who grow the most are going to be incorporating them in 2023.

Don’t discount the opportunities yet as there are definite nuggets waiting to be discovered. Instead, have someone on your team dabble in the ins and outs of metaverse apps (like Upland, Decentraland, Discord, and even NFTs on Twitter) and follow a few metaverse blogs. I recommend Building the Metaverse and Metacrunch Weekly Round-Ups.

Thanks for reading.

I hope the information shared in these trends can help you design a better marketing strategy going forward! Please reach out if you need anything from me!

Cheers,

Matt

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