Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Online Predictions for SMEs for 2011

by Kathryn Richards

As 2010 comes to an end, I’ve just read a great article over at Mashable with some predictions for Small Businesses online next year.

Here’s my take on 2 of the biggest trends that are coming for 2011: - 1 - Increased Spending on Websites and - 2 - More Focused Social Media Efforts.

1. Increased Spending on Websites

It’s definitely true that smart business owners are now recognising the importance in not only having a website – but a website that gets found in Google. Having a website is not a “one-off” cost – but an on-going project – involving managing your online presence through online marketing.

I think the power and control over websites will also be highlighted in 2011. Smart business owners are now realising they not only need a well-designed, search-engine friendly website – but they need to be in control of it. This means a CMS (content management system) that is both simple and easy to manage. This control is essential both from a SEO point of view (Google loves fresh content) and an empowerment perspective (in-house generated content can not only be more valuable but can also valorise employees).

Another focus is linked to this, for me, will be sustainable web design. With the significant rise in the quantity and diversity of internet browsing devices, respecting web standards (best practices such as W3c validation, accessible code, use of CSS for style…) will be no longer a “nice-to-have” – but an absolute necessity. The same goes for extensive testing for the same reasons – what works in Internet Explorer on a PC may not in Safari on an IPad.

2. More Focused Social Media Efforts :
2010 = Testing, 2011 = Refining the strategy

This is another great prediction. 2010 has indeed been a year of experimentation, and testing of the many, many social media platforms and opportunities out there. I think for the beginning of 2011, this will continue. Now is the time for businesses to get out there, see what works best, test, make mistakes and learn from it. By the end of 2011, making mistakes on core platforms such as Twitter and Facebook will no longer be acceptable and may be costly in terms of brand reputation.

In this learning process, both agencies and business owners will certainly be focusing and refining their Social Media efforts. Whereas now, they may have over half a dozen icons flashing next to their blog, in 2011 they will be identifying the platforms that work best for them. It’s simply not necessary – or even efficient – to have a presence everywhere (especially for SMEs) – but instead to be in the same place(s) that your consumers are.

Not only will Social Media campaigns be more focused – but they will be more measured. While, like any PR campaign, it will remain hard to calculate the exact ROI, businesses will certainly be tracking their statistics – whether this is ultimately the amount of sales generated, or indeed in terms of brand management - the amount of reviews left on their e-commerce website, the amount of “likes” on their Facebook page, or the amount of leads generated through networking on Twitter.

The phenomenal speed of development on Facebook means that with the possibilities available with Facebook pages – resulting in almost a “micro-website” within Facebook – mean that businesses will certainly be exploiting this in 2011. Look out for updates to the Art Division Facebook page in the following weeks ;-)

… read here the 5 predictions for Small Business in 2011 (including Increased Adoption of Cloud Computing, Social Shopping and E-Commerce Advancements and the Smartphone Revolution).

Let me know what you think – which trend will have the most impact on your business?

And a Happy New Years from everyone at Art Division !

1 comment:

  1. That's right. SMEs may be small, but they are the very foundation of a stable economy. Many SME's, through great financial management and marketing, grow exponentially in less than a decade.

    web design melbourne


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