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Business Predictions for 2012

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It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

Last time on Expert Briefs we talked about our biggest business lessons learned in 2011. This week we're looking toward the future when I asked our panel of experts …

“What's your prediction for how online business will change in 2012?”


Lain Ehmann of Business Love Potion says:

I think 2012 is going to be the year of QUALITY. We all know the tools – audio podcasts, videos, blogs — and for a while now, volume has been more important than quality. I predict that's going to change in a big way in 2012.

People aren't going to put up with shoddy audio/video quality because the novelty of those media has worn off. They want you to sound like a professional broadcaster, and to produce high-quality videos. They know it doesn't cost thousands of dollars, so the “homemade” look is OUT.

Your website should be crisp and clean and professional. That doesn't cost much either.

Proofread your blog posts. Format your ebooks before you send them to Kindle. With low-cost outsourcing solutions like Fiverr.com, you simply don't have an excuse for shoddy work — and your audience knows it.

There. I have spoken. 🙂


Mark Mason of MasonWorld.com says:

Here is my bold prediction. Facebook will IPO for more than $100M in 2012.

Swamped by the media frenzy and being too little, too late, Google+ will die. Google will not officially kill Google+ in 2012, but we will all agree that Google+ is dead (think Google Wave).


Dr. Mani of Internet Infopreneur says:

Y'know that age-old quote… the more things change, the more they stay the same!

That's my prediction for 2012 – online business in the years ahead will go back to the way it was in 1996 and thereabouts.

A focus on quality content that provides information, entertainment and value.

Products and services that were created to solve a problem and not just to make a quick buck.

Emphasis on relationship building to gain and retain attention than simply spraying promotions at anonymous audiences.

To those who entered online business around 2004, these things might seem ‘new' – and a return to those tactics a ‘change'.


Shannon Cherry of The Business Building Live Intensive says:

There's two trends I see for 2012.

The first is about value. Consumers are much wiser online than ever and if you over-value your offer, they will be more resistant than ever to work with you.

The second goes along with the first: relationships. Your value is as good as your relationship with your prospects. I'm not talking about how much you reach out to them via social media or email blasts. I'm suggestion you need to develop a deeper connection with them – a dialogue!

I think the Internet marketers who will excel will package the relationship into everything they sell.


Connie Ragen Green of Huge Profits Tiny List says:

As of this month I have now worked exclusively online for 5 full years. This means that I have finally been around long enough to be able to spot some trends and make some predictions based on my experience.

I believe the biggest change will be to the way online marketers relate to and connect with their prospects and clients. The ‘Big Box' style of impersonal customer service and generic thank you pages will be replaced with more personal interactions. I call this the ‘Mom and Pop' style of doing business, and it is much more effective in making people feel like they are appreciated.

Also, I believe that as more people come online to build a business, we will see prices drop even further as the competition heats up. This means that you must ‘up your game', creating high quality products and services at affordable prices.

This is all good news for anyone wanting to build an online empire. Simply bring your best ideas to the marketplace and treat each person you come in contact with as though you were interacting with them in person.


Rachel Rofe of RachelRofe.com says:

I think business is going to be even more reputation-based and that offering value will be more important than ever.

People are taking time to look at reviews before they buy products. The days of Clickbank-style launches where marketers can launch a crap product under a pen name, then re-launch with another pen name are dwindling.

Fast.

There are sites like The Warrior Forum and Earn1KADay that discuss products and how good/bad they are. Word is moving quickly.

Sites like Amazon (which I predict will only grow in popularity) also have the review sections, so business owners are forced to offer GOOD quality products.

Also, marketers are getting smarter than ever. They're unsubscribing from the hundreds of lists and they're getting sick of all the “noise”. They're getting picky with who they're listening to and only listening to those they trust most.

Marketers who take the time to communicate with their audience (via social media and email) will WIN. People want to feel special. They're so much noise out there, but a simple email can make you stand out in a huge way.

So in short… offering quality products and building long-term relationships with your customers (and treating them as people, not an asset), will be more important than ever.


Kelly McCausey of Solo Smarts says:

When I got your question my brain went blank – and then I felt panic. Shouldn't I be able to answer this? 2012 will mark my tenth year as an online business owner.

I'll just be honest. I don't have any predictions. Sure, online business has changed over the years but I can't think of any particular thing that will be different in 2012.

I hope I'm not alone in feeling inadequate to make predictions. Maybe this should be a goal for me in the new year, to build up my predicting skills?

I can make predictions about my own business… like I'm going to pick up my ‘Solopreneur are Smarter' banner and march it around all year long – inspiring as many people as possible to build awesome profitable businesses.

I can make a few hopeful predictions… like I hope that blog spammers will pack it up and go home FOREVER and that Google will release an update that gives my original, creative, aged content sites their traffic back.

A girl can dream, right?


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Well, once again, I posed a question without really contemplating my own answer. Now I've gotta actually THINK! 🙂

So, what is my prediction this year? I actually have two of them.

My first prediction is that niche marketing will continue to be phased out. (At least niche marketing as I was taught it.) It will continue to be replaced with authority-type sites and community sites where people can interact. Way back when I started online (ok, not so far back as Dr. M, but still…) I was taught to focus on niche marketing which, at that time, involved getting into a variety of small niches, while driving traffic to them through the search engines. I have been watching that trend fall apart the last few years and have been interested in even watching and experimenting with my own niche sites to see what would happen.  Yes, I still have niche sites out there and most are under pen names. They still make some money, but … I just don't think that's the best place to focus now-a-days. I've seen it heading this direction for a few years, but I see it falling apart entirely now.

My other big prediction is that forums will become a thing of the past, especially free forums. I think it's getting impossible to attract people to participate in forums when they are competing with Facebook. It's just too hard. I don't know about you, but I go to Facebook multiple times per day, but I only go to my favorite forums a few times per week (if not less). I just can't see forums continuing to co-exist with Facebook without some real changes.

Of course there will always be exceptions to that rule, but that's what my crystal ball says. 🙂

I also definitely agree with Lain. Ugly sites and videos used to sell, but now a higher level of professionalism is expected.

And, I agree with Connie and Shannon and Rachel about relationships. I continue to buy from and do business with those who I trust. A large part of that trust is developed over time and is earned. It's not just handed over.

Well, that's the predictions from the all-knowing Nikeroonie. 😉

So, what about you?

What are your predictions for this new year? Please share!

With much appreciation. And I wish you the best this new year….

Warmly,
Nicole

0 Comments

  • Susanne Myers
    Reply

    I felt like Kelly, which is why I didn’t submit a prediction post (even though Nicole bugged me about it at least 5 times). Yes, things change, and I think everyone made some very valid points, but the same solid stuff that worked 5 years ago will continue to work.

    I think niche sites will continue to work well, but I agree with Nicole, you won’t be able to get away with those 5 to 10 page static mini-sites we built back in the say. There needs to be fresh content and interactivity. I think it is also becoming more and more important to stay in touch with readers. Email lists are still a very valid option and will continue to work that way for years to come. At the same time, connecting with our target market via social media is becoming more and more important and it’s what’ll help us give our readers, subscribers and customers that “Mom and Pop Store” customer service Connie mentioned.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to 2012.

  • Juliet Johnson
    Reply

    My predictions are

    1. Google+ will continue to morph into its own thing: already the stuff there is unique, fun and visually fascinating! With the now personal search (which I called 6 weeks ago! Just saying) if you don’t use G+, Google will make assumptions about you that may render your search results from them completely “un-helpful”.

    2. The voracious Social Media beast requires authentic, experiential-based content, a lot of it, constantly. Those who can be disciplined and consistent, with an original, authentic voice will carry the day. PLR, quality PLR, is a huge help here, but only if you meticulously put your own twist on the thing.

    Which is my way of saying, thanks guys. Your work is greatly appreciated.

  • William
    Reply

    I believe and hope, 2012 will bring more of the “Mom and Pop” style of doing business with the trust being built up via personal emails. An example is that I receive an email almost every morning From Connie. I look forward to these because they are written with a little “personal touch to them” I know that they will include a link in them to a product, but that’s o.k. I can email Connie and ask her if she feels the product is something that I personally need at this time in my progress. Sometimes she will tell me yes it is a nice fit and other times, she will tell me to wait, I don’t need it at this time. That may cost her a couple of dollars on a sale, but it builds mountains of trust.
    There are other people that email me 5 or 6 times a day, reminding me that I must sign up for their webinar, that will “change my world, overnight” I get hit by them so many times in a day, that I am actually afraid to listen to their webinar. Tell me once, if I can’t remember or mark it on my planner, shame on me.

  • Loretta
    Reply

    I agree with you about the free forums thing – I moved my cross stitch forum to a Facebook page a little over a year ago now and it’s thriving and enjoyable. It took awhile to get used to, but after everyone settled in most agree the new setup is better and easier, since like you said we’re on Facebook anyway! I venture to say I actually like it better that way.

    Not only are free forums having difficulty maintaining active members, they’re a pain in the butt on the backend. You need moderators, you need plugins, you need to block out spammers. It’s all just so much easier on Facebook pages and/or groups.

  • vicque fassinger
    Reply

    Just like the proverbial turtle in the race, quality will continue to reign.

    Quality in relationships will always win through (would you rather have a portfolio of loyal clients who consistently refer you and who return to you with new projects throughout the years or hundreds of customers you never hear from again?)

    Quality in products will always shine through (would you rather invest a fair price for an authentic piece crafted just for you or pay pennies on the dollar for something that has to be rewritten, reworked, or never used?)

    And quality with our most important, treasured, and irreplaceable commodity—time (would you rather focus your time wholeheartedly doing something you absolutely love that is both of service to others AND is profit-generating for you or would you rather “spend” your time halfheartedly trying a thousand new things dreamt by others and never really staying true to yourself and your own particular gifts?)

    If you strive to make it that way, 2012 will be the year for you filled with quality relationships, quality work, and quality moments.

  • Deb Gallardo
    Reply

    Nicole,

    How does the trend away from old-style niche marketing apply to NAMS? Trying to wrap my head around stuff before we all meet up in February. Will niche authority sites be a topic for discussion in Atlanta?

    Wondering…

    Thanks,
    Deb

    • Nicole
      Reply

      Hey Deb.

      That’s a great question! NAMS has grown so much beyond niche marketing to focus on an entire online business.

      But your point is very good. Let me find out an answer for you on that to see if it’s being addressed. I’ll be teaching in the 200 room most of the day Friday and that’s what I’ll be focusing on – making money in a solid niche – not creating a slew of mini-sites in a variety of tiny niches. 🙂

      Hope that helps!
      N

      • Deb Gallardo
        Reply

        It helps a lot. Thank you.

        I may slip into the 200 room off and on when you’re there. I’m kind of on the cusp between beginner and intermediate. I’ve got mostly intermediate head knowledge but am still at the beginner level in actual experience.

        That’s why I like the flexibility of NAMS, too. So much looking forward to this.

        Is it February yet? It should be. It’s 4 degrees here this morning!

        See ya’ there!
        Deb

  • Debra Marrs
    Reply

    During 2012, I believe entrepreneurs who can write and publish in Kindle, Nook or other ereader formats will be seen as the sophisticated experts in their field.

    Regarding published content, I believe buyers will continue to purchase rich content that offers solutions for problems they face. While .pdf ebooks and reports have been the norm in the past 6-8 years of internet marketing, I believe during 2012 more buyers will expect content that’s e-reader friendly.

    Just like being known for your hard covered book was in the past, during 2012 and beyond, having both a soft cover print-on-demand book along with the Kindle or Nook version will be a must.

    • Deb Gallardo
      Reply

      Debra,
      This prediction seems completely logical and believable. And since I plan to publish electronically this year, I’m hoping your prediction comes true 100 times over!

      Hey, how can we both be wrong? We’re both Debs! LOL

      Thanks for having the courage to speak out. I once predicted that these two guys I saw in a coffeehouse setting back in the late 60s-early 70s would never go far. They sounded good enough, but with a duo name like Simon and Garfunkle, I thought the odds were against them.

      Oh, yeah. Egg on the face.

      Don’t think that’ll happen for you. But I always say to singers who hold back because they’re afraid of singing something wrong, “If you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big one. You’ll never make it again.”

      I don’t recommend this for brain surgeons in training, however…
      Deb

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