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.
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?
Nicole 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….