As 2009 winds to a close, we look to 2010 with antici…….pation and enthusiasm. It’s a whole new year with a clean slate. And with the new year comes a reflection on where we’ve been and where we’re going. The web has changed drastically and that changes the way we, as internet marketers, do business.
2009 Predictions: 4 1/2 out of 5 Predictions
Before rolling into 2010 predictions, let’s establish a track record – how well did I do with my 2009 predictions? Let’s see!
- 2009 Prediction: With the “down” economy, opportunities in “make money online” will be even bigger. TRUE! The business of teaching others how to do internet marketing has grown exponentially. Ed Dale saw the biggest number of 30 Day Challenge participants ever in August while my own Crowd Mountain launched and grew exponentially in February. Big product launches, once again, broke sales records. But even folks new to the game were able to break out and do big business. There’s still more room than ever in this market.
- 2009 Prediction: Data portability becomes more a norm rather than an exception. TRUE! You’ll be hard pressed to find a new social service these days and not have it integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and/or Gmail to port your current contacts into your new profile.
- 2009 Prediction: Using video as part of the sales process will become a necessity. TRUE! I’ve continued to run tests, and a salespage with video has outperformed a salespage without video every time. Simply put, if you’re not using video, you’re leaving money on the table.
- 2009 Prediction: People will bring more focus to their social media marketing efforts. FALSE! I wish this were true, and I could probably call it true without any arguments from readers, but it’s just not. I still get messages nearly every day with people overwhelmed by the vast array of social media sites, and while I think many folks “get it” there are still many who don’t. So I’ll shout it from the rooftops one more time: Pick 2-3 social media sites that are active in your niche and focus on them rather than spreading yourself too thin across every available network!
- 2009 Prediction: As a product owner or a niche leader you’ll be expected to be available, responding and engaging with your “tribe” more often than not. TRUE! People want to know you’re available to them more than ever, and those that are tend to rise to the top.
Drumroll please…. Here are my 2010 internet marketing and social media predictions:
Location, Location, Location
Many folks are claiming location based services, like BriteKite and FourSquare will be the breakout hits of 2010. I disagree. Location WILL become increasingly important in 2010, but for mass adoption, these services will have to be rolled into existing, already adopted platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.
My mom lives in Oakland and works in San Francisco (two areas where loacation based services have really great data from their users). Would she EVER use something like FourSquare? No. Would she use it if it was integrated into Facebook? You betcha.
I live in a little mountain town of 900 people. I can’t really even use these location based services – my town is literally not on the map! Would I be interested in my local Facebook friends (most of the locals I know are on Facebook exclusively) location info? Absolutely! Can I get it anywhere else? Nope.
The digerati and web wunderkinds aside, most folks don’t have the time and interest in creating and maintaining another social profile.
After recording this prediction on IMTW last night, rumors started flying that Google was in talks to buy Yelp, a local business reviews site. It’s speculated that Yelp data could be integrated with Google Maps.
And this is where I predict successful location based services will go in 2010: merged into already existing products that have been adopted by the masses.
The Death of Software Downloads
We’ve already seen it with services like Google Docs and Gmail – why keep files or email on our harddrives when we can keep them on the web and access them anywhere?
I made the switch in 2009 to storing as much of my data as possible online, so it doesn’t matter where I am or which computer I’m on, I have access to everything I need.
It makes sense from a user standpoint in terms of being able to work with the software wherever you are. But it also makes sense from a business standpoint:
- Updates are server-side and seamless for the user, no re-downloading a re-installing (which inevitably leads to customer support issues)
- Web based applications work on Mac or PC – you’re not leaving a giant segment of your market behind
- It’s easier to find web developers
- Less compatibility problems with different operating systems and conflicts with already installed programs which leads to less customer support issues
- Allows for a recurring access charge
We’ve seen some movement in this direction in the internet marketing space in 2009, and in 2010 web-based software (aka “cloud computing”) will become the norm.
Link Popularity Gets Social
While simply having links on social media properties was once enough to boost your search engine ranking, in 2010 the popularity of those links will become a bigger ranking factor.
Consider this scenario:
Two blog posts on the same topic. One is retweeted a gazillion times, is linked all over Facebook and has a ton of comments. One gets little traction in the social media space. Which one do you think *should* rank higher in the SERP’s? The one that people shared the most!
The easiest way to achieve this is…. producing great content that people will want to share. You can also encourage people to share your content by using the tips in The Three Pillars of Social Media Marketing.
Social Media Marketing Matures
In 2010 social media marketing will mature in a variety of ways.
Firstly, we’ll move away from conversations about why one should be using social media in your marketing towards *how* to use social media in your marketing. It will be assumed that a social media presence is necessary, and we’ll see more instruction on exactly what to do.
We’ll also see more focus in how businesses use social media. Rather than using SM “because it’s the thing to do” we will more strategic at moving folks from social media into our sales funnels. Social media marketing will be less about “joining the conversation” and more about specifically growing your business (the “conversation” is still important, but our joining of it will be more purposeful).
Finally, our collective psyche’s will move away from a “bigger is better” mentality. Rather than valuing social media by the number of followers or fans, we’ll look more at those followers’ and fans’ engagement. 100,00 YouTube views or Twitter fans does not sell products if those folks are not engaged.
WordPress As a True CMS
We love WordPress, and it’ll just get bigger and better in 2010. With products like Affiliate Theme and Squeeze theme, and more flexibility with offerings like the Thesis Theme (used on this blog), WordPress is moving more towards a true CMS that can be used for anything, without custom coding.
Building a membership site or a review/rating site or even a salespage exclusively with WordPress has picked up steam in 2009 and will be even simpler in 2010 as developers create more plugins and themes to do so.
Products in this space will grow and our adoption of them will follow.
Additional 2010 Predictions
As is our tradition, Lynn Terry, Paul Colligan, Ed Dale and I recorded our 2010 predictions show last night for Internet Marketing This Week (that podcast will be out shortly). Watch the @IMTW Twitter feed or subscribe on iTunes to listen.
What trends do you see advancing in internet marketing, social media and the web as a whole in 2010? Leave a comment and let us know what YOU think!