Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, and the pandemic has increased these challenges. Fortunately, one of the ways small businesses can thrive while adapting to the new normal is by staying on top of the latest marketing and business trends.

Even though trends are usually fleeting, it looks like 2022 will continue to hold on to some of this year’s top trends — and perhaps even intensify them. Let’s take a look at some of the key marketing trends that small businesses need to leverage in 2022!

1. Sustainability

47% of consumers want to buy from businesses that are environmentally conscious. If your brand doesn’t advocate for sustainability, you’re likely to miss out on a lot of revenue.

Customers care about how the business practices of their favorite brands impact the environment. This is even more pronounced in the fashion industry. The apparel industry accounts for 2 to 8% of global greenhouse emissions — mainly due to fast fashion.

That’s why you need to focus on making your processes more sustainable in 2022. In fact, customers don’t mind spending more money on sustainable products.

Reformation, a vintage clothing store turned sustainable fashion brand, has garnered immense popularity despite being more expensive than well-known fashion brands like Zara and Mango. The company doesn’t shy away from promoting their sustainable practices, which helps them gain favor among eco-friendly fashion enthusiasts.

Image via Reformation's website

Creating a sustainable brand should cover all the bases — processes, products, as well as packaging. If you miss any one of these, you’re only undoing the good you’ve done. However, if you’re just starting out, even small initiatives like avoiding single-use plastics and using Recycled paper-based packaging can help you make a powerful statement.

2. Video marketing

Did you know that 87% of video marketers see a favorable return on their video marketing investments? In some ways, video marketing is similar to television ads, but it’s more efficient and can be targeted at relevant audiences.

That’s why your small business needs to capitalize on this opportunity as soon as possible. It can be as simple as tapping the record button on your mobile device, thanks to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Both of them allow in-app purchasing, making it faster than ever for businesses to seal the deal.

Effective video marketing can also help you with positive word-of-mouth. Doe Lashes, the eyelash company founded in 2020, grew to be a $15 million business in just one year, in part due to their video marketing efforts on TikTok.

Image via Doe's TikTok

3. Conversational marketing

One-on-one conversations can create long-term customer relationships, increase loyalty, and deliver superior user experiences. Ecommerce conversational marketing typically takes the form of a live chat box or virtual product advisor. In fact, 52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from a company that offers live chat support.

When looking to start conversations with your website visitors, select a place to host your conversations. Pick the pages where you’d like your chatbot to engage with your visitors, and then map out the conversation flow based on the customer’s journey — keeping simplicity in mind.

However, not all brands may benefit from conversational marketing. It mostly works for companies that offer a wide array of choices, features, and customizations which could make it difficult for customers to choose the right ones for their needs.

A great example is the online flower delivery service that uses a chatbot on their website to walk customers through the entire sales cycle — offering suggestions and guidance at every step.

Image via 1-800-Flower's website

4. Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing is all about being where your customers are. The focus is to provide convenience by creating a cohesive experience for them at all times regardless of the platform they use.

As a starting point, data collection is essential to create an all-encompassing experience for customers. This helps you target your customers based on their wants and needs, so they are more likely to make a purchase.

For example, if a customer saves a product to their wishlist while browsing your website, you can send them an in-app and email notification when that product goes on sale. Similarly, cart abandonment emails or retargeting ads on social media (for products left in their shopping cart) are other examples of omnichannel marketing.

5. Personalization

Personalized marketing — from content to product — will help you stand out in 2022 because it shows you’re listening to your target audience. Customers benefit from a positive shopping experience, which can raise customer loyalty and revenues.

To implement personalization, create custom offers based on the information you collect from customers, and use these insights to upsell and cross-sell products during checkout. You could even suggest relevant products to them based on their location.

Purple does this well. For example, they launched a personalized marketing campaign called “Sleep Cool” to target users in warm regions.

Image via Purple's Website

6. Authenticity

90% of consumers seek authenticity in brands they support. They want brands to live up to their ideals. Millennials and Gen Z make up most of this demographic, so it’s safe to say that this trend will only pick up as more Gen Zers acquire purchasing power.

But building a brand with purpose isn’t simple. It’s easy to come across as inauthentic if you’re not consistent in your efforts. Once that happens, it’s hard to earn back the customer’s trust. A second drawback is that there’s always a possibility of attracting controversy if you address controversial topics.

One way to navigate around this is to leverage user-generated content, which is 2.4x more likely to be considered authentic compared to brand-created content.

Peace Out is a DTC skincare brand that doesn’t hold back from talking about skin-related issues like acne or blackheads. Most of their TikTok videos come from actual users who rave about their products.

Image via Peace Out Skincare's website

7. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it’s likely to gain more traction in 2022. With TikTok and Instagram improving their SMB features, partnering with influencers is more valuable than ever.

Platforms like Upfluence and BuzzSumo make it easier to find the right influencers. They can help you identify the ones with higher engagement levels (and fewer fake followers) who are more likely to generate a positive return on investment (ROI) from your campaigns.

Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be costly. You can start by working with nano-influencers and micro-influencers in your niche who have a small but engaged community of followers. Working with these influencers can help your brand gain greater visibility among the right audiences for a tiny fraction of the cost you’d be paying if you worked with celebrity influencers.

The energy bar company CLIF BAR often works with mom influencers having smaller but engaged social media followings to promote their CLIF KID line of products. Here’s one such example.

Image via @mama.jamma

Wrapping up

In order to stay relevant and competitive, you must keep a check on the pulse of the market. If you’re open to change and can keep up with the latest marketing trends, you should be able to grow profitably. Leverage these seven trends to make 2022 a great year that takes your business to newer heights! 🚀