Marketers Singing 'SoLoMo' Social Media Tune . / Credit: criben

The tide of small business owners who recognize the value of using social and mobile marketing tools to cultivate loyalty and bolster their bottom lines continues to rise. One force driving this movement is the emergence of SoLoMo, according to marketing experts.

SoLoMo (the integration of social media, local merchants using location-aware technology and mobile device usage) is increasing the ability of merchants to tailor marketing efforts such as content, deals and offers to individuals, while also paving the way toward genuine engagement marketing, say the experts at Constant Contact. The company supplies small businesses with online marketing tools.

Email, despite predictions of its untimely death, will set the pace in seeding engagement marketing, Constant Contact believes. Email is expected to grow and will remain the preferred method of communication among consumers. It will also continue as their preferred marketing channel because consumers have control over it — they can act on it, ignore it, delete it or opt out of it.

But consumers will become even more discerning on what they allow in their inbox — if email is sent haphazardly, looks amateurish or contains unwanted content, consumers will opt out and never return, Constant Contact says.

Consumers will also increasingly shift their searches for local business information from the desktop to their mobile devices.  In part, Constant Contact said, that will be driven by newly energized — and individually tailored — daily deals that make sense for both consumers and local merchants.

Merchants absorbed the message from the flood of unsuccessful deals in 2012, and rather than abandon the category learned how to make deals work, particularly by controlling the deal.

Social media marketing will increasingly be seen as critical by small businesses. Their attitude toward social media has evolved from dismissive passivity to cautious curiosity. Constant Contact believes that 2013 will see a significant transition as small businesses approach social media marketing as a necessary daily activity.

And the canvas for engagement will grow. In-person and online events will play a larger role in driving customer engagement, with their full impact no longer limited to what happens on-site. Small businesses and nonprofits will look at their events with a wider lens, bringing into greater focus the role they play in their overall marketing efforts.

"We live in a world that’s more social, more ‘all-the-time’ and interactive than ever before," said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact.  "2013 will bring innovation that integrates marketing channels and helps small businesses market like the big guys. It will be easier than ever to get engaged with your audience and drive real, measurable results. Consumer mobile adoption will require even the smallest small business to mobile-optimize and enrich their online presence to get easily discovered, consumers will demand personalization like never before, and new measurement tools will help small businesses see the value of engagement marketing."

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