Top 3 (Realistic!) Digital Marketing Trends for Small Businesses in 2019
Chatbots, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, yadda yadda.
I’m not discounting these high-tech digital marketing trends we all keep hearing about. They’ve already made their mark on marketing, and as technology continues to weave its way into our daily lives, they’ll only become more prominent in 2019 and beyond.
But what if you don’t live in Silicon Valley? What if you can’t afford — let alone comprehend — the software needed to make a chatbot? What if your customers don’t even care about AI, AR, or any of the other buzzword-y acronyms flitting around the Internet?
We get it. Working with small businesses — and as a small business ourselves — we understand the tension between keeping tabs on the industry at large and actually being able to implement those trends. While we constantly research what’s going on in the digital marketing world, we think it’s silly to adopt a new tool or technique just because some website told us to.
So if you’re wondering what digital marketing trends to watch in 2019, here are three you really need to know — and can actually implement for your business.
1. Yes, You Need to Be Doing Video
. . . But no, you don’t need the latest video-recording tech to do so.
Drone shots are awesome, sure. If you can hire a professional videographer, even better!
But don’t sweat it if your budget or staff won’t allow you to go all gung-ho on video production. In fact, with the rise of short-lived, live-action video content like Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, it’s often better to share a more stripped-down video with your audience.
Here are three easy ways to get started with video marketing in 2019.
3 Ways to Get Started with Video Marketing in 2019
1. Try IGTV
You (hopefully) know you need to be marketing on Instagram. You may have even followed our five tips to grow your Instagram following.
But have you tried IGTV?
Instagram’s newest feature, IGTV, allows you to post long-form, vertical video on the Instagram or IGTV apps. (Yes, we’ve been telling our customers for years to always shoot videos in landscape mode, but here’s one format where portrait mode is actually preferable.)
IGTV is already wildly successful, so jump on board now to get ahead of your competition (and show your followers just how hip you are).
2. Go Live!
Live video is incredibly engaging, yet few businesses have actually tried it. Why not?
The point of live video is to showcase the here-and-now, zits-and-all aspect of your business or event — so there’s really no such thing as “screwing it up”!
(Well, unless you drop an F-bomb or spread slander about a competitor or something heinous like that. But you would never do that, would you?)
Facebook Live is the obvious choice for live video, but you can use other social media platforms too, like YouTube Live, Periscope, and more. We recommend Facebook, where more than 100 million hours of video content are watched every day. 😳
3. Repurpose Video Content
Once you’ve made a video — especially if it’s a well-produced one — you’ll want to squeeze every ounce of value out of it. Not only will this stretch your dollar further, it’ll also help you increase your engagement on a variety of content platforms!
Repurpose your video content across social media, blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and more. Don’t recreate the wheel, but do make sure you tailor the video to each platform, so it performs the best it can.
2. You Also Need to Optimize for Voice Search (and Humans in General)
“Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup?”
If you’ve ever shouted this in the kitchen with oily, can’t-touch-anything-right-now hands, join the club. Voice search is on the rise, and your business can’t ignore it — especially if you care about your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Voice search already comprises one third of all Google searches. That’s expected to grow to one half by 2020.
So start thinking the way everyone else is searching — with their voice.
3 Ways to Optimize for Voice Search in 2019
1. Build an FAQ page
Since most voice searches are phrased as a question, not a keyword, answer those questions directly on your site. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page is the perfect structure for voice search.
To get ideas for your FAQ page, start by asking your employees what questions they get asked most commonly by customers. Then, write the page in a conversational tone, as though you’re responding directly to your audience.
2. Practice Good SEO
Since there isn’t a separate index for voice searches, the same core SEO principles that help your site rank on screens will also help your site rank on voice search.
Local SEO is especially important for voice searches that show local purchase intent. People who are ready to take action are searching for “Contact Us” pages with store hours and directions, so be sure that info is easily accessible on your website.
3. Study High-Volume Searches
Before Google presents information in a quick answer, it needs volume.
Check your ranking status for high-volume keywords, and consider whether it would be worthwhile to build a page around those terms. If the webpages you build happen to have the best answers (and users are clicking on them), Google will reward you.
Voice search results often pull information from the “featured snippet” box at the top of Google’s organic results. If you’re able to gain this coveted spot, props to you!
3. Finally, You Need to Take Your Email Marketing Up a Notch
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: email’s not dead.
It’s alive! 🤖
Seriously, with 3.8 billion people using email (that’s more than half the entire world), this is not a marketing channel your business can ignore. Plus, it’s practically free and incredibly easy to use, so there’s really no excuse not to use email marketing.
But while email itself is old, the email marketing tactics of 2019 are new and fresh. Here’s how to improve your email game this year.
3 Ways to Be Better at Email Marketing in 2019
1. Have Fun with It!
In 2019, there are so many cool things you can do with email. Take any of the examples on the Really Good Emails website as proof.
Don’t get stuck in an email rut. Play around with the layout, include entertaining GIFs, and generally surprise your audience with an email that’s just plain pleasant to open.
Once you’ve given yourself the freedom to try something new, you’ll find it isn’t even that hard to create delightful email content.
2. But Take Security Seriously
The GDPR hoopla of 2018 may have settled down a bit, but user privacy is still an important topic in 2019 (and hopefully in the years to come).
Stay within the law, and don’t do anything shady with your customers’ data. Do whatever you can to keep their trust.
3. Yet Still Get Personal
Personalization remains key to email marketing in 2019.
Whether you’re segmenting by age, addressing contacts by name, or even customizing content with interactive elements, make sure your emails are attractive to the specific people you’re sending to.
People have a sixth sense for mass-blasted emails, and they won’t tolerate them any longer. If your email doesn’t stand out, it — and maybe even the subscriber themselves — will head straight for the door.
Whatever You Do, Do It Creatively
Listen, our customers are onto us.
They know when we’re trying to sell them something — no matter how sneaky our attempts. (We’re looking at you, “influencers.”)
Don’t market for the sake of marketing. Instead, appeal to your audience. Treat them as real people who are actually — really! — watching your videos, visiting your website, and reading your emails.
These aren’t just metrics. These are human beings. So treat them that way!
If you need help figuring out how to do that, check out our digital marketing services to get an idea of what’s possible with 9 Clouds. Even if you don’t work with us, you can request a free marketing assessment, and we’ll give you our expert tips on how to improve your online marketing — no commitment involved!