It’s that time of year again – time to look back on what your business learned in 2018 and prepare for the New Year. Part of achieving business growth year after year is assessing past wins and losses, but the other part is mapping out your goals; do so with next year’s predicted digital marketing trends in mind to gain an edge on the competition. The following are five digital marketing strategies sure to take center stage in 2019, based on current user trends and consumer habits.
1. Voice Search Becomes the New Norm
Voice-based user searches are quickly transplanting written searches – more so than ever in 2019 predictions. By 2020, experts predict voice searches will account for 50 percent of all online searches. In 2016, just 20 percent of online queries were voice searches, which provides perspective on how quickly this trend is growing. Tailor your 2019 web and ad content to accommodate voice search, not just written searches. This means using tactics such as:
- Implementing more longtail keywords and natural language into copy
- Adding voice-friendly content and keywords
- Emphasizing localized content (three times more people use voice search for local
- queries than for non-local ones)
- Optimizing your local business listing on Google My Business
- Anticipating questions users will ask their devices and providing answers
It is imperative to design your business content to accommodate voice-search users, not just written-word users. Otherwise, you’ll miss numerous opportunities to appear in the first page of the search engine result pages (SERPs) during voice-based and often local searches. Make sure your brand achieves visibility when someone performs a “near me” or other localized search by optimizing your content with voice search in mind.
2. Greater Emphasis on Video Marketing
Video marketing isn’t a new trend, but it is picking up steam heading into 2019. Cisco predicts more than 80 percent of all web traffic will take the form of video by 2021. That puts a greater emphasis on video in 2019 than in previous years. Forbes has stated that 90 percent of customers say video helps them make buying decisions, while Aberdeen finds video marketers achieve 66 percent more qualified leads per year. Video gets more views, longer viewing times, and better engagement than static forms of media on websites and in other marketing efforts.
If you don’t think you can afford to produce videos for your company, think again. Studies show that even internal videos created with available resources (e.g., smartphones and webcams) achieve the same or similar results as those produced under professional guidance through external resources. The majority (54 percent) of small companies use internal resources for business video production. Applying video to your strategy will reap rewards in 2019 regardless of how you produce your content.
3. More Marketing Automation (Chatbots Aren’t Dead)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another hot-button topic that was in most predictions for 2018 website and marketing trends. In 2018, AI expanded its horizons under new technologies, achieving exciting developments such as more humanlike robots and even smarter machine learning. AI and automation in 2019 will continue to dominate the digital marketing sphere in both existing tech, such as chatbots, as well as potentially new tech, such as more advanced conversational user interfaces.
Consider introducing chatbots to your website to provide services a human worker cannot. Simulated human interactions can be enough to make a customer feel heard and appreciated when visiting a website; more so than having no ability to interact with the company at all. Implementing AI in the form of chatbots on your website can make your brand appear more personable and focused on customer care than not having a chat window.
If you want to think outside of the chatbot, there are plenty of upcoming opportunities for new automation tech in 2019. For example, businesses can now use AI to track user behavior with more accuracy than ever, helping to inform content strategies and custom-tailor the buyer journey. There are myriad ways to use AI and marketing automation to benefit your business in 2019. Keep an open mind when it comes to automation for the greatest benefit in the new year.
4. Higher Demand for Authenticity and Transparency
Dial up the authenticity in 2019. Consumers – namely millennials – value authenticity in branded content and will continue to search for and support companies that achieve an authentic voice in 2019. The modern user won’t fall into advertising traps or feel dazzled by fancy marketing-speak. Instead, modern consumers want to feel real connections with brands. This means turning up the charm and walking the walk instead of just talking the talk.
Achieving brand authenticity requires keeping your promises, giving customers glimpses of your personality, and generating trust through consistency. Aim to make the world a better place with your company or profits and showcase how you’re making that happen with your web content. Millennials respond well to companies that don’t focus solely on profits, but instead serve a bigger purpose – such as helping others or saving the planet.
Identify a bigger-than-yourself business goal for 2019 and make it clear in your content. Publish consistent blogs in a tone that matches your company’s personality. Take a stand for something and show your commitment to serve the cause in multiple forms of published content. Show consumers you care about more than your bottom line in 2019 and reap the rewards of establishing yourself as a company that modern consumers can feel good about supporting.
5. Social Media Influencers Are a Brand’s Best Friend
Social media influencers will make their mark on 2019 marketing. Influencer marketing isn’t a new revelation, but in the new year, you’ll find more top brands present on social media in the form of influencer posts and videos, not just brand-published content. As social media continues to take over the digital landscape, social media personalities and stars are reaching celebrity status. Use their fame to your advantage by investing in influencer marketing.
Social media influencer marketing provides an excellent opportunity to connect with your target audience in a language they not only understand but that they want to hear. Rather than bombarding your consumers with interruptive advertisements and pop-up banners across their screens, partner with an influencer to make your message heard. Choose an influencer who matches your brand’s tone, style, personality, and principles. Reach out to that person and see if he or she would consider a partnership.
Social media influencer marketing is a cost-effective and powerful way to build your brand and increase leads through stimulating personality-packed content. Studies show 70 percent of teen consumers trust influencers more than other types of celebrities. Almost half (49 percent) of consumers rely on influencer product recommendations. The average return on investment for influencer marketing is $6.50 for every dollar spent. Join this fast-growing marketing channel early in 2019 and start reaping the rewards.
Are You Ready for Digital Marketing in 2019?
Marketing is always changing, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a step behind. Keep your strategies progressive to constantly impress your target consumers. Keep these five digital marketing predictions in the foreground of your 2019 strategy, and you’ll be ready to take your niche by storm in the New Year.