Is your marketing ready for 2020? Technology advances at a speed we’re sometimes uncomfortable with, and as a small business owner, it’s hard to keep up on all the marketing trends.  With predictions and trends coming in from everywhere, here are a few you should pay attention to.

5 Marketing Trends that Matter in 2020

  1. AI. Alexa, Siri, Google Home – they’re taking over the world. Well, sometimes it seems that way. A bit scary, but let’s capitalize on it because there are more than 2.5 billion voice assistants being used. It goes beyond that though.Have you ever Googled “kayak” on your phone to see how much they cost? All of a sudden, you’re getting ads from Amazon for kayaks as you scroll through your Facebook feed. That’s AI remarketing at its best. You don’t have to be a retail giant to use this technology. You can do it, too. Use tools like AdRoll or OptiMonk, which have a free version.Another major element of AI is chatbot technology. While people know they aren’t talking to a cute and perky stock-image woman “Karen,” chatbots often answer questions better and faster than potential clients scanning through your website. The more info a customer enters, the better chatbots are going to work using fancy tech and machine learning. Using AI technology, you can reduce the number of repetitive questions you receive and still get the lead info.Want to check it out? Try it for free with Engati to see if it works for you. If you don’t want to give up the reins, tawk.to offers an amazing and free live chat option.
  2. Influencer Marketing. Fact. People they like, know and trust. It takes a long time for brands to establish this level of authority, so using influencers is one of the best ways to reach your target audience. Influencer marketing is growing at such a fast pace that it will be a $10 billion industry by the end of 2020, so if you aren’t in the game, it’s time to re-consider.The good news is you don’t have to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to make this work for your business. Find a few nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) or micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers) who align with your brand or share a niche market. Interact with their content to create a relationship, then ask if you can send them a free product or store credit to order whatever they want — if they’d be willing to review you publicly to their following.Influencer marketing cuts through the noise because it isn’t noise — it’s an authentic opinion from a known thought leader. In fact, 49 percent of consumers rely on the recommendations of influencers, especially those under the age of 45. Companies are spending more on influencer marketing than on print advertising. A $1 investment yields a $6.50 return or more. Worth a try, right?
  3. SEO Rule Changes. Search algorithms are getting better (learn all about BERT in this podcast), which makes marketers’ lives a bit more challenging. People are searching for more long-tail terms, so instead of “dog walker,” they’re searching for “dog walker in Boston, MA,” “How to become a dog walker” or “How much does a dog walker make?”What does this mean for your content? In short: Write for Google. You want to be in the “zero-click” position, which is the area above the actual search results. That’s where Google shows you what it thinks the answer to your search is. It’s the golden egg of search, meaning I want one, and I want it now. Here’s how to get to the zero-click position:
  • Include longer search terms in your content
  • Do some keyword research to find out how prospects are finding you. Use keywords in your content, but don’t over-stuff. You still want good quality writing.
  • What will people search for that’s related to your business? Answer those questions by asking customers and your inner circle.
  • Include bulleted lists in your blogs. (like this)Something else to consider with your SEO is voice search. Voice commerce will reach more than $80 billion per year by 2023, so if you aren’t optimizing for voice search, you’re missing out. Again, people are asking questions. Provide simple answers. You can also do branded skills on Alexa. For example, “Ask Tide how to remove a stain.”
  1. Customer Experience. Customer service is always important, but this goes beyond that. We have to look at the full experience a customer has with your business. Your brand needs to be iron-clad and consistent across all platforms — email, social, website, phone calls — anywhere someone comes into contact with your brand image.Hyper-targeted, personalized marketing is vital in 2020 — even more than in previous years. This is the number 1 reason why marketers are using AI to learn about each individual consumer’s behavior, so they can target ads and content to them specifically. One report claims that 79 percent of consumers get frustrated when the content they’re viewing isn’t tailored to them. How can you adjust this simply without AI? Find out what your target market likes, reads, listens to, watches on TV, clothes they buy, who they follow, etc. Then include references to these items in your content. Easier yet is to target previous customers. You already have their contact info. You know their buying preferences. Send well-crafted emails. Connect with your audience on social media. It’s far less expensive than marketing to consumers who’ve never heard of you.
  2. Video. Video is way more than posting to YouTube, where more than 5 billion videos are watched every day. Video now includes stories, IGTV, going live, virtual reality and vlogging — apparently gaining popularity again among influencers.So how do you wade through it all? There’s a time and place for everything.
  • Go live from events, when you have a new product or a big announcement.
  • Stories don’t have to be spectacular. They’re more about something you see in-the-moment that you want to share with your following, whether it’s business related or just a great sunset you think your audience will like.
  • YouTube should house your how-to videos, product videos, etc. You can also download your live videos and post them there. No such thing as too much content (quality does matter to some degree, but no need to be a perfectionist).
  • IGTV is basically YouTube for Instagram. You can treat both platforms the same, but IGTV may be more of a like to have, unless you have a major following or want to ride a trend.
  • VR works best for a business that is experience-oriented, like skydiving, but Home Depot is using it too.
  • Think twice about vlogging unless you’ve done the research on how to do it the right way and have a business that’s extremely personal in nature.Important note: Did you know that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound? If you don’t have subtitles on your videos, people are less-likely to watch and your message will fall on deaf ears, literally. Facebook and YouTube have built-in options to automatically do it, so use it.

There’s a lot to process here, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You don’t have to do everything. Just start with one or two to see how they work for your business. Dabble and play with your marketing mix until it’s working. Of course, by then it will be 2021, and we’ll have all new things to learn. If you need some direction in your marketing this year, I can help. Email me, so we can create a plan to increase your sales, visibility, and brand presence.

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