Digital marketing is a very fluid field, and it’s our job to stay on top of the ever-changing tide. So, here are four digital marketing trends for small business you should know.
#1 – Video content is king, but he’s changing its crown
If you even keep half an eye on small business digital marketing trends for small business, you’ll know that video content has been the most popular form of consumable content for some time now.
And if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet then this year is really your last chance to do so, or else the ship will sail and you’ll be left on the dock, wondering where your audience went. If you’ve already invested in creating video content, then get ready for a change.
With video’s continuous rise in popularity, it’s getting harder to differentiate yourself from the competition. Brands create one video and chop it up into chunks, which then get spread across all their social platforms. Because of this, everyone’s video reach is inevitably going to start going down. It’s time to stop doing that.
Focus on creating one high quality video that can work across all your platforms. It’s about quality not quantity (more on this idea later).
While you’re at it, consider using live videos, if you’re not already. The big platforms like Facebook and YouTube are on a mission to compete with traditional television, so they’re going to favour channels which go live and will push your video to all of your subscribers. Your engagement will be higher, and your recorded videos will subsequently get more traction. Win win.
#2 – Your mobile traffic will likely drop. Sorry
Now I’m not saying that people are going to be using their phones less. That would be crazy. But the amount of traffic that you’ve been getting from mobile is going to go down, and you’ve got Google and voice search to thank for it.
With Google constantly pushing people to stay on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) instead of clicking through, you’ll find your stats will start slipping. You can now buy products straight from search results, and featured snippets are pretty much the norm to any query posed on the engine. So why would someone click onto a page when they’ve already got the answer from Google?
It’s not as bad as it sounds though, so long as you brand correctly. Your audience may not click through after reading the snippet, but if you’ve nailed your tone of voice, they’re sure to remember you in future and head straight to you next time they need something. More proof that the snippet is where you need to be – and that it’s only going to become more competitive. Rule number one – be memorable.
With 50 per cent of searches forecast to be made via voice search this year, it’s quickly turning into an adapt or die situation.
Voice search is coming on leaps and bounds – to the point where it’s now possible to place orders without ever picking up your phone or looking at a screen.
Make sure you get those snippets by employing structured data on your site. This is going to make all the difference in future SEO, so if you want to get to the top, or maintain your position, it’s time to get learning. If you can replace your dwindling mobile traffic with voice reach instead, you’ll soon find that you’ll thrive.
#3 – Don’t be afraid to get personal
It’s time to start treating your audience as more than just a potential transaction. They’re wise to being sold to and they don’t like it, so speak to your audience like the people that they are.
Gone are the days when you can just chuck out a load of content and hope that some of it sticks. People want quality over quantity, and they’ll know when you’re being insincere.
Be authentic, relatable and relevant and your customers will be loyal. It makes sense, right?
If you feel like you’re dealing with a person, not an entity that’s trying to extract money from your wallet, you’re going to be much more receptive to their message.
Find the questions that your audience are asking and answer them, provide them with useful information and make sure to personalise your tone as much as you can.
This one can’t be stressed enough, companies that don’t get personal are guaranteed to get left behind.
#4 – Artificial intelligence – the future is now
This is a big one – probably the biggest on the list.
AI has been around for some time now, but this year is the year that it’s going to become a mainstay in the world of small business digital marketing, and we all need to sit up and take note.
Here are some stats to get you ready for what’s to come:
- 85 per cent of customer service in 2020 was be conducted by chatbots
- When it comes to data strategy, 61 per cent of marketers say that AI is the most important aspect
- 49 per cent of consumers shop more often and 34 per cent spend more cash when there is AI involved
- When it comes to talking to robots or real people, 63 per cent of people prefer chatbots
AI is already capable of incredible things, such as analysing your user’s behaviour through social media interactions and blog views, and then providing you with a more accurate and well-rounded view of your audience.
It can also analyse their search patterns and online behaviours, ultimately showing you how your audience find what they’re looking for online. If you know where and how people are searching, it’s a lot easier to make sure that you’re there when they need you.
An early factor in the upcoming AI onslaught is the use of chatbots. You’ve probably already interacted with a few yourself, and their numbers are only set to rise.
Research shows that users much prefer dealing with a well-designed chat bot as they’re available 24/7, remember your purchase history, don’t get fed up with questions, and are ultimately more efficient and effective at helping with simple queries and requests.
They deal with the repetitive tasks and provide excellent customer service, saving money and time for you to focus on more complicated tasks. Seriously, everyone will be using these in a matter of months, so get to it.
Now some of these predictions might sound a bit scary, and more than a few sound as if they’ll be a lot of work, but investing the time now will save you a whole load of energy playing catch up in the future.
Jack Teare is head of content at Affinity Agency