This article was originally published on the bookmark blog.
5 Trends in Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you should always have an eye on the growth of your business. Did you know, however, it can all be done through digital marketing.
For reference, 75 percent of small businesses currently believe that digital marketing is the most effective way of attracting new customers. According to research, businesses plan to increase their online marketing budget by 17.6 percent globally by the end of 2019. This will mean digital advertising will account for half of the global market.
With the way the technological landscape is continually advancing, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in digital marketing. For that reason, we have curated the top trends in digital marketing for small businesses in 2019.
Personalized Email Marketing Through Automation
Undeniably, email marketing is one of the most effective mediums when it comes to internet marketing. With return-on-investment calculations 40 times higher than any other medium, you can see the potential in email for your business.
In fact, sending out emails every month, particularly those that are both promotional and informational, is nothing new. However, automating these emails based on a customer’s personal preference is new.
Businesses can now send out emails based on content users have engaged with. If you know your users have engaged with an important piece of content on your website that helps to convert them into customers, you can automate dynamic content email sends to subscribers based on the URL of the pages they have visited.
All you need to do is include the page URL that was visited as a trigger in your email automation software – if you don’t have one, we recommend reading a review of automated email service providers – and create a funnel of emails based around providing further content to those users.
When you personalize emails to users in this fashion, they will feel a closer connection to your business, as it’s helping to educate them to a level where they can make an informed purchase decision. Moreover, the users you email are already warm leads.
If you’re going to increase your sales through email automation, you may need to overhaul your email funnels to work more as a lead nurture tool rather than a direct selling tool. Instead of sending emails about product or service offerings, send emails to encourage learning and behaviours closely associated to creating a conversion action.
Mobile Marketing is on the Rise
According to Statista, just over 52 percent of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. If your website cannot load quickly, users will bounce often. This, in turn, will negatively impact your Google ranking because its algorithm believes your website is not fulfilling the correct search intent, even when it does.
As an online business, you do not want to have this problem. It’s, therefore, important to optimize the mobile version of your site.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Since load speed is important to have for mobile phones, using accelerated mobile pages (AMP) have become a popular option for businesses. With AMPs, your website pages load incredibly fast. On average, AMP pages load quicker than 0.5 seconds, meaning you’ll be able to get more eyes on your website.
As is, Google has not explicitly stated that AMPs are a ranking factor; however, they have been proven to lower bounce rates; and bounce rates are a ranking factor. By proxy, AMPs will help to increase your website’s Google ranking.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Another option available to you, if you are thinking about an application, is to use a progressive web app. They are known to be the solution in between a normal, responsive website and a native app. This means they offer the benefits of a mobile website and native app in one.
What you get is faster loading times for mobile website visitors, better user experience through simplistic websites with a sizable amount of features, and lower development costs through not having to build an actual app.
The last bit there is cool. Since you don’t have to bother in building an app, users, on any operating system, can all have the same experience without having to download your app.
If you feel you need to have an app for your business but don’t have the resources to build one, PWAs are the choice for you.
Chatbots Will Become Ubiquitous
Chatbots are going to see a large rise in use in the next coming years. Since they are specialized software that help to act as virtual assistants, people like the convenience they can offer. Instead of painfully searching through websites for specific details about items or services, chatbots make the same information easy to access through a series of simple questions or conversational inputs. In addition, chatbots reply instantly and run 24-hours a day.
The main reason why we will see a rise in their use is because they interact with humans in a more natural way than ever before. You may be asking yourself what does ‘natural’ mean? It expresses that businesses want to facilitate sales and marketing through conversational interactions instead of one-way messaging.
One-way messaging, as seen in typical advertising, won’t disappear; however, chatbots that are able to provide helpful resources to customers will reduce the time it takes to move them through funnels and encourage sales more quickly. As businesses make the change to become more approachable, chatbots let them do so by conversing with customers by text chat or through verbal interactions.
Most importantly, chatbots offer the power to provide personalized resources to customers. This is by far the largest contributing factor to their success. By segmenting customers based by their interactions, chatbots can align them with the right type of content they need, according to which stage in the funnel they belong to, in order to encourage a sale. If you can give your customer the exact piece of content they need at the right time, your business can optimize the top, middle, and bottom of its funnel, all through chatbots.
By 2020, it’s purported 80 percent of businesses will be using chatbots.
Video Marketing Is In
As we use our phones to consume more and more media, the ways in which we consume media content changes too.
Some argue it’s hard to read on your phone due to its general size limitations in comparison to computers and tablets and that is what lead to an increase in video consumption. Regardless if this is true, what is true is we are consuming more video content.
Reports from a Pew Research Center survey on U.S. adults finds YouTube is now used by three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94 percent of 18 to 24-year olds.
For businesses looking to grow, they cannot afford to miss out on three-fourths of the population. This is why we are seeing an increase in video marketing from large companies. Not only can you make content more easily digestible and entertaining, but you can also convey the personality of your business with video.
One more thing: let’s talk about Google. If you think about video content from Google’s perspective, you will understand why it wants to push more video content out to its users.
Google operates its search engine as a referral business. It refers users to website content it thinks they would like to see. If it doesn’t do a good job of referring people to content they want, then people will use a different search engine that does a better job. It’s that simple.
If Google finds that one type of content format (video) works well to engage and satisfy user search intent, it will make that type of content more readily available. Therefore, Google will change how its search algorithm works to prioritize video content above other types of content.
Video’s importance is evident because YouTube is one half of the top two most visited websites (the other is Facebook) on the internet. Google bought YouTube in 2006 because Google understands video content works. Since Google owns YouTube, and YouTube secures the attention of three-quarters of the American population, Google is more likely to adjust its algorithm to increase how videos affect your search engine rank.
You can help get your videos out there by uploading them on YouTube. However, to fully get the most out of video marketing, you need to optimize your video SEO. You can accomplish this by:
- Writing interesting titles and descriptions that use targeted keywords
- Forming your video titles as questions or answers to questions viewers are searching
- Writing meta description tags for your video based on targeted keywords
- Adding links back to your website homepage, as well as important pages, in the YouTube description
- Incorporating your video into one of your blog posts
- Adding closed captions to your video (bonus)
Social Media Trends in 2019
In social media’s current state, Facebook and YouTube secure the largest amount of active users. Even though these platforms contain the lion’s share of users, what we are seeing is that Facebook and YouTube’s growth are now slowing and other platforms like Instagram are quickly growing. Below, you will find some notable statistics covering social media usage in 2019:
- In 2016, Instagram had an active user base of 28 percent of the U.S. population. Two years later, in 2018, that number rose to 35 percent, an increase of 7 percent in two years. Considering America’s population is 327,200,000, that’s an increase of 11.5 million active users year-over-year.
- People between the ages of 18 to 24-years old are the most likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter; whereas, Snapchat use isn’t as prominent with those in their mid-to-late 20s.
- When it comes to daily users, the top three platforms that attract the most usage are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
- LinkedIn users comprise mostly college graduates and those who belong to high-income households. Roughly 50 percent of post-secondary graduates use the service in contrast to only 9 percent of those with high-school diplomas.
For additional insights on social media trends, here’s a social media appendix sorted by demographics.