Everything seems very doom and gloom in January. Once you’re back at work, Christmas feels like it was months ago!
But there are reasons to be cheerful. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with feelgood platitudes like “a baby’s laugh” or “the brotherhood of humankind”.
We marketers have a lot to look forward to in terms of emerging trends and upcoming developments, so let’s explore 9 aspects of marketing that all small businesses should relish as we enter a brand new year.
1. Multi-Channel Becomes Omni-Channel
Gone are the days where you can simply rely on a single marketing avenue – solely leaning on SEO or postal marketing for instance. Companies are increasingly implementing a “multi-channel” approach, using multiple marketing channels – websites, email marketing, content marketing, social media, the list goes on. This concept has been around for a while now and frankly, it’s hard to find a company nowadays that only relies on a single marketing method.
However, “omni-channel” marketing is a huge trend for 2019. This focuses heavily on the customers’ experience between platforms; providing a seamless experience across devices and in store. In terms of your different marketing channels, the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, enabling a more fluid interaction between your marketing and selling efforts.
Further Reading: The Definition of Omni-Channel Marketing – Plus 7 Tips from Marketo
2. Seamless Marketing Planning and Strategy
Which brings us nicely on to the concept of “seamless” marketing planning. Most companies keep a marketing plan to some extent. Some also keep a social media plan, a content marketing plan, and numerous other documents putting their marketing intentions in black and white.
However, it’s becoming increasingly wiser to integrate this document into a single cohesive plan. All aspects of marketing have a knock-on effect on each other, so if you’re still keeping your separate marketing activities separate, now may be the time to merge everything into a single comprehensive picture. Likewise, it’s useful to take the same approach with your analytics – pulling your website usage analytics and customer relationship data into one place to create a cohesive high-level picture of your sales and marketing performance.
3. Ultra-Personalised, Automated Email Marketing
Email personalisation has been around for a while, but personalisation has moved on from merely including the person’s name and basic information. Can you tailor the communications your prospects receive in line with any “trigger” actions they take?
Lack of action can be one such trigger for instance. Is cart abandonment a big problem for you or do customers place one enquiry with you and never engage again? Well, automation systems can be set up to send an email to any logged in users reminding them about their potential purchase. To give some further examples of behavioural automation, MailChimp has provided this handy guide to all of the behavioural triggers that are available through their platform, so have a browse and see if anything resonates with you!
4. Better Criteria for Lead Qualification
Small businesses are always trying to work smarter, not harder. One of many time-sucks for businesses is following up with prospects that end up being a poor fit for whatever reason. Learning how to qualify which leads are worthwhile and which are not comes with experience but it’s a great skill to nurture.
As more and more companies are harnessing data-driven approaches and using increasingly more sophisticated CRM systems, it’s important to analyse your own enquiries – do more/less desirable clients tend to behave in a certain way? Do higher paying, one-off clients mean more to you? Or do you prioritise lower-paying, ongoing work? Calculate ways to flag and prioritise opportunities so you can focus on the most strategically beneficial relationships. And if you have an automated way to do this – even better!
Your lead qualification process will likely differ from other businesses – even those within your industry. But look at your past data and customer journeys to establish which leads seem to follow successful patterns and which don’t.
5. The Rise of Influencer Marketing!
We’re all rather ad-savvy nowadays. We know to skip the “paid for Google” results, we hit “skip ad” on YouTube videos as soon as we can, and we still get up to make a cup of tea during ad breaks on the TV. We’re naturally cynical when a message gets shoved down our throats.
But as consumers grow more cynical towards traditional advertising, marketers are increasingly turning to well-known online personalities for paid endorsements. If you spend much time on YouTube or Instagram, you’ve probably come across a few such videos/posts. Whether it’s a video or post purely dedicated to a particular product or a simple “this content is sponsored by (Company)” ad-pivot within the piece – this is influencer marketing at work.
Provided all parties keep to the ASA’s rules on such things and the product and audience are a good match, it’s usually a beneficial partnership for all involved. If your business operates purely online and/or internationally, why not give influencer marketing a look in 2019?
Further Reading: Influencer Marketing: What Small Businesses Need to Know
7. Content Marketing Goes from Strength to Strength
Sticking with our cynicism towards traditional advertising for a moment, content marketing is another practice that’s on the up and up in 2019.
By creating practical, engaging, and helpful content for your audience, you get your name out there as a reputable source of information; in turn, winning the prospect’s trust without being salesy. Content marketing doesn’t rely on pushy ads to do the work, it relies on solving problems for your customers through valuable and interesting blog posts, videos, or whatever format suits your audience. If you’re not using any form of content marketing – there’s no time like the present to make a start.
8. Fewer Fake Followers!
You’ve probably seen some of the buzz online about buying fake social media followers. Many social media users still (wrongly) focus on the sheer number of followers they have, as opposed to the amount of quality engagement they get from those followers. When you purchase followers or engagement, it’s most likely that they’ll be empty, fake accounts from fraudulent, scammy “click farms”.
But the good news is that both law enforcement and social platforms are cracking down on this kind of behaviour. Eventually, it’ll be more trouble than it’s worth to run fraudulent operations like this. Though we may not wave goodbye to fake interactions completely before 2019 is out, more people are getting wise to these dodgy practices and online service providers are developing more sophisticated verification practices every day. It’s only a matter of time…
9. More Businesses Harnessing Social Media “Stories”
Personally, I feel that “Stories” are a much underused part of many social media platforms and more businesses are going to start experimenting with them. Snapchat brought the idea to the mainstream – quick “snapshot” type social media posts that expire after 24 hours. The concept has since been adapted by the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
Stories can take the form of images or videos and can also include interactable calls to action which forward the user to a particular web page or product. Stories are a great way of engaging with your audience quickly and presenting limited time offers – if this appeals to you, why not start experimenting?
Further Reading: How to Use Instagram Stories for BusinessCheck out these 9 #marketing -related #reasonstobecheerful in 2019 Click To Tweet
What marketing plans do you have for 2019? Are you going to try out anything new this year? Let’s have a chat down in the comments!