With every new year, there are several articles that come out predicting the latest “trends” for the new year. That’s one thing that’s really exciting about marketing:  there are always new tactics, platforms and software programs to help small businesses reach their target audience and grow their business. Sometimes all the newness can be overwhelming, and even those most exciting new ideas are ignored by small business owners who are already strapped for time. While it doesn’t make sense to chase after every new and shiny marketing tactic, here are few marketing trends you can’t ignore.

Video marketing

In 2019, there is absolutely no reason why your small business isn’t doing video marketing. We’ve written several blog posts about video marketing for small business and with every passing year, video gets easier and more cost-effective to do.

These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2019:

  • 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video.
  • 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate.
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions.
  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video.

How can you pull off video marketing with limited time and budget? There are several new services that make video marketing affordable, including Doodly and Animaker. They’re worth checking out when you’re ready to finally start your video marketing efforts.

Voice search

This trend is not going away so it’s important to make sure your website and all of your online marketing efforts are crafted with voice search in mind. Think about how people search online when using voice search and incorporate those characteristics in your marketing efforts. Use conversational keyword phrases in your website text, as an example. Make sure your name, address and phone number are clearly found on your website for local voice search. Use content that’s in a question and answer format. And don’t forget to make sure your Google My Business listing is accurate and consistently updated!

Artificial intelligence

Before you skip over this section thinking that’s way too technical for anything your small business can possibly pull off, hold on! “AI” can be very basic or very complex. Your small business CAN leverage some forms of AI. Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. How can your business use AI? Here are a few ideas from a great article by Inc.com:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Automated bookkeeping
  • Automated emails with segmented lists
  • Automated chat box

AI is simply leveraging technology to help take the place of more manual processes done by marketing in the past. Voice search actually belongs here too, according to several marketing experts. If you’re not sure how to incorporate AI into your marketing efforts, reach out to a small business marketing professional who can help set up AI for you or help you find third-party resources that can help introduce AI into your company.

Chat Boxes

chat boxIt’s well-known that many prospects wait until they have as much information as possible before they reach out to a company about their product or service. Even then, many are hesitant to pick up the phone as they don’t want to be “sold” yet they realize that sending an email prolongs the time until they get an answer. The solution?  Leverage chat box technology on your site! Live chat solutions provide small businesses with a new way to interact with customers. Specifically, businesses can use live chat to gather sales leads, provide customer support and better understand user behavior. Instead of filling out forms, customers interact with a dynamic chatbot or company representative. Streamline your sales and marketing efforts by using a service such as PureChat, LiveChat, or Olark. Each service is different so think about how you’ll use live chat before engaging a service. Some of the benefits of live chat include:

  • Increased sales and conversions
  • Reduced support costs
  • Competitive advantage over other companies
  • Increased prospect and customer engagement

The good news for you is that very few companies use live chat, making it far easier to stand out from the competition. If you want to succeed in business today, you can no longer ignore live chat.

You may not be able to tackle all of these trends right away, but all of them are marketing trends you can’t ignore. Try incorporating some of these (or all!) into your marketing efforts to grow your company in 2019 and beyond.

Patty Hughes
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