As technology evolves year after year, so does your target audience. With each passing year, they become smarter and less interested in the same marketing messages.
Like evolution, this process will happen year after year striving to become better. One constant with marketing and digital marketing is the need to reach and engage your target audience. The variable is “where will my audience be tomorrow”. That’s why It’s so important to pay attention to trends, emerging technologies, and platforms.
So here are 5 top digital marketing trends that will continue to evolve in 2019.
Chatbots have been around, but seem to be emerging a little more slowly than expected. In today’s digital market, it was anticipated that more businesses would have implement chatbots into their strategy simply based on the cost saving from customer service alone. It is estimated that by 2022 chatbots will enable businesses to save over $8 billion every year (Juniper Research).
Deployed into numerous systems chatbots are also being used to answer the typical questions that customers general ask, such as “When will I receive my order?” “What’s your location?” “I’d like to make an appointment?”, etc.
In addition to customer service, chatbots can be used to qualify prospective customers from inbound marketing efforts, schedule a consultation, providing product or service advise and much more.
Generally, there are two types of bots, customer service oriented and sales oriented. If your thinking about investing in a chatbot, first take some time to determine what you’ll want the bot to do, then you can choose the right technology for the task.
#2. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It’s easy to become confused about what Artificial intelligence is. Try to keep it simple, AI is basically just a group of computers that can analyze a lot of data very quickly and then make predictions based on patterns in that data.
In the past just analyzing a large amount of data could take days, whereas with AI it can be done in minutes. Although AI predictions are amazing, they are not always 100 percent on target. They are however accurate enough to still give us valuable insight that we can use to create highly optimized and targeted campaigns.
Here are some basic examples of how artificial intelligence is being used in digital marketing:
Ad Targeting – Ad campaigns that are powered by artificial intelligence can help you determine the most effective stage of the buying process for customers, and apply your knowledge the next time you run a campaign.
Predictive Analytics – Let’s face it, predictions are still only predictions, but with good data, AI can help to determine things such as “how likely is a specific customer to convert”, or “what’s the estimated cost per conversion for a specific customer”, etc. Another example would be using AI to find prospective customers and clients whose profile matches that of your existing customers.
The power of this technology is quite enormous, but the results can only be as good as the data provided.
#3. Smart Audio and Speakers
Many homes are adapting more to voice services, such as Alexa and Google Home. You can ask Alexa a wide variety of questions – recipes, things to do, etc. You can play games with Alexa, you can even use it to contact emergency services. The one area that these smart voice devices have changed is the way we shop. You can use Alexa to make purchases in a matter of seconds. Many believe that voice will only increase in popularity and importance.
With that said, you can begin with optimizing your website for voice search. Basically, you need to understand what is being searched for by your audience. Beyond that, you then need to understand the nuances that come with voice search/audio quarries. When someone is searching for something it will be more like a conversation. For example, when someone is searching for a movie, they will not say: “Alexa, movies”. Instead, they will say something like, “Alexa, what movies are playing tonight? or what movie theater is playing a specific movie?”
After understanding what voice search entails, it is important that you include these phrases and questions on your website. A good way to go about it is to create FAQ sections, blogs posts that handle the questions and topics, while organically including the various phrases and questions.
#4. Using Live Video
If content is King, video is Queen, and when it comes to marketing it is still the number one medium. However, video keeps evolving and live videos have stepped into the spotlight. Marketing is now more in the hands of the consumer, they are in more control of what they want or don’t want to see. Consumers want to feel close to brands. They want to be a part of a community and they want transparency. So, showing them tours of the office or doing live Q&As; live product demos, etc. invites them into your world.
Before diving in you need to have a content strategy that makes sense and aligns with your business goals. Develop a strong content strategy. Take some time to think about it. Brainstorm on different ideas and have fun with it. Think about what the consumer will appreciate as informative, useful, and fun.
#5. The Power Local Influencer Marketing
We have all heard of Influencer marketing and it is far from new, however, using local influencers is a newer concept and on the rise. Most businesses target local markets unless they are a global brand or giant e-commerce business.
It’s always exciting to see influencers and celebrities to endorse your products to their thousands, in some cases millions, of followers on social media but the end results can be fleeting. Partnering with local influencers with longer-running promotions and campaigns are proving more effective.
Leveraging local influencers can take some time and research. Start by looking into the top influencers in your market. Use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and other top platforms. You can follow them to learn about them and to be sure they are someone you would be happy with to represent your business. When you feel that you have found a person(s), reach out to them with a casual message. Just start a chat and take it from there.
Research which social media platform(s) are the best fit for your business. You don’t need to be on every platform, just the ones your target audience frequents. And it’s ok if you start off with one and add on as you grow. Facebook Live is the most crowded, so maybe start with YouTube Live or Instagram.
Remember the whole point is to engage with your audience, so keep your live videos fun and insightful, and just be yourself. The live video is not where you need to end. You can convert videos to other content such as infographics, white papers, audio, blogs, social media content and much more.
Considering how dynamic the marketing realm is, there are many tactics you can use in 2019. However, these 5 are the ones we feel businesses should at least start looking into if they haven’t already. The one thing that trumps everything is good marketing, so no matter what trends are hot, you still need to have good marketing. Storytelling is key. Build your brand, produce authentic and creative content, and be helpful. These philosophies paired with the latest and greatest trends will help grow your business in 2019.