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We really need to keep current with the latest trends to be effective. Digital marketing is where things are at these days. Therefore, not many people are disputing the power of the effectiveness of online marketing with a measurement of the results. Having said that, there is still some value in print marketing. However, we have seen many clients move forward into the digital marketing platforms thereby decreasing costs and increasing effectiveness. It’s still true that if you want your marketing to be effective, you need to go where the people are, so you need to be current and active online. To know what will be effective this coming year then, we first need to review what worked last year and second, look at top trends projected for the new year of 2019. I want to share what my past experience and research suggests we should look at for small businesses of all sizes. Depending on your business kind or type (B2C of B2B) most of these top trends will have some form of practical application.  

Facebook

Facebook may seem like it’s at its peak, but it is still the number one social media platform that most should have a business page and advertise with. Keep in mind the demographics which state that at least 41%  are over the age of 65 now and the rest between the ages of 30 – 65 years. Considering that Facebook had a difficult year last year with a data breach that affected 14 million users, it’s still done well and is a valuable marketing tool to the right audiences. As you can see from the demographics, it is dropping in popularity with younger crowds. For small business marketing, it’s still an affordable advertising platform for promoting your branding, featuring key products or boosting email campaigns or blogs.

Instagram

Instagram, now owned by Facebook show in the demographics its appeal to the millennials (those 20-30 years old). This platform, optimized for mobile users, provides a simple and quick photo and video based social media. It reaches over one billion users worldwide and is considered one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms. If you are promoting your business with Facebook and you like to include a younger audience, I believe it’s a good idea to include Instagram in your advertising to promote your brand and online store products.

Google

For those who have an online store for selling products, using Google remarketing tool with your Facebook and Instagram ads just makes sense. We have all had the experience where a product we looked at on the web follows us on other platforms. Google remarketing keeps your ads in front of the right audience to bring them back to your website when they are ready to purchase. Google My Business as a local SEO marketing tool continues to grow allowing regular posting and offers. The built-in analytics is also a helpful tool to better understand local search results and trends.  

Email Marketing 

Email continues to be the best choice of communication, especially for the increase in ecommerce websites and even more so for B2B companies. Email is here to stay and email marketing continues to be an important communication tool. Email marketing is evolving into more personalize campaigns with focused channels and increased affordability so now it is within reach for small businesses wanting email marketing automation

Content Marketing

Content is still king. Quality content continues to be an essential component of digital marketing helping with organic SEO results.  Google’s algorithm want good quality content that is easy to read and void of technical jargon and huge words. However, targeting your content should be the focus of the new year and your strategic marketing plans. A more sophisticated understanding of a targeted market is key to keeping your content marketing relevant and moving forward.

Chatbots

Chatbots’ use for both web viewers and business websites will increase. Chatbots are a specialized form of online plugins that act as a virtual assistant for service or sales allowing direct communication with users and assisting them quickly without picking up the phone. You can set up a chatbot on Facebook and use it on your business page. Allow users to get quick interactions without using too much of your resources. For the most part we see an increase in use and effectiveness for small businesses.

Video Marketing

Without any discussion, video is sill a must for your business and we are expecting more use this year. As a fun fact, a total of 73% of people still engage with YouTube as a social media platform. Facebook and Instagram are also good for video, but YouTube still dominates the video platform market. Quality created videos have been and should be part your digital marketing strategy plans. Because YouTube is part of Google, uploading your video should include SEO efforts or use Google Ads for promoting your videos in front of the right audience with the right keywords or phrases.  

Live Video

One of the fastest efforts in digital marketing is the use of live video. Facebook and YouTube live video is simple and effective for marketing on a tight budget and has proven to be quite effective by emulating a broadcast style of promotion. Live video is especially a big success for digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Again, quality video, audio and content are key here to keep your audience engaged.

Voice Interaction

Who doesn’t want a smart speaker in their office or home these days or got one for Black Friday, Christmas or Boxing day? Voice Interaction is going up fast with smart speakers, tablets and phones accepting voice commands thanks to Siri, Google and Alexa pushing their technology. Now typing a search using keywords is quite different from a voice command. Therefore, your SEO marketing efforts and tools have to adapt to voice search inquiries.

As you prepare you marketing strategy for 2019, keep the ones that work for your business model, tweak the ones that have changed and try some new ones to improve your marketing efforts in the new year.