Digital marketing, like everything else, moves through trends, but although some of these trends pass without most people noticing, many of them become permanent fixtures in the repertoire.
This is because most digital marketing trends originate as a result of reactions to new technologies or new consumer behaviors, implying that they answer a need that has already begun to appear.
For example, the emergence of mobile marketing was a direct response to the huge increase in smartphone use that has occurred in recent years, particularly among consumers who use their devices to purchase or conduct product research.
Although mobile marketing was once deemed trendy, it is now simply a regular—though necessary—tool in the digital marketer’s toolbox.
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As a result, it’s critical to be informed about industry trends. In this post, we will look at five small business digital marketing trends.
1. Social Media Marketing
Because prospects, clients, and audiences spend so much time on social media, it is an immensely significant marketing tool for digital marketers.
Globally, social media users spent an average of 135 minutes a day on social networks, with the amount of time increasing year after year. Furthermore, consumers use social media not only to interact with friends and family, but also to study products and services, connect with brands they support and make purchasing decisions.
In other words, if you aren’t communicating with your audience and prospects on social media, your competitors will seize the opportunity.
With this in mind, many small businesses are jumping on the social media marketing bandwagon, with over 70% planning to attract new consumers using this technique in 2018, with 75% planning to utilize Facebook particularly. Here are some examples of how small businesses can use social media marketing to generate growth and attract new customers:
- Increasing brand exposure and loyalty through participation, comments, and sharing.
- Working with influencers to reach new markets and enhance recognition and trust.
- Data analysis to better understand customers’ and prospects’ needs, wants, and behaviors.
- Collecting and sharing user-generated content.
- Building ties with audiences and connecting with them on a more intimate way.
- Sharing content that is both interesting and relevant.
- Participating in dialogues with audiences.
- Using social media for customer service, such as answering queries and responding to complaints.
- Reaching out to new audiences and converting prospects with social media advertising.
2. Investing in Branded and Live Video
Because of how engaging it is, video has long been a driving force in digital marketing, and it is anticipated that video will account for 82 percent of consumer internet traffic by 2022.
But that doesn’t imply video marketing is stagnant, as people are constantly coming up with new ways to engage consumers with video. Branded and live video are two prominent trends that are on the increase right now.
Businesses can use branded content to reap all of the benefits of video—extremely it’s engaging, conveys a lot of information in a short amount of time, increases conversions, and is more appealing than plain text—while also developing trust and fostering relationships with their viewers.
Live video is a little newer to the scene, but it’s gradually becoming a popular kind of content among consumers, accounting for 13% of video traffic by 2022. One of the reasons live video is so enticing is that it is interactive, and the audience may be urged to join by calling in, asking questions, and participating in the conversation, which is excellent for relationship development.
Many marketers are hesitant to create video content for one simple reason: it is expensive to produce. However, creating video content does not always have to be expensive.
3. Voice Strategy
Vocal communication is one of the simplest and most prevalent kinds of human connection, so it’s not surprising that people choose to interact with technology and their favorite devices by speech.
In reality, half of all consumers now use voice assistants, and 81% of those people use them in conjunction with their smartphones. Organizations that want to stay relevant must adapt to this new twist on typical internet searches, which is why developing a voice search strategy is becoming a major concern for small businesses.
Optimizing your content with keywords that commonly appear in voice searches, such as long-tail keywords relevant to you, words like best and price, keywords in both command and question formats, and keywords that answer the types of questions your customers are asking, is a critical component of any comprehensive voice strategy.
The crucial thing to remember is that most voice searches are actually questions, thus content should be designed to provide concise responses. Another excellent voice technique is to create an Alexa skill or a Google action that will allow you to contact clients who use Alexa or Google Home voice assistants.
4. Novel Content
Content is the currency of digital marketing, and while some sorts of content will likely always be available, new types do emerge from time to time that briefly change the way consumers consume content.
For example, interactive content that allows audience members to actively engage with businesses is a developing trend right now. You can play with a variety of content formats here, including:
- Animated infographics and polls
- Voting using the internet
Another new sort of content making headlines is expiring content, which may have been influenced by the Snapchat paradigm, in which snaps are erased after only 24 hours.
Expiring content is similar in that it is only available for a limited time before being deleted from the web. This is appealing because it generates a sense of urgency and exclusivity, and because people don’t enjoy missing out on things, they will go out of their way to find said information.
5. Combining the Digital and the Physical
Digital may be the way of the present and future, but that doesn’t mean it will ever totally replace brick-and-mortar stores—people still like to shop in physical stores, which is why so many businesses maintain physical locations.
However, modern consumers want more from in-store buying than ever before, including digital aspects that are seamlessly integrated into the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. As a result, many businesses have begun to implement technologies that allow them to digitally connect with consumers who are physically present in their proximity, and beacons are a typical way of doing so.
When a business employs a beacon, the beacon can send signals to mobile devices inside a predefined geofenced area, such as sending push alerts or special time-sensitive coupons to nearby potential customers.
However, beacons can be used for much more, and here are a few creative ways that small and major businesses and organizations have used beacon technology to achieve results:
- Trade events are putting beacons in the lanyards that participants wear so that vendors can communicate more readily.
- Retailers use them to allow customers to check inventory and scan things in-store.
- Hotels are employing them instead of room keys.
- Sports organizations use beacons to communicate with in-stadium fans.
- Airlines use beacons to keep passengers up to date on flight timings, delays, and other essential information.
Digital marketing is a dynamic and ever-changing sector, owing partly to the fact that the technology and consumer habits that inform digital marketing are always changing as well.
As a result, it’s critical for digital marketers and small businesses alike to stay up to date on industry changes and trends. In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s all too simple to become irrelevant if you don’t keep up with the competition and your possibilities.
The good news is that most digital marketing trends are developments rather than complete overhauls, which means that staying on the cutting edge does not necessitate a complete overhaul, but rather a strategic evolution in social media, content, voice, and the way businesses engage with their customers online and in the physical world.