As a small business owner, it can feel like the marketing landscape is continuously changing around you.
With online platforms like Facebook constantly updating its algorithms, and the diminishing returns of many offline efforts, it can be challenging to keep up.
Don’t worry: let’s look at last year’s marketing trends so that you can see how they can inform your strategy and help you maintain a competitive edge in 2019.
1. Email marketing still works
Email marketing has historically been one of the highest-performing marketing channels across many industries and businesses. But, was that still the case in 2018? Is email becoming obsolete?
Don’t ditch your email efforts just yet. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience; it just looks a little different now. According to statistics from Email Monday, more than 61 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices, which suggests that 2019 marketing trends might lean towards mobile marketing rather than desktop.
What does this mean for you? Whether you have a local or online business, continue emailing your subscribers to remind them of your brand and its offerings, but pay close attention to how your email appears on mobile devices:
Ensure that the subject line doesn’t get cut off mid-word on mobile displays.
Make the first line (the email preview) short and enticing.
Check that any graphics or images are quick to load.
2. Engagement prevails
“Engagement” may seem like a buzzword, but judging from last year, it’s far more important in 2019 than you might think.
Take social media marketing, for example. Gone are the days when posting updates to your business’ Facebook page could garner likes, followers, and attention.
Now, as Facebook (and other social media platforms) adjust their algorithms, you have to be a bit more disruptive to rise above the crowd and get your posts seen.
The more likes, comments, and attention that your posts attract, the more people will see and interact with them, creating a loop. In the coming year, your social media presence should be highly interactive; instead of publishing your posts and crossing your fingers that people happen upon them, bring your audience into your posts.
You can do this by hosting Instagram or Facebook Live sessions, Q&As, AMAs (ask me anything sessions), or Twitter chats.
The more engagement that you generate on social media, the better. Engagement is also imperative for search engine marketing. RankBrain (a tool that measures how users interact with search results) has become Google’s third-most significant ranking factor, according to Backlinko.
Will visitors click on your page, stick around for a few minutes, read an article, and comment? In other words, will they engage with your content? If so, chances are high that you’ll rank quite well for that particular search term.
3. Marketing is more personal
People enjoy being included in the story of your business because it’s more personal, so you’re not going to stand out if you communicate in a faceless, nameless manner.
People respond to influencers, individuals, and marketing messages that they can relate to. So, even if you’re a big corporation, it doesn’t always pay to act like one.
Try using personal language in your email and social media marketing efforts. Write your posts and messages as if you’re talking to a friend rather than a group of strangers.
This can also be achieved by obtaining a deep understanding of your audience: what do they like, respond to, struggle with, and find funny? Use those insights to interact with your audience on a deeper level, and show off some of your own personality while you’re at it.
In 2019, marketing trends may seem like they’re vastly different from those of the past, but they’re more intuitive than ever. Today, marketing comes down to relationships, engagement, and trust.
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