Christmas is in the air and 2018 is drawing to a close, so it’s time to start looking ahead to the rapidly approaching 2019.
Any online entrepreneur or ecommerce business owner needs to nail their digital marketing tactics for the coming year. It’s not only a matter of successfully generating leads and engagement with customers and prospects, but also keeping up with rivals in a highly competitive market.
Incorporating hyper relevant trends into your marketing strategy will help your brand stay fresh and exciting to consumers, and should hopefully result in some financial success too.
Below we take a closer look at four of the digital marketing trends that are going to be big in 2019.
Recommended reading: Your New Year resolution needs to have a special place for SEO
Voice search & interaction
We’re seeing a huge take-off in voice search and interaction this year, and it’s only going to get bigger in 2019.
Smart speakers are becoming increasingly popular with consumers across the world — think Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Homepod and Google Home. Three of the biggest names in the digital industry have brought out smart assistants in the last couple of years that can help out around the house. Consumers can ask their smart assistants to do everything from play Christmas hits to order last-minute presents on Amazon, to calling friends, to dimming the lights.
Voice search is also on the rise — it’s been predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice search. Consumers prefer the ease and speed at which questions are answered, so it makes sense that more and more queries are performed through voice features like Alexa and Siri.
Savvy brands will take advantage of the marketing opportunities that voice search and interaction provide, and incorporate this into their 2019 SEO strategy. This could be anything from tweaking your meta-descriptions so that they read better when spoken aloud, to creating FAQ sections or posts on your site that will come up in featured snippets based on commonly-asked questions from your consumer base.
One digital marketing trend that is already making waves in 2018 and will continue to do so next year is live video.
It’s the perfect antidote to rigid, formulaic advertising campaigns. Consumers don’t want this anymore — they tend to prefer informal, fun, and lively marketing styles. Live videos are raw and unscripted, with elements of unpredictability and interaction. It’s this feeling of ‘anything could happen’ that brings live video, well, alive.
Whether it’s using influencers in your live videos (more on those later) or your marketing team (or yourself) answering questions about the brand or demonstrating product tutorials, live video is hugely successful with audiences, particularly with millennials and generation Z.
AI & chatbots
The future rise in artificial intelligence and chatbots isn’t as terrifyingly dystopian as you might initially think.
Many of the websites — particularly online stores — that you visit on a daily basis will now have a chatbot ready to help customers at the drop of a hat (or question). 2018 saw an explosion in chatbot installations, and 2019 will see them becoming more commonplace.
If you want to keep up with your competitors, it’s wise to invest in a chatbot to assist customers visiting your store. If you’ve used or are planning on using an online store builder like Shopify, there are various chatbot apps available that are easy enough to integrate with your ecommerce store. It means you can go that little bit further in the customer experience, ensuring that you answer the need for instant gratification when it comes to answers.
Chatbot technology has come a long way since its beginnings, and chatbots now have a decent level of warmth and personality that you’d be surprised with.
Influencers (in particular, micro-influencers)
The last few years has seen a huge increase in marketing through influencers.
Influencers are renowned for their successful boosting of brand awareness, trust and engagement. They’re fun, charismatic, and of course, they tend to have thousands or even millions of followers — perfect for broadcasting your product’s perks to a huge audience.
2019 will see influencer marketing veering from big-money, celebrity endorsements (the Biebers and Kardashians of this world) to micro-influencers instead (for a fraction of the price).
A micro-influencer is an trusted voice in their market, specialising in a particular topic, passion, or niche. They tend to have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Unlike celebrity influencers, who seem somewhat removed from ‘real life’, micro-influencers are just ‘normal people’; albeit with a few more followers than you and I. That’s their main draw, and the reason micro-influencer-based marketing is so successful: they’re genuine, trustworthy and relatable.
Consumers are therefore more likely to trust what they are saying — they’re not rich, glamorous celebrities being paid millions for a single Instagram post. They’re just ordinary people who are experts in their own niche. A recommendation from them seems much more organic and authentic — as experts in a particular area, of course they’re going to have a favourite product or brand that they use. Why wouldn’t they want to share this in-depth knowledge and genuine love with their followers?
Micro-influencer marketing is essentially just wholesome word-of-mouth marketing but on a much bigger scale. Jump on this oncoming trend train by gathering a small team of micro-influencers to widen your reach and shout about your brand.
When people think about future trends and what we will likely be seeing in the coming years, they tend to overshoot and predict weirdly futuristic technological advances. Actually, what we’re seeing more of at the moment is trends leaning more towards human interaction, with emphasis on emotion and connections.
The coming digital marketing trends that we’ve listed above reiterate this; incorporate any of these into your marketing strategy and you’re one step closer to making your customers happy and satisfied, which in turn will lead to a thriving business.