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Five online marketing trends to budget for in 2019

By Will Stevens - January 16, 2019

From content marketing and social media campaigns to branding and strategy, it can be a challenge for many small business owners to succeed at online marketing while also focusing on growing their business.

With all these tasks and goals to achieve, it can also be difficult to find the time to stay updated with the latest digital marketing trends.

This is where we hope to help.

So, without further ado, here are the key online marketing trends for 2019 that you can use to propel your small business forward in this new year.

1. Authenticity and familiarity

According to a report by visual content engine Stackla, 86% of consumers believe that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. That number is even higher among millennials, with 90% saying that authenticity is important when choosing which brands to support.

Authenticity as well as familiarity are the two essential ingredients for fostering trust in 2019.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Your customers want to interact with a brand that has an opinion, that stands for something, that’s relatable, that’s human.

The first and easiest step to achieving authenticity and familiarity is to attach a face and personality to your business.

So step out into the spotlight and allow your audience to see you, to get to know you, to find out why you do what you do and how you can help make their lives better. This will help prospects feel more comfortable engaging with your brand, thus increasing sales.

So, how do you put this into practice? Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Create useful content that speaks to your audience. This means taking the time to get to know your prospects, learning about their problems, questions and concerns, and addressing them in every piece of content you put out there.
  • Encourage customers to create content for you. According to Stackla’s report, 60% of consumers said that user generated content is the most authentic form of content. So if you want to boost sales, find ways to entice your customers to write reviews and testimonials about their experience with you. Then share them everywhere, including on your website and social media channels. Here’s a great guide that’ll teach you how to collect customer testimonials.
  • Add a story to Instagram or do a live video on Facebook where you answer customers’ questions.
  • Create a public or a private group on Facebook where you engage in conversation with prospects and customers.
  • Send an email newsletter packed with news, advice and tips, and special offers.

2. Show off your expertise

This is one online marketing trend that never gets old. If people can’t figure out why you do what you do, how your business works or why they should spend their money on your products or services, they won’t trust to buy from you.

So prove to customers that you have the knowledge, solutions and tools they need to be better, healthier, happier.

How? Start a blog and make it your mission to share great tips, advice and knowledge. Address the problems that you know your audience is experiencing and find ways to make your products or services part of the solution.

If you’re not a fan of blogging, there are lots of alternatives you can try to show off your expertise and build trust with your audience, from infographics to podcasts and videos. Read this post to get an overview of six solid alternatives to blogging that can help to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

3. Enhance customer experience with chatbots

Chatbots are the hot topic in online marketing in 2019. It’s not surprising considering customers have come to expect their questions to be answered in minutes.

Chatbots open your business 24/7 for answering repetitive customer questions like: “Where are you located?”, “What time do you open?” or “When will my order be delivered?”.

Bots can also be used to warm prospects, schedule appointments and help make purchases. They can be integrated with a website, an application and even a social media platform like Facebook.

These little chat boxes not only save you precious time but they also help to improve customer service while keeping a lid on your budget.

And if you’re worried about losing your personal voice, don’t because you have the option to edit and customise the text to match the tone and wording you’d typically use.

Here are two simple examples from Facebook:

If you’d like to give it a try, start by creating a Facebook Messenger chatbot. It’s free and it’ll take you just a few minutes to add to your business page. In this guide you’ll find the steps to follow to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your small business.

One thing to keep in mind though is that while chatbots are a time-saver for repetitive or common questions, they aren’t meant to replace complex conversations with your customers.

4. Use live video to entertain your audience

Video continues to be at the top of content marketing. The only thing better is live video.

You’ve probably seen lots of brands doing live Q&As, showing how a product works or streaming from an event.

Live video works.

Why? Because it helps you to tell a more authentic story, to connect with your audience on a more personal level and thus, to build that much-needed trust.

So why not take advantage and add live video to your online marketing strategy in 2019? Major platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to go live in front of your audience with just your smartphone and no other fancy equipment or technical skills. Here’s how easy it is to get started with Facebook Live.

Don’t know what to talk about? Think about all the things that your audience would find useful, helpful or fun. Write them down and see how you can turn them into live videos.

Need some ideas? This post on eight types of videos to engage your audience can also be used for live videos.

5. Build trust with user generated content

User generated content will continue to be a popular online marketing trend in 2019, especially on social media.

Why? Because it helps to build trust in your brand since the content is written by your customers, making it more authentic and influential than your content could ever be.

In addition, it’s also a fantastic way to put the spotlight on your customers and let them do your marketing for you. What can be better than that?

There are lots of directions you can go with this tactic. For example, the easiest one is to encourage your customers to write reviews and testimonials about your products and their experience with your business. Then share these reviews everywhere – on social media, on your website, on your blog.

Another thing you can do is to get fans and followers to snap a picture of them using one of your products and tag it with your brand hashtag or another custom hashtag. Or you can also run a contest where you challenge them to use your products in a creative or fun way and then reward the most popular post.

Wrapping up

While there are lots of other online marketing tactics, these are the top five we’d recommend focusing on for 2019. Try them out and see how they work for your small business. And remember: trends don’t replace good marketing tactics like creating purposeful content, telling a great story and engaging in meaningful conversations with your audience.