How to use Marketing Trends in your Plan for 2019
by Lindsey Winsemius
Posted 1 month ago
In digital marketing, trends come and go quickly. Few marketers can afford to jump on every new trend, and small business owners have even less time to take a chance on something that will be passe before it is even installed on their website.
How do you balance being current with your campaigns, while avoiding wasting precious resources on passing fads?
By letting others (like me) try out these fads and let you know if they’re worth your time.
As marketing professional Neil Patel recommends, don’t be a first adapter. Be an early adapter. Let others try out the newest trends, and then jump on board once they’ve proven successful.
While I might tell my kids I’m Mary Poppins, ‘practically perfect in every way’, the truth is, I’m just trying to learn from my mistakes. And then I can share my new-found knowledge with you, so you can learn from my mistakes, too.
I’m always researching and trying out new technology and new techniques for marketing. I’ve noticed a few really great marketing strategies that I think have some staying power, and are worth your time in 2019. I’m currently implementing these for ApogeeINVENT, and I recommend finding what important marketing trends you should try in the coming year.
Create your marketing plan now.
Every December and into January I spend some spare time putting together a marketing plan for the coming year. This helps me reflect on what worked well in the previous year, and what was a waste of my resources.
Hopefully you have some way to judge the success (or failure) of your marketing efforts. Google analytics, conversion rates, new leads, built in analytics in your software… whatever way you measure your results, now is a great time to go over them and determine your plan for the coming year.
When creating a marketing plan, I consider these things:
What worked last year.
This will hopefully be the easiest, and most fun, part of working on your marketing plan. I always like to go over things that worked great. I know one thing my colleagues mention is the weekly marketing emails we send out that link to the blog article for the week.
I try to document my own marketing efforts, and come up with tips and best practices I think our mailing list will appreciate. And it seems like many of our clients and contacts do appreciate the emails, as we get a good response to them on regular basis, including making some sales and generating some repeat business (which I really appreciate, by the way!).
This, to me, is an example of a success. The blog writing and emails don’t require a lot of resources besides my time, and they seem to have a great response.
Other areas I look at are paid advertising campaigns and what our conversion rates are, where we get the most traffic from, and what landing pages have been most effective.
What didn’t work last year.
Sometimes the expense or the amount of time I spend on a particular campaign just doesn’t pan out. For example, in previous years I’ve invested a lot of my time and some budget (for different tools) on social media marketing. But with organic reach being almost zero, the time I spend just isn’t worth the effort.
I’ve found posting photos of our staff at events is worth my time, and Instagram has decent engagement if I have the right content to post, but unless I’m doing paid advertising, I usually don’t spend a lot of my time anymore on social media. That was a decision I made after last year’s review of what didn’t work.
Take the time to go through your data, and if you’re not great on data tracking, just use some plain old common sense. One caveat, however: Don’t throw away a year’s worth of effort on something (like a blog) because you don’t find it giving you enough results. Some things take time, and can have more intangible results, or perhaps you just need to come at it from a different angle.
What are predicted trends for the coming year.
Before determining the areas to focus your attention next year, find out what is working for your competition. What kinds of marketing campaigns have high levels of success, and what new technology is available?
What trends would benefit your business.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of marketing is popular, consider what is a good fit for your business. Not everything I would consider using would be beneficial to other business types. For example, our demographic is international, so I focus less on location marketing than a car dealership that sells to local customers.
It is important to know what your demographic looks like, and where they spend their time online. This will help you choose the best places to focus your efforts.
Once you’ve determined what new marketing techniques or mediums might work well for your business, what will you need to implement them?
What resources (software, time, expense) are required.
Some new marketing methods might merely require time. Others might need technology to be implemented, or even a new hire.
A marketing plan will help you know ahead of time what to budget for, and if you need to make changes now to be ready (like upgrading your website).
What are the latest marketing trends for 2019?
Some trends have stuck around year after year because they are timeless and they work. Other trends are eclipsed by newer technology, or just become less effective because everyone adopts the trend, saturating the audience.
Here are several marketing trends I feel will remain strong or grow in 2019.
Marketing Trends to watch for in 2019
Live Chat / Chat bots
Forget contact forms, people now expect instant responses to their questions. Why send your question off into the unknown and wait an unspecified amount of time for an answer, when you can get an instant response?
The appeal of live chat will only grow as mobile use becomes even more pervasive.
But dedicating time and attention to a live chat system can be costly. That is why chat bots have become increasingly popular.
What is a chatbot? A chatbot, also called a conversational agent (doesn’t marketing make everything sound so much better?), are software applications that use machine learning to mimic conversation with a real person. Most chatbots today are used in the customer service space.
Chatbots are able to do things like answer basic questions and set up appointments, keeping customers happy while protecting your time.
Thinking you might want to give Live Chat or Chatbots a try?
Facebook has a chat plugin
for business websites that allows you to install messenger into your website to chat with visitors. This is a great free option to try it out.
I’ve also seen Drift
being used on several sites, and it appears to work well (although I haven’t tried it out myself). It has a free option that will let you test it out before investing anything more than time.
What can you do to break through the noise?
Authentic forms of marketing, like referral marketing, influencer marketing, and user-generated content are all important ways to connect with your audience in 2019.
This is a broad concept that includes any kind of referrals to your business. Many businesses are learning to leverage the power of affiliate marketing, relying on the trust affiliates build to drive more sales for their business.
At ApogeeINVENT, we rely on referral marketing. We offer monetary incentives to any contacts that refer us to their contacts and we make a sale from that referral. We only have to earn the trust of our contact, and they use the trust they’ve built with their contacts on our behalf. As long as we maintain that trust with our contact by taking good care of the referrals they send our way, this system is highly successful.
This is very similar to referral marketing. Every industry has influencers; people who have built up trust with a large audience by blogging, streaming, being a successful entrepreneur, a celebrity figure, and so on. Businesses can leverage the trust already built by these influencers by acquiring their sponsorship of a product or service.
Find the right people in your industry that are already connected with the audience you want to reach and solicit their help in growing your brand. That could mean a partnership, sponsorship, or product placement on their blog / channel.
Reviews are one of the most common forms of user-generated content that help companies get more leads or sell more products. 84% of people trust reviews as much as they trust friends, and 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
I’ve made sure ApogeeINVENT has been listed on sites that encourage reviews, and have incentives for reviewers, like Capterra
Creating content that is authentic and personable is the key to success in 2019. A corporate blog isn’t going to see much success, but articles written by individuals in your organization with humor or personal stories will relate much better with your audience. A CEO blog is another great example of how to give your brand a face that users can relate to.
Focus on creating content that is personal, tells a story, and appeals to the emotions of your audience.
Finding ways to connect on a more personal, authentic level is key to success for your marketing in 2019.
Mobile has been a dominant trend for the past several years, and don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
People are now more connected than ever, and have higher expectations of websites and apps.
What mobile trends can we expect to see grow in 2019?
Voice search gives more detail and meaning to searches, which means you can rank well for niche topics. For example, there might be high competition for “skin care product” searches, but you could stand out in a voice search like “What are the best skin care products for babies allergic to gluten?”
Be specific in choosing article topics and advertising keywords, and make sure you focus heavily on what makes you different from the competition.
Location is another way mobile has revolutionized search. Being able to identify the most relevant and closest item matching a search has become a priority for search engines. Be sure your location is clearly identified on your website and meta tags. Take it one step further and add your business to Bing Places or Google My Business so you control what people see when your listing pops up as “nearby”.
As more people are searching on mobile, they’re not only expecting a nice looking mobile website, they also want it to load quickly.
Under 6 seconds is the new industry expectation for mobile sites (and 2 seconds for computers). If you website loads too slowly, you risk losing traffic and potential sales. 64% of shoppers will abandon your site and shop elsewhere if they’re unhappy with the load speed.
More people are turning to apps rather than using a mobile browser to search online. Using a mobile ad network that will put your ads on these apps, or even having your products on Amazon’s marketplace are all important considerations if you want to stay competitive in the growing mobile market.
Personalization has becoming more and more popular in recent years. You’ve probably seen it in personalized emails, and on sites like Amazon or Netflix that personalizes content to each user.
The key to successful personalization is gathering the right data, and using that information to present users with an experience tailored for them.
Not everyone has the same data gathering abilities or algorithms like Netflix, but you can start small and build on what you have.
For example, personalize emails based on shopping history or segment your audience by business type for better targeting. Just keep in mind, the more you can personalize your marketing for individuals, the more successful your campaigns will be.
The continued shift towards video is another trend we’ve seen return each year. According to Forbes, 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and 64% of customers say that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy.
Video is successful because it leverages the power of emotion in a way text and even images can’t. It can give a brand a persona, a face; video can use music to set the mood of viewers; video can tell a company’s story.
I think we can safely say 2019 will see previous trends continue to grow in dominance, but stay tuned because you never know when the next big thing will introduced. I’m not expecting anything dramatic, but I’m sure that’s what marketers were saying the year Facebook was introduced.
What trends do experts say will dominate in 2019?
Marketing with Authenticity: Making real connections with your audience will be the key to success in 2019. As the Internet gets bigger, people crave the perception of familiarity they used to get from the corner store that no longer exists.
Chat bots / Live Chat: Along with making a connection, people also have to come to expect instant gratification. Chat bots and live chat software make it possible to connect instantly with website visitors and offer an improved customer experience.
Mobile: The push towards mobile is only going to increase as younger generations expect faster mobile load speeds and content optimized for the really small screen.
Personalization: Artificial intelligence and data collecting advancements make personalization easier and easier. Instead of finding it creepy, people are coming to enjoy the ways personalization can make their lives easier.
Video: The power of video in capturing your audience can’t be ignored, and in 2019, expect to see more companies recognize its importance in marketing. The good news is that creating videos will become easier and more affordable as this market grows.
What marketing trends do you expect will be big next year? Is your business ready for 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments below.