2018 brewed up some monumental changes in marketing, which effectively means that as business owners— we need to update how we go about engaging our audience and creating revenue. But change isn’t always bad; it occurs in our industry because change has occurred in consumers, and while we may have loathed a few of the changes we were thrown this year… they ultimately brought us closer to our respective audiences.

Out of all the ups and downs, updates & changes— here are the TOP 5 industry-disruptors of 2018 we loved and loathed, plus tips for moving into 2019 like a #boss.

1- The AI Influx
From forcing reevaluations of keyword search terms to consider the way voice searches are made on tools like Alexa, to incorporating AI firsthand in the way we communicate with customers through the use of chatbots— AI became a big part of what’s expected in 2018. Most organizations have already begun to introduce chatbot technology to their websites and social profiles, and Facebook now even features it’s own programmable messenger bot for use. But AI has many more applications when it comes to marketing more effectively. It can analyze consumer behaviors and search patterns, plus it can provide a more programmatic approach to things like ad spend and distribution.

2019 Tip: Integrate a chatbot, such as ManyChat, into your website or Facebook profile— wherever your audience engages you most. Provide sales incentives in your opening message and see how it affects your clicks and overall traffic.

2- Video Marketing Matters
Video usage among businesses went up roughly 20% in 2018 and that’s not surprise— it’s what consumers want. From product videos to FAQs and general branding content, video has the motion to move the needle. Whether it’s high production value, live or simply recorded via phone, consumers retain 85% more of a message when they watch it versus read it. Plus— 50% of consumers search for videos related to the purchase decision they’re considering making. Will they find anything to persuade them when they search for your business?

2019 Tip: If working with a production agency isn’t an option, start a weekly vlog like my Hard Facts series, or create a content calendar that outlines scheduled times to go Live on places like Facebook or Instagram. Search creators similar to yourself and see what content they’re recording for inspiration. Remember, there’s not excuse anymore— we all have quality cameras in our pockets at all times now. Just take out your phone and hit Record!

3- The Facebook Algorithm Update Avalanche
From GDPR nightmares to engagement metric messes, Facebook has put us all through the paces this year. But, it’s taught me a good lesson: through it all, just focus on your audience! When posting relevant content that informs and educates, it doesn’t matter what any algorithm reads— your audience will seek you out. By generating quality content and simply asking for a person’s contact prior to sharing the blog, whitepaper, study, etc. you’ve created, you can build your database; alleviating the need to rely so heavily on increasingly restricted partner category data.

2019 Tip: Create a weekly email newsletter featuring your top content and ask for sign us on your website and social profiles. Try incentivizing signing up with a free downloadable relevant to your ideal audience.

4- Alternative Search Happens
While Google has long been the answer to all our questions, it’s not the only search engine consumers are utilizing. Visual search engines like YouTube and Pinterest have gained massive popularity as more than just tools of entertainment, but new ways of finding answers online. YouTube is second only behind Google in most popular sites on the web, and Pinterest drives more consumer traffic than Facebook! Are you well versed on these platforms and the types of content that work best on them? Now’s the time to learn!

2019 Tip: Create a business Pinterest profile. I’ll walk you through exactly how to do it, as well as why you should— just click here!

5- Brand Advocates > Customers
You may argue that the metamorphoses of customers into brand advocates began before 2018 and I wouldn’t disagree! But— it was this year that this consumer evolution ultimately culminated. With online reviews impacting nearly 70% of purchasing decisions, and things like “unboxing” video views going up by over 50%– it’s safe to say that ‘word-of-mouth’ is an even stronger concept online. Corporations have finally began to recognize the sales-driving power of the very people they’re selling to, and they’re taking them into consideration when building their marketing strategies. We as consumers trust what our peers have to say; and as business owners, if we can recognize the mutually beneficial relationship we have with our customers, we can increase our reputation AND our profits.

2019 Tip: Did you know every one star increase on a business’s Yelp review is equivalent to a 5% to 9% revenue increase? Incentivize past clients and customers to write a review for you with an email campaign using your database contacts.

Let’s live and learn in 2018 instead of letting 2019 take us by surprise! Utilize the tips and tricks outlined here to start the New Year strong. What are your 2019 marketing resolutions?

 

 

by Kelly Spencer

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