In 2020, the face of marketing will continue to change, driven by shifts in consumers’ browsing preferences and the impact of evolving technology. If you’re running a small to medium-sized business, the secret to success will lie in diversifying your marketing channels and adjusting your content to provide a richer, more personalized experience. This year, consider focusing on the tools outlined below to reach a broader audience and provide superior customer service:
Chatbots – AI-powered customer service providers – are nothing new, but their relevance will increase in 2020. Today’s consumers expect instant answers to their queries, but realistically, it’s very difficult for small businesses to provide live 24-hour customer service. Chatbots have therefore become an essential way for most businesses to keep their customers happy while reducing costs: According to a study by Juniper Networks, chatbots are expected to save retailers a total of $439 billion annually by 2023, while increasing profits by $112 billion. If you haven’t already incorporated a chatbot for customer service into your website, now is the time to do so.
2. Video Marketing
Like chatbots, video marketing will become more important in 2020. Rather than being limited to streaming services like YouTube, video marketing now spans across social media channels thanks to the advent of “stories” (bite-sized, shareable video clips). In fact, by 2022, video content is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic.
In addition to creating content-rich, long-form videos, you should devote attention to crafting short, engaging clips for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’re providing a B2B (business to business) service, you should also be sharing videos regularly on LinkedIn.
Regardless of where you’re sharing videos, remember to keep them informative and entertaining; 96% of consumers use videos to help them understand products in more detail, so it’s clear that people expect brand videos to be useful, not simply promotional.
Read our detailed article on video marketing benefits here.
3. Influencer Marketing
Most of us have heard of influencer marketing by now, but many small business owners assume this channel is only available to established businesses with the resources to engage social media celebrities. In reality, however, micro-influencers (those who have under one million followers) can be both more affordable and more effective than big-name stars. Why? Micro-influencers are perceived as being more authentic than their famous counterparts, and they typically have more engaged audiences.
To tap into the power of micro-influencers, look for people in your local area with a social media following that already aligns with your niche. If you run a restaurant in Toronto, for example, search for popular “foodie” bloggers and Instagram users who frequent the local restaurant scene. Once you’ve found the right influencer, offer them an incentive (such as a commission fee or receiving your product for free) to review your business or promote your products.
When done right, influencer marketing is inexpensive, convenient, and highly effective. Currently, it’s the fastest growing customer acquisition strategy, and for many businesses, it accounts for nearly a quarter (22%) of their customers. Influencer marketing also has a very high ROI, returning approximately $6.85 for every dollar spent.
4. Voice search
Smart speaker systems, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are expanding the reach and popularity of voice search. In fact, 20% of all online searches are now conducted through voice search, according to Google, and that figure is expected to rise to 50% in 2020. To tap into the power of voice search, give your website and marketing content a conversational tone, target long-tail keywords and specific queries, and provide answers to frequently-asked questions related to your niche (e.g., “What is the best sushi restaurant in Brampton?”)
5. Shoppable Posts
Shoppable posts are a new Instagram feature that makes it easier for businesses to tag their products in photos and lets customers buy products without ever leaving the Instagram app. To create shoppable posts, you’ll need an Instagram business account and your business must be connected to a Facebook catalog. Your business will also need to sell physical products; this feature is not currently open to service-based retailers.
If shoppable posts aren’t available yet in your country, use Instagram’s shoppable stories feature instead, which launched globally back in 2018.
6. Interactive Content
Certain forms of interactive content, like quizzes, polls, and video tours, are already well established, and should form a core component of your marketing (and data collection) strategy. In 2020, however, new technology like AR and VR is expected to vastly extend the possibilities of interactive content by allowing consumers to interface with products on an entirely new level. Take IKEA’s AR system, for example, which lets customers experiment with placing an item of furniture in their space via the IKEA app.
Image credit: marketinginsidergroup.com
Personalization is the process of tailoring your marketing content to fit each customer. Some of the most common examples of personalization include addressing customers by name in promotional emails, sending individual customers “happy birthday” emails that contain special deals, recommending specific products based on a customer’s shopping history, and creating personalized “welcome back” messages for your website. Creating unique content for each customer gives your business a more personal, relatable face and makes your loyal customers feel recognized and valued, so it’s an important driver of loyalty.
To personalize your marketing content, you’ll need to perform regular in-depth data analysis to generate customer insights. Alternately, you can hire a digital marketing firm to do it for you.
If you have questions about personalizing content (or any of the aspects of digital marketing covered above) we’ll be happy to answer them and connect you with the services you need. Contact our team of digital marketers in Toronto to begin shaping your marketing strategy for 2020 – and beyond.