Since 2011, small businesses have continued to increase their digital marketing spend each year, with most businesses spending around 35 percent or more of their overall marketing budgets specifically on digital marketing initiatives. And experts at Forrester are projecting that U.S. digital marketing spend will near $120 billion by 2021.
In other words, all online businesses need to invest heavily in digital marketing if they want to remain a competitive force online. Additionally, businesses that have an online presence need to invest heavily in their websites if they want their digital marketing initiatives to be successful. Thoughtfully designed and managed websites are central to most effective digital marketing strategies.
If you want your digital marketing efforts to yield real results in 2019 and you want your online presence to remain competitive, here are some trends you’ll want to know about and implement, especially if you own your own small business website.
Integrated Strategies and Innovative Planning
Long gone are the days when marketing departments worked in business silos. Today, with the growing dependency on data for business decision-making, your marketing plans must rely on integrated strategies if they’re going to be successful.
In 2019, business and customer data from across your organization should inform all of your digital marketing plans and efforts, including your website design and website management. It will be critical to implement a cohesive digital marketing strategy that incorporates information collected and analyzed from across your entire organization, from customer order fulfillment and online engagement to sales data.
Integrated strategies will boost creativity and innovation across your organization because the data you use and analyze will be tailored for your specific business. Once internal business silos and data silos are broken down, your digital marketing team will be able to develop more customized and highly-targeted digital marketing plans, campaigns, content, and so much more.
Omnichannel Content Marketing
Research has indicated that content marketing is necessary for any successful digital marketing strategy. It’s important that your content marketing strategy encompasses all marketing channels that are relevant to your target audience in 2019.
Omnichannel content marketing is coordinating the content your customers experience across all channels and devices so that it’s seamless, integrated, and consistent. This involves developing a strong brand and voice, strong content, and an integrated digital marketing strategy. For more details, read Omnichannel by Think with Google.
More Trusted Branding and Partnerships
A Nielsen study from 2015 revealed the top four most trusted sources of advertising for online consumers: people they know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews. Ads were near the bottom of that list, and they still are in 2019. According to recent Deloitte research, 31 percent of Americans and 27 percent of Canadians use ad-blocking software on their computers. And for mobile phone users, 20 percent of Americans and 12 percent of Canadians say they use a mobile ad blocker.
Online consumers trust what others say about you more than anything you say or post about yourself. This is especially true when influencers with a large online following weigh in. You will need to build partnerships with other brands, influencers, and organizations to highlight the trustworthiness of your brand and its products. Also, be sure to include authentic consumer reviews on your website to enhance its overall credibility and authenticity.
New Google Search Engine Marketing Changes and Tools
Google made some huge changes that will be deployed and evolve in 2019. They developed the new Google Marketing Platform, which will help you create smart ad campaigns with responsive search ads, automated ads, cross-device reporting, optimized video ads, and more. Read Google Marketing Live: Smart Campaigns, Automated Ads and Machine Learning by Smart Insights for more details.
Focus on Customer Experience
Above all else, you’ll want to focus on your customers’ and users’ experiences in 2019. Use your integrated strategies, Google tools, data analytics, etc. to really hone in on what their communication and content preferences are. Aim for a seamless, highly personalized, and unforgettable user experience. Really focus on being helpful and making it incredibly easy for your customers to engage with your content and buy your products or services. You can rely on machine learning, chatbots, and similar tools to enhance and personalize their experiences.
Augmented Reality and Enhanced Video Content
In 2019, more and more digital marketers will begin to rely on digital tools and website platforms that offer augmented reality and augmented video. Customers will want to be able to virtually “try on” clothes or eyeglasses once they upload images of themselves. They’ll expect to see enhanced 3D and 360-degree images of products before they purchase anything.
Additionally, high-quality video content will become even more important in 2019 than it was in 2018. According to research parsed by Forbes:
- Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
- 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
- 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
- Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
Micro-Moments and Micro-Interactions
Because modern consumers spend so much time on their mobile devices, digital marketers must create more of what Google dubs as “micro-moments.” Micro-moments provide mobile consumers with the right information at the right time, clearly and concisely. Read Micro-Moments by Think with Google to learn more about what they are and how to implement them.
Websites will need micro-interactions that enhance a mobile user’s experience. For instance, you might want the color of a page to change once a user clicks a button and completes an action. Or you might want to include moving graphics when a user completes a call-to-action or clicks a “submit” button.
Brands will begin to customize their websites’ illustrations and images in 2019, or hire a professional to do it for them. It will become less and less common for authentic and successful brands to rely on stock images when designing their websites and digital marketing content.
Flat and Mobile-First Websites
When building a website, it is imperative that you think of your users’ mobile experience first in 2019. Use a flatter website design that is more mobile-friendly and optimized for speed. Implement minimalist designs that don’t have a lot of graphics or images that take too long to load. And include grids or card-based layouts; they should be single pages, have different and contrasting colors, and be enabled for long-scrolling.
In essence, to stand out from your online competition in 2019 and to yield a positive return on your digital marketing investments, be sure to consider implementing most or all the trends listed above.
Feature image: Pexels