7 Online Marketing Trends for Small Businesses to Look Out For in 2020
Keeping up with online marketing trends is the only way small businesses can continue to be successful. As a local business owner, you may find it challenging to know what the best marketing strategies are. What seemed to be yesterday’s concepts are now the latest trends. Also, what kept you at the top of Google last year, may no longer work this year.
Technology is a fast-changing industry and predicting consumer behavior is difficult. Some marketing trends are driven by consumer demand. In other cases, new technology opens up ways for small businesses to reach their customers.
How can your local business stay ahead of the competition in the coming year? What are the online trends to look out for in 2020?
Read on to learn about digital marketing trends in 2020 that will have a great impact on your business success.
1. The Power of Brand
Strengthening your brand is one of the most important ways to keep existing customers and reach out to new ones. A strong brand gives your business a unique identity that sets you apart from your competitors. Especially for local businesses, brand recognition is essential in building connections with consumers.
Consumers now do most of their research online before they connect with local businesses. They base their decisions on the company’s values, easy-to-navigate websites, online reviews, and products on offer.
One study found a direct link between positive reviews and an increase in sales. However, just one negative review could influence the decision of older adults, even if the product was highly rated.
So, before a potential customer picks up the phone or emails you, they have already made an informed decision. Also, you have to pay attention to what happens after the sale. In 2020 and beyond, it will be even more important for local businesses to listen to what their customers have to say.
What can you do to strengthen your brand? One way is to encourage customers to leave reviews. This is one of the best ways to give your business social proof. You also need to build a brand that customers feel confident in sharing with others.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now dominating global business and industry. AI is now even more important for small businesses to use if they want to remain competitive in their market.
Harvard Business Review in 2019 reported that companies producing AI chips raised $1.5 billion in funding for future investment. They predict that AI will become even more pervasive and will dominate the digital landscape. They advise companies to integrate AI solutions into their businesses to give themselves a competitive edge in the future.
One of the easiest ways small businesses can implement artificial intelligence is with chat-bot software. This is a cost-effective way for any small business to improve customer service and gain valuable insights into their behavior.
Other ways to integrate AI solutions are content creation, email personalization, streamlining human resources, and improving customer relationships.
The trend in using artificial intelligence has also brought about one of the biggest trends in 2020 – voice search.
3. Voice Search
If you want to know the importance of voice search in 2020, just ask Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or say, “Ok Google.”
Statistics show that 31% of smartphone users use some type of voice assistant at least once a week. It is estimated that ¼ of households in the U.S. already own a smart speaker. Some researchers predict that by 2020, over 50% of web searches will be done using voice rather than on a screen.
How can your local business take advantage of voice search? Write content that targets answers to questions that begin with queries such as: who, when, where, how, and why. If your content answers these types of questions, you will quickly take advantage of voice search trends.
Another trend in consumer activity that will affect your business is micro-moments. Google defines a micro-moment the moment when someone realizes they want something. They then use their mobile device to do an online search and then make an instant decision.
The 4 micro-moments Google identified are:
- I want to know…
- I want to go…
- I want to do…
- I want to buy…
In many cases, local businesses can benefit greatly from creating content based on micro-moments. Potential customers may be looking for the nearest salon, best restaurant, or reliable plumber. So, you want them to quickly find the services you are providing in your community.
To take advantage of micro-moments in 2020, you should anticipate your customers’ needs and wants. Then create content that looks great on mobile devices to make it easy for them to engage with your business.
5. Customer Reviews to Build Credibility
The importance of customers’ reviews will become even more relevant in 2020 and beyond. We have already discussed that publishing customer reviews on your website is important to strengthen your brand.
The digital marketing term for reviews is e-WOM, or, Electronic Word of Mouth. Customers can now leave reviews on social media and review sites and business owners may not have control over the types of reviews they receive.
If you want to know how much customer reviews can impact your business, read our blog post on why you should be concerned about online reviews.
Just looking at a few stats on the influence reviews have on consumers’ decisions shows why they are important.
For example, the Spiegel Research Center reports that 95% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. Websites showing real customer reviews can increase their conversion rates by 270%. Also, positive reviews increase conversion rates for higher-priced products by 380%.
One of the best ways to increase the number of reviews your business receives is to encourage customers to write a review. This shows that their opinion is important, you are willing to listen, and you take feedback seriously. You can even turn the occasional negative review into a positive experience.
At the end of the article, you will find out about one way to encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google and Facebook.
6. Video Marketing
Video marketing is one of the biggest trends of the last few years that looks set to continue growing in 2020. Videos are the best way to showcase your business, show how products work, and provide engaging content.
One of the ways to use video marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy is to reformat your content into many pieces. For example, you could record a video and publish it on YouTube. Because Google loves video so much, they show videos in the search engine page results (SERPs).
However, you can reuse your content and repost it in different formats. Here’s how:
- Transcribe the video and use it as a blog post where your embedded YouTube video is also shown.
- Use excerpts of your blog to rewrite into smaller blog posts and add images and stats to it.
- Upload the video to Facebook and use your transcript as subtitles.
- Use the audio from your recorded video and publish it as a stand-alone podcast.
Of course, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all have live video options and also stories.
7. Social Media Marketing
No business can ignore the power of social media and in 2020, using social media will become even more important.
More and more consumers use social media to search for products, get recommendations, research brands, and buy products. It is very easy for local, small businesses to quickly gain a loyal following on social media. This provides opportunities to connect directly with customers. So, social media is a win-win situation for both business owners and their customers.
The trend in social media marketing is to use social media stories, or, ephemeral content. This type of content is short videos or images that are only available for a short time. When used correctly, this creates a “fear of missing out.” It is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, boost traffic to your website, and engage with followers.
Increasing your Brand Awareness
At Starloop, we are committed to helping local businesses strengthen their brand awareness in the local community. We have helped 100s of our members get more online reviews. This has helped them increase their rankings on search engines and attract new customers.
How do we do this? For every online review your customers leave, we plant a tree. This ethical approach has proven to boost the number of reviews our members receive.
Contact us to find out how we can help your local business to grow quickly and easily by getting more reviews.