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As we close in on the end of the year and the decade, marketeers are eager to look ahead and predict the trends and developments that we will see in the coming year. However, lots of blog writers list the trends that we will see for big corporates and industries that are irrelevant and inapplicable to many of our businesses. So we asked ourselves ‘’What can small business expect for the new year and how can they make sure they start 2020 ahead of their competitors in terms of marketing and communication?’’ The result?

Direct messaging

Among the variety of trends that are named for 2020, the use of direct messaging is argued to play a key role in the coming year’s marketing landscape. Arguably along the lines of an ever-increasing focus on personalisation, being able to chat directly with your audience is thus expected to become even more important for (small) businesses as a way of creating a favourable brand experience. Offering direct chat functions on various (social media) platforms would thus arguably serve well for small businesses in the coming year.

As for email marketing, using the increasing focus on personalisation will be vital to differentiating yourself. Simple standardised email blasts simply won’t work anymore. Segmenting and tailoring email content for particular segments will increase the relevance of emails and thus increase the chance of getting responses.

Reviews

Similarly, the value of reviews has been on the rise and is expected to be so in the coming year. From an SEO perspective, having people review your company and the product or service you provide can lead to increased exposure on any of the search engines. To emphasize the importance of reviews, studies have argued that an overwhelming number of (potential) online buyers, up to 90 percent, are turned away by an absence of reviews for companies and products. As the year is drawing to an end, perhaps think about finding a way to collect reviews through direct emailing, social media encouragement or by offering a deal to motivate people to give their opinion.

Social Media

Another advice given by many is the use of social media as a focus channel to communicate with your audience. While this is nothing new, suggestions as to how make optimal use of platforms such as Facebook are provided to help you stand out. For one, almost half of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) are currently not using data to help build a strategy. Why use data? Simple, so you can analyse and learn from each and every marketing campaign, even the failed ones, so you are able to improve and create an impactful campaign that incorporates the key outcomes (good or bad) of analysing previous campaigns. Combination this with the use of data to further segment your audience will allow you to jump ahead of competitors.

Alternatively, the use of podcast to communicate to your audience could be a creative way of engaging with your audience. Among the trends in recent years is the growing number of people that have started to listen to podcasts. In 2019, over 1.6 million people listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, a number that has increased 0.6 million in the last year. Using such a channel could thus open businesses up to possibilities that can help them to get closer to certain audiences. Nevertheless, this would depend on your industry and market as it generally concerns a younger audience (i.e. below the age of 50).

Influencers

Creative ways of standing out from the crowd are often the non-standard ways of reaching out to your audience. For small businesses, this could be achieved through engaging with vloggers, Instagram and YouTube stars known as ‘’influencers’’ to increase exposure. Today’s online superstars possess the kind cult-like power that can put entire companies out of business, something that should not be disregarded in everyday marketing. While these are the extreme cases of world celebrities living in Hollywood, thinking of finding an influencer that is close to your target audience could open op new ways of reaching these audiences.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is already taking place today but will become even more important differentiator in the coming year. Especially for small businesses, creating content that is relevant and engages with your target audience is important for business growth. Creating and posting content that is helpful for people will encourage them to engage with your brand and other marketing channels that you use. Offering informative content is shown to have a positive effect on purchasing behaviour in relation to your company, as opposed to traditional advertisements such as sales promotions.

Although you might be considering acting on one or more of these suggestions, you might be wondering ‘’how do I do that and where should I start?’’. With our team of experts, we will be able to make sure you are more than equipped to face the new year with the competitive edge that you need to stand out from the competition. Want to learn more about how we can help, Get in touch or visit our website to find out more.