It’s 2019 and this year we’ll hit 9 years of supporting businesses with online marketing. We like to think we started in the dark ages when people commented on every Facebook Post, Ads didn’t exist and the # key was known for other uses.
As another year rolls around, our digital marketing agency likes to stop and think “what will we be seeing this year?”
The Rise of Chat Bots
Technology and bots has helped us come a long way in terms of creating efficiency and productivity. And yes, there’s a lot of talk about bots in messengers and the fear of that taking over customer service etc etc etc.
Chat Bots will be able to complete simple admin tasks and answer simple questions such as, “when is my check-in time?”. It will shorten the journey a consumer must take to find relevant information – and it is there 24/7 when perhaps in a small business you are not.
One thing bots cannot forge is the human to human relationships. Customer service and retention is still crucial for a business’s success. Especially when the customer’s need is unique, they’ll want to speak to a professional. This means a real human has to swoop into the chat at the right time!
Personalised Ads and Content
Paid social ads have never been more popular. As more brands use paid ads, competition has gotten more intense and prospects are harder to reach. So how are brands cutting through noise?
Personalisation. Ad audience needs to be segmented into smaller, more specific groups. Nailing their demographic, interest and behaviour is the only way to run successful paid ads.
Content also needs to be highly segmented. Consumers are looking for valuable and relevant content which means broad or generalised information will go amiss.
Mass EDMs will go straight to junk. People will decide in a matter of seconds, whether the subject line of the email is relevant and valuable. Personalised headlines and messages that come from a genuine place will resonate far better than polished, sales-orientated emails.
Growing trust issues against Social Media cause shift in branding approach.
In 2018, there were a few major privacy and security hiccups in Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Users became highly sceptical when it comes to Influencers and Ads, hence responded better to ‘real’ humans.
Micro-influencers started to gain better trust and results than global-scale influencers as users can connect on a more local and ‘relatable’ ways. We also noted a trend that smaller followers were converting to engagement at a higher rate than some larger follower influencers.
Staff members are the next Brand Ambassadors. They are experts in their field or department and consumers want to converse with them. Consumers want to take their unique problem to an expert who genuinely wants to help them find a solution.
Closed/Private Facebook groups – owned and run by brands create a space where consumers could have a say, and converse with others rather than bots. Private groups do not have automated messages or dead-end conversations.
Higher demand in Stories.
With the trust issue against brands mentioned earlier, consumers want to see more BTS action via Stories (eg Facebook & Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Facebook Live). Content around staff members and the day-to-day lives of influencers gain better engagement as it shows a more authentic side of the brand.
Whatever the size of the brand, adding Stories to Marketing Strategy is becoming a must. Spontaneous and less produced or polished stories perform the best. Those brands who’ve implemented an engaging Story strategy, were able to increase their sales as well as brand awareness.
What’s our say in all this?
We saw this coming – especially the distrust in brands. But most importantly, we’ve seen small to medium sized businesses struggle to adjust to the shift in consumers’ mindset and behaviours. Because who has the time to keep tabs on every Social Media update?
As we have the inside look in marketing and consumer behaviour, we were able to swiftly change the Marketing Strategy for not only our Clients but ourselves.
As always our belief is to firstly focus on one or two new ideas at a time, as an SME it’s easy to get overwhelmed by wanting to do it all, and test and measure – stick with the strategies that drive results, and ditch the ones that just suck up time!
We are excited to see what 2019 has in store for us – and all of you too!