6 Marketing trends for small business in 2020...
Image credit: Joe The Goat Farmer
The end of the year is approaching the horizon, remarkably enough, which means it’s an excellent time to look ahead. You could say that foresight is 2020 in this case. And for anyone at the helm of a small business (particularly one that operates exclusively or primarily online), one of the central things to anticipate will always be the future of marketing.
First point: you’re up against a ridiculous level of competition, with more businesses scrapping over consumer cash than ever before. Second point: the pool of viable promotional tactics expands and contracts with the march of technology, and if you don’t pay attention to impending changes, you can see your campaigns rendered obsolete in a heartbeat.
Want to keep up? Think ahead of the curve, and react accordingly. So what small business trends can we expect to play prominent roles in 2020? Let’s take a look at 6 worth considering:
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #1 - Brand storytelling
In today’s marketplace, people expect more than quality goods and services from their brands. Spoiled for choice by incredible abundance, they know they can get those things from numerous places, so the differentiating factor — the thing that gives one brand the edge over another — isn’t typically price: it’s brand identity. If your business has the right values, it’ll get the nod.
And when you’re trying to convey your core values, it’s hard to find a tactic more potent than storytelling. Whether you’re recounting the circumstances that drove you to found your company or detailing the kind of impact you’d like to have on the world, your ability to shape a compelling narrative will be key to your long-term success.
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #2 - Offline promotion
It’s sometimes said that everything old is eventually new again. On that note, have you considered conducting any offline marketing? It lost its popularity when the internet began to pick up steam — digital marketers saw it as a clunky throwback lacking the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of online advertising methods — but it’s seeing a resurgence.
Why? Partially because offline retail is making a comeback, with retailers no longer needing to choose between online and offline retail: they can start by selling online, then seamlessly move offline, using the same system throughout (seamless hybrid POS hardware is available and affordable). And partially because it’s different, and while people are becoming inured to shallow and ubiquitous online ads, offline marketing can still prove impactful (direct mail, for instance, has tangible physical form, making it feel more meaningful).
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #3 - Shoppable posts
The convenience of buying is key for marketing because the conversion process can be lengthy. For example, you can spark someone’s interest in your product only to see it ebb away before they actually buy it — making the whole thing pointless and wasting all that marketing effort. This is what shoppable posts are intended to address.
First launched on Instagram in 2018, they allow users to not only view products but also purchase them without leaving Instagram. You can also sell products directly through Pinterest, Facebook, and other social platforms. So why do I anticipate this being significant in 2020? Because brands are slowly loosening the social media reins (see Wendy’s social media for a good example of this) — and the more creative you can get on social media, the more effectively you can use it to drive conversions.
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #4 - Voice-optimized content
I’ve seen numerous predictions about voice search, contending (for instance) that it will account for certain percentages of all search traffic by certain years, and I find them all highly questionable — we really don’t know, and the methodologies aren’t very rigorous. What we do know, however, is that Amazon had sold 100 million Alexa devices by the start of 2019. That’s an impressive figure, and there’s still a lot of room for growth.
Because of this move towards voice search (and natural language search in general), it’s clear that a big focus for small businesses at this point should be creating voice-optimized content. This content should be shaped using the Q&A format. What do people want to know? What are the answers to their questions? This format isn’t just better for voice search: it’s better for all search at this point, making it a vital part of general SEO.
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #5 - Chatbot automation
Chatbots have been around for quite some time, but companies are starting to get smarter with how they design and deploy them. The technology isn’t leaping ahead or anything so dramatic: rather, people are learning when it’s appropriate to lean on them and when it’s appropriate to get away from them. Couple this with the general population slowly getting used to using chatbots instead of railing against them, and the potential becomes clear.
The goal of a small business in 2020 should be to rely on a chatbot as a virtual receptionist of sorts. The chatbot should be able to field basic queries, essentially screening anything simple enough that it doesn’t need manual intervention. It should also be capable of dealing with complex issues, passing them to human support assistants in a timely fashion. This is massively important for marketing, because a chatbot can (and should) be capable of promoting a product and even making a sale while all the human workers are asleep.
2020 Marketing Trend for Small Business #6 - Omnichannel support
Omnichannel support is about being there for your customers no matter where they need support (in the online world, at least). When someone complains about your brand on Pinterest, you can be there to address it. When that same person compliments your support service on Facebook, you can follow it up, knowing that it’s the same matter.
It may still feel like a far-off ideal, but in 2020 I’m sure we’ll see more and more small businesses try to move towards it. Key to this will be using the right tools — tools like Freshdesk’s Omnichannel Helpdesk, laden with functionality for tracking issues across numerous platforms, are designed for this exact purpose.
What are the big rocks for your small business marketing in 2020?
Kayleigh Alexandra works with Micro Start Ups, helping small businesses with advice and support with establishing themselves in the market place.