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3 Important Small Business Trends and Predictions for 2019

Written by on December 10, 2018

One of the most important questions every business asks themselves is “what are the new and the most important trends and how can we capitalize on them”? And while many companies are trying to jump on the bandwagon of the latest, newest, and the flashiest innovation, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Yes, some of the trends will have a direct impact on your business, regardless of your niche. And of course, some of the trends might become the industry staple while others fade away.

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But the main takeaway here is how you adapt them and if you’ll be successful in its execution. It’s how you’re going to effectively capitalize on the trend that matters, not what trend you’re going to capitalize.

With that said, each year we see new technologies come out and the current ones get smarter. This will continue to happen every year, and the trend will only pick up the pace.

So, as we approach 2019, here are a few key trends you might want to keep an eye out for and implement in your business if you want to get ahead of your competition.

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1. Customer-centric marketing

Being customer-centric in general, even outside your marketing strategy is a great way to connect with your audience and establish social proof.

Personalized marketing has been the hot and trendy approach for some time now but if you really want to get ahead of your competition, you need to truly embrace the customer-centric mindset.

How do you do this, you ask?

Ideally, through data and customer understanding.

If you have the data to back up your decisions and you can really tap into your customers’ minds – you know you’re on the right track. This is how you can get ahead most of your competitors.

The more you know your customers – the better.

But if that’s not the case and you’re not sure where to begin, think of the entire journey your customers take from start to finish with your product your service.

This is something called customer experience (CX).

CX includes things like how you care for your customers, how you respond to their needs and how you assist them through each touch point they have with your company.

How they interact with your service team, your website, and your brand, in general, is a great indicator as to how well you’re doing in CX. And to add to that, their buyer’s journey should be as smooth as possible.

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience and 73% of buyers point to CX as an important factor when making a purchase (Source).

This, combined with a solid user-experience foundation (another important  trend for 2019), means that if you want to attract and retain your customers – you should really zoom in on their experience.

If you thought you knew your customer down to a tee – think again.

At the end of the day, if you want to deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to know them better than ever. This often means creating detailed customer profiles that can help you understand their behaviors at every touch point with your business.

2. Chatbots

Automation, in general, is a great practice every business should be taking advantage of. There are many different fields that you can automate through tools, and the same can be said for your social media.

One important trend when it comes to automating your social media comes in the form of messenger chatbots.

With chatbots, your whole social media strategy and how you interact with your customers can be transformed into a real-time instant and automated communication tool.

Did you know that there are already more than 300,000 Facebook Messenger Chatbots?

That’s more than 300,000 businesses taking advantage of a simple automation tool that improves direct communication with customers.

Chatbots are a great way to keep your customers engaged with your brand.

Chatbots have a lot of potential because they can be custom tailored to specific keywords and experiences. For example, you can have the bot act as a landing page, lead generator, or even use it to accept orders. You just automate it and let it run while you work on other things.

Customers will then be able to fully go through the buyer’s journey and make a transaction without your involvement.

Of course, they’re not going to completely replace your social media team, but if done well, chatbots can make your customer support services a whole lot easier.

Social media never sleeps.

Though you’ll still have to chime in here and there to deliver a personal reply, chatbots can take over interacting with your customers for the most part.

In 2019, the extent to which we’ll see chatbots on social media will definitely increase. And so should their effectiveness. Chatbots are capable of more than just answering a question based on a keyword.

From providing weather reports to making an actual purchase, bots can get personal and take over the frontline even when you’re sleeping.

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3. Voice search

This is something you may not have seen coming but voice search marketing has been slowly been becoming more and more popular. And this can change the way we do searches altogether.

Voice search technology has been continuously improving and as a result, voices searches have increased in popularity as well.

Voice search is popular because of its ease of use, speed, and convenience. Above all though, it’s hands-free.

Meaning, people use it on the go (when driving a car, for example) and it’s safer than typing as well. Because people talk faster than they type, a voice search is going to be more convenient nine times out of ten.

So, what implications does this raise for the search engine that we’re so used to?

Preparing for voice searches is going to require a different approach. The way we talk is different from the way we type as well.

The next time you’re optimizing your website for voice searches, focus on the way you phrase your content and text.

For example, when optimizing for Google’s featured snippets (preview on Google), write it in a way that “reads better” out loud.

Focus on how it sounds when spoken, rather than focusing on the dry style of writing.

While many customers still use them only to make shopping lists or listen to music, it’s only a matter of time until the advertising shift happens.

Smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home are also on the rise.

So, what’s the takeaway here?

The future of search engine marketing is likely to become more responsive and authentic. If you want to get ahead of the competition, consider producing more audio content (to gain more brand awareness). And as we embrace new forms of media platforms, don’t forget that ads are likely to come soon too.

Summing up

All in all, expect to see a shift in the tech and the way we do business. Marketing is one of the many fields that are likely to go through a complete change. With that said, if you’re not sure where to begin, start with gaining a deeper understanding of your customers.

2019 and the future are very likely to be customer oriented, filled with personalization, automation, and new tech. Again, knowing who you’re dealing with can put you miles ahead of your competitors.

Listen closely. Make sure your interaction with them is as smooth as possible, and that your website is optimized as well. From there on, you have to focus on marketing and growth.

Once you start meeting your customers halfway through their journey, expect to see an increase in your conversions as well!

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