Last Updated: October 25, 2018
As usual, the digital marketing landscape is changing fast.
Facebook alone has been responsible for at least three seismic shifts in the digital marketing landscape. And Google makes more than enough changes to keep SEOs on their toes (or drive them to drink). So stay on the cutting edge by learning everything you can about these 2019 marketing trends.
This article covers the trends and the first steps you should take to capitalize on them.
2019 Marketing Trends
The following trends will change the way we think of marketing automation, SEO, and lead generation. And if you’re prepared for these changes, you’ll be ahead of 80% of your competition.
Now let me tell you where we’re heading, what you need to know about it, and what to do it about it.
According to HubSpot:
Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.
Marketing automation has been around for a while, and it hasn’t changed much— yet.
What You Should Know: The future of marketing automation and lead generation is artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Bet that doesn’t surprise you. Many marketing automation platforms, including HubSpot, have already begun entering the market with predictive lead scoring product offerings.
Lead scoring allows companies to determine how likely a lead is to convert based on their behavior on your website, emails, etc. Currently, most businesses have to determine scoring criteria on their own. (Or rely on iffy scores developed by inaccurate algorithms.)
In 2018, predictive lead scoring is hit or miss, but at the current rate of advances in AI and machine learning, we should see huge improvements that make predictive lead scoring the standard by 2020.
With machine learning, your marketing automation software will be able to analyze all the data to determine how to score different user behaviors. Right now, lead scoring can be a bit of a guessing game, especially for SMBs without the resources to really dig into the data. As marketing automation becomes even more automated through the use of machine learning, SMBs will reap the benefits.
What You Should Do About It: Prepare to take advantage.
Make sure you don’t get left behind by keeping up with the major players (e.g., HubSpot, Pardot, etc.), and make sure that your current software has a plan for taking advantage of machine learning. If it doesn’t, it might be time to switch. And since changing software always takes time, the sooner you start that process the better.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is getting more and more difficult. Google is giving more space to paid ads and to their on Knowledge Graph content. That means it’s harder to get on the front page (because there’s less space), and it’s harder to get clicks (because more people are getting the information they need from the Knowledge Graph).
Moving forward, there’s little room for error if you hope to continue to drive traffic through organic search. One of the things to be ready for is the rise of semantic SEO.
What You Should Know: The future of search engine optimization is Semantic SEO.
Voice is the new mobile. Thanks to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, et al., Google is learning how to understand similar phrases and identify the intent of a search. So when a user searches for something, Google isn’t just going to search for that keyword. It’s going to try to figure out exactly what they meant by what they searched.
What is Semantic SEO? Neil Patel explains it well:
For example, if someone typed in “laptop” do they mean: That they want to buy a laptop? Have one repaired? Upgraded? Are they even talking about a computer, but something entirely different?
According to ComScore, smart speakers are the #1 Internet of Things purchase for homes and half of all smartphone users are already using voice technology.
Angelo Frisina, Founder and CEO of Sunlight Media, told me that:
- 41% of adults (and 55% of teens) use voice search daily
- 20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches
- Voice search has grown 35x since 2008
This is going to be huge. Think Mobilegeddon huge.
“Smart speakers are the next refrigerator,” Frisina said. “Every home will have one. And as more people search with smart speakers, SEOs will need to adapt.”
What You Should Do About It: Create cornerstone content.
To be ready for this marketing trend, you’ll need to target topics instead of keywords. If you haven’t already, start creating cornerstone content — also known as pillar pages — so that your content is optimized to rank for topics instead of keywords.
One way to do this is to search for the top content your competitors are creating (use a tool like Ahrefs). See what key phrases they’re ranking for and divide them into categories. Then you can include that language in your cornerstone content. (If you need more help figuring out how to take advantage of this trend, schedule a free consultation here.)
You can probably guess what a chatbot is (in fact, you’ve probably already interacted with quite a few of them). The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Chatbots describes a chatbot as
…a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.).
What You Should Know: The future of lead generation is chatbots.
Chatbots can already “set medical appointments, call a taxi, send money to friends, check in for a flight and [much more].” But in 2019, chatbots will become a crucial tool in your lead generation toolkit.
Software like HubSpot, Chatfuel, and Botsify are making it easy for anyone to create bots that interact with potential customers on their websites and Facebook. The software behind these bots will continue to improve, and by 2019 you’ll have no excuse not to be taking full advantage.
What You Should Do About It: Experiment.
Instead of relying on your website to get visitors where they need to go, create chatbots that actively answer common questions and walk them through the process.
As Fran Conejos says, “No matter the sector or vertical you’re in, most of your customers probably spend a lot of their time chatting (and they are often better at it than they are using a web browser!)”
Begin leveraging chatbots now, so that you’ll be ahead of the game in 2019. Create your own bots on Chatfuel, ManyChat, or Botsify. That way, you can optimize your approach to using chatbots for lead generation. You’ll be miles ahead of the competition by the time they finally get on board.
Did I Miss Any?
What marketing trends do you foresee taking over in 2019? Augmented reality? Virtual reality? IoT? Let me know!