Digital Marketing Trends for Small Businesses in 2020

Graphic reading "2020 Digital Marketing Trends"

Just like a ship sailing at sea, business owners striving for success need to be steered in the right direction. Here, we’ll guide you through 2020 digital marketing trends to increase your impact as a business. Check out the predictions and see what marketing efforts you can put to practice in the coming year! 

As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the changing face of digital marketing. 

So, I bet you’re wondering, “Do I need to change everything to stay competitive in 2020?” 

Luckily, the answer is “no.” Marketing strategies you’ve relied on—like content marketing, email, social media, and even paid advertising—are still useful and will continue to proliferate in 2020. 

So, what do you need to pay attention to in the coming year? Before you set a marketing budget or outline your marketing strategy for 2020, here is what you need to know. (Hint: think EVOLUTION not REVOLUTION!)

Dive into the article or jump to the section that most stands out to you:

  1. Artificial intelligence will anticipate audience action and lead to results
  2. Account-based marketing will help generate higher revenue 
  3. Video marketing will evolve and be consumed
  4. High-quality content will merge with SEO rank
  5. Voice search will dominate text-based queries 
  6. Automation continues to sustain small operations with significant results 
  7. Geofencing will help capitalize on micro-moments

1 – Artificial intelligence will anticipate audience action and lead to results

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Artificial intelligence leverages data and machine learning to predict what your customers want and makes it easier to deliver a personalized experience.  

Artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting upcoming trends due to its range of applications. While you may think it’s expensive to implement, there are many tools out on the market that are cheaper than you’d think.

How to take action: 

Determine what marketing tasks take up the most time in your day and use AI to streamline or even take over those tasks. Building a process that works may take time, but in the end, you will have more time to focus on strategic business tasks. Thus, it would help if you considered using artificial intelligence in 2020 to analyze and bid on PPC ads, improve SEO, provide customer service in the form of chatbots, send emails, and rank leads. 

2 – Account-based marketing will help generate higher revenue 

Account-based marketing is a highly targeted marketing strategy that focuses on an individual or a company as if they were their own market. It’s effective for large or enterprise clients. Companies using ABM generate 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts compared to those that don’t.

While you have likely heard of target markets, which use demographics to define a business preferred audience, account-based marketing (ABM), on the other hand, targets a specific client or company. Say you wanted to land a large bank as a client for your small consulting business. Using ABM, you might create an email campaign to target specific employees or their needs. 

How to take action: 

Find out if ABM is right for your brand by reading this guide to account-based marketing. From there, you can implement it within social marketing campaigns like on Facebook or Instagram. 

3 – Video marketing will evolve and be consumed  

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Videos currently account for 60% of all internet traffic, and that percentage is expected to grow in the coming years. To stay competitive, video should be an integral (and inaugural) art of your marketing strategy in 2020. 

Video marketing is not new, but the rise of video content consumption and its effectiveness makes it worthy of extra attention in 2020. Here are some stats that prove its worth of pursuit: 

How to take action:

If you are not already leveraging video in your digital marketing plan, now is the time. If it is already part of your plan, look for areas, such as email, landing pages, and social, where you can add more videos. Experts suggest, too, that quality and novelty matters. If you can invest in 360-degree video, to wow and engage visitors. On top of dispersing videos throughout your website, live videos on Facebook Live and Instagram Live will continue to be successful. They get watched 3x longer than videos that aren’t live. In 2020, take live streaming more seriously, on top of traditional video content, and you will reap the benefits.

4 – High-quality content will merge with SEO rank 

Google’s recent update shows that content is more important than ever. Brands should focus on creating in-depth, detailed content, not just publishing to fill a blank page. 

Content marketing is nothing new, but Google’s BERT update and several core updates make high-quality content more important than ever. Despite the search engine’s increased use of deep learning AI, marketers need to stay focused on creating content for humans. As of May 2019, Google Trends analyst Martin Splitt shared that content with a purpose is one of the top three ranking factors. 

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How to take action: 

Before you roll out your 2020 content marketing plan, take the time to review the content you plan to produce. Is it engaging, designed for readers, and useful? Look at similar content, then add more details, take a different angle, or include helpful resources. Use these marketing resources to help you develop consumable and reader-centric content. 

5 – Voice search will dominate text-based queries 

Voice search is on the rise as users gravitate to smart speakers to handle tasks like looking for local businesses, searching for recipes, shopping, and creating to-do lists. 

By next year, it’s estimated that nearly half of all searches will be performed by voice. What does that mean for business owners and marketers? You may need to adjust your content optimization strategies for voice search. 

How to take action: 

To adjust for voice search, focus on using natural language and answer, “people also ask” questions in Google for the key term your content targets. Using AMP and structured data can also help make your content more voice search-friendly. 

6 – Automation continues to sustain small operations with significant results 

Automation uses rules to take over manual processes, making them less hands-on, and in many cases, more effective. Small business owners, in particular, can benefit from using automation as an extra set of hands. 

Automation is making it easier than ever to run your small business. It can be used to nurture leads, take over ad bidding, and even automate your email marketing plan.  Implementing automation can be a game-changer for small businesses with limited resources. 

How to take action: 

Start by reading this post about automating workflows. Next, look for tasks that you spend a great deal of time on (especially those you don’t enjoy.) Then, find ways to automate tasks so you have more time to spend on revenue-generating tasks. 

7 – Geofencing will help capitalize on micro-moments

Graphic image showing a website

Geofencing uses location-based technology to trigger an action when a mobile device enters a specific ‘fenced’ area. This allows businesses to, for example, trigger an in-app push notification when a prospective customer walks past a brick and mortar store. 

Geofencing makes it easier to reach prospective customers with targeted ads and promotions. 

While this term is not new, its application to the new trend of capitalizing on micro-moments is. 

Micro-moments are  defined as, “critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey.” They are at-the-moment points where consumers seek information. 

This strategy can give small businesses a considerable advantage, as you can raise customer awareness by targeting only local or near-by prospects. It is also a highly cost-effective strategy, as it narrows your target audience.  

How to take action: 

If you have a brick and mortar location, geofencing should be on your radar for the coming year. Read this guide to geofencing before you decide if it is right for your company. 

Here’s an example: if a customer walks past your store, you can send them a discount for 25% off their order or use ads to target them on social media.

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Charge into 2020  

The rise of technological solutions in marketing makes it easier than ever for small businesses to compete with larger brands. However, it’s most important to focus on the trends that are a good fit for your business and audience rather than diving into every new direction. Personalization, content with a purpose, and careful lead nurturing should be top priorities in the coming year. 

What marketing trends do you expect to impact your business in the coming year? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!