We live in an era that depends wholeheartedly on the Internet for our information; as such, business owners the world over are forced to compete for consumer attention via their online presence. However, as this competition continues to increase, so too does the need for optimized websites. Some of the industry’s leading experts have stated their personal opinions and experiences about the factors that will shape the future of digital marketing.
As Rachel Cunningham of Bop Design explains, personalization is the key to success.
“There’s a better understanding about the relationship between content marketing and inbound leads. Companies and marketers are shifting away from creating any and all types of content and are instead focusing on creating content that resonates and builds value for the end user.”
This makes inherent sense; customers are more likely to become and remain loyal to a company if they feel valued as an individual. Molly Riddle-Nunn of Mostly Serious echoes these sentiments — and highlights the risk of denying them.
“If you’re still creating rapid-fire content just to collect links or hold keywords instead of making impactful, purposeful, shareable pieces that truly tell your audience how you’re going to make their lives better, you’re missing the mark — and your rankings are going to reflect that.”
Customers are also faced with a lot of digital options to choose from. Dan from One Thing Marketing often gets asked what digital strategies businesses should choose to stay relevant.
“We have a lot of clients and prospects asking about digital advertising (such as IP Targeting, Retargeting, Remarketing, etc.) options. They are being approached by YP type companies and/or traditional marketing companies who have started offering other marketing mediums to local businesses. They are confused by all the options and unsure which is going to work best for them. Another frequently ask about topic related to SEO has been local business owners wondering how they can compete with all the Google My Business listing spam that’s going on and seems to be getting worse every day.”
Changing With The Times
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re giving your customers what they want is by staying up-to-date, both with their interests and Google’s ranking factors.
“A website is never static, and needs to be reviewed and updated often to keep up with the steady changes to search engine algorithm updates,” said Zelen Communications’ owner Terry Zelen.
This includes adapting to the way consumers are searching; as smart technology use expands, typing is becoming obsolete. As such, your website must be optimized for voice search.
“2019 is shaping up to be the year of voice,” stated Jason Eland of Eland Consulting. “Business owners can accommodate more voice-related searches by phrasing content in a Question and Answer format in their topical content. We saw huge traffic and ranking increases from clients who we implemented that format, even in local results.”
Ahava Leibtag of Aha Media brought statistics to the table in her statement regarding voice search optimization.
“Voice is expected to account for 30 to 50% of search by 2020, reaching up to 100 billion searches per month. If you haven’t already, start adjusting your content strategy for voice.”
In keeping with the concept of keeping up with consumer behavior, Tom Shapiro of Stratabeat believes that behavioral intelligence is going to be the focus of the next few years.
“Behavioral intelligence is the “New Black” in digital marketing. With behavioral data, experience analytics, and session recordings, etc., you can uncover deeper insights into your website visitors, drive greater engagement and optimize your site for increased conversions.”
While you could certainly train an employee how to scan for behavioral data, why not kill three birds with one stone? By incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into your website’s management, you’ll be able to maximize efficiency, stay up-to-date, and appeal to the personal needs of your customers.
“Digital marketing in 2019 is moving towards personalization and using machine-learning to better analyze and respond to patterns,” said Sean Harrington of Design Web.
“The biggest trend in digital marketing for 2019 and the upcoming years is going to be AI,” agreed Monica Axinte of DataFeedWatch. “Being able to anticipate behavior patterns will give marketers the possibility to better target and engage with customers and prospects.”
Chatbots, Chatbots, And More Chatbots
When it comes to AI, nothing is more popular right now than chatbots.
“I think chatbots will continue to be an important thing to implement into your website,” said Christopher Costa of Costa Technologies. “They can help with customer service, help get you notified faster when someone wants to talk with you.”
By providing an efficient and helpful customer experience, they can save companies money and time while also garnering potential leads. Tony Adam of Visible Factors explained:
“Chatbots are becoming more and more ingrained in the workflow of companies for customer service and answer the questions customers have in an automated fashion, in order to convert them. Along with that, given Facebook’s strategy to focus more on private messaging, it seems that very soon it will be critical to find out how to market to those users through advertising.”
Don’t Neglect Old Posts
Last but not least, Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully mentioned the importance of bringing your popular posts of old back to relevancy.
“Having been blogging since 2008, I have many old posts that are big traffic sources, but may not be getting the click throughs from the SERPs because of their dated appearance,” she said. “The biggest thing I have done to jumpstart old posts is (finally) take out the dates in my URLs so I can republish them with new dates. Changing them out was a nail-biter, but the upside of doing it so outweighs the risks in the long run that I just had to take the leap.”
At the end of the day, each of these factors tie into the others; in order to produce content that is both relevant and useful to your customers, you must stay on top of the technology they depend upon and the technology that is currently rising in popularity. Pay attention to consumer behaviors, needs, and interests and you’ll blow the competition out of the water.