Today I’m so excited to dig into the top 10 online marketing trends for 2020. Now, you may be thinking, oh my gosh — not another marketing trend report. And please don’t give me 10 MORE things to do this year.
Friend, I pinky promise you that I’m not here to tell you 10 more things to do.
My intention in sharing this information with you here today is to simply get you thinking. To empower you. Because to be a super successful online business owner you have to have a vision for where your marketing strategy can or should go into the future.
So don’t think about this as a to-do list, but rather a list of ideas you can come back to when you’re ready to kick your marketing up a notch.
Top 10 Marketing Trends In 2020
The first trend is something I’ve seen on trend reports for a LONG time: personalization. When we think of personalization, we typically think of adding a first name field to an email, right? And while it’s effective to add it to the subject line from time-to-time, or sprinkle it within the email itself, this trend is the next step. It is personalizing the content.
A pretty easy way to do this in your own business is to use tags in your email system. This allows you an easy way to segment your audience based on their interaction with you. You can tag people as they download a free resource from you, and use that tag later in a launch to highlight a pieces of your program that are most relevant. It gives you the ability to send emails that say things like, “Found this free resource helpful? Then this program will knock your socks off!!”
This is such an easy one-and-done that I would encourage you to consider taking the time to do it. Even if you aren’t sure how you’ll use it right now, starting to tag people now will give you the ability to develop a more personalized approach later when you’re ready.
2. Optimizing for Voice Search
It’s no secret that smart speakers are on the rise. From making it easier to find a quick answer when you’re cooking in the kitchen, to entertaining your kids with built-in games, these are quickly becoming a household staple for so many people.
And voice search isn’t limited to smart speakers. It’s also a trend on smart phones and tablets.
So optimizing for voice search is similar to optimizing for regular search. Except because it’s voice, it’s more conversational and more question driven so long-tail keywords, or a longer string of keywords like a question, works best.
The top 3 trigger words are HOW, WHAT and BEST.
A great tool for coming up with the keywords relevant to you is AnswerThePublic.com. It’s a free tool that gives you the top searches based on keywords. It’s a super fun tool, but also limits the number of free searches each day. So be sure to brainstorm your search terms first.
If you’re creating regular weekly content, like a blog or podcast, this might be something to consider sprinkling into your content. Can you create space in your content that matches how people talk rather than type? Can you answer questions in your regular content, or even in an FAQ section on your site?
This is definitely going to be a new wave of Search Engine Optimization that’s coming, so if this one feels overwhelming to you – put it on the shelf. But know that this is the way people are starting to look for answers, solutions and to purchase things. It’s something to put in the back of your mind as you’re creating content.
3. Video & Live Streaming
This might be one you’re already doing. If not, something to consider for 2020. The algorithms on social networks is definitely favoring video, and live video in particular. It’s a great way to increase your reach, but I know it’s something that is really intimidating for a lot of people.
If you’re running Facebook ads in particular you may want to consider a regular schedule of going live on Facebook. I’ve heard top digital marketers say there is a direct correlation to regular lives and decrease in ad spend. So, if you’re running ads, that may be just the motivation to take the next step.
I’ve talked about using content in multiple ways before, and video is definitely something that allows you to create one thing and use it a few different ways. I like to go live as an extension of this podcast. I’ll go live on my Facebook page and sometimes cover similar topics as the podcast and sometimes go deeper or from a different angle on the same topic. That keeps me from having to come up with an entirely new content plan, and gives my audience more opportunities to learn from me.
Being able to align live content to what you’re already doing makes it an easy trend to jump in on. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, or a 30 minute live stream. If one of your goals is to grow your audience, then this is a great tactic to consider.
I’ll mention another reason I like to tie the live content to my weekly platform, this podcast, is that it gives me a really natural way to promote the podcast. I can say things like “you might have heard me talk about content calendars on the podcast this week, if you didn’t go here to give it a listen, but I just wanted to pop on here and go a little deeper in creating categories because I know that’s something a lot of people struggle with.”
4. Social Messaging (a.k.a. conversational marketing)
While email is still a really valuable tool and way to stay connected with your audience, another way to break through the noise is social messaging.
More and more brands are using Facebook messenger to send marketing messages out. And more are using chatbots to help automate customer service inquiries, or even conduct product use training.
This is definitely a trend that takes work and a thoughtful approach to do correctly. If you’re in a place of wanting to connect with your audience differently, and have the time or resources to hire it out, by all means go for it. Systems like ManyChat make it easy to get started with automated messenger campaigns.
But, if you’re like so many others I talk with, this is one of the trends that might be something to just keep in the back of your mind on how you might use it in the future.
5. Social Stories
This is a trend that might be a quick win trend for you if you’re already doing stories on Facebook or Instagram.
It’s a feature that started with SnapChat, and now Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube have stories features. This is another way to use live video, get seen at the top of a feed, and push out content that you don’t want to live forever.
Since stories have a 24 hour lifecycle, this is a great way to experiment! It’s also an awesome opportunity to get insights from your audience through polls or questions. Struggling to decide between two topics for your next lead magnet — ask your audience!
6. Content Marketing
Which means simply using free content to provide a value bridge to paid content, usually with a stepping stone of getting people to join your email list.
How it works is that you create something of value, offer it in exchange for their name and email address, and then you have the ability to nurture them through email, giving exposure to your weekly content and paid offers. It also includes creating original content to educate or entertain your audience, pulling them in. This is usually content like a blog or podcast.
I covered more about how content marketing works back in Episode 4: Behind-the-Scenes of a Content Marketing Strategy. So I’m not going to dig too deep into it here. If you want more about content marketing, go back and give episode 4 a listen.
I wanted to include it because content marketing has been around for a while now, and continues to be a strong strategy for driving results. I do plan on going into lead magnets, and specific components of content marketing strategy, in future episodes. If you want to refine your strategy this year, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.
Podcasting is still in its boom, so if you’ve wanted to start a podcast now is a great time to dive in. It is a bigger undertaking, so if you are feeling overwhelmed and stretched for time, this might not be the best fit for you.
A podcast can help your SEO, and unlike blogging, hearing someone’s voice creates a deeper connect, which builds trust and authority. Because it’s still in more of an infancy stage, there’s less competition in podcasting than blogging, making it easier to organically be found.
Like blogging, one key to podcast success is to create content consistently. Admittedly that is something I need to do a much better job of in 2020.
If you are looking to start a podcast, you’ll want to invest in a good microphone. Sound quality is a big deal so you probably aren’t going to want to use the built-in microphone on your computer. I got mine off Amazon for less than $80.
The biggest undertaking is the creation of content. This by far takes up the most time. If you’re creating videos already, then you may be able to mix episodes you record just for the podcast with recordings of trainings you’ve done on webinars or FB lives or even in-person live trainings if they were recorded. You can pull the audio out and upload it as an episode.
It’s an opportunity to repurpose content you already have, and a fun way to create new content.
So likely not something you’re going to want to dig into now, but maybe something to consider in 6 or 12 months.
8. Browser Push Notifications
If you are creating regular weekly content on your website, this is for you. This is a pretty easy one-and-done option for getting more visibility to your content.
If you haven’t bumped into browser push notifications yet, it something that pops up when you’re visiting a website enabled with them. The little pop-up says something like “get notified when content content is available” and then gives you the option of opting into the notification or not.
It is an easier conversion than getting someone on your email list because they don’t have to give any info to you, but can still get people to come back to your website when you do have new content available. Because it’s not used everywhere yet, and because it doesn’t require much from the user, it’s easier to get people to opt-in. Some studies show it to be 30 times higher than conversions into email.
This is definitely one of the most impactful yet easiest to execute on for this trend list.
9. Interactive Content
Now at first this sounds SUPER intimidating! But one way to leverage this trend is to create a quiz. They’re fun, they’re sharable and they make great lead magnets. If you’re in a space where an interactive calculator makes sense, then that may be another great option.
Quizzes are such a fun option as it allows you to have a little fun with your audience, while getting more insights on how your audience segments into different buckets. While you don’t want to structure it as a survey, you can definitely include a few questions that give insight to where your audience is at and what the best next step for them might be.
A common platform I see others use for quizzes is called Interact. They seem to be a solid platform with an entry-level price point for getting started with quizzed. At the time of this recording, their lowest plan that allows for collecting email addresses is $29/m if you pay monthly, or $17/m if you pay annually.
If you want to learn more about quizzes, I highly recommend the book Ask by Ryan Levesque. It is so much more than quizzes, but gives such great insight around how to ask and structure questions to get the right feedback from your audience. Ryan has his own quiz builder called Bucket.io.
10. User-Generated Content
This is one of my favorites on this list, and for a few reasons.
First, it can really help you reduce overwhelm in creating your own content. You can do a contest to have your students or clients send in photos and content about how they’re taking action.
Second, it really breaks down a barrier of entry when others see people like them getting results and excited about the program, or whatever it is you’re offering. It’s not just you, the expert, saying they can do it, but peers saying real results are achievable.
Last, it’s such a fun way to highlight your audience, making them feel really special and in turn creating a whole new level of loyalty.
So if one of your goals is to post consistently to social media this year, turn to your audience for some help with the content. I promise, they’ll love you for it.
That’s a wrap, folks.
Hopefully there were a few easy wins on this top 10 list for you, like social stories or starting to incorporate email tags.
Remember at the beginning when I said these are next-to-never new things? That is so true, my friend, so if there’s something on this list that peaked your interest, jot it down. Save it for later. You can always come back to this list later, or even next year, and revisit those ideas then.