It’s the start of a new year and with this comes resolutions, goals, expectations, and hope. You’ve likely made some personal 2019 resolutions that involve improving your daily habits in an effort to live a different kind of life.
We applaud this intention and we would like to encourage you to extend this forward-thinking to your business. Just as you feel like you need to hit the restart button, this is the ideal time to think about your 2019 digital marketing and SEO strategies. As you know, nothing is static online, and this means that what worked for 2018 is going to need a bit of a makeover for 2019.
Now, the number one thing to remember when it comes to your 2019 digital marketing and SEO resolutions is to be realistic. There is nothing worse than setting huge lofty goals and then not having the resources, time, expertise, or support to follow-through. As with any good resolution, a little help from your friends can make it easier to accomplish your goals… Hint: think of Know Agency as your 2019 business resolutions support network – we’ll help you identify your biggest areas of improvement and help you achieve your goals.
To help kickstart your plans, we’ve put together a list of 2019 digital marketing and SEO trends that we and the BrightEdge team expect to be the keys to your success.
Tell Your Story
The days of big impersonal brands are long gone. Everyone (ourselves included) wants to have some kind of connection with the brands and companies they support. Doing so, makes consumers feel better about how and where they’re spending their money.
It’s important that you use the latest social media tools and technologies to tell your story. This means giving customers the opportunity to really learn and connect with your company. Think of sharing stories about the people that you work with, how you came up with your product and service ideas, and how you’re striving to make a difference for your customers.
Develop a Real Mobile Strategy
Think of how you and your family members used the Internet over the last few months. More than likely you used your smartphone and digital tablets for most of your online reading, shopping, entertainment, and gaming. If you’re like us, you didn’t even bring your laptop with you on your holiday travels – your tablet and phone are powerful enough to do what you need.
Customers expect that your website loads perfectly on whatever screen size they have and with whatever Wi-Fi signal they’re relying on. And, it’s not only consumers who have high mobile expectations – the search engines expect you to be mobile-centric. When thinking about your mobile strategy, simple is best – provide the content and design that makes it easy and fast for your customers to find what they want.
Ultimately, your mobile strategy determines how well you rank with both your customers and the search engines.
Harness the Power of Vertical Search Engines
Using and understanding vertical search engines is key to helping you stand-out and get noticed. Vertical search is all about thinking of narrow and niche-based information. Your customers aren’t searching for widgets, they’re searching for widgets that can solve a very specific problem.
And this is exactly why you need to harness the power of vertical search engines. For every industry and sub-industry, there is a vertical search engine that allows searchers to cut through the extraneous information and find the websites, services, products, and companies that really help them.
In fact, vertical search is so important that we’ve written an entire blog post about this very topic. Read Which Vertical Search Engines Matter? to learn more about why you need to get vertical in 2019.
Take Advantage of Machine Learning and AI
If it seems like machine learning and AI have been hot topics for a while now, this is because they have. But now, in 2019, we’re finally at a point where you can use these technologies to really give your customers a personalized and custom experience.
While we don’t want to get into the heavy technical details of these technologies here, we do want to reinforce that AI and machine learning-based tools should be part of your digital marketing toolkit. These technologies can help you learn more about what your customers want and then deliver a digital experience that satisfies their wants and needs.
Put the Customer First
Just as customers want to connect with your brand, they also expect you to put them first. This means putting a real emphasis on customer care and service. If your website says you’re available 24/7 – you better be available 24/7. And about that chatbot widget on your website – your customers have very little patience for a chatbot that doesn’t respond or actually help them.
This customer attention extends to your social media channels as well. More and more people turn to social media to communicate with companies, ask questions about products, read reviews, and to give feedback. Make sure that if you’re on social media, you’re responding to customer questions, comments, and requests – you don’t want to go viral for poor customer service. For a quick and solid primer on social media and why it really matters, read our Let’s Get Social blog post series.
Develop Content for Voice and Image Search
Voice search and image search are the two of the hottest vertical search engines for 2019. Asking Alexa or Siri a question is no longer a novelty, it’s become a de facto standard.
Remember, people type differently than they speak, so this means your SEO and content must be adjusted accordingly. It’s time to optimize your SEO for voice search in 2019 with some key changes including: featured snippets, attention to local SEO, website speed, and getting to know how your users think and speak.
No one has time to read these days, we want the information fast and immediately. This has created a focus shift away from reading about products to a dependence on images and well-written captions. There is a great deal of appeal and confidence that comes with seeing the product before making a buying decision. So yes, your content needs to hit all the marks – clear and concise copy that is accompanied with properly formatted, tagged, and captioned up-to-date images.
Make Your Search Performance a Priority
2019 really is all about the customer – giving them what they want, how they want it, and where they want it. This means you need to put a real priority on your search performance – if your customers can’t find you, it’s impossible for you to meet their needs.
Know where your customers are searching. Learn how your customers are searching. Engage with your customers to learn what it is they want. And give them the information they need in the formats and environment that mesh with their lifestyle.
It’s time to sit down with your team and determine how you’re going to put the customer first in 2019. Remember, the Know Agency team is here to answer your questions, crunch the data, and provide you with a digital marketing and SEO plan that sets you up for 2019 success.