Small business owners must be ever-vigilant when it comes to keeping up with trends in their market.
Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a digital marketing agency, or a carpenter, the world is moving faster in 2020 than ever before and, if you don’t move with it, you’re sure to be left behind.
Here are 20 trends to understand and utilize in your small business during 2020.
It’s Time to Go Green
When it comes to Millennial and Gen Z consumers, the greener a company is, the better. Here are a few easy-to-incorporate ways that you can start to go green:
- Use local products as much as possible. For example, restaurants and food-based businesses can source foods from local farms.
- Minimize packaging. Stores should encourage customers to use their own bags. Use recyclable materials for packaging.
- Use green cleaning products.
- Patronize green vendors and services.
Multichannel campaigns are the way to go, especially in 2020. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create unique content for every channel—when it comes to content creation, you should, in fact, focus on quality of quantity…
You simply need to SHARE, all of your high-quality content in a unique way and using a message that is applicable to the particular platform you are sharing on.
One of my favourite people, Gary V, always says to speak in the context of the platform you’re posting on.
The small business journey doesn’t have to be a solo venture.
Find folks who are plugged into your industry and seek out their wisdom. Subscribe to newsletters that spark your inspiration.
Use any resources that will help you stay informed about changes in the marketplace, so that you can make the best decisions for your business.
Don’t Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater
Even in 2020, email-marketing is still, and will remain, one of the most powerful marketing tools in your marketing arsenal. Yes, social media is increasingly important and blah, blah, blah, but that doesn’t mean that email is going anywhere!
The main thing is that you want whatever email marketing you’re doing to be as not-spam(y) as possible.
Offer your subscribers and those on your email marketing lists some interesting information in your emails. Focus on sending good, compelling content and then simply include a call-to-action at the end and watch your conversions start to crawl upward!
When you think of e-commerce, you probably think of Amazon and other online retailers.
The fact is, however, that many brick-and-mortar businesses are learning to profit from the e-commerce revolution. This can be a way to expand your business without the need for more physical space.
If you own a restaurant, for example, why not start bottling and selling your own sauce? If you own a gym why not sell supplements and apparel online?
The opportunities are limitless.
Make Sure Your SEO is Properly Structured
One significant change that is going to have more and more of an impact starting in 2020 is the fact that the number of visitors that businesses are getting from organic efforts and SEO is expected to decline.
Google have been prioritizing rich ‘visual search’ snippets across all their platforms and devices, which allow visitors to get all the information they are looking a lot faster and help them decide on the right website to click through, right from the top results.
Think about Voice-Search
Voice search has started to pick-up pace and will soon account for nearly half of all searches. Beside using smart speakers like Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana or Google Home to answer users questions and play music, brands can leverage these devices to provide voice-service for their customers.
Focus on Optimization
Using data to determine your next best step will be pivotal in 2020. Focus your strategy with data-driven decisions.
Target specific audiences on Instagram. Set up automated emails to shoppers who abandon their cart on your website. Use the data at your disposal to make smarter choices with every campaign.
Identify and Define Your Business’s Purpose
Reports suggest that traditional CSR is old news: in 2020 you’ll need to show that a good cause underpins your whole business strategy.
Whether you are a nutrition coach who aims to make the world a healthier place or a business specialist striving to improve the local economy, 2020 is the year to put brand purpose and integrity at the top of your marketing agenda.
Position your brand as a driver of change, and you’ll fuel your business’s success well beyond that midnight countdown.
Embrace Predictive Marketing
We are living in the age of data abundance where people engage with brands over several channels, they consume content in an unstructured manner and do a lot of homework before making a buying decision.
Predictive marketing is taking all these unstructured interactions, looking at existing positive data patterns and anticipating results accordingly.
Kinda neat stuff!
Mobile is one trend that will surely grow in 2020 and well into the future. Small businesses can take advantage of the popularity of mobile in a number of ways.
- Use geo-targeting to provide targeted ads to customers who are close to your business.
- Leverage SMS or text message marketing to stay in touch with customers. With permission, you can send texts with your latest offers.
- Accept mobile payments. Many customers appreciate the convenience of being able to pay via mobile using platforms such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout and others.
In 2020, live-streaming will be where it’s at. As customers become tired of faceless, generic marketing, real-time videos are giving them the instant, human connections they desire.
This is particularly relevant for coaching in which building personal relationships with clients is key. If you’re a sports coach, why not livestream a group training session, for example? Or, as a business coach, host a webinar?
This will hook in customers and build their loyalty as they instantly connect with your services through real-time social media engagement. Go live now and see your business become an instant success!
If you haven’t been using Facebook or Instagram stories and livestream video, you’re missing a couple of the major social media trends of the last few years. On sites such as Facebook, the main challenge is getting seen by your audience.
Rather than simply posting on your news feed, share stories on Facebook and Instagram. Live-streaming on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is a powerful tactic for more visibility and engagement.
When you post this type of ephemeral content, you can connect with your audience in a spontaneous and authentic manner.
You don’t need to create long presentations. The best strategy is to check in frequently and provide the latest news so you consistently touch base with your customers.
Automate, Automate, Automate
Audit your workflows to find opportunities where technology and automation can save you time and increase your return on investment (ROI). Even if it’s as simple as using an integration with your software or moving your data out of spreadsheets, don’t waste your time on busy work.
Make your tools work for you.
Seamlessly Post and Share
Don’t waste your time copying and pasting the same message across a bunch of different channels. Use a tool that allows you to create a consistent brand across all of your channels with the click of a button – Or hire someone to do it for you :) .
Remember, no one can work 24/7, but technology can. Whether you want to automatically say hello to your newest customers or bring back your most loyal ones without lifting a finger, automation will help you scale your business and create repeat engagement for your brand.
Be Quantitative and Analytical
Using science to inform marketing strategy is not new, but companies in 2020 will go further in their attempts to gain meaningful data.
This may be a little too far for your business, but business tools can provide you with similar ways of collecting customer data.
Engage these tools today and create an evidence-based marketing strategy that will ensure your business’ success as 2020 comes around.
Find the Right People
Whether it’s a co-working space, monthly coffee chats with a mentor, or a quarterly digital meetup, seek out folks who are pursuing the small business dream.
This is not only good for your business, it’s also good for your mental health…Which, oh—by the way—is also good for your business!
Establish a Voice
No matter how small your small business, you should work toward establishing its voice on social media and everywhere else online. What colours do you use? What kind of content do you share? What kind of cadence does the messages you write have?
All of these things help people think of your business as having a unique personality—which, of course, makes you easier to remember in their minds which, in turn, helps you get more business!
One of the biggest 2020 marketing trends for small businesses is to create meaningful partnerships with influencers.
With demand for effective social media influencers higher than ever, you will have to go beyond simply offering free products and services. When contacting the latest Instagram star, focus less on money and self-promotion, and more on demonstrating your shared values and the benefits of the partnership on their career.
If you want results, you will need to influence the influencer!
Some of the best ideas-turned-businesses were built with more sweat equity than monetary investment.
Be scrappy and innovative, and don’t worry if you’re not fully funded just yet. It doesn’t cost 6 figures to get your business—or your marketing—up and running.
So, whether it’s using a free tool to build a website or reaching out to find a business mentor, take the leap in 2020.
Test…1, 2, 3
Do you need to scale up on social media? Should you send emails once a week instead of once a month? Test your content, cadence, and channels to see what’s performing and improve what’s not. Let the data lead the way.
All of these trends have one thing in common: They require businesses to pay close attention to the current needs and preferences of today’s consumers.
So work hard in 2020! But don’t forget to work smart!