Let’s be completely honest here. You can’t predict the future.
You can, however, use past trends in technology and digital marketing to get a good handle on where things are going.
And, in the world of marketing, if you’re not preparing for and implementing practices that will take you into the future, you’re probably already behind.
That’s why we wanted to put together this post of future-proof marketing tips that will put your business ahead of the trends and the competition.
Time to future-proof your business.
5 Future-Proof Digital Marketing Tips
1. Optimizing for mobile is no longer an option.
Mobile usage has been on the rise for years, and it’s only growing. All you have to do is look around you and you’ll see that everyone has their noses in their phones.
The situation is so extreme that Google has taken steps to get people off their phones and back into the physical world, but if there’s a tiny, entertaining computer in our pockets, we’re probably going to use it all day long.
With these numbers on the rise, you’re going to need a mobile-first strategy rather than a mobile-friendly strategy.
Here are a few tips you can use to optimize your website for mobile:
- Make sure font is easy to read on various screen sizes
- Space out links so they’re easy to tap
- Make sure your site doesn’t take more than 5 seconds to load (3 seconds, ideally)
- If this is too difficult with your current website, consider using a microsite
2. Hyper-local marketing will become more important than ever.
Local search is becoming more hyper-local, which will be huge for local businesses.
We are now focusing on our niches: smaller neighborhoods and areas that are close to the businesses we’re marketing. This is especially important if your customers are coming to you rather than you driving to them.
Think about it. You know how far you’ll drive to service your customers, but do you know how far they’re willing to go to find a barber or a pizza place? Well, the truth is we’re lazy. I’m not trying to drive 20 miles to get my hair done. Neither are your customers.
And, with the rise of smart speakers and 40 percent of voice searches having local intent, we will see a rise in search results with only one option.
That means if I ask my Google Home “what’s the cheapest place to get ice cream right now” it’s going to return just one business. That means that you’ll need to build a better online presence, giving you the best chance possible at showing up in those searches.
Here are a few ways to breathe new life into your local search presence:
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
- Make sure your information is correct and consistent across the Internet – this goes for important online directories as well as your social media profiles and your website
- Add accurate business hours, keywords, location and photos to your listings whenever possible
Let’s look at some local search facts:
- Local searches are so common that people don’t even use “near me” in the searches anymore. We just expect the search to be localized.
- Location and business hours are the top two desired results
- Google is constantly updating its algorithm to make it easier for local businesses to interact with customers. With features like Q&A and notifying people when you respond to their reviews, Google is making it easier than ever for you to reach local consumers.
3. Smart speakers and smartphones make optimizing for voice search mandatory.
The ability to search by talking out loud to your phone, computer or smart speaker has really transformed how we use the Internet.
Not only do we often search without looking at any options other than what the speaker or phone replies back to us with, but we do these searches on the go. I’m probably already in the car when I’m talking to my phone, asking “where’s the best place to get a new shower head?”
And, voice search is only growing. Check out these numbers:
- 57 percent of consumers have ordered an item through voice search
- 60 percent of people have used smart speakers or virtual assistants within the last few months
- It’s expected that 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
- More than 325 million people use voice search each month
That’s huge. Voice search is convenient and improving in skill and ease-of-use, and it’s something you need to start optimizing for now.
Here’s how to get started optimizing for voice search:
- Find your long-tail keywords. Use Google’s search suggestions or a tool like Ubersuggest.
- Think about natural language. Your keywords should sound like something a customer would say to their phone.
- Add those keywords to your website or blog
- Consider creating an FAQ page to answer commonly asked questions. This is an easy way to add long-tail keywords to your website.
4. It's time to start marketing to Generation Z.
Generation Z has a massive $44 billion in buying power right now, and they’re just starting to come of age. This number is only going to rise as the rest of this generation grows.
When you’re marketing to Gen Z, remember that they have grown up using technology. They are the kids in the shopping carts watching cartoons on their parents’ phones while the parents shop.
Here’s what you need to consider with Generation Z:
- By 2020, they’ll command a whopping 40 percent of all consumer shopping
- 96 percent of them own a smartphone
- The Generation Z population will reach 2.56 billion by 2020
Generation Z is also suspicious of traditional marketing methods. They don’t tend to trust brands and they definitely don’t like traditional marketing methods.
Here are a few ways to reach Generation Z:
- Ephemeral content like Instagram Stories or Snapchat
- Gen Z loves authenticity and ad campaigns that reflect their lives
- They can see through traditional selling methods and prefer to see marketing messages that speak to their needs and wants
5. Live video will explode in popularity.
Live video has been big for a few years, and it’s not going away any time in the near future. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are making it easier than ever to create and promote your live videos.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- 80 percent of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog post
- Live video gets three times more views than other posts on Facebook
- Facebook and Instagram notify your followers when you go live, making it easy to get your videos in front of more people
Ready to get started with live video? Here are a few tips:
- Build a plan for your video before you start filming
- Make sure you have an agenda or talking points so that you stay on track
- Make sure everyone who might be filmed knows they’ll be on camera. You’ll want people to be on their best behavior in order to protect your brand.
There you have it! Not to get too ahead of ourselves, but these tips will be especially important going into the holidays or 2019. Now, go forth and build your future-proof digital marketing plan!