We’re all another year older, and hopefully another year wiser. 2019 is drawing to a close. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll soon be making a note of all the lessons that you and your business have learned from 2019, and using that information to put together a plan for 2020. The date on the calendar may change, but the tasks of business never do – it’s all about growing and improving, day after day, and year after year!

We’d like to help you with that process a little if we can. We’ve been keeping an eye on the biggest trends in marketing over the past twelve months, and we’ve used that information to identify what’s been working well and what’s had it’s time when it comes to engaging with customers. All marketing costs money, and money spent on marketing and promotional tools that don’t work is cash that’s wasted. That’s the ultimate enemy of any business, whether large or small, and we’re sure you wouldn’t want to spend a single dollar in the wrong place if you could avoid doing so.

Here are some key factors we think you need to think about as you look forward to the start of the next decade. If you haven’t implemented them already, it might be time to consider doing so now!

Chatbots Are The Future

You probably don’t need as many phone-based customer service agents as you have. There’s nothing customers hate more than waiting for a long time to get through to a representative, and then being placed on hold when they finally find someone to speak to. Increasingly, they’d rather talk to you through text. This isn’t a new trend – research showed that one-third of Americans preferred texting to talking as long ago as 2011 – but it’s one that companies have only just started paying attention to. One route to engaging with customers is to have staff available to talk to them through a chatbox on your website, but it’s hard to make a human chat service available all hours of the day or night.

That’s where Chatbots come in. Artificial intelligence is now reliable enough to hold a basic conversation with a customer on your website, and if they come across a query that’s too complicated to handle, they can refer the customer to a human being to get back in touch with that customer at a time that suits them. This is easy to implement, and so there’s no reason not to do it.

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Personalization Is Everything

The ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing and promotion no longer works. Thanks to social media and the proliferation of YouTube and other media channels, customers are increasingly selective about the type of content they want to see, and how they prefer to engage with that content. That means we have to start looking at every single customer as an individual, which is difficult when you’re planning a top-down marketing campaign.

Confectionery company Cadbury’s showed us all the way to do this in 2019 when they launched a campaign on social media using personalized videos. The smart tech took information from Facebook profiles and used to it craft a video tailored perfectly to each viewer, and it boosted their conversion rate by over a third. You can also look to online slots websites for inspiration on this. Rather than trying to appeal to every gambler at once, we’ve seen online slots websites open up with games targeted at single interest groups. You’ll find PayPal Casino grouped together under an Irish theme, or a travel theme, or a movie theme. One company will probably own multiple websites, each tailored to serve a specific gambling interest. The casino industry is masterful at persuading people to spend their money, and so we should all learn from them.

Influencer Marketing Works

Love it or hate it – and we know most people hate it – influencer marketing works. A lot of people are distrustful of the idea of influencer marketing because when they see the word ‘influencer,’ they think of a member of the Kardashian family, or some nameless Instagram star flouting beauty products. While it’s true that these people are influencers, they’re far from being the only types of influencers. Whether it’s someone with a YouTube channel, someone with a blog, or just a Twitter account with a large following, anyone who has an audience can be an influencer.

No matter what industry you work in, there will be someone out there with a widely-viewed blog or video channel about the topic. It’s worth finding these people and speaking to them about sponsorship. If what they talk about to their audience is relevant to what you do as a business, it makes more sense to spend money on getting them to promote you to 20,000 people than it does to promote to two million people who you have no way of knowing the interests of. People who follow blogs and YouTube channels think of the writers and presenters as their friends, and people are happy to take advice and recommendations from friends.

Push Notifications Are A Must

It can’t have escaped your attention that every time you visit a website for the first time, it asks for your permission to send you browser push notifications. We imagine you select the ‘no’ option, and you might even get a little irritated every time that it happens. If you’ve ever wondered why those notifications are there, here’s a game-changing statistic for you. One-third of adults aged 18 to 35 are opting into those push notifications every time.

If you can push notifications through to a customer, you can tell them what you’re doing any time you like. You can let them know about offers, new products, new content, or whatever you want them to know. You can profile them and target them individually. It’s like having the ability to hand-deliver a note to them in person, but it’s all done digitally. With regulations about email marketing tightening up all the time, this is how to reach the customers you can no longer send a direct email to. Yes, the pop-up request is intrusive when it happens, but it’s there because it works. If you’re not making use of it, you’re missing out on business.

We may only have given you four tips here, but it’s probably a lot to think about. None of them are hard to implement, but all of them could potentially make your 2020 even more prosperous than 2019 we hope you’ve had already. We wish you a fantastic new year of business!