Every year, at the beginning of the year I like to publish a “forecast” for small business marketing, covering trends and/or new technology that I think will affect the industry in the coming year.
In my forecast, I focus on local businesses (i.e., businesses targeting customers in a small geographic area near their place of business), but some of what I say will affect all businesses regardless of their geographic focus.
You can listen to the complete forecast on my podcast using the embedded player below, but if you’re as busy as most small business owners are and just want the bullet points, here you go:
- Customer reviews will continue to become more and more important for a local business in 2019. Businesses who don’t have a certain number of positive customer reviews on key third-party platforms simply won’t be taken seriously by consumers anymore.
- Google Local Service Ads (formerly Google Home Services Ads) will continue to expand to more industries and more markets in 2019. If you are a local service business and you don’t know what those are, you need to learn and learn fast, because they are a game changer once they are introduced to a market.
- Google My Business will continue to become more and more important for local businesses–nearly as important as the business’s website in some cases in terms of lead generation.
- At the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, all signs point to a slowing economy (a month-long government shutdown to start the year, trade wars, domestic political instability, rising gas prices, etc.). This means that now is the time to start focusing on customer retention for local businesses, not just lead generation.
- Last but not least, in 2019 fewer and fewer businesses in small, rural communities will be able to get away with simply not participating in marketing trends that have been an absolute requirement for years in larger markets. Things like simply having a website, collecting customer reviews, using social media and/or email marketing–which for years have basically been necessary for businesses in larger markets to even exist at all–will now become necessary in smaller markets as well.
So there you have it–my predictions for local small business marketing in 2019. For more information on all of the above, play the episode using the embedded player below. If you want assistance with your marketing in 2019, schedule a 10-minute call with me here and we’ll talk it over.