The holidays are here and 2018 is almost—finally (finally!)—gone.
Thank goodness. This year has lasted roughly 84 years, by our count—by everyone’s—so we’re excited to start 2019 already.
Besides resolutions and shuffling around for gift receipts, the new year is sure to bring with it some fresh B2B marketing trends. Some of them may look and feel familiar. Maybe they’ve been lurking just under the surface, waiting for their moment to hit the big time, and waiting for brands to expand their content marketing budgets. Which is happening—according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 Benchmark report, 38 percent of all respondents plan to increase their content marketing budget in the next 12 months.
Want to stay ahead of the curve? Find out about the B2B marketing trends every brand should know about for the new year:
1. Content Personalization
Personalization has been a hot marketing topic for a while now, but it’s really going to take off in 2019. Why? Because in 2018, we learned tailoring content to specific audiences really does work: 88 percent of U.S. marketers reported quantifiable improvements thanks to personalization, with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10 percent. They also reported increased conversion rates by 63 percent and increased visitor engagement by 57 percent. For some contrast, a lack of relevance can lead to an 83 percent decrease in engagement.
How to gather information so you can personalize in the first place? Capture names and emails with tastefully placed, stickied email sign-up forms, like we have on our main page. Pay attention to your analytics such as linked clicked and time spent on page. Or focus on nurturing current leads in your database by personalizing and sending content directly to them. By offering relevant information regularly, you’ll build trust and gain access to more data. However, be wise and upfront about how you use customer data—in a post-Cambridge Analytica/post-GDPR world, people want to know they’re not being surveilled.
2. Interactive Content
Like personalization, interactive content is going to expand next year until every B2B brand is quizzing visitors about what solution works best for their specific needs or guiding them through animated, kaleidoscopic ebooks or white papers. Everything is becoming interactive—even annual financial reports—and it’s easy to see why.
According to a DemandGen report, 88 percent of marketers said that interactive content works best at differentiating their brand from the competition. The same report says it grabs attention better than static content and improves retention of messaging when combined with more traditional marketing forms. Impressive interactive content also increases brand credibility and exposure and generates more traffic due to the increased shares on social, repeat visitors, and improved user experience. If anything, creating more sleek, interactive content will give your team an excuse to clean up your site design and make it more responsive.
3. Micro Moments
Coined by Google, this trend involves sending a message to mobile users in seconds. It must be that fast because that’s generally how people use their smartphones, swiping quickly through social media channels during times of idleness, whether that’s waiting in doctor’s offices, on tarmacs, or in taxis. While that sounds like you’re at a disadvantage, you can take the opportunity in 2019 to scale your content down to only the most assistive, relevant, and personalized information (see the top trend above) to ensure users get the most out of the precious few minutes or seconds they have waiting.
While scaling down your content to the essential parts, you should be expanding your scope across the multiple channels people access on mobile. Have video content no longer than two minutes ready for YouTube. Consider investing in a mobile app that customers can download to instantly access content. Or put your resources into the next trend…
4. Voice Search
Everyone’s talking about it, so to speak, including Google which said 20 percent of all mobile searches are done via virtual assistant. And nearly half of all Americans use voice assistants on their smartphones according to Pew. While it makes sense for customers to ask Google or Siri about simple, on-the-fly buying decisions (such as “Where’s the best pizza around here?” or “Show me a good chili recipe.”), does it make sense for B2B marketers to make voice search a priority? Considering many millennial buyers use voice search, it couldn’t hurt to be ready with keywords and long-tail questions that people ask, rather than type, and conversational, short-form content that rapidly solves customer pain points. Oh, and have a mobile-ready site, of course. But you already got that done in 2018, right?