When I was growing up I remember my school going through trends. School is where a lot of things start, right?
Even as a kid in a small town like New Castle, I still remember national fads and trends hitting here. Remember Walkmans? The Yo-Yo craze? Snap bracelets? What about Cabbage Patch Kids? Chevettes and Escorts everywhere?
That was all the evolution of pop culture, economics and society. Business is no different. And this is especially true in small town digital marketing like in New Castle or Sharon or Butler.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving. This makes it kind of hard to keep up with the latest trends. I get that.
But you have to…
Being aware of the current marketing trends allows you to stay ahead of the competition. It’s important to be aware of the latest trends and how they can impact your business. New trends allow you to have a better impact in communicating with new customers and clients.
A small town business isn’t immune to digital marketing trends. New Castle digital marketing doesn’t change from Youngstown marketing or Pittsburgh marketing. People are still your customers.
Let’s get into 5 digital marketing trends that you should know about in 2023, and how they can help your brand!
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI)
Every time you turn on the news, I’m sure you see something about AI. You get to hear everything from the terrible ends we will meet as humankind due to some self-aware AI program taking over, all the way to the benefits of AI in medicine, exploration and education.
Let’s remove the negatives and positives, and simply agree on one thing – AI is here in one form or another. And, right now, it is a very powerful tool that everyone can use.
Your New Castle business is no different.
AI is already having a major impact on digital marketing. Its influence is only going to grow in the years to come. AI can be used for a variety of tasks, such as:
- Automating tasks, such as social media posting and email marketing
- Personalizing content and offers for each individual customer
- Analyzing data to identify trends and opportunities
Now the above are just a few things AI is used for. Where this will impact you indirectly is in something like SEO.
Search engines have, for decades, used spiders to search the internet and AI-supported algorithms to provide search results. Those algos, those ranking factors, provide the essence of SEO, right?
But with conversational AI in Bing and Google, things are going to change. Your content, whether it is information on your service pages or in your blog as articles, needs to be elevated. Gone are the days where information and evergreen content will be “the best” for you. Now your content will need to be more conversational, topic-centric AND informative and evergreen.
To test this, whenever you are about to publish a page or article, ask yourself, “is this piece really talking to me?”. If you answer ‘no’, and a fast ‘no’, you need to change it!
The importance of video content
Humans are extremely visual. We like to see how things are made, how they work – think about the rubber-necking that happens as people drive by an auto accident or a cop pulling someone over.
Video is the best method of taking those human traits of voyeurism and turning them into money.
In 2023, video content will be even more important than it is today for business marketing. This is true for bigger regions around here like Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland and Erie, as well as small towns like New Castle, Neshannock, Hermitage and Cranberry.
You’re going to see more videos EVERYWHERE!
Video means connection – keep this in mind for the coming year.
Do you need a $10,000 camera rig to make a good video? No. You don’t need to take out a small loan to get the benefit of video and video marketing.
In fact, very likely, you have everything you need to get started on you now. Reach into your pocket and pull out your smartphone.
And, there it is!
“But what about video editing software?”
I got you!
Maybe start by looking into Canva. Canva is an image and video editor, exclusively online. Free to start, pricing plans will only run $12.99/m for the Pro package.
Or try something like Flixier. Flixier is free to start, affordable if you stay ($14/m for most needs) and online.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “What video should I make?”
The simple answer is ‘everything’. Show the work that you do, the people that work with you, your happy customers, behind-the-scenes video, information and Q&A, as well as how-to’s and more. Literally, anything that makes your business real you can use in your video marketing.
And if you don’t think you can, just know, your competition is already planning on using more video (and likely has already started).
The need for a strong social media presence
Having a digital presence is a necessity, not a trend. Where you start to build that presence, though, is slowly changing.
More and more businesses, at every level and size, are seeing that attracting new business can have a major impact when using social media.
Look, the pandemic hurt. But with social media, more people got to communicate with more people around the region and around the world than ever before. Social media is a validation tool for some, and a lifeline for others.
Make sure you’re active on the social media platforms where your target audience is hanging out. Use these platforms to share your content, connect with your customers and build your brand.
Communication here is key.
Many businesses focus on the wrong metrics. They see followers and likes as the bar. But this isn’t true.
Communication actions are the key. Reshares, replies and commenting give a massive boost in magnifying your social media presence.
One other tip: don’t think a social media platform is limited to certain industries, certain regions or certain company sizes. A New Castle construction and paving company can find success on TikTok as quickly as an accountant in Hermitage can find success on Twitter. The point is to get on these platforms, engage your audience, start and grow conversations and profit from your hard work.
Paying to play works (short and long term)
Digital paid advertising isn’t something many small town businesses usually consider.
After all, the price tag is so arbitrary and ever-changing month to month.
But like other digital marketing practices, digital paid ads have a baseline cost which can be turned up as profits from those platforms grow. As well, campaigns can be shut down or altered when profits slow.
To ease you into this, know that the larger ad platforms are also very easy to get started. And, in some cases, they are free.
For instance, if you use Google AdWords for the first time, you can get free ads. Basically, you sign up for an AdWords account and for the first 30 days, for the first $500 you spend, you get another $500 for free.
Not every platform is like this; this is only one example.
Now, I should tell you the golden egg of a bonus that having a professional set up a digital ad campaign gives you. Because you hired a pro, you now have the ability to have a long-term campaign in place for long-term growth.
More or less, having those first 30 to 90 days of an advertising campaign run by a professional means the major things are done. Your testing is done. Keyword research is correctly done. Funnels are in place (landing pages, ad copy, etc). You have initial and extended data to know where to spend more money to make more money.
Plus, platforms are charging less and less over the last 4 years. Normally EVERYTHING goes up during a recession, right? Ad platforms have charged less during this time.
That means big gains for you, at a lower cost.
Small businesses are turning to agencies and direct hires
Every penny counts in business. From making revenue to spending on products, services and support, every bit of capital counts.
The recession has, for lack of a better comparison, been a real #*$&%!
Big cities, small towns, everyone has felt the impact of shrinking dollars and dwindling revenues.
New Castle business owners are not immune to what is going on. And their digital marketing has turned to a very dangerous choice – do nothing or do it yourself.
Both of these choices – they aren’t good.
And, for many, you end up spending a lot more than what’s listed on the price tag when it comes to DIY marketing. When you go at it alone and perform DIY marketing on your business, you are spending time and money that you don’t have to spend. Problems can develop that take time to fix, frustrations grow and, eventually, you just don’t believe in digital marketing anymore.
But, why not?
Everyone has a phone. Everyone is online.
Digital marketing gets eyes on your brand, consistently.
The above is all the reason why many small businesses have turned to agencies to help get things turned around for their brands. Small mom-and-pops have hired web design agencies. HVAC companies have hired lead generation agencies. Roofing companies, lawn care companies and even farms have hired small marketing agencies to be more visible and be more relevant.
In 2023, the amount of New Castle businesses turning to agencies will grow even more.
Should your business be one of them?
Key takeaways and where to go from here
Today we talked a lot about the new trends that every small town business, including those in New Castle, really should be looking at.
AI is here (and here to stay). Social media and video marketing will be on the rise. Paid advertising will be a more affordable solution businesses will be utilizing. And hiring digital marketing agencies will be the norm, not the exception.
To help you understand the various types of digital marketing agencies and professionals out there, you can claim a free copy of our ‘How To Choose A Digital Marketing Professional Guide’. Within just a few minutes, you’ll explore the different kinds of digital marketing pros out there, understand their skillset versus your needs and be able to make a very educated decision on who to hire.
Thanks for reading and have a great 2023!