Digital Marketing is now a key component to most businesses’ overall strategies. From small startups making the most of social media to large corporations investing in various forms of digital content.
No matter how large or small your digital marketing budget is, the key to delivering the best ROI is to stay abreast of the ever-changing field. Businesses that stick to a single strategy year on year tend to see results slow and campaigns stagnate. It’s therefore key to dedicate some time each month to staying ahead of the curve and being clear on what works.
To help, we’ve put together the following tips and resources to help you stay up to date with digital marketing trends in 2019.
1. Invest in education
Like anything, if you want to grow in this field, you must continue to learn. Sometimes, when delving into more complex areas, blogs and magazines may not be enough. This is often a great time to invest in a course. There are plenty of great online courses now if night school isn’t your thing.
Sites like Udemy and Skillshare have some brilliant courses on a whole host of digital marketing topics. From SEO and Google Analytics to Social Media and Content Marketing, you’ll be sure to find something in the area you’re looking to learn more about.
Always be sure to check out the reviews before purchasing a course and have a look how long it will take to complete. Some courses can be completed in a day whereas others will require more time.
2. Read books
As the scope of Digital Marketing widens, so does the number of books. There are some great thought leaders in this industry well worth listening to. They share experiences, tips and advice which in turn will save you time and avoid the trial and error that these experts went through.
Here’s a few that are worth checking out in 2019:
3. Hit subscribe
When you come across a really useful article, hit subscribe on the website to receive future newsletters. It’s worth it when the content really stands out to you as, chances are, future articles will be just as helpful.
Be sure to do this selectively though, as the last thing you want is to be bombarded. By filtering out the superior content, you’ll know when an email lands in your inbox, it’s worth a read.
Here are a few useful digital marketing newsletters to subscribe to:
MOZ Top 10: This is one to follow if you’re looking for the latest SEO tips and best practices.
Hubspot’s Marketing Blog: This covers most of the digital marketing spectrum from blogging and social media to SEO and branding.
Marketing Week: The AM/The PM: This newsletter is a summary of daily trends, industry news and useful updates.
Content Marketing Institute: A great summary of the latest content marketing tips and advice.
Buffer Social: A helpful round-up on social media tips and trends.
4. Join groups
Communities, forums and online groups can be a great resource for staying up to date in this field. Learn from fellow digital marketers and share your experience in ongoing conversations. Just be sure to proceed with caution as some groups can contain a lot of spam and irrelevant information.
Search Facebook and LinkedIn for groups in your niche, whether that’s digital marketing in general or something more specific such as e-commoerce or social media. Remember, the more specific you are, the more relevant the conversations and posts will be.
5. Build a network
If you are struggling with something or can’t quite grasp a concept, try and find someone who will be able to help. This may be a colleague, a fellow business owner or someone you met in a co-working cafe. If you think they may be able to shed some light, ask them.
This will help you to grow a network of like-minded professionals and create mutually beneficial relationships. If you form a group like this, why not set up a place to share new trends and tips. Chances are if it helps them, it will help you.
You could use a platform like Facebook or set up a networking group and meet however often you see fit.
6. Get on board with Google Alerts
This nifty tool is a great way of staying up to date with trends and tips. Simply let Google know the keywords you would like to be notified about when they appear in search results and you will be alerted with an email.
So, for example, when ‘SEO trends 2019’ appears, you will be sent an email with a link through to the corresponding site. This is a great way of staying updated on just about anything. Plus, you can limit the number of times Google emails, and have everything wrapped up in a weekly summary to avoid a daily bombardment.
7. Head to YouTube
Nowadays, there’s a video on just about anything on YouTube. Yes, you do have to sift through sometimes to find the gems, but it can be well worth it. It can be the case that a concept you’re struggling with can be easily solved in a matter of minutes when you land on an informative video.
Here’s some great digital marketing YouTube channels worth following:
Gary Vaynerchuk: The serial entrepreneur shares his tips and advice on becoming successful in the digital marketing field.
Marketingland: This is a helpful channel which mainly features social media tips.
Digital Marketing Institute: With regular videos, this channel provides useful advice on everything from online advertising to content marketing.
Unbounce: The landing page software provider offers some great insights on improving conversion rates.
8. Use hashtags
This is a great way to search recent trends, news and updates in any field. Just take a few minutes out when travelling on the train or during lunch to head to Twitter or LinkedIn and search a few hashtags. You’ll be able to navigate quickly to the top content under that hashtag and read the latest content.
If you come across someone who shares regular updates in your niche, they’re probably worth following.
9. Listen to podcasts
Long journey? Spend a lot of time in the car? Why not make the most of this time and learn something new? Podcasts are constantly improving and the amount of great content is growing. There are plenty of thought leaders and industry experts now sharing advice on a regular basis through podcasts, so it’s well worth tuning in.
Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find the right one for you but when you do, it can prove to be a goldmine of knowledge.
Call to Action: With tips and advice from experts, this podcast covers everything from conversion rate optimisation to pay per click advertising.
Social Media Marketing Podcast: Hear from Social Media Examiner Michael Stelzner and learn how to refine your social media marketing with real examples.
Perpetual Traffic: This is a great source of information on how to increase website traffic and generate more sales.
10. Look at what big brands are doing
This is a great way of spotting new trends and industry techniques. Big brands often have big budgets which generally means industry leading marketing strategies. They are often pioneers in this field and can be an invaluable source of inspiration.
Look at the big players in your industry and keep tab on what they’re up to. That’s not to say that you should emulate their marketing completely, just take note of ideas you like. Check out their social media channels and look at what posts and campaigns perform well. This is a good indicator as to what your target market is most receptive to.
11. Listen to your customers
Digital Marketing trends are not just formed by industry leaders, they are shaped by customer needs and desires. Therefore, keep an ear to the ground and listen out for what your customers want to see. This could involve taking note of their pain points, interests or general trends in that market.
In doing so, you’ll form a marketing strategy which corresponds with your customer’s current needs.
12. Be open to change
Yes, you may never have dabbled with Instagram stories before but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for your business. Similarly, video could work a treat, but you won’t know until you try it. When it comes to staying up to date with marketing trends, it’s important that you embrace change. Yes, not everything you try will work for your business but it’s important to be open to new ideas and concepts.
When you read about a new industry trend, consider how it would work for your business. If you know straight off the cuff that it would be a non-starter, steer clear. However, if something catches your eye that you think could be beneficial and help to grow your business, be open to trying it.
13. Head to exhibitions and conferences
This is a great way to learn about new industry trends and concepts. Mixing with your peers and chatting to others in the industry can offer invaluable insight and fuel new ideas for your own business. Just be sure to plan out your day effectively to avoid any wasted time. Often, there will be a range of keynote speeches at these events so choose carefully and don’t just chase big names if they’re not going to be relevant.
14. Follow thought leaders
There are so many digital marketing experts out there nowadays who share daily tips and advice. Mine through social media and seek out people who align most with your niche. They don’t have to have a huge following, as long as they share advice which is both relevant and useful to you. From UX & UI trends to coding tips and tricks, the internet has everything you’ll need to get started.
15. Look at trends within your own business
When keeping up with industry trends, it’s also important to look within and observe your own trends. This could be anything from an increased bounce rate on certain pages, lower particular in certain months or an increased number of questions about a certain product or service.
By taking these details into account, you’ll be able to deliver a stronger marketing strategy. For example, a landing page with a high bounce rate needs to be adapted. Web Design & Development is often worth the expenditure for the improvement in traction you receive from your existing traffic. You can tweak this as much as you like until it meets your visitor needs more. Similarly, if your sales take a dip in July, you know you need to adapt your strategy in the preceding months to prevent that pattern. The more you analyse trends within your own business, the more you will be able to adapt your strategy accordingly.
16. Review your current strategy
It’s no good staying up to date in this industry if you don’t implement what you learn. Take note of what you learn and constantly look at ways you can apply your findings to your own marketing strategy.
Take note of what’s working and areas you can improve. By doing this, you will actively adapt your strategy to move with the times.
To sum up
Staying ahead of digital marketing trends is easy when you know how. It’s about dedicating a set amount of time each week whether that’s 5 minutes or 3 hours. Make the most of journeys with podcasts and subscribe to useful content so the information is delivered directly to you.
Just be sure to apply what you learn to give your digital marketing strategy the best chance of exceeding in 2019.