As we head further into 2020, the consensus seems to be it will be a good year for small businesses. “The economy is strong,” says Sharon Miller, managing director, head of small business for Bank of America, “driven by consumer spending. According to Bank of America data, consumer spending is up 5.5% on $3 trillion worth of transactions, which will help drive momentum in 2020.”

And in a new poll of small business owners from BizBuySell, many business owners are optimistic—with 34% of them saying the small business economy will improve, while only 15% expect it to decline. The one caveat is 23% are “unsure.” The uncertainty seems to spring from concerns about a “potential recession,” which ranks at the top of the list of things they’re worried about for 2020. In fact, 48% say they’re either “very concerned” or “concerned,” and another 32% are “slightly concerned.”

If you too are worried about a recession, you cannot hold back on your 2020 marketing efforts. Marketing is the key to attracting new customers and retaining current ones. So, it’s smart to start the year by formulating a marketing strategy—one that encompasses all aspects of marketing.

But first, you need to make sure your various marketing channels and strategies are integrated into one marketing plan—an omnichannel approach. Whichever marketing methods you use—whether it be mobile, email, content search engine marketing, voice, direct mail, public relations, advertising, social media, etc.—they need to be intertwined—not in separate siloes.

New marketing methods to try

One of the most underused marketing channels by small businesses is video. The Search Engine Journal says, “With the popularity of YouTube, dynamic imagery, and AR, video content and visual storytelling will continue to rise in 2020.” Plus, 87% of consumers say they want businesses to use more video when they communicate with them.

Perhaps the most underutilized marketing method is voice marketing. Sure, it’s relatively new, but small business owners need to add voice marketing to their marketing plans this year.

ComScore predicts about 50% of all searches will be via voice and 30% of searches will take place without a screen this year. And in a new survey from Capgemini, 24% of those surveyed say they’d rather use a voice assistant than visit a website.

If you market to younger consumers—they’re already hooked on voice—65% of 25-49 year-olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Before you deploy a voice marketing strategy, you need to make sure your local listings are up-to-date. In some cases the voice assistant will actually read the consumer your business listing, so accuracy is key.

You can’t ignore social media

At this point you may think you have all your social bases covered, but do you? In the newly-released Digital Marketing Trends report from Vivial, more than one-quarter of small business owners say their lack of knowledge about marketing is hindering their current marketing efforts. When it comes to social media, for instance, while most business owners say their social media marketing has been successful, only 40% run paid ads on social. Vivial says, “Using a mix of organic AND paid content is key to build followers and fans on social platforms. Hyper-local targeting, user-generated content, videos, smart influencer partnerships and social communities are other ways small businesses can enhance and build out social media marketing strategies.”

A report in The Manifest shows how involved consumers are with businesses on social channels—74% actually follow businesses on social media and 96% of these consumers engage with the companies they follow. Underscoring why paid ads on social can be key—The Manifest report says 67% of consumers have made a purchase after seeing an ad on social media.

Smarter email marketing

According to eMarketer, emailing is one of the most common digital behaviors, and still delivers the highest ROI for businesses. Instapage, which creates personalized landing pages says personalizing your email marketing is key this year, especially because 52% of customers say they’ll find somewhere else to go if their emails aren’t personalized.

But bringing your emails into the new decade also means it’s time to transform static email messages into dynamic webpage-like experiences. AMP for Email technology lets email marketers make their messages interactive within the inbox, so recipients can have more dynamic experiences and don’t have to leave the message for a browser to get more information about an offer.

AWeber has been using AMP for Email technology since it was announced. Check out the cool ways they’ve upped their email game with AMP for Email for inspiration.

And, they’re making it easier for their customers to tap into AMP for Email as well. AWeber just incorporated an AMP for Email-powered drag & drop element into its message editor, making it easy for anyone—regardless of their technical know-how— to make their emails interactive with the click of a button. The tool is called the AWeber Image Carousel, and it let’s users drag the element into their email template and add images to present in the carousel. This adds visual context without taking up more space in an email.

If “amping” up your email marketing was one of your New Year’s resolutions, AWeber devised a plan to help you get started, before January’s resolve turns into February’s distractions. If you need more help, you can register for their webinar about how to use the AWeber Image Carousel on January 17.

But, wait, there’s more

No 2020 small business marketing plan is complete without addressing other vital marketing components, such as content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute provides 90 content marketing predictions for 2020 that are very helpful.

The competitive landscape for small businesses gets more challenging every day. The key to keeping up—and standing out—is marketing. The more you cross-promote within your marketing channels, the more equipped you’ll be to have an outstanding 2020.

In partnership with AWeber.

Email marketing stock photo by FuzzBones/Shutterstock