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  • Writer's pictureJenny De Lacy

2024 marketing trends and how they can grow your service based business

As we head into the new year and many service based business owners and teams are looking for direction for their marketing strategy, the term 'marketing trends for 2024' is, well, trending. As it should be, because it's important to refresh and reinvigorate your marketing strategy often.


What better time than now?

Translating the marketing trends for service based businesses

The vast majority of marketing articles resources and blogs are about product based marketing, and often more about consumers than business clients. So I've taken the top trends mentioned in articles I've read from some of the largest online publishers, so we can make sense of them for your service based business, and how you can implement them for growth.


Trend 1 - AI

This is a big one - it needs a blog all its own. But long story short - you’ve been using AI for a long time already without realising it, it’s just getting a lot more press that it did before. 

  • Got a chat bot on your website? It's AI

  • Use Siri or Alexa to find anything? Also AI driven

  • Use predictive text in your gmails? Also AI

  • Pretty much anything with an algorithm is using AI.

 

However, most businesses have become aware of it because of the rise and rise of chatGPT. And how you can use it to save you time, optimise processes, accelerate creation of ideas and content, and loads more just from a marketing perspective.


According the the verge.com more than 100 million users per week are using chatGPT since it launched in November 2022

Why is it in the top marketing trends for 2024?

Obviously with more than 100 million active weekly users of chatGPT in its first year, we can’t ignore it. The possibilities of what AI can achieve for business seems limitless.


But saying ‘using AI’ is like saying ‘using software’ It’s so broad, and covers so many aspects of marketing and client acquisition and retention (amongst so many other things).


So how can you use it in your business this year, simply and without too much faffing about learning it?


Three ways to use AI in your business:

Consider these ways you can use AI in 2024:

1. AI and conversational marketing

One of the big trends is conversational marketing, and it's mainly about giving website visitors an experience that feels like a conversation with your chatbot when they have questions or problems to solve in relation to products or services you offer.


Make sure your chatbot is programmed to personalise responses on your website for greater user experience. Go back and check it’s set up for more than the average or broad keyword responses, link to newer articles and tutorials on your website that answer the most important questions your ideal clients have, and is set up to collects leads and fire up email marketing to nurture those leads.


AI can even write the emails for you with the right prompts, and save you time there as well.


2. AI and Search Engine Optimisation

When was the last time to checked your SEO strategy? Why not check out the same AI tool Monday.com used to increase their search results by 1570%. Marketmuse is an AI tool that will give you keyword ideas unique to your website and provides outlines for the content itself so it ranks better. 

 

Link this to your thought leadership and you have a truly winning strategy I reckon. Read more about that here.


3. Personalisation

This AI capability comes into its own with vast data set analysis resulting in hyper-personalisation, delivering really specific product options to buys scrolling the website (think Amazon).


But what if you have a fairly simple business model such as tax optimisation, or property law for family trusts - you’re not Amazon with a gazillion products and millions of customers typing in search queries.

 

How can you gain the benefits of personalisation using AI without the overkill?

One way is to map your customer journey and all the ‘touchpoints’ to ensure the best leads are captured, nurtured, converted and retained. Here’s a couple of examples from chatGPT itself (paraphrased by me) when I prompted it with ‘how exactly can AI support my corporate client to optimise their customer journey if their customer is a corporate decision maker in HR. Give specific examples and mention apps or software for each’

 

  • Lead identification (of corporate HR executives) and scoring via LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Hubspot

  • Personalised or tailored content based on the leads profile or previous interactions via Marketo (more about this below)

  • Dynamic website content - for example using Adobe Experience Cloud you can show relevant content to a website visitor

  • Automated email follow up via Hubspot

  • Integration with the sales process - sales team are notified about the lead and even the best time to contact them, for example, through Salesforce Einstein.

 

Just to name a few, there are loads more. So map your customer journey and focus on those humans and how you can use AI to enhance your leads and customer experience in 2024.

 

Trend 2 - Video Marketing

Video is always in the 'hot trends list' and this year is no different, with short form videos (anything under a minute or so) leading the charge, and AI produced videos coming in a close second. Livestream is also on the list of best ways to engage and retain an audience.


Every business needs a video strategy as part of their marketing and sales process in 2024.

The question is how can you leverage the power of video and get the best ROI from the time it takes to produce them?


  • Simplify the process - have a strategy and stick to it. Don't get distracted by new editing tools or fancy graphics. Keep it simple

  • Involve your team - share the load for content creation if possible

  • Repurpose content you already have - remember that e-book or white paper you created? There will be loads of video opportunities in there

  • Pick your platform and optimise for that. You don't have to produce for every single platform if you don't have the resources or capacity to do so


Don’t underestimate transparency and the power of standing out from the smoke and mirrors of the marketing landscape. Ask yourself what the clients are getting out of their relationship with your business, and think of your videos as an opportunity to involve them and engage them. New Style Media


Video across platforms

The introduction of YouTube shorts, the continued rise of TikTok and the push from Instagram for reels means there are more places to share your video content that ever before.


LinkedIn reports that video is important to their algorithm, and is more likely to show up in newsfeeds there as well.

So let's focus on LinkedIn, where organic reach is still the best of all the platforms.

For service based businesses, the types of videos you could create include:

  • important stats from your industry

  • client success stories or case studies

  • client testimonial videos

  • your process or how you work

  • response videos to updates in your industry

  • reaction videos with clients and you in the video

  • tips and tactics

  • cautionary tales about how to avoid mistakes


And the list goes on. I have never met a business I couldn't create video ideas for. And the even better news is you likely already have a lot of content you can repurpose for videos, saving you more time and reinforcing your core brand messages.


Posting videos to LinkedIn

You can post a video a week on LinkedIn and still see good results - it's not a content hungry platform like Instagram. Another bonus!


instructions for


Post the video directly to LinkedIn (not a link to YouTube or Vimeo), follow the prompts and away you go.

  • Landscape oriented videos work best on LinkedIn

  • You can add closed captions

  • You can add your own video thumbnail if you want a branded one

  • Add your thoughts about the video - something such as the video title that hooks people into watching, and post it.


Note - if you're going to start sharing content on LinkedIn, then it's best switch on 'creator mode' for your profile. Here's LinkedIn's instructions for that:


instructions for switching on creator mode on LinkedIn

Don’t underestimate transparency and the power of standing out from the smoke and mirrors of the marketing landscape. Ask yourself what the clients are getting out of their relationship with your business, and think of your videos as an opportunity to involve them and engage them. New Style Media


Trend 3 - Influencer marketing

Those of us who wear makeup or buy fashion will know the power of an influencer video. Makeup lines sell out in our chemists and department stores in a matter of days or hours sometimes due to something going ‘viral’ on TikTok. And don’t get me started on the rise and rise of influencer marketing for Kmart.


Influencer marketing is when a brand uses someone with a social media following to promote their product or service. It's a commercial arrangement so many brands have this in their marketing budget instead of paid advertising (even through it's almost the same thing to many consumers).

 

What about for business to business and services in particular? Does it work then? 

Can an acccountant or financial services business use influencer marketing to promote their business? WHY NOT? They’d stand out that’s for sure. As long as they are not breaking any rules.


But rather than thinking of finding an influencer with the right target audience, let's change the focus to YOU being the influencer through sharing your expertise and thought leadership.

Thought leadership as influencer marketing

Find out more tips for using though leadership to influence through expertise rather than celebrity here:


Trend 4 - User Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) is so popular because we can see people using the products in real life rather than taking the brand's word for it. It's a review on steroids.


If I buy a new eyeshadow from Mecca, I can do a video using it and saying how much I love it, just because, and tag them and voila that’s UGC for them.

But how about my accountant or bookkeeper? How can I generate content for them?


Ideas for UGC for service based business owners:

But how about my accountant or bookkeeper? How can I generate content for them?


  • I can do a Q&A with them

  • I can do a video testimonial for them

  • I could do a livestream from a meeting with them

  • I could react to an outcome I have achieved working with them


Speaking of reactions, they are probably the most powerful way to approach this.

Let’s say you’ve been to the dentist and had your teeth whitened and they look amazing - life changing really you think, and we get to see that reaction on a video? Powerful stuff, emotional and totally genuine.


How about you just bought your very first home after looking for 3 years and finally getting it? If I was your property advocate I would totally get that reaction on video.





If you have business clients, they gain great benefits from working with you, so get their reactions and testimonials on video as much as possible.

Here's a professional produced video showing testimonials and outcomes from a service business:




Trend 5 - Personalised Content Experiences - a no brainer for service based businesses.

You might not be a product based business needing to personalise the 'you might also like this' content on your website like Amazon, but you CAN personalise the content you create and post across social media, your website and email marketing.


Simply, easily and swiftly.


personalising your marketing is easier for service businesses

Rather than making this a new thing as many AI and data driven marketing blogs seem to be making it, this is the 'trend' that's the EASIEST of them all for you to make a priority. You know your clients really well already. You have conversations with them, listen to them, see their social media comments and messages every day.


This puts you in a really strong position compared to many product based business models


Data isn't captured about most of those human interactions so no amount of data analysis is going to tell you what your clients are thinking and feeling before they choose to buy from you, contact you with an enquiry, say yes to a meeting invitation.

Three simple questions to nail this trend for every service based business


Don't waste time looking at data and figures yet. Start with this simple exercise first:

  1. Who are our ideal clients (and their characteristics) and what do we help them achieve or avoid?

  2. What are the top three priorities they have RIGHT NOW? (think what's keeping them awake at night or really giving them the sh*ts! As well as what they want to achieve)

  3. What is our unique value proposition or promise to them based on those priorities and what we know about them (and results you achieve)?


Get the team together. Brainstorm it. Record it. Then create your 'personalised' content plans from there.

Here's what I have found time and time again:

  • There are usually three clear ideal humans with slightly different characteristics and problems (all solved by you though, but potentially in slightly different ways)

  • When you brainstorm the first two questions, you end up clarifying the third

  • EVERYTHING you create and share from there must prove this statement or it doesn't belong in your content plan (at the moment).

  • You end up with a failproof content framework


the failproof content marketing framework by Jenny De Lacy

If you promise to offer predictable pricing and 24 hour service to your printing service clients, to help clients avoid data breaches and to remain compliant, then all your content relates that to that. And what it's like not to have that. How does that feel for them? The print and sprint scenario for example!


There's more blog articles relating to content strategy and tips here: https://talkingdigital.com.au/blog/categories/content-marketing-strategy


Over to you

You'll be inundated with 'marketing trend' information in your inbox and newsfeeds if you have every interacted with a marketing company or agency.


Feel free to ignore the lot and bookmark this blog to keep thinks simple and straightforward in 2024. Don't over-engineer your marketing! Remember that humans are the ones making decisions and should always be at the centre of your marketing strategy.

+61 03 94170 613

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