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20 Anticipated Small Business Marketing Trends for 2024

What is one trend you anticipate for small business marketing in 2024? How should others plan for this trend?  Here is what 20 thought leaders have to say.

  • Specialize in Platform-Specific Marketing

  • Embrace TikTok for Educational Content

  • Combine AI with Human-Created Content

  • Invest in AI-Driven Conversational Marketing

  • Adopt Minimalist Marketing Techniques

  • Optimize Content for AI-Filtered SEO

  • Stay Informed on SEO Algorithm Updates

  • Utilize AI for Marketing Efficiency

  • Prioritize Consumer Privacy in Marketing

  • Leverage Social Media Listening for Insights

  • Emphasize Authenticity in Brand Content

  • Market Sustainability in Travel

  • Capitalize on Short-Form Video Content

  • Strengthen Local Community Connections

  • Shift to Interactive Marketing Content

  • Create Immersive Marketing Experiences

  • Focus on Organic Marketing Channels

  • Optimize for Local SEO Success

  • Revitalize Marketing with In-Person Events

  • Adapt to Programmatic Advertising Trends

Specialize in Platform-Specific Marketing

With even more social and digital platforms available, small businesses will be best served by leaning on freelancers who specialize in specific platforms. For example, rather than hiring a marketer, a national service-based business may need a LinkedIn specialist who specifically knows the ins and outs of this platform. There are just too many platforms for a traditional marketer to qualify as an expert, so specialization will become the best way to make an impact on your desired channel.

Jason Vaught, Director of Content, SmashBrand

Embrace TikTok for Educational Content

With a small business often comes limited budgets for marketing. However, every now and then, we see a marketing trend where budgets are not only irrelevant but may actually impede the success of the content. In 2024, I suspect we will finally see small businesses adopting TikTok as it continues to become a platform for education, e-learning, and how-to content. TikTok seeks to dethrone YouTube as the "video search engine," and as such, it is a fertile, emerging environment for businesses to create authentic, helpful content. In this digital Wild West, there are a lot of gaps for specific businesses, products, and services to carve out their territory through useful content that can simultaneously promote their presence. Here, quantity is better than quality. Creators should create raw, unpolished, and authentic content that helps viewers. If done well, businesses may find they have a ready audience for years to come.

Ryan Stone, Founder and Creative Director, Lambda Films

Combine AI with Human-Created Content

The small business marketing landscape is changing daily, and business owners have to keep up in order to stay in control of their traffic and boost their engagement numbers throughout the new year. All business owners should acknowledge that AI is here for the long haul and may very well be the future of digital marketing, but there is still a lot of stock to be taken in the power of human nuance.

I advise small business owners to strike a balance between the two: AI usage and human touch. In our business, for example, we use AI to help us with trend prediction and keyword searches, assisting us in determining which keywords are most powerful when and why, and then we take that data and create personalized content ourselves.

I don’t believe that small businesses are looking for resources that have copied and pasted what GPT has spit out; they can do that themselves. I do believe they are looking to connect with companies that create content made by humans, full of personal advice, and actionable nuance; something they can resonate with because it’s something from a person.

Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

Invest in AI-Driven Conversational Marketing

If there's one thing that we can certainly expect in the coming year, it's how conversational marketing will redefine customer interactions thanks to AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. As big data technologies and machine learning algorithms continue to evolve, traditional mass marketing strategies are expected to become increasingly obsolete. The reason why this is imminent is that modern consumers no longer want to wait around—they seek instant solutions and gratification. To prepare for this, small businesses should invest in adopting and integrating advanced chatbot technologies. Equally important is the continual analysis of customer interactions to refine and optimize chatbot responses for an enhanced conversational experience.

Adopt Minimalist Marketing Techniques

When it comes to marketing in 2024, simplicity stands out, especially for small businesses. They can benefit from moving away from extravagant ads to a more minimalist marketing approach to cut through the noise. Focus more on executing a clean design, communicating only the most essential details, and maintaining consistency (in the color scheme and font, for instance) to capture your audience's interest. People have grown tired of in-your-face marketing; simplicity delivers your message without overwhelming them. In this way, small details become paramount, and less is more. In 2024, it's all about how you can get your message across without unnecessary complexity to make your business memorable amidst the noise.

Marc Bjerring, Co-Founder, Spivo

Optimize Content for AI-Filtered SEO

The key small-business marketing trends will lie in SEO, particularly in how information is composed to get featured at the top of search engines.

As Google and other search engines roll out AI-automated search engine filters, it’s imperative that small businesses pay attention to phrasing when editing the information on their site, as well as the content they create. Google Snippets are largely automated by AI, so only information that directly correlates with and matches a user's request will make it into the box underneath the Google search bar.

Not all hope is lost for small businesses without a high SEO ranking, however. As AI filters through sites and posts on the internet, the ones that look the most authentic often make it close to the top. Focus on creating short and attractive content that will gain the search engine's attention, and then, once customers click on your site, they have additional information at their fingertips.

In short, focus on the cover of the book, and then focus on the content to survive SEO marketing in 2024.

Stay Informed on SEO Algorithm Updates

As AI becomes a default feature of the marketing industry, small businesses will view Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) and Bing Chat as the fastest ways to get audience attention, bypassing larger competitors. I am expecting creative changes to existing SEO strategies to ensure that keyword targeting is perfect. The easiest way to stay ahead of the curve is to sign up for industry updates from Google and Microsoft to understand what type of content their algorithms will prefer.

Sam Roberts, Digital Marketing Manager, Connect Vending

Utilize AI for Marketing Efficiency

I would say the most significant trend will likely be the use of AI. I do not see it replacing highly skilled professionals, but it will certainly be leveraged by small businesses that have limited resources in the marketing department. For example, AI tools can be leveraged to proofread articles and generate ideas instead of hiring a copywriter.

Amore Philip, Director of Public Relations, Apples & Oranges Public Relations

Prioritize Consumer Privacy in Marketing

Privacy is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Having personal information stolen is a breach of conduct and can significantly impact the integrity of a brand. As a small business, it is imperative to stay informed about evolving privacy regulations. It's essential to always be transparent about how customer data is collected and used, and to prioritize data security to build trust with your audience.

Adam Petrilli, Founder and Chief Executive Officer,

Leverage Social Media Listening for Insights

Small businesses will leverage social media listening tools even more to monitor discussions, sentiments, and emerging topics in their industry. Analyzing social media trends can offer real-time insights into what your target audience is interested in.

Insights from social media listening can also inform your content strategy. You can identify popular topics, questions, and discussions among your target audience and create content that resonates with these insights to drive engagement and shareability.

Likewise, social media listening helps identify influencers and brand advocates within your industry. You can engage with these individuals to amplify your brand message and leverage their networks. Building relationships with influencers can contribute to the authenticity and reach of your marketing efforts.

Emphasize Authenticity in Brand Content

Brand transparency is one marketing trend that will really take off for small businesses in 2024.

Many trend predictors have mentioned the anticipated uptick in authentic content from brands and personal accounts. This is also expected for influencer and user-generated content (UGC).

In 2024, more brands will likely give their audience a closer relationship with them on socials. Small business content often reads as authentic, so leaning into this will only be beneficial!

Market Sustainability in Travel

For those in the travel industry, I believe that sustainability is going to play a big part in small-business marketing after the new year.

Sustainability is important to consumers, and the travel industry is under a microscope, always being watched and monitored. Travel influencers who don’t practice sustainability are under scrutiny for not caring about destinations and the planet. Likewise, airlines and resorts are being criticized if they don’t practice sustainability. It would be wise, if either of these applies to a person, to take part in eco-friendly practices and do your part to preserve precious places on the planet.

I have found sustainability success in using public transport, always cleaning up after myself, and booking stays at destinations that prioritize green emissions and low waste. There are a surprising number of places in Europe, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, that share low-waste and sustainable ideals. The more that you show you’re in line with reversing climate change and promoting a healthier planet, the more attention you will get from viewers.

And yes, they will be able to sniff out if you’re lying, so be honest in your posts.

Aiden Higgins, Senior Editor and Writer, The Broke Backpacker

Capitalize on Short-Form Video Content

Short-form video—i.e., YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and particularly TikTok—will continue to grow in popularity and use in 2024. In recent years, we saw people's attention spans shorten to where most people watch videos and don't read; now, it's getting to the point where people only seem interested in watching short-form videos that can condense, say, a 10-minute video into 30 seconds or a minute.

John Frigo, Ecommerce Manager, Best Price Nutrition

Strengthen Local Community Connections

I also believe that localized marketing will become more crucial for small businesses in 2024. With the rise of "shop local" movements, businesses should focus on building a strong presence in their local communities. This means optimizing for local SEO, engaging with local events, and tailoring marketing messages to local audiences. It's about becoming a recognized and trusted part of your local community.

Shift to Interactive Marketing Content

A big marketing trend for small businesses in 2024 is going to be more interactive content. Essentially, small businesses are starting to realize the level of personalization they can provide to their audiences and the interaction this can bring to the company and marketing posts. In addition, social media content has been moving toward more interactive content with short-form videos (such as Instagram Reels and TikTok videos). As small businesses start to adjust to the changing content landscape and take advantage of their connections with niche audiences, we'll see an increase in content that encourages audiences to interact and get involved in discussions about products and/or different topics.

Create Immersive Marketing Experiences

The rise of immersive experiences is significant. Nowadays, people don't simply need products and services; they desire a complete journey. Therefore, like many other budding entrepreneurs embarking on this trend, I suggest investing in the development of entertaining and engaging content. Use various avenues, such as virtual tours for properties, 360-degree views, and even augmented reality experiences, to make your audience feel like they're present. The idea is to connect with people in a way that is far more than the usual marketing experience.

Samantha Odo, Real Estate Sales Representative and Montreal Division Manager, Precondo

Focus on Organic Marketing Channels

Paid ads are already less effective, but they may continue to slide given the paid-ads arms race. Moving into 2024, more small businesses will benefit from novel organic channels. Small businesses with a local footprint will still benefit from regionally targeted ads, but they would be wise to focus on earned media and other more specialized channels.

Optimize for Local SEO Success

One trend that I foresee for small business marketing in 2024 is the increased importance of local SEO and Google My Business optimization. With Google placing more emphasis on localized search results, businesses need to optimize their digital presence to cater to local customers. My experience with self-storage businesses taught me how crucial local SEO is to attract high-quality tenants.

Planning for this trend involves focusing on keyword research to understand what local customers are searching for, optimizing your website and content for these keywords, and setting up and maintaining an optimized Google My Business profile. As we saw in a case study with a client of mine, through strategic keyword research and content strategy, we were able to increase their organic traffic by 623% and first-page keyword rankings by 551% from May 2021 to August 2022.

This example clearly indicates the potential results businesses can achieve by investing in local SEO. Get started with local SEO if you haven't already—it's set to be a game-changer for small businesses in 2024!

Revitalize Marketing with In-Person Events

One trend is the resurgence of in-person events. They offer unique chances for face-to-face connections with customers, trust-building, and immediate product/service feedback.

To prepare, add interactive elements like demos and Q&A sessions. Encourage attendees to share online, follow up for customer conversion, and collect data for insights. Embracing in-person events in 2024 can boost brand visibility, expand your customer base, and create memorable experiences.

Adapt to Programmatic Advertising Trends

One trend shaping the future of small business marketing in 2024 is the escalating significance of programmatic advertising. Having navigated the marketing landscape for years, I can see that programmatic strategies are set to redefine how businesses connect with their target audience. The key lies in the ability to customize ad placements with unparalleled precision, optimizing reach and engagement.

To prepare for this imminent shift, businesses should pivot toward data-centric decision-making. Analyze consumer behaviors and preferences through robust analytics, enabling the creation of personalized campaigns that resonate. The transition involves moving away from conventional approaches, placing emphasis on real-time adjustments and dynamic ad placements.

Phil McParlane, Founder and CEO, 4DayWeekJobs



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