One of my favorite things to do is take a 30,000 ft view of an industry and predict where I see the future heading based on what everyone else is doing (I like to do the opposite).
In 2019 if you want to grow your business in the “crowded” online space (and even creative entrepreneurship space), here is what I think will be hot, what needs to change and what I think needs to happen in your business.
(Disclaimer: These are my own opinions and predictions and not “legal” business advice! I also wrote this in December and then never posted it 🤦🏻♀️)
My Top 9 Trends and Predictions in Online Entrepreneurship for 2019
1) Dramatic increase in in-person / “in real life” interactions
In the market today, the hot trend is online everything – online courses, social media marketing, online entrepreneurship. While I love the digital world and the barriers it breaks down, I believe that the future will go back to human-to-human, personalized and in-person connections and relationships. People are CRAVING people, especially in the entrepreneurial world where you’re working (often times) solo or just virtually.
Whether it’s through virtual interactions, live events, or working directly with people 1-1 or in groups or masterminds, I believe better results and more success will result from the deep relationships and connections made with clients, customers and audience “in real life.” So get out from behind your computer and get out there!
2) More personalization = increased engagement
PERSONALIZATION IS KEY!!! I’ve said this for years… I hate being a %FIRSTNAME% in an email. Find unique ways to reach your client / customer that “wows” them – they always remember the little personal touches (for ex. sending them a gift based on a convo you had or a simple thank you card). It’s what will make you stand out.
Relationships drive businesses, not technology (or bots)!
3) Podcasts will be shorter
Podcasting really skyrocketed in the last few years and especially from 2017 to 2018. While I think it’ll still be an extremely popular medium (especially since the barrier to entry and ability to create a podcast is way easier), I believe that there will be audience and podcaster exhaustion. Podcast episodes will be shorter (not long 45 minute episodes), more unique and less “teach me how to create a webinar”-type interviews (since anyone else notice the same people over and over again being interviewed for the exact same thing?) and easier to consume.
I also believe monetizing them will become even more difficult. Podcasts will be more of a content creation, relationship building, marketing and credibility strategy vs. a monetization one.
4) Video will be everything!
I feel redundant saying this since you hear “do video” everywhere, but I will say it again! With IGTV, Facebook Watch, Instagram stories, YouTube, Facebook Lives, etc… the ability to create videos is everywhere. People want to see the lives of other people! There’s a reason TV has been popular for decades and reality TV is so damn addicting.
So, if you want to make a mark, add video to your business (it’s as easy as shooting one from your iPhone!). It’ll be the next best thing to an “in real life” opportunity to get to know you. It’ll also be a better marketing tool for your Facebook ads and other mediums!
5) The death of the $97 online course
The online course market has hit a saturation point (IMHO). There is literally a course for anything and everything. “Passive income” is what everyone wants right? And for a lot of people, the $97 courses are the ones that sit there and don’t get finished.
While I don’t think online courses will die, I do think evergreen, low dollar, low engagement type of “learn to maximize your Instagram” or “how to take great iPhone photos” type of courses will die out.
Instead, I believe courses are going to go back to set launch periods with live “office hours” or online support and the prices will increase for that human touch point (again back to the human-to-human interaction trend). I already see this happening with online gurus like Amy Porterfield, who just launched her DCA (digital course academy) product. It’s an online course, but high dollar, not-evergreen and has a live aspect.
When you invest in yourself and invest at a higher $ with set times to “show up,” you’re more likely to not only complete the course but also stay accountable.
6) Small community groups with high engagement
Which would you rather be in? A Facebook group with 100 really engaged people or one with 10,000 and ignored? Exactly.
While growing a huge free online community (like on Facebook) is important for marketing, it’s hard to keep track (as the admin and as a member). The topics are all over the place and it gets out of control. I know I personally don’t pay attention anymore to any of the big groups and tend to stick to the private highly curated small groups.
On that note, I think there will be more higher priced small group programs. It’s all about accountability. When you’re lost in a 1,000 person online group program, you’re less likely to complete it or participate.
7) Sales = loyalty + trust, not 10,000 word sales pages!
I don’t know about you, but I hate long sales pages! Not only do I ignore and don’t read them but also actually get an internal “ugh this person is annoying” feeling when I see it.
If I’m going to buy your product, it’s NOT because you proved in 10,000 words why I should buy from you, it’s because I know, like and trust you. If I like you, I like your product, I’ll buy. And honestly, I probably bought because I saw you on video and learned content from you. It’s all about the “know, like and trust factor” and the fact I probably saw you on multiple mediums (aka everywhere) and said hmm… I should check this person out.
8) Customer service and customer feedback is key!
Customer service is one of, if not, the MOST important part of a business. There is a reason why I am at the highest level Nordstrom Rewards cardholder and why I will always shop there, in-store or online. They have earned my trust.
With so many options out there this will be an important distinguishing aspect of your business. Like the personalization, understanding what your customer really wants and LISTENING to your customer is key! They are your buyer, so you probably should listen to what they’re saying because in the end, they’re your best form of marketing!
Also, re-access your ideal client constantly. When you reach out to current and past clients for feedback, reflect if those are still your ideal clients. If not, go back to the drawing board so you’re not on a perpetual loop of working with or selling to people that aren’t in line with you and your business.
9) Referrals & Rewards
Along with good customer service, rewarding your best and most loyal clients / customers is important in maintaining that on-going relationship.
It is so easy to sign up for affiliate services, so reward those who share your company! For more 1:1 service based businesses, sending a quick gift card or thank you to someone who referred an awesome client will help build loyalty and make them feel appreciated.
Marketing your business by using existing loyal customers is inexpensive and is a win-win for everyone!
The Bottom Line: 2019 will be the year to get personal and meet people face-to-face!!!