Editors note: This post contains top digital marketing trends from 2019. For the latest digital marketing trends, tips, and strategies, check out our online marketing blog.

Each new year feels like a fresh start.

It’s a good time to reflect on your current online marketing efforts and set your sights toward new areas of focus.

The key is to not get distracted by the latest shiny objects but to hone in on trends that present the highest chance for a return on your time and financial investment.

Where should small businesses focus in 2019?

Take advantage of these digital marketing trends

1. Content marketing

Plain and simple, content is what people search for, consume, and share online.

When you create content that feels valuable to the people you’re trying to reach, you create more opportunities to get the word out about your business.

Content marketing works best when you’re highly focused on the needs of the audience you’re trying to reach. The more you understand the problems they’re trying to solve and can answer the questions to which they’re seeking answers, the more powerful you’ll find your efforts.

You can create engaging content that brings more customers to your website and separates you from the competition.

Action tip: Add a blog to your website. Catalog the questions you receive from prospects and customers. Put a plan in place to publish answers to those questions on a consistent basis.

2. More engaging email marketing

Email marketing shows no signs of slowing down. It’s consistently ranked among the top performing marketing channels. Yes, it’s a great way to get the word out about your business or cause and keep you top of mind.

But you must think beyond turning a paper newsletter into a digital email. With more and more people turning to their mobile device to consume email, and oftentimes on the go, you must design your email messages for this reality.

That means using mobile-responsive email templates to look great on any device and creating messages that can easily be consumed and acted on.

Now you can also add emojis, GIFs, RSVPs, and polls to your emails to create a more engaging experience for your contacts.

Action tip: Use emojis an additive to the experience, not just a decorative element. Try using polls to engage contacts and learn more about their preferences.

3. Personalization through segmentation

When it comes to personalization we’re no longer talking about just inserting a contact’s first name. Today’s consumers want the messages they receive to feel relevant.

In addition to personalizing by name, segmentation allows you to create smaller groups of people based on things such as tenure, interests, purchase behavior, and contact details.

Then you can send messages that go beyond the general blasts to all contacts. You can create more targeted content and promotions that feel more relevant to the people receiving them. Get better results all around by embracing segmentation.

Action tip: Use Constant Contact’s Segments feature to automatically create groups of contacts based on activity, list membership, and contact details. Create a relevant offer or campaign for your segment.

4. Automation

When you hear the term automation you may think it’s complicated, expensive, and impersonal. The truth is that it’s easy to get started with automation, there are affordable email automation features designed for small business budgets, and your messages can feel more personal than ever because they’re timely and relevant to the person receiving them. Aside from saving you valuable time the facts show that email automation can drive significant results.

Whether you’re welcoming new contacts, nurturing leads, or following up on abandoned carts automation works.

Action tip: Use Constant Contact’s Resend to Non-openers feature to automatically send your email to the people who didn’t open it originally.

5. Tighter integrations

With many tools available today to assist you in your marketing efforts, there’s often information trapped in one system that would be helpful to have in another. Tech companies are investing in tighter integrations with other products so you can make smarter marketing decisions in the tool of your choice.

For example, if you’re using an ecommerce platform like Shopify, you can enhance your marketing automation efforts by connecting with your Constant Contact account. Automatically generate segmented lists by shopping behavior, send abandoned cart emails, and see the impact of your emails with integrated sales data.

Action tip: Check out the integrations available for your Constant Contact account in our marketplace.

6. Paid social and search advertising

Whether you’re looking to reach a new audience, drive website visits, or grow your contact list – social and search advertising provides excellent targeting and cost-effective opportunities to drive your marketing goals. Let this be the year you take advantage of these platforms.

Action tip: Get started with paid advertising right from your Constant Contact account. You can now easily create Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads.

Where will you focus your marketing efforts this year?

As you make marketing plans for the new year, assess your options and choose one area to focus on. Spend some time researching best practices to start off on the right foot. Once you’re seeing results from your efforts, you can move on to the area to expand your marketing toolbox.

And don’t forget, Constant Contact is here to help.

Which digital marketing trends are you focusing on this year? Tweet us @ConstantContact to share your secrets!

You can also join the conversion on this topic and others by checking out the Constant Contact Community!