By Blair Williams, founder of MemberPress

The end of the year is approaching fast. Digital marketing is flourishing, and if you’re a business owner you might be wondering what you need to do to get ahead of the curve. Well, you’re in luck. I have been observing the trends, and it’s clear that there are certain patterns emerging as 2019 gets closer.

Below, I outline what you need to watch out for and how you can make the most of your limited marketing space. Furthermore, I share some tips on what you can do to your website to make it more accessible to both current and potential customers. The goal is to help you sharpen your marketing skills.

Let’s take a look at the emerging trends and how you can get ready for the new year:

Recognize that voice search is the future.

We all know that marketing with SEO is vital to any marketing plan. But in the next few years, marketers might have to rethink everything they’ve known about search engine optimization. Voice search is steadily gaining in popularity and becoming the way of the future.

Experts predict that by 2020, half of all searches will be done by voice. Now is the time to start getting your keywords ready for the future. Think about what people might say, instead of what they might type. For example, instead of typing “best places to surf in the United States,” someone might say “where can I surf?” You’ll lose the people using voice search if your keywords differ.

The main point to remember is that keywords with voice search are more conversational than typed responses. Because people are using their smartphones, Amazon devices or even Google Homes to search for information, you can leave the name of places out of your keywords. For example, if someone says “best seafood restaurant,” their device will automatically pinpoint their location and come up with the proper result.

Embrace micro-moments.

The average U.S. adult spends about three hours and 35 minutes on their phone a day. In this time, a Google study learned that people can experience about 150 micro-moments. There are four types of micro-moments: “I want to know …,” “I want to go …,” “I want to buy ...” and “I want to do …”

You must grab the attention of your potential customers during this time. They are likely to make a split-second decision on what they are going to buy, where they are going to go and what they are going to do.

There are multiple ways to boost your chances of being spotted in micro-moments. One of the most common forms of advertising is a 10-13 second ad on social media. Get your point across and explain what you’re offering and how the viewer can get to your site. You can also boost your chances of being spotted during micro-moments by creating short, precise content that’s easily digestible.

Invest in a chatbot.

There is no doubt that we live in the age of “now.” When people are looking for information, they want it right this second. If you hire someone to work on your website as a “chat assistant,” there’s a good chance you’re making customers wait for an answer.

People typically use chatbots because they want a quick answer or need to resolve a complaint, and the use of chatbots is only continuing to increase. You can implement chatbots on numerous facets of your business platform. They are fairly easy to program and you can customize them so that they have a personality. In a sense, the artificial intelligence bot becomes another leg of your brand.

It’s also possible to add chatbots to your social media pages. Facebook Messenger bots, for example, can be programmed to answer your Facebook messages, making helping customers with crucial information a breeze.

2019 is coming.

Now that you know how to handle your marketing in the coming year, the rest is up to you. These tips will help you establish your brand and keep you on top of your competitors.

As the years go by, I expect these trends to become deeply popular with consumers. If you want to keep your current customers happy and bring in new ones, these are the three keys you need for success. It may take some experimentation, but you can get an edge and turn your business into an up-to-date, technological powerhouse. Get ready for 2019 -- it’s going to be a big year for marketers!

Blair Williams is the founder of MemberPress, an all-in-one membership website software for WordPress.