With 2018 already well under way, my mind is bursting with ideas on how to make the most of the latest digital marketing trends. Change is happening right before our eyes. Every year I like to take a step back and revisit key sales drivers, writing down probing questions about recent technological advances, search algorithm changes, SEO drivers and changes in consumer behavior.
Every key driver gives me new opportunities to experiment and measure the results. I’m always up for a challenge, and the results almost always surprise me. Here are the trending projects I have my eyes on in 2018:
I’ve had success using pre-recorded videos on our blog and other marketing channels. In 2018, live video is bringing us even closer to our customers. If you’ve spent any time on Facebook lately, you’ll notice that more people and companies are using live video to promote products, services, events and more. You’ll also notice that people are tuning in, and comments come pouring in on the live feed in real time.
Think about how to use live videos to publicize company events. Offer a promotion for those who tune in live during the event. Take advantage of the opportunity to get live customer testimonials from your satisfied customers.
This year, I want to spend time on personalization by focusing more heavily on our customers and their experiences. Using personalization in marketing means knowing more than your customers’ names and general demographics. Voice why your customers appreciate your services and what a difference they can make in the quality of their lives. Develop new content that assures your customers that you understand them and their needs. Good experiences from current clients create brand loyalty. I’m happy to share with new customers how our services have changed the lives of our current clients.
Artificial intelligence is one of the biggest marketing trends on the horizon. AI can already do more than many of us can fathom. I predict that 2018 will bring marketing apps that use machine learning to help us identify customer needs. AI will also take advantage of natural language processing to give us increasingly precise details. Future applications may allow marketers to monitor the activity of programs that use data to signal the start or end of marketing campaigns. Whatever AI brings us in the coming months is certain to be valuable.
I’ve found that articles are a more cost-effective marketing tool than paid ads. Create new content for your platforms that enhance the connection between your customers and your brand. I strive to get our customers involved in a story using words or videos that establish a warm and comforting relationship with our services. The goal of any piece of content is to make it truly meaningful and memorable for the customer.
Last year, smart devices got even smarter as voice search applications on laptops and mobile devices made searching, connecting and multitasking even easier. Voice search will become increasingly popular as more applications become available and consumers get better acquainted with how useful they can be. Marketers should be aware that voice search uses words more naturally than written content. Voice app are a great place to plug in those long-tail keywords and conversational phrases.
While it’s true that content is more engaging than paid ads, there is an effective way to use paid ads in marketing. Marketers must face the reality that many consumers are annoyed by ads that block the information they are looking for. Some customers will even pay a small fee so they don’t have to see any ads. However, I find that customers are more amenable to target ads that appear alongside content they are already perusing. If they’ve checked out our services in the past, they’re more inclined to click on an ad that appears to be a subtle reminder.
Today’s consumers are over flashy ads, but they do have new appreciation for brands that work to establish trust. People still like reviews. Our customers have taken notice of disclosure laws that motivate marketers to obtain honest reviews from real consumers. Additionally, data breaches have caused new concerns about privacy. Developing a trusted relationship means letting customers know how their personal information is being used and how well your company is protecting it.
The Wrap-Up On 2018’s Digital Trends
A good digital marketer completes assignments and meets deadlines. A great digital marketer is a trendsetter, not a trend-follower. Look for new ways to leverage live videos, targeted ads and developments in AI and voice search. You can start by taking a fresh look at old content and revamping it to take advantage of 2018 trends.