By 2021, American businesses will spend close to $120 billion on digital marketing.
As we enter 2018, we’re seeing a number of new digital marketing trends. Do you want to grow your market share and reach new customers? You’ll need to pay attention or risk missing opportunities to increase revenue while also risking being surpassed by your competition.
Here are just a few of the digital marketing trends you need to consider using in 2018:
Not using a chatbot, yet? You’ll need to get started with that quickly. Businesses of all sizes need to deploy chatbots to help with their marketing, sales and customer service.
Wait … what is a chatbot?
Have you ever visited a website that has a live chat window open after you’ve been on the site for a few minutes? If you type a question in the chat window then it might either be answered immediately or you may be asked to “wait a few minutes while we connect you with a live agent.”
Chatbots are configured to answer common questions automatically.
For instance, if you are on a restaurant website and you ask, “what’s the special?” then you may receive an automated response: “Please visit our Facebook page for today’s special: facebook.com/clickfirstnow” . And, if you ask a question that the chatbot program cannot answer then you might be redirected to a live agent who can answer your question.
These bots are excellent for facilitating message-based marketing campaigns. They can also answer a wide variety of customer questions, process orders, and pass difficult or complicated queries onto the correct customer service team. Approximately 85% of our interactions are expected to be with chatbots by 2020.
Additionally, chatbots aren’t the only reason to embrace AI. Numerous AI-powered tools are being released. These tell marketers how, what, and where to write, when they should publish, and the type of content to create. There are even AI tools that optimize email subject lines and email sending times.
AI is being used to generate and present custom and personalized content on the fly while also automating monotonous tasks. What’s the end result? Potential and existing customers receive more personalized experiences while businesses simultaneously cut back on the amount of labor required to operate. It’s a win-win.
These days, consumers can use voice search almost anywhere. They can also use them on a variety of devices including desktop computers, tablets, laptops, phones, and smart speakers. 50% of all searches will be by voice by 2020.
How do you take advantage of this metric?
Simple! Optimize your online presence for voice search. When you optimize for voice search, you include conversational phrases and long-tail keywords that people are likely to say out loud.
(The number of times I’ve almost said, “thank you” to my Amazon Echo is actually quite hilarious.)
Fortunately, businesses that are already using content marketing will find it easier to optimize for voice search. That’s because it’s easy to work these keywords into conversational blog posts and most savvy content marketers are already using this technique.
The amount of online video content we’re consuming each year is still on the rise. Videos can connect with consumers around the world. And they deliver huge amounts of information, responses, thoughts and feelings effectively and efficiently.
To heighten the excitement and the feeling of involvement for users, many companies are now “going live.” That means promoting content ahead of time and then interacting with customers in real-time. Depending on your business model, this can be a very effective method of engagement and engagement is a typically a big win in the “relationship building” aspect of marketing for any business. If you can effectively fit live video into your digital marketing strategy then … do eeeeeet.
Customer experience marketing is all about making sure your customers have a good experience when you’re engaging with them. In a world where it’s easier than ever to switch to a competitor, it’s easy to see why customer experience is so important.
Focusing on customer experience might seem like a really vague concept but it’s easier than most of us realize. It’s pretty easy to see where you can improve customer experience by, drum roll … putting yourself in your customers’ shoes!
So, look at your marketing campaigns, examine your sales process and take a closer look at your support channels from your customer’s perspective. And, if you can’t do this effectively then find a business associate or outside agency who can. Follow the customer’s journey through the use of your product and then figure out where you can improve their experiences.
Some ideas include: giving customers tools to do things themselves, speeding up and simplifying purchases, returns and other interactions, allow customers to use a trial period before purchasing and improving all customer communications with the intention of removing confusion. Focus on customer experience as part of your digital marketing agenda and watch your client base grow exponentially.
Strategic Social Media
Have you noticed that it’s getting increasingly difficult for you to reach your target audience on social media? With so many changing algorithms and updates to content with, businesses must fight for their social presence.
If you want your social media presence to be effective then it’s time to generate content that creates interactions. Interactions include comments, likes and shares.
It’s still okay to do a certain amount of filler type content posts just to keep your social channels populated. However, you really need to be thinking about how you can share content that does more than just fill your followers’ newsfeeds.
And, while you can affordably hire an outside agency to create a lot of the filler type content, you probably need to consider generating unique share-worthy content from inside your organization because no outside agency will know how to do this as effectively as you will. Consider using a social media dashboard to simplify the management of your posts and social content.
2018 is the year for actionable, strategic social media plans for businesses of all sizes.
BONUS: Are there any digital marketing trends specifically for brick and mortar businesses?
Yes! Social wi-fi marketing is one of the newest and most exciting ways for businesses that have physical locations to collect customer data.
Customers access your free secure wi-fi network by utilizing either a social media account, email address or cell phone number. The social wi-fi solution includes a robust and powerful dashboard that allows you to gain insight into your customers’ personas and behaviors while also giving you the ability to re-market to them!
Are You Ready for These Digital Marketing Trends?
The last few years have seen a number of new digital marketing trends, and 2018 will be no different. The trends outlined above are likely to impact your business in numerous ways! So, hit the ground running with your digital marketing this year!
Need help making it all come together? Get in touch today and let’s chat.