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Marketing strategies change all of the time. As new technology is developed and consumer usage changes, the world of marketing needs to keep up and find new ways to draw customers in. If you run your own businesses, especially a smaller enterprise, it can be tough keeping up. You can feel like as soon as you’ve got to grips with some new techniques and you’re finally reaping the rewards of seeing more customers come through your doors or clicking on your links, new technologies come into play and you are on the back foot again.
One of the first things you need to do when it comes to looking at your marketing plan for the coming year is to look back over the last. Sit down and look at everything you’ve done to market your company or service in 2017. Take a detailed look at what worked well for you.
Think about what needs changes and further innovation to be truly successful, and those things that were a complete waste of time and aren’t worth carrying forward. Within this, however, it’s important to remember that market changes mean that just because something worked well last year, this year it may bring no footfall at all, it might take something entirely new, or a rehash of an old venture, to bring the crowds flocking. So, take forward what you can, while keeping an open mind and always being willing to change your plans to reflect customer activity and new technologies.
2017, as anticipated saw the continued growth of digital marketing strategies. Now, even the smallest of businesses, new start-ups, and sole traders can market their business online, and more traditional, more expensive, methods are much less prevalent. In 2017 new companies used social media marketing to sell their products and services, driving traffic to their websites and stores. This saw social media very much take a step away from the social, and into the media as sites like Facebook started to show favor to paid posts over organic. It also saw the huge growth of AI, augmented reality, apps, thinking computers and marketing through wearable tech. All of which seemed a distant dream not too long ago.
So, what does the coming year look like? Which of those strategies look set to grow in use, and what new developments should we be looking at? A web marketing company will be able to help. But, for now, let’s take a look at some of the strategies we should be using in 2018.
Video has gone from a novelty to a significant part of the internet. By 2020 75% of all online content could be video. From vanishing clips on Snapchat or Instagram stories to full webinars and live vlogs on Facebook. Live video is becoming a much bigger part of marketing.
Its beauty is that it can be used in a variety of different ways. You can use your videos to answer questions with a quick Facebook Q and A, post a live video of your product or service being used, or film a full webinar, featuring explanation, polls, and room for questions. You can use live video to give your viewers and customers a real-time look at how things work. In this sense, they trust live video. Now it’s becoming more regular; they see live videos as real. There’s no editing or touch-ups, this product or service must be good if you are willing to film it live.
On the other hand, live video can be fun. Bloggers and other influencers show that you don’t need to be a super serious company to gain huge amounts of followers. You can do it by being real and honest. So, use your live videos to show your customers behind the scenes. The real side of your company that isn’t perfected or airbrushed. Have fun with it. If you sell kitchenware, for instance, film a live baking session, using your products.
Vanishing content like Instagram stories and snapchat can be valuable here. Knowing the content won’t last gives you a real sense of freedom. Use these short clips to show your customers what’s going on behind the scenes, unstructured and unscripted. Enjoy it.
With video taking over the internet, and more people using their internet on their mobile devices, it comes as no surprise that the majority of the video being watched, is on a smaller screen. Recode reports that mobile video ad spending will grow by 49% to around $18 billion in 2018, while non-mobile video ad spending looks set to fall to $15 billion. More companies are spending money targeting mobile users, which makes sense as the average viewer watches 36 minutes of video on a mobile screen every day, as opposed to 19 minutes on a larger computer screen. This marks the first time that full-screen ad spends have fallen below mobile and is something that could continue for years to come.
Explainer videos are unbelievably useful and a great way of linking your platforms. Despite the growth in online shopping, many customers still prefer to shop in person. They like to see, feel and try the product they are buying, especially if they are expensive. They also like to be able to ask customer service assistants for help and advice, so they don’t get a product home to find that they’ve got absolutely no idea how to use it.
When you shop online, a product you are unfamiliar with arrives on your doorstep, and you have to rely on what are often preposterously complicated instructions to figure out what you are doing. You could spend the first few hours, or even days in a state of confusion before getting to enjoy your purchase.
Explainer videos change this. Including a small video with a product’s description, highlighting its key features or showing how to use it can help a customer more than you might imagine. You could also post explainer videos to your social media profiles and send them in email attachments once a purchase has been made. Explainer videos are also turning the good old-fashioned FAQ or troubleshooting sections of websites into something that’s actually helpful and informative.
This is not only excellent marketing. It also helps you to build trusting and loyal relationships with your customers.
AI is already being used widely. Visit any big website, and you’ll find the adverts that you are shown are relevant to you. Just look down your Facebook feed. All of the adverts present reflect your interests and current search history. Your device knows what you want, and shows you where to find it without you having to ask. This highly customized content delivery is a fantastic way of bringing new customers in and making their lives easier. While starting an AI campaign can be costly, it’s use is set to grow by up to 54% in the next two years, so it’s certainly something that you should consider getting involved in.
Think about a normal day in your life. You move about, visit different locations, travel and stop in different places. Yet one thing remains constant. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you check your phone. It’s thought that the average user starts a mobile session 75 times every day, whatever they are doing. Gone are the days where you only viewed the internet at home or work. Now, you are online in a huge variety of different locations all day long.
Geofencing makes the most of this. Geofences are areas that prompt mobile notifications when a customer is active online within the area. If your mobile app uses geofencing, you could then send that particular customer content, adverts and deals relevant to their location. If they are near your business, you could send them a special offer, specifically for them, without needing to advertise it to a wider audience. This is a great way to help new customers find you and to pull them in.
Micro-influencers, such as bloggers or social media influencers are those with an audience of between 1000 and 100000. In the big world of business, that might not seem like many people. But, these influencers have meaningful relationships with their users. They respond to them, get to know them and interact with them directly. When it comes to advertising a product, this relationship can be invaluable.
Advertise on a large website; you might find your advert is largely ignored. Work with a micro-influencer to promote your product and readers are more likely to respond, ask questions, comment, and share. Allowing you to reach a wide and engaged audience.
Traditional Offline Marketing
The growth of digital marketing doesn’t mean the end of more traditional methods. People trust people, and they trust things that they can touch and hold. Look at some of the more successful marketing strategies of the past for ideas going forward. You may even find the novelty factor of dated devices gets you noticed and helps you to stand out.
Marketing changes all of the time. So, while these are the strategies that you can expect to be big next year, keep assessing, keep researching and be open to change as the year progresses.