The New Year is upon us, and is there anything more quintessentially New Year-ish than “year in review” or an “upcoming trends” post? Nope. They’re pretty much standard across every industry and vertical. And so, of course, we’re jumping on board. In this post we’ll be taking a look at 11 of the top marketing trends to implement in 2018. Some of these, of course, you’ll already be doing - and may have been doing for years, but others are fairly new to the marketing world and could make a huge impact in your strategic plans going forward.CONTENT MARKETING
A Solid Content Marketing Strategy
This probably goes without saying, but in today’s landscape having a solid content marketing strategy is more important than ever. Even though there are new and emerging technologies in the marketing industry, at some point everything - whether it’s social media or PPC advertising - ties back to the content you’re creating. Content isn’t just churning out blog post after blog post anymore, it’s the entire spectrum of your marketing plan and what you’re saying!
Gone are the days when SEO rankings were determined on a post-by-post basis. Search engines are now looking to see what types of content an entire site is producing to determine whether they should be deemed an expert on the topic. This means that by focusing your content into clusters - or groups of posts surrounding the same topics - you’ll be able to let the bots know that you truly know your stuff and are an expert in your field.
One of the biggest marketing trends in recent years that is sure to continue in 2018 is the idea of creating nurturing content for your audience. We don’t mean writing newsletters dedicated to warm and fuzzy topics (but if anyone has a newsletter dedicated to pictures of baby animals feel free to sign me up), but rather content that continues to propel your audience forward through your conversion process, whatever that may be. For example, almost everything you post - whether it’s on social media, your website, or your blog - should have a defined purpose. Your social media posts, for instance, should drive your audience to your blog where they can then click over to a white paper and fill out a contact form that will then get your sales team in touch. Posting content and just leaving it somewhere in the void of the Internet without a path to follow will just be an effort in futility on your part, so make sure your content is working for you!
Predictive analytics isn’t so much a marketing trend, as a necessary component and it goes hand-in-hand with developing a solid strategy. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to look at what your prospective and current audience has been doing in the past and is currently doing and morph it into a prediction about what they will be doing down the line. When monitoring your various reports and analytics you’ll be looking for trends that show where your efforts are succeeding and looking for new markers of success.
For the past couple of years landing pages have been everything to marketers - and they still are. You can hardly go to any website without being asked to sign up for a newsletter, download an ebook, or asked to enter your email address to receive a coupon code. However, 2018 is looking to move us away from landing pages and toward on-site messaging - i.e. using interactive chat features to speak directly with prospective customers. In some instances these chats may be manned by an actual human being, whereas in others they can be operated via bot but the idea remains the same - your prospects will be engaging in conversations rather than simply leaving information.
This marketing trend is similar to the above, but with a slightly different twist. Not only do your prospects want a more interactive experience, they also want a more personalized experience. Implementing tools that include their names in emails is great (but only if it works, guys - we’ve seen way too many emails that go out with the generic “Hi [First_Name]” tag!!), but being able to remind them that they’ve got something in their shopping cart, or that you think they may enjoy XYZ product because they previously purchased something similar is even better. Remember, your current customers are still options for additional or new revenue - don’t solely focus on fresh meat.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media Continues To Be A Mainstay - Especially Facebook
Sorry folks, social media marketing isn’t going anywhere and if you thought you’d be able to move away from creating Facebook content, we apologize in advance. In fact, Facebook is expected to become even more impactful than it already is. Yes, they keep messing with their algorithms and trying to throttle organic reach, but that just means you’ve got to be one step ahead of them some of the time and playing by the rules the rest of the time.
Interestingly, LinkedIn is expected to see a boost in business-to-business marketing in 2018. There was a major overhaul to the site and its UX in 2017 which has encouraged users to come back to the site and begin cultivating and nurturing their networks. Additionally, their ad platform underwent a revamp which is proving fruitful to some advertisers. Where LinkedIn was formerly an afterthought in the marketing world, be prepared to see it gain more traction this year.
Influencer Marketing Reimagined
In the past few years - especially since social platforms like Instagram have taken off - an entirely new category of marketing has emerged: influencer marketing. Since influencer metrics can be difficult or impossible to maintain (good luck trying to figure it out on Snapchat) it’s become increasingly important for brands to work with influencers whose audience clearly trusts their opinion and interacts with them regularly. Traditionally “influencers” are those users that have hundreds of thousands or millions of subscribers - typically celebrities - who are getting paid to shill a product. However, brands are beginning to realize that having a celebrity endorse something on Instagram doesn’t make their product anymore relatable, so they’re seeking out the new generation of social influences: micro-influencers. These are people who have a fairly substantial following but, more importantly, have a very active following.
Photo Credit: Google Images
Video content has been a huge part of Facebook’s recent algorithm updates and that trend is expected to continue through 2018. Piggybacking on the strength of Snapchat’s “Stories” feature, Facebook has rolled out their own version after also implementing the capability on Instagram (which they own). Video content, at the moment at least, is providing companies and brands with stronger organic reach and engagement than other forms of content, so it’s one of those marketing trends that’s definitely worth considering adding to your marketing strategy - bonus points if you do a live stream!
Transparency and Reviews Will Be Huge
Finally, we arrive at transparency and reviews. With the Internet literally at everyone’s fingertips these days it takes no time at all for someone to hunt down a customer review of a service provider. With that, it’s important for all organizations to make sure that in 2018 they’re doing what they can to secure glowing reviews from their customers, whether it’s in the form of Facebook or Yelp! Reviews, or even a testimonial on their website. Prospective customers are actively looking for these, and you would be remiss to not see them as the essential marketing tool that they are.
Ready to jump headfirst into 2018 with these marketing trends? Start by revamping your LinkedIn company page with our guide!