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In 2018, you need a sales and marketing plan that makes the best use of digital marketing to create more visibility and drive revenue. We’ve identified five major trends that should get your focus in 2018. The businesses that are able to best take advantage of these trends will get a huge leg up over their competitors. To help you get you started — and to make this coming year more profitable for you — read about the five important digital marketing trends for 2018 below.
CONTENT MARKETING TO ATTRACT AND ENGAGE PROSPECTS
Content marketing is nothing new, but it is definitely evolving.
Small business owners have gone from simple blogging to more complicated strategies involving infographics, ebooks and more. You don’t have to go all out like that, but you should be providing your audience some sort of value through the content you post.
People want to be educated. They want answers to burning questions. They also want to learn more about the things they already do so they can do them better.
Satisfy their need with content, and you will win their attention. Hold their attention with consistently awesome content, and you can win their repeat business.
70% of people say they would rather learn about a company through articles than ads.
For this reason, around 90% of businesses that advertise online use content marketing currently. Most are interested in shifting dollars from traditional ads to content, where they can find better returns.
You should create engaging, in-depth content with a strong visual element to attract prospects. Reach more people by learning about the content they want to consume and giving them more of it.
If you stay in front of your prospects through regular content posting, you’ll increase the odds of being first-in-mind anytime someone requires your services.
When you can balance your services & expertise with things your audience wants to learn about, you can hit a marketing sweet spot. You’ll find bigger returns on web traffic, social media engagement and lead generation.
VIDEO CONTINUES TO DOMINATE
You might not be into Facebook Live yet, but you probably should be! Recent data from Facebook shows that people are 10x more likely to comment on a Facebook Live video than otherwise.
Even if Facebook Live does not work for your business, incorporating video into your marketing is key. Consider that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos each week, on average.
Now, keep in mind that there are over 2 billion active Facebook users in the world. A little bit of number crunching reveals that approximately 1 billion people watch one hour of video a week. That’s a huge embedded audience to explore!
Video holds much more attention and communicates messages more effectively than text or still images alone. Recognizing this, small businesses have been using video and finding huge returns. Whether as a type of content or a paid ad, video drives huge amounts of engagement.
Research from Wyzowl indicates that 79% percent of consumers surveyed would rather watch a video to learn about a new product then read about it.
Also, “64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.” So, people are not only watching video but also remembering what they see and actually buying things afterwards!
Small business owners can start working on their video strategy easily by answering common questions customers have — either Live or as a prerecorded release.
From there, consider repurposing some of your existing content into short, informative videos and uploading them directly to social media.
FACEBOOK ADVERTISING TO REACH PROSPECTS
Facebook ads have become quite sophisticated in the past couple of years. They’re finally at a point where even marketers for small businesses can target effectively while gain valuable audience insights.
Facebook has 1.3 billion active daily users, and they made $7.6 billion in ad revenue in Q1 of 2017 alone. So, you know for a fact that audiences are there and that others are in on the game.
Without your own Facebook ad presence, your competitors are staying in front of your customers when you are not looking.
The average cost-per-click on Facebook is just $1.72, which means you it is a cost effective way to reach your prospects where they spend their time.
You can put your message about your business in front of high value prospects, even among very specific demographics.
When you combine video and Facebook Ads you really start to multiply the impac. Recent data highlights the fact that social video (basically any kind of branded video or advertisement) generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
Using paid media and specifically Facebook Ads has quickly become a must to amplify your brand and product messages to your customer and prospects. Even if your Ad is not runaway viral advertisement it can still likely generate more engagement, likes and awareness for your brand online.
INSTAGRAM & INFLUENCERS DRIVE ENGAGEMENT
When it comes to consistent engagement, Instagram is the number one social channel out there. That’s the conclusion of a study done by Yopto, which found engagement rate on Instagram to be 45% greater than on Facebook and 40% greater than Twitter.
What exactly does ‘engagement’ mean? It means this: over 75% of users will take action on an advertisement post in their feed. The key here is to let your customers do the posting as much as you do.
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The same Yopto study found that 77% of people are more convinced by user-generated photos of a product rather than professional photos. Crowdsource your own content by asking loyal customers for pictures of them using your product. People love the attention, and you save on professional photography, so it’s a win-win for all.
Another key thing to know about Instagram is how powerful Instagram Influencers are.
“Influencers” refers to people with lots of followers and tons of engagement from fans. There are all types of influencers, including subject matter experts who post videos and photos related to their expertise.
Small businesses can tap into these influencers at a relatively low cost. Case studies have shown that niche experts in your industry will drive direct sales traffic without costing your company an arm and a leg.
Take the example of RESCUE, for instance. RESCUE wanted to push their range of natural products, and asked a number of micro-influencers and bloggers to share their personal stories and include a “buy one, get one free” coupon with their post. The results? A 258% increase in Instagram followers — not to mention over 6,00 clicks to the coupon site.
Because of success stories like these, there is no question that leveraging micro-influencers to drive conversion rates will be a major trend in social media marketing going forward.
BUSINESSES NOT OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND
Digital devices have completely changed how your customers search for and buy things. 2/3 of the world’s population is connected by mobile devices, and people now spend more time browsing on mobile compared to desktop.
According to data collected by SimilarWeb.com, 36.46% of Google searches come from a desktop in 2017, while 63.54% come from mobile. It is expected that mobile use will continue to grow in 2018, likely surpassing the 70% mark by the end of the year.
The only conclusion you can draw from this: You must optimize for mobile. Otherwise, you’ll hurt the experience for mobile viewers, causing them to seek out other businesses that can offer a better one.
What does being “mobile optimized” mean in 2018? Looking at your search results appearance, for one.
Get found online by researching how your page appears on mobile search. Mobile searches tend to bring up locally focused information, so reviews and accurate information about your business matter.
For instance, 50% of local mobile searches lead to store visits, so having accurate information on your hours is critical.
The continued transition to mobile means people are searching for what they want in the moment at which they want it. Let’s say a tourist is walking in downtown Chicago and searches for ‘best pizza’. How will they compare the quality of competing restaurants within walking distance?
Usually, they will look to reviews. Research from BrightLocal points out that 90% of people search for reviews of a business before visiting. That’s nothing to sneeze at!
The quality and frequency of reviews matters, so make sure to ask customers for reviews as part of your regular business routine.
Also, ensure the information available on your business from Google is plentiful and accurate. You can start by using Schema markup on your contacts page. At the same time, make sure you have accurate, updated directions to your business listed and your hours of operation updated.
All of these informative features need to be monitored and optimized for mobile use in order for you to keep getting business — rather than scaring business away.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE FIVE DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2018 TO FIND SUCCESS GROWING YOUR BUSINESS
In 2018, competing online is no longer an option.
It’s a must in order for your business to survive.
To grow your business you must apply a complete digital marketing strategy.
One that gets more Leads & Sales.
One that takes advantage of the shifts in Mobile, Social, Video, Reputation, Search and other digital marketing trends.
One that connects all the dots, so that people can find you on any channel but still have a consistent experience. One that gives the information people need to make a buying decision through helpful content and a mobile-optimized experience.
This is the only way for your business to not be left behind.
If you take advantage of these trends, you will have a distinct advantage in growing your business over your competition.