This year is winding down and it’s time to start looking ahead to 2018. It is important to build on the successes of 2017. Knowing what the trends in digital marketing are will give you a leg up on knowing what creative talent you need to seek. Technology moves fast and it’s always better to be leading the pack than chasing it. As 2017 closes, some definite trends are emerging that can guide you in planning for next year. Stay ahead of the curve and leave your competitors in the rearview mirror.
Email marketing will likely still be one of the most important tools for your team in 2018. If you think your email is getting lost in the spam folder, now is the time to step up and get your email marketing program in gear. Email marketing will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, and 2018 should be the year your organization decides to really step up in this area.
Here are the top three ingredients that need to be a part of your email marketing strategy:
- Optimize for Mobile
- Personalize Content
- Video Works
Optimize for Mobile
In a study from May 2016 to April 2017, of 27 billion email opens, 55% were opened on a mobile device. Your email marketing team needs to understand how to optimize the user experience for mobile devices. What looks great on your desktop during your marketing meeting may not even show up on your customer’s mobile phone. If you want to meet your customers where they are, your emails need to work well on mobile devices.
You aren’t the only one who knows that customers are being reached effectively through email. Your competition knows it as well. With more businesses pushing to improve their email marketing, how is your email going to stand out and avoid the trash can? You need to personalize content. Make your email relevant to your customer. What are they seeking? Craft your message so the customer doesn’t just scroll by. Don’t forget: Appearance matters. A well-designed email filled with great content to a targeted audience with an actionable message just can’t be beat.
You say you’re not satisfied with your email marketing conversion rates? In addition to addressing the items already listed, it’s time you got on board with adding video to your email marketing. Adding video thumbnails dramatically improves click-through rates. Beware, however, you need high quality video that gives the customer a reason to click through, not just video for the sake of video. You need talented people who can create videos that pack a punch and that people want to see.
Great; so you’re ready to tackle email marketing and that personalized content. Another critical piece of the 2018 landscape is knowing what your customers are typing into Google. That’s where you need someone who knows how to analyze what customers are searching for and make sure that your business is right there to meet them.
It’s not enough to throw money at marketing and wait for results. You need talent who understand how search works. A good SEO/SEM analyst makes the difference between throwing darts in the dark and throwing laser-guided darts at a well-lit target. Hiring an SEM analyst who manages your online marketing and makes sure you float above the competition is simply smart. Sure, you put out a great product or service; you even have a good-looking website describing it very well, but without knowing what your customers are searching for – today – you may still be missing the mark.
What Value Will an SEO/SEM Analyst Add to My Business?
When you’re a small business with a handful of customers, it is easier to know what they want from you and what they’re looking for when they consider where to make their next purchase. But when you have 1000+ customers, with tens of thousands of potential customers all searching from the privacy of their mobile phones? How can you possibly know what they want?
That’s where an SEO/SEM analyst is going to add real value to your company. By constantly analyzing search trends and staying one step ahead, an analyst can determine which keywords are trending, based on your business and service offerings, and which keywords are becoming stale. Good SEO makes the customer say, “Wow, yes! That’s exactly what I need.”
Social Media Marketing
You may have heard that the president uses Twitter from time to time. If the president of the United States is using Twitter to build his brand, it’s clearly important that your business is at the forefront of social media marketing for your audience as well.
Brands must “pay to play” in 2018, meaning that companies must invest in paid social marketing through smart strategic initiatives to keep pace with competitors and engage with a demanding social consumer base. Organic conversions will become increasingly elusive in 2018, due to changing news feed algorithms and competition. Outbound marketing through social is highly likely see an increase as the marketplace gets even more crowded.
Other new developments in social poised to impact to 2018 and beyond include chatbots, advocacy marketing, voice search, and real-time news tracking. Chatbots have already carved out a presence on Facebook, as brands are using bots to engage with users and execute sales through messenger. Social media’s adaption to these marketing shifts will be worthy of keeping an eye on in 2018.
Your Opportunity to Connect
There are a dizzying number of streams for social media and search marketing, and many email automation options to explore to target your messaging. Let’s face it: all these choices can be overwhelming. But they don’t have to be. Getting the right talent for social media, SEM and email marketing can help position your marketing team to connect your message with your customers and reach to new customers as well. But if you only measure your marketing team by sales conversions, you may miss the important “meaningful connection” piece of the puzzle. Don’t.
Seize the Trends Today
Start planning to get the right talent in place for your organization today. Your competitors aren’t going to wait, so why should you? Jump ahead of the curve and beat your competition to the punch. By this time next year, you could be poised to have your most successful year ever.