Organising your marketing strategy for 2018 is no doubt something you’ve started to think about. Maybe you’re a marketing ninja and have a plan already. Or at the other end of the scale, you’ve just a few lines scribbled on paper.
Either way, you’ll want to make sure your marketing is better than 2017, with more conversions, engagement and goals met.
And with known marketing successes, and failures, you’ll have confidence that the arrow representing success will be pointing up, rather than down.
This is all good practice of course – but what about diving into new technologies and tactics? Yes, develop campaigns and channels that work, but if you stick to what you know, competitors who adopt emerging trends may take your slice of the market.
It’s also good to look ahead and try out new ideas. It keeps you and your team fresh, and channels the mind to think of different approaches when developing a company.
So I’ve put together a list of eight trends to try in 2018. As with any new method, ensure tracking tools are in place to monitor engagement. That way you’ll know if it’ll integrate into the following year’s marketing. Crikey, I’m talking about 2019 already!
- Victorious video: If you haven’t already embraced video, then you should. The popularity grew in 2017 and doesn’t look like slowing. It’s one of the top channels people want to engage with, and a great way to show the human side of your business and get across difficult messages. And with available technology, you can cost-effectively add it to your strategy. Don’t just think of it as an introduction to your company. Video can form part of the buying cycle – maybe a product explainer video, or a thank you to a client. Relevant and informative videos can, and should, form your integrated link to clinch the conversion or develop loyalty.
- We’re streaming live in 3, 2, 1: If you want to take video a leap forward – then look to live streaming. It’s simple enough – you broadcast a live video feed to your target audience, mainly via social media. You can use tools like Twitter’s Periscope, Instagram or Facebook’s live streaming function. Direct from your phone, you can engage with your followers in a unique, relaxed and immediate way. I wouldn’t advise though just clicking on the button and rambling on. Have a plan in place first and know the structure – otherwise your viewers might find you, and your company, look a bit shabby. Here’s some useful tips from Facebook when planning your stream.
- Experience an experience: More and more people want to engage with a brand that has a purpose – social or lifestyle reasons are good examples. And with a brand story to tell, think about yours and how people can truly engage with it. And there you go, bring on an experience, or experiential marketing. An experience is more than an event or conference, it’s a live event that offers a unique opportunity for your audience to feel, talk, play and interact with your brand. It has a true meaning and because there is no real hard sell, people are likely to create an online conversation about you. Your event can take place anywhere – just make it memorable, funny, thought-provoking – something out of the ordinary. You’ll love these ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Content is still king: When it comes to key marketing tactics, content marketing is right up there. So if you haven’t invested in this area – start doing so. If you’re new to it, it’s not about writing a blog post saying how wonderful you are and why people should buy your product. Content marketing delivers timely, useful, relevant and engaging content, that helps and educates your audience. It leads them into your brand and product/service gently, rather than blatantly in their faces. And like video mentioned earlier, it can be deployed at any time to nurture and secure a lead. And if you think you’ve never been drawn in by content marketing – you’re wrong – you’re reading some now!
- Make it personal: If you personalise your marketing and messaging – then the results speak for themselves. Take email for example. If you include the recipient’s first name in the subject line, the chance of that email being opened increases by 14.68%. Including a name is basic stuff, so go further and personalise the content too. You can then see conversion rates rise by 10%. Making your marketing personal makes the audience feel special, and you’re thinking of them, and not just another name on a database. Look to tailoring your website too with smart content. This enables your website to recognise past account sign ups and users, and use their name for example within the web page. Again, that personal touch is likely to encourage higher conversion rates, so it’s something you should develop in 2018.
- Let’s get communicating: With the rise of e-commerce and web interaction comes the need for quicker and more efficient customer service. FAQs are a great tool to have, and now trends show that live chat and chat bots are on the rise. I’ve always been a great fan of live chat and have recommended it for many clients. If a buyer is unsure, a conversation through this can offer all the confidence they need to buy. Chat bots are like live chat, only that they’re automated (there’s no human talking to you), so they can run 24/7, 365 days a year, and are cost-effective. There are pros and cons with both, so do your research and see what’s best for you – it may be a mix of the two.
- Become influential: Influencer marketing continues to trend with marketers who realise leveraging social media champions is a great way to promote a brand. Remember though, it’s not always the influencers who have the highest number of followers is best. Look to micro-influencers, typically under 5000 followers, who have a more dedicated following. And when the influencer shares an item, followers are more likely to engage – therefore working harder for your brand. In this case, quality rules over quantity.
- Analyse analytics: Whilst analytics is not really a trend, it’s worth remembering the importance of this, and why it continues to grow in 2018. You can gather a vast array of information on your marketing campaigns to analyse their effectiveness. Anything from a wrong image, text or CTA (call-to-action) to where people are visiting from and what they buy. These tools can also be free. So use them to your advantage and start to process the information in a way you can understand and interpret. It can seem confusing, but get to grips with it and it’ll become a potent weapon in your armoury. Google has lots of useful information and a course to study too to get you underway.
Don’t be scared about trying out new tactics. Be brave, do your research and plan the method from start to end. Having confidence in the whole process, whether it’s introducing live chat for the first time or going for your first video, will no doubt make it a success.
And before you know it, you’ll be a wizard at the new tactics, be forming new relationships, and elevating your marketing from ground floor to the penthouse suite!