2017 welcomed the rise of content production and the downfall of keyword stuffing. Every successful business knows it's important to include what's new in their marketing strategy to stay relevant.
So what are the emerging digital marketing trends of 2018?
Year of the influencer
Teenagers are aspiring to more than the 9 - 5 office job. Millennials admire YouTubers, Instagram influencers and Vine stars (RIP ☠️). The internet has become a platform people can use to create their own way in life and do what they really want to do.
The influencer lifestyle has also changed what we expect from a working environment. Remote work is more common - people aren't limited to one location like they used to be. Young people living in low-employment areas now have more job opportunities thanks to remote work.
Facebook always tweak their algorithm, but this year was bad news for brands. From now on, the news feed will prioritise posts from friends, family and groups. So unless you pay or are already a well-known brand like eBay, Facebook isn't the place for you.
This is where Facebook groups come in. Brands can create groups and build a community of like-minded individuals. This also has the advantage of people getting to know the real people behind your company.
We've got our own Facebook group - The Digital Marketing Sidekick. If you're interested in digital marketing, we've got a lovely community of people who are in the same boat as you and willing to help!
Even though content is becoming a saturated market, there's still room to shine. If you provide awesome value to the reader, you'll gain a loyal following. Also, content is great for making more people aware of your existence. It’s hands down one of the most important aspects of any digital marketing campaign.
One of the biggest attractions of content marketing is that it’s not a direct sell. Creative copy, alongside interesting visuals, can educate and entertain potential customers. Good content can intrigue readers to find out more about the product or service you’re offering.
Video and livestreaming
Video marketing is also part of the entire content marketing set up. As long as you own a smartphone, it's easy to create video content. Facebook and Instagram even prioritise videos and livestreams in the news feed. Unsurprisingly, brands are looking into how they can use video to engage customers.
People are veering away from companies that seem impersonal and cold. Many brands try to be relatable, but it's very easy to tell who's genuine and who isn't. Video content gives companies that edge, as it shows the real people behind the brand name.
Marketing automation is extremely underrated. Most people think marketing automation is just another way of saying ‘email marketing’.
Although email marketing can be part of your automation process, it is not – and should not – be the end all and be all.
Marketing automation unifies the different touchpoints and marketing channels of your business. This means you can nurture warm leads by sending personalised, targeted messages.
There's a lot of software on the market that offers different types of automation. It all depends on the type of business you’re running.
We live in a constantly-connected world, where more customers expect instant results.
Gone are the days of sending out an email to customer support and waiting 24 hours for an answer. Customers want an immediate response from customer service whenever they have a problem.
With email, customers can end up waiting for hours (even days) before they get a response. This doesn't always solve the problem. So, after responding, the wait time of hours and days starts again. Having a toll-free hotline is not only expensive to set up, it’s also expensive to maintain. Your customer service team are stuck with a single customer while they’re fixing the issue.
With live chat, seasoned representatives can chat with and help many customers at a time. This cuts down the waiting time for the customer and clarifies any misunderstandings.
More companies were aware of live chat in 2017, but that doesn't mean they do it well. Website visitors also get confused when they're presented with a pop-up and live chat. They end up leaving issues in an anonymous review pop-up which won't get a response.
The digital marketing landscape always changes. With things like GDPR looming on the horizon, who knows what could happen? By the end of 2018, a new social media platform could be on the rise - you never know! If you're a quick, flexible marketer, whatever happens, you'll be fine.