I’ve worked in marketing my whole career and I still can’t believe how much it’s changed. Luckily, I love change. And I love technology (can’t help it, being married to an Early Adopter)! So, it won’t surprise you to know that the marketing trends for 2018 all have a digital focus. I’ve kept things pretty simple though, in my top trends to watch out for – all of these should be achievable for most businesses, if you’re not doing them already.
#1 – Continued focus on content
Content marketing has been big for some time now, but marketers worldwide still find it one of the most important areas for growth and attention. From email and social media to online ads and sites, marketers and businesses will continue to develop more strategic, personalised content for their target audiences.
Keep in mind, too, that content is about much more than just ‘words’ – marketers have to be aware of how their audiences access and use content in different formats and on all devices. Mobile content and video remain a key part of the overall plan (more on that below).
#2 – Chat and chatbots
When customers visit a website, they want answers, whether it’s 6:00am or midnight. When your business can provide those answers quickly and easily, it’s more likely that visitors will stick around and convert into loyal, paying customers. That’s why more and more businesses are offering online chat services for customers.
Having a live person to handle online chat is best, but artificial-intelligence-powered chat and messaging tools are already helping businesses tackle some needs. For instance, Intercom’s “Hello, Operator” bot helps businesses answer questions, gather lead information and rate visitor experience, as well as guide viewers to additional information at times when your team’s not available.
#3 – Voice search
Believe it or not, voice-activated search now accounts for 20% of all online searches, and that percentage is expected to jump to 50% by 2020, meaning that this artificial intelligence tool will only grow in popularity next year.
Having fully embraced Google Home this year, and recently purchasing a cellular Apple Watch which works truly ‘on the go’, I can personally vouch for this. What does this mean for marketing? Since it’s faster and easier to speak than to type, users tend to include more words in voice searches – and from an SEO perspective, that means incorporating more ‘long-tail’ keyword phrases in web and ad content than what’s needed in text searches.
#4 – The power of video remains
Video – whether live streaming on Facebook, in a YouTube tutorial or providing helpful information on your website – is here to stay.
A Facebook video receives, on average, 135% more organic reach than a Facebook photo – and estimates suggest that by 2020, online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer traffic. And YouTube? Worldwide, we’re up to one billion hours a day of YouTube viewing.
The good news is, video doesn’t have to take up all of your marketing budget to be powerful. Even if you start small, video is an excellent way to connect with customers and to express the human side of your brand. Here’s a great example of how I used video for one of my clients this year, as a positioning tool that sits on the home page of their website: https://www.accruharrisorchard.com.au/
Need help in any of these areas for your business? Contact Breathe Marketing today.