You’re in your car, driving home from work, replaying your mistakes in your head. These little mistakes grow and grow in your mind as traffic seems to be at a standstill. Then suddenly, one of your favorite songs comes on. Its energetic beat and empowering lyrics have the power to quiet those nagging thoughts. You are finally able to relax.
By the end of the song, you feel better. You feel more confident. You are ready to leave those mistakes in the past and mentally start over.
You’re not the same person you were this morning, and you are ready to take on any challenges that come your way with a fresh new mindset.
While we do this refresh for our personal lives typically every New Year, and occasionally in between, we also need to do this for our brand as well. Your brand is a living system that has faults, strengths and a million working pieces that could also use a refresh from time to time.
But without a plan, this fresh new beginning will quickly revert back to old ways.
Which is why we’ve created a quick guide to help you take on all the marketing changes, trends, and updates of 2018 that you need to focus on in order to grow your brand this year.
First, make sure you understand that times have completely shifted to mobile. While most of us understand this in theory, many businesses still refuse to accept it in practice.
Users aren’t just on social media playing games anymore. People are paying bills, filling out forms, reading entire articles and working from their phones.
While this shift gives us more opportunity for mobile advertising, it also means that we are not only competing with our industry rivals anymore, we are competing with every single thing that pops up on someone’s screen.
So even though there are some important trends to consider going into 2018, the most important thing is to be authentic and stand out. If you are playing by everyone else’s rules, you’ll get lost in the crowd. It’s not about trending and getting the most likes on social, it’s about creating a connection that sticks.
SEO and Content Linking
The updates to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm focus on the quality and relevancy of content and penalizes for keyword stuffing or exact-match keyword targeting.
Several of the other algorithms largely focuses on getting rid of bad-links, spammy, or ad heavy content. Which makes bounce rates even more important than before. The Panda update will star
Instead of keyword stuffing in multiple new posts, you are now better off creating a web of links around several well-crafted posts that people are likely to read all the way through.
Take time to go back through old posts and update them, and add links to other internal posts as much as you can. The longer you can keep a user on your site, the better you look in Google’s eyes.
The Authentic Email Campaign
Email marketing is far from dead. Even if we tried to kill it, it would still find a way to haunt us. But people are sick and tired of emails, so it’s very important to be mindful of how often you are sending them. And being even more mindful of what you are sending them.
If it’s not a special offer, then it must extremely informative or entertaining.
Start with a short and concise subject line. According to Marketing Land’s research, they found that in 2017, people preferred email subject lines that were only 4 words long. Which doesn’t give you a lot of wiggle room.
This doesn’t mean you have to sit there and rack your brain for hours trying to come up with only 4 words, but you should focus on keeping them short and interesting.
The body content should be short as well. Remember, people have very short attention spans when it comes to emails, so make your point quickly.
Need more specifics on types of emails? Learn about the similarities between emails and cocktails, with lots of visual examples here.
The Rise of AI
It’s becoming rare to find websites that don’t have a little person in a bubble pop up at the bottom of your screen and ask you if they can help you with anything. While I somewhat hoped this trend would die after twitter’s racist chatbot, it seems as though they are here to stay.
You need to ask yourself if chatbots are right for your business. If you are a technical, digital, or software company, you may want to invest in a to show that you are ahead of the game. Since some of these AI service associates can become more intelligent over time, the sooner you get started, the faster it will get to know your users and system.
But these aren’t for everyone. If your target audience is an older generation, chances are they hate talking to anything automated and want to talk to a real person.
You don’t want to drive away customers by showing them you don’t have time to answer their calls and speak with them one on one. Don’t add a chatbot if you are just trying to save money, do it if you can actually improve your customer’s experience by getting them valuable answers quickly and accurately.
It’s hard to keep up with the constant changes of social media platforms. One minute Snap Chat is the biggest platform for businesses to gain exposure. The next minute it’s throwing out a wider range of Bitmojis to save what’s left of it’s 178 million daily active users after Instagram started dominating with stories and filters.
All these flashy emojis and filters aren’t going to help your marketing strategy. But all the trendy social celebrities will.
The newest social marketing trend in 2018 is Influencer Marketing. Since you are partnering with social media celebs that already have a lot of followers, you’ll get more exposure and hopefully also gain the trust of followers. Social Media Today found that, of those questioned, 69% of companies reported that influencer marketing was effective or got results.
As Facebook makes updates to the news feed to focus on organic posts with real social interactions instead of likes and shares, you will find it more difficult to get as much real estate as actual social posts.
Caring for your current customers
All of the emails, social selling and ads are still no match for word of mouth from a satisfied customer or client. If your company is spending more time on attracting new clients in unlikely places like Twitter, you’re doing it wrong.
Your biggest concern should always be making sure your current clients feel like royalty. Let them be your advertisement by telling others how much they enjoy working with you and recommending you to others.