Seven Hot Digital Marketing Trends of 2018

As each new quarter has unfolded, new trends in the world of digital marketing continue to emerge. More and more companies are implanting these innovative strategies, though some business decision makers have hesitated, waiting to see what the returns on these strategies might actually be. This wise stance has helped us determine which digital marketing trends have had true staying power. As we move into 2018, each quarter will bring new opportunities for business decision makers to implement these hot – and effective – digital marketing strategies.

These and other successful digital marketing strategies have a few important things in common:

  • Data is strategically collected and utilized
  • Collected data is presented in fresh and innovative ways
  • The right team of people works on implementing ideas
  • Results are tracked for the refinement of future efforts

Preparing a digital marketing strategy for each quarter of 2018, and for the year as a whole, can be successfully accomplished with the help of these trending techniques. Implement these strategies and discover what has given then the traction that has made them popular among so many companies.

1. Make Visualization a Top Priority

Data visualization is much more than just a trend – it is an important way of managing information in a manner that communicates ideas effectively and concisely. After all, data is just information until it is framed within a larger conversation or context. Once data is contextualized it is more easily grasped and understood; findings are more readily implemented and people can understand what action can be taken.

Data is perhaps most effectively visualized with the help of a video. Online videos have the potential to be exciting and informative; with the right production design, script, and performer the finished project can communicate a surprising amount of information in a relatively short amount of time.

Videos are easily shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This gives brands increasing opportunities to gain viral traction. Brands can become much more widely known and share their message with more people through effective video dispersal on social media. Sharing, liking, and otherwise boosting content helps kick-start the snowball effect that will be discussed below.

2. Begin Develop Customer-Centric Content

Personalized content is now much easier to develop than it is has ever been. Thanks in large part to increasingly sophisticated data collection algorithms, businesses can deploy personalized shopping experiences for each customer. Content marketing can be used to enhance this personalized experience; done right, you can feel confident that the needs of each customer are perfectly catered to.

Dynamism is the key to successfully developing content centered on customers. Static content no longer serves to connect meaningfully with customers on a personal basis; rich, dynamic content is required. This means that each customer will have a distinctive and unique experience on your website, an experience that more accurately reflects their expectations, needs, and desires.

This is perhaps especially useful when it comes to delivering distinct messaging for new customers and existing customers. Imagine a website that could shift its content to reflect recent past activity of an existing customer and then shift again to welcome a new customer with fresh, relevant information. This is the power of dynamic, customer-centric content.

3. Partner With Great Content Developers

Dynamic content does not happen by accident; you have to make the decision to partner with a content creation team that specializes in producing this kind of material. Some business decision makers choose to work with external content creation companies, especially those with a proven track record of creating great on-page content, while others choose to develop an in-house team of content specialists who handle the creation of fresh, engaging, and informative content.

Working with content creation experts is the right thing to do because only experienced specialty writers have the skills required to compose polished copy. The copy on your website should present your company in the best possible light and do so with flair and imagination. This is perhaps especially important for dynamic, customer-centric content like that described above. Website users are becoming increasingly savvy and can spot phony, weakly phrased copy. Developing an in-house team of writers is a great way to go about creating content that is an accurate reflection of a company’s personality. Brand identity should shine through to catch the reader’s attention and communicate important piece of information quickly and effectively.

Editorial groups and teams can be great assets to any company. Experienced writers can work quickly and can collaborate efficiently on large-scale projects. Furthermore, blogs and email newsletters can be guaranteed fresh content with the help of a dedicated team. Content specialists are vital to delivering information in an engaging way without leaving out the important details that distinguish your products and services from the competition.

4. Use Customers to Influence Others

Reaching customers and successfully completing sales are not the final stages of the sales process. In fact, this can actually be the middle stage of a longer chain of events. Imagine a customer being pleased with their experience with a company as well as with the product or service they purchased. This customer then tells others about this positive experience and so becomes an influencer – someone who independently exerts a brand’s influence throughout their personal social network. This network includes their online presence as well as their interpersonal connections; the larger a person’s social network is, the greater their influence will be. Each of your customers has the potential to be an influencer, so they need to be treated that way.

Customers are transformed into a strong influence on your brand’s behalf in more or less the same way as they are transformed into customers in the first place – through recognizing and then fulfilling their needs. The kind of dynamic solutions described above can help achieve this. As a result, customers form a stronger relationship with the brand that has helped them fulfil their needs and desires, which motivates them to spread your influence to their personal social network.

This continues in a snowballing effect, where brands gain traction through word of mouth and through online social network platforms like Instagram. More and more people take notice of your brand and see what makes you unique and interesting. More interested people are transformed into customers who then go on to do the work of influencers for you.

5. Begin Leveraging Big Data to Your Advantage

Big data is no longer the domain of supercomputers and remote think-tanks. Today you can begin using the tools made available by big data to drive innovation and improvement within your own organization. With the right data, you can begin to predict customer behavior with greater accuracy, which gives you greater control over the sales process. More leads can be generated which then go on to generate additional income. Refining the sales funnel is possible with the help of the right data correctly applied.

When more information is known about a customer or about a specific population of customers, it becomes increasingly possible for sales members to close the deal successfully. Learning more about your customers and their purchasing decisions with the tools of big data will provide you with a wealth of information that can then be analyzed; the results of this careful analysis can then be applied to problem solving, sales plan development, customer outreach efforts, and other ends. This final stage – the analysis and application of information – is what often frustrates business owners and decision makers.

Consider this – 9 out of 10 owners have felt that their business has suffered because sales members were unable to make adequate sense of the information in front of them; they therefore failed to maximize opportunities for income generation. Big data alone cannot solve your problems; information has to be collected in an optimal manner, organized, sorted, retrieved, and analyzed. Partnering with a team of data experts is a great way to accomplish each of these essential stages. Armed with relevant, accurate information, your sales team members will be better equipped to respond to a changing marketplace.

6. Use Native Ads to Boost Visibility

Native ads are unobtrusive and integrate seamlessly with whatever platform they appear on. Rather than interrupt a user’s experience with an annoying pop up, a native ad draws the user’s attention in an organic manner. The introduction of branded information is thus less jarring and the user is much more receptive. The result is a better rate of engagement because people are in a receptive state; they have not been “turned off” by the sudden and unexpected appearance of an ad they didn’t ask to see.

Native ads are perhaps most easily visualized on social media. A post in a user’s news stream alerts them to a brand’s products or lets them know about a special offer that they are likely to be interested in. The ads appear in-context and so the user’s experience is not interrupted; nonetheless, they still receive the information and are educated about what your brand can do for them. Native ads like these are often matched to users based on sophisticated user demographics.

Native ads are especially easy to use on social media platforms, but do not feel limited to these. The same strategies can be applied to generating ads for websites, including websites that your brand already controls. Affiliates can also make use of native ads.

Organizations can use native ads for many purposes, including:

  • Advertising new products
  • Alerting customers to the advantages of using a company’s services
  • Announcing new store hours and new store locations
  • Boosting promotional events like time-sensitive sales and percentage discounts
  • Demonstrating how a product is used
  • Showing how a product or service can solve a problem affecting users

Considerable creative freedom can be exercised in the creation of native ads, although the native ads that appear on social media sites often must conform to the parameters of the platform. A skilled marketing team or group of social media experts should have no trouble developing a campaign of native ads tailored for all relevant branded social media outlets.

7. Master Mobile Marketing Opportunities

Mobile devices are more ubiquitous than they have ever been and people are using them at constantly-increasing rates. Even so, people have a very limited attention span when taking in information on their mobile devices, so engagement has to be measured in the micro-moment. Capturing the micro-moment and making it yours will help drive brand engagement and lead generation.

A micro-moment is the in which a person chooses to reach for their mobile device in order to solve a problem. This problem might be something short term, such as deciding which restaurant to visit, or something more long term, such as researching current home loan rates. Your brand has mastered the micro-moment when a person reaches for their mobile device to find some information relating to your industry and comes across your brand immediately.

There are many ways of integrating mobile marketing in your online sales efforts, including app development. Creating custom, branded content that fills a customer’s niche concerns is a good way of maximizing the micro-moment and making your brand the solution the customer is looking for.

Mobile devices have become a vital part of how customers go about making purchasing decisions on a daily basis. From looking up store locations and hours to sharing and “liking” branded content, mobile devices give people the freedom to engage with their favorite brands in new ways. Learning about how your customers use their mobile devices will give you valuable insight into how they can best be reached by your new outreach strategies.

Putting Information to Work for You

The world of data-driving marketing never slows down and it can be hard to tell which trends have real staying power and which are simply a flash in the pan. These are just seven of the trending strategies that deserve a closer look. They have demonstrated their ability to deliver results and accelerate the goals of companies that implement them correctly. With the right investment of effort, research, and strategy, these seven strategies will drive the next stage of your company’s growth.