The craziness of the holiday season is behind us, and the first quarter is here. What better time to consider different types of online marketing strategies than when sales are usually much slower?
Every year new types of online marketing strategies emerge while others become more ineffective. Here are seven marketing strategies that I think businesses should focus on in 2018.
1. High Social Media Engagement
Gone are the glory days of where every post displayed in a follower's feed.
Now nearly every social network has an algorithm for their home feed that only shows posts that the algorithm deems worthy.
Many of these social networks use “engagement" (clicks, comments and other forms of expression) as a positive signal to their algorithms. For example, an Instagram spokesperson told Business Insider in 2016 that there were “dozens" of factors, but that likes, comments and shares were certainly important.
Instead of optimizing for clicks or follows, keying in on engagement has been a hot topic among marketers—and I don't believe it will become less important over the next year. This high engagement is great for other types of online marketing strategies, too.
Making sure your brand has high engagement on social networks is one way to focus your online marketing over the next year. High engagement can not only help your social promotion satisfy the algorithm, it can also show that your content is resonating with people.
2. Browser Push Notifications
Odds are you've visited a website and seen the little box in the upper corner asking if you'd like to receive notifications from that site within your browser.
These are called browser push notifications, and they're one of the types of online marketing strategies that has become more mainstream over the past couple of years.
Much like how we receive mobile app updates, browser notifications simply display a dialog in the corner of your screen with an update. If you're the site owner, it's a way to send updates without asking for emails.
Right now the technology mostly works with desktop browsers and Android phones. But the technology is growing and expanding, so hopefully that coverage will increase in the near future.
3. High-Quality, Engaging Content
Content marketing has been a cornerstone of online marketing for some time now, and I still believe that it should still be the primary focus for marketing.
However, the term content marketing has become popular, and consequently glutted with low-value articles and shoddy content. In order to stand out, it's time to think less about quantity and more about quality.
Also, the idea of “content" is no longer just text. Thanks to apps like Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the continued growth of video, there are multiple types of content created and consumed by large groups of people.
Even more compelling is the overlap for the different media types on different platforms. Many social networks all have a video component, for example. While you're creating high-quality content, think about utilizing it across different networks with the same content type.
Cisco's Visual Networking Index is a forecast that uses internal traffic numbers—as well as analytics from many other data partners—to predict internet usage and trends. At the time of this writing, the Visual Networking Index predicts that 82 percent of the traffic on the internet will be video traffic by 2021.
Video should no longer be viewed as a secondary form of content. People are consuming video on every device, and many social platforms offer it as a featured content type. Focusing on video alongside other types of online marketing strategies could open doors to new audiences.
5. Live Video
Live video is a new phenomenon that has taken off in the past couple of years. It allows content creators to stream video.
It's effectiveness has been immediate: According to Facebook's newsroom, people spend three times more time watching live video than non-live video, and comment 10 times more on live video than non-live video.
When you're working on your marketing plan for 2018, I recommend you don't overlook email. Email marketing may be considered a dinosaur by modern types of online marketing standards, but it still works.
In 2017, The Radicati Group, Inc., a market research company, used data from 1993 to June 2017, surveys, and data provided from vendor briefings to estimate that 269 billion business and consumer emails were sent and received per day in 2017.
Email is powerful. It's simple, doesn't require complicated programming, has built-in push notifications and can be received on any device with at least cell coverage. Many websites still require an email address of some kind to join and send important messages through it, which is why emails can be a great way to reach your audience.
7. Customer Journey
There has been a shift in marketing towards honing the entire customer journey as opposed to a single point of entry. Let me explain.
Older types of online marketing strategies would have an ad or piece of content that linked directly to a landing page that would immediately entice the visitor to buy a product.
This practice has become much less common, as companies adopt a multi-faceted approach that focuses on the complete customer journey. This means instead of showing someone a product and hoping they purchase it, you provide them supplemental information as well that addresses the entire buying process. This might include posts on social media, email marketing and other channels that have consistent messaging.
Let's say that you're selling an informational product. The customer might stumble across your Instagram page, and after following your posts for a bit, they subscribe to your newsletter.
In your newsletter there might be a link to a YouTube video that your company made about the product. After seeing the video, the customer might join a webinar to learn more about the product, and only after participating in the webinar do they buy your product.
The point of contact to purchase might include many more steps, but the difference is that the customer has more interactions with your brand and are (in theory) more likely to become a loyal customer thanks to the consistent messaging across the channels. Consider adding in new marketing channels that reinforce messaging. This could be with podcasts, social media, video, etc.
Marketing tactics change often, but they also have a similar pattern. If you can create helpful, amazing content and focus on interacting with your customers and followers, you could be well on your way to a solid marketing base.
Read more articles on content marketing.