Q4 is upon us, which means that before we know it, it will be Q1 of 2018. Most companies are gearing up for 2018 by examining and innovating their marketing strategies. It’s imperative that all those who work in business, especially those who work in online marketing, be aware of the new trends in tech and online culture. By capitalizing on the trends, marketing professionals can improve and adapt their own processes to achieve better results and gain more customers.
Here are the digital marketing trends of 2018 that we should all be looking out for:
Social media marketing will remain strong
Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are more popular now than ever before. Social media is something that has been around for a while, but the level of corporate involvement has never been higher. Most of that corporate involvement is centered around marketing because social media provides companies with a huge amount of publicity at a relatively low cost. It’s much less expensive to tweet than it is to run a nationally syndicated TV commercial.
Not only is it less expensive than TV commercials, but it’s also much more effective. Most people go out of their way to avoid commercials on TV shows (DVR exists primarily for this reason), people will willingly follow corporate sponsored Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.
Arguably the best example of social media marketing done right is Wendy’s Twitter account. Earlier this year, Wendy’s Twitter became notorious for it’s witty and clever responses to customers and competitors. Rather than being a feed that simply posts about new menu items and company news, they became instantly more personal with their consumers. As I write this, Wendy’s Twitter account has amassed 2.09 million followers. Everything they say is an advertisement, and 2.09 million people love it.
While the above case is extreme, it still shows that social media has the potential to make or break a company. Mastering social media marketing will be crucial if you want to have a successful, modern marketing department.
Advertisements are shifting to cater specifically to Millennials
Love them or hate them, you can’t doubt the economic significance of this market. There are an estimated 75.4 million Millennials (age 18-34) living in the world today. They have officially surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest generation, which means that the foundation of modern business will undergo a dramatic shift. Soon, we will stray away from traditional Baby Boomer-style ads and transition to new Millennial-focused ads.
Ads catered to Millennials differ from those of the Baby Boomer. Millennial ads are often times more liberal. The most successful ads mix in humor with a captivating message that resonates with the values and feelings of the average Millennial.
As a marketing professional, you should understand your target market. Catering ads that will strike a chord with that particular market will help you gain many loyal advocates within the world’s largest generation.
Content and affiliate marketing will remain effective
Nowadays, marketing is everywhere online. When I ask people what they think of when they hear the term “internet marketing,” they immediately say something like “those popup ads that nobody clicks on.
While that is indeed an example of internet marketing, that’s one of the least effective ways to market online. By far, one of the best ways to market is by content and affiliate marketing. Essentially, content and affiliate marketing refers to simply referring customers to a particular product/business.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest campaigns to start, but one of the most difficult to actually master. Practically anyone can go to Amazon.com right now, open an affiliate account, and start posting referral links all over the internet. However, it takes a huge level of skill to actually create links that people want to click on. It takes, even more, skill to create links that make people want to buy. If done right, those links can make millions of dollars. There are entire corporations that are devoted only to this style of marketing…many of which are extremely successful. This is otherwise known as Funnel Marketing or creating a Sales Funnel.
The reason this style of marketing is so successful because many people offer it as a personal/professional recommendation. For example, if someone who runs a successful tech blog writes about how amazing the new iPhone is while posting a link to go buy it, people will value his opinion as an “expert” and are more likely to buy it right there. People are always looking for help, tips, and tricks from others. This style of marketing takes advantage of that concept. This is a huge part of modern marketing that isn’t going away anytime soon, so if you don’t have a proper way to do affiliate marketing, you’re missing the gravy train.
Peer reviews & positive word of mouth are more important now than ever before
In conjunction with examining expert recommendations, people will also look to their peers for real and honest reviews. People inherently want to be justified in their decisions. They want to know if other people had good experiences before they commit to something. That’s the reason why websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are so successful – they offer their customers access to real and honest reviews from average, everyday people.
Because of this, businesses now have to be more careful. A single bad experience from one customer can instantly go viral and be viewed by millions of people. On the positive side, a collective amount of great experiences can instantly turn a prospect into a potential customer. For me, before purchasing anything online, I always check out the reviews first. If the average is above 4 or 4.5 stars, I’m feeling pretty good about buying it. Any lower and I become very skeptical. I’m sure you can relate.
As marketing professionals, realizing the sheer power of positive reviews is crucial to gaining new business. Actively seeking reviews, responding to negative reviews promptly, and genuinely caring about the customer experience are all keys to obtaining a positive word-of-mouth presence.
2018 is going to be a year dominated by internet marketing. While I will certainly never discount the true power and effectiveness of traditional marketing methods (advertising in the real world), saying that online marketing should not be taken seriously could be a fatal mistake. With more and more people going online every single day, online marketing is bigger now than ever before. Understanding the trends will help you or your team gain a competitive edge now before the new year rolls around.
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Author: Jason Karaman
Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com