Marketing is evolving at an exponential rate. In fact, one survey found that 76% of respondents felt “that marketing had changed more in the past two years than in the previous 50.” Consider these digital marketing stats: By next year, mobile will account for 72% of digital ad spend. Over the last year, 60% of people started using voice search. Social media is the most popular content marketing tactic for 90% of business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses, and 94% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy.
Human behavior has changed, and marketers must keep up. Here are four digital marketing implementations that have moved to the forefront this year.
Marketers are creating significantly more content. Between social media, video, photos, infographics and interactive content, consumers are saturated with content. You’re competing not just against brands with similar products, but for your audience’s attention, affection and money. Regardless of your industry, you must create a niche or hyper-focused content to attract attention.
Get specific. Think about underserved sub-niches within your audience and adjust your content calendar to appeal to these groups. For example, a fitness center may create content based on weight-loss tips or effective exercise techniques. Define your niche even more with a blog post such as “Weight training for busy moms” or “Safe and effective bodybuilding for those over 50.” If you provide the same content as your competitors, you’ll bore your audience. If you go out too far on a limb, you’ll confuse them. Find the balance between what your audience is already interested and what they haven’t seen yet. Think about targeting the niche of your niche.
Voice In SEO Strategies
Analysts predict that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done using voice. That means if you are not including voice in your SEO strategy, now is the time to get started. Marketers know the importance of creating quality content to move up the internet search ladder. It’s even more important with voice search. The goal is to be in the coveted “position zero” when Google Assistant answers a user’s question. Position zero is usually the same “featured snippet” block that appears at the top of a search page. Optimizing content for those featured snippet blocks is critical to being featured for voice search.
Consider these three tips:
• Provide specific and concise answers. Create content that will directly answer a question in the fewest words possible. Do not include industry jargon. Paragraph snippets are most commonly chosen, according to GetStat.
• Ensure your webpage is already optimized. You won’t have a featured snippet if you aren’t already writing engaging and interesting copy. One study found that 99.58% of featured pages already rank in Google’s Top 10. Your webpage must be engaging. Include strong external and internal links. Your metadata must already be optimized, and you must already be using a strong SEO strategy. Since voice search is almost exclusively used on mobile devices, be sure your website is mobile-optimized, too. If not, users will grow impatient and bounce back, further knocking you down the rankings ladder.
• Research question-based keywords. Find out what word sequences are used most by your audience. For example, “What’s a good [metric/benchmark] for [industry]?” or “How do I [insert service]?” or “How much does [x] cost?” Think about what your target audience will be asking.
One study noted that convenience stores are twice as important to millennials as fast-casual restaurants. Why should this interest marketers? It shows that millennials want experiences that are short and sweet. Convenience is key. They want quick answers that are easy to find. Meet this need by offering a variety of search options with deep knowledge. Move past simple keyword searches. Use natural language and phrases that your millennial visitors are likely to use. Ensure they get the right answer by offering a real-time chat to guide customers that don’t find what they are looking for immediately.
• Use video.
• Engage your audience on social media. Go beyond just having a presence.
• Create valuable content. Work with their on-demand lifestyle by giving them the option to download meaty articles, e-books or webinars.
• Develop an app to give millennials immediate information without the wait.
AI automation is transforming the way businesses interact with customers. In one study, 15% of respondents said they have used a chatbot to interact with a business in the past 12 months. How can you integrate bots into your digital strategy? Consider these three ways.
• Interact with website visitors. AI bots are an easy way to live chat with visitors without a dedicated employee. Bots can be programmed to answer common questions, then pass the visitor onto a real person if the bot is unable to help. Remember to write questions and answers in your own voice, sticking to your company’s branding.
• Qualify leads. Lead management is a challenge, especially with increasing numbers of leads coming from all of your digital efforts. Set up a bot to find out where the customer is in the sales funnel. Bots can converse, ask questions, answer questions, then pass the customer onto a sales rep when appropriate. Integrate with social media with tools such as a Facebook Messenger bot. You can direct customers to the right product without ever actually speaking to them.
• Personalize the experience. Customers love a personal experience. Bots can be programmed to take in data from users so their visit can be personalized each time.
As 2018 unfolds, we should expect a good deal of changes in an ever-changing digital world. Be sure you stay abreast with the latest trends to assure you reach your digital marketing goals.