At the start of each new year, I like to take stock of my digital marketing business and reflect on the strategies that worked okay, those that didn’t work at all and those that worked incredibly well. Doing a quick review of the prior year’s strategies helps me to narrow in on the best ones and figure ou t how to maximize my digital marketing plans in the year ahead.
This year, not only will I be starting some new initiatives, I plan to find fresh ways for how I can reinvent my existing digital marketing plans. If you’re looking at doing the same, here are six strategies to consider.
1. Artificial Intelligence To Streamline The Simple Stuff
My digital marketing strategies this year will include taking advantage of chatbots and messenger bots. According to predictions by Gartner analysists, presented at the Gartner Customer Experience Summit 2018, virtual customer service or chatbots will be used by about 25% of customer support and customer service operations by 2020 — up by 23% since 2017.
I also plan to use Facebook messenger bots to automate information on the most frequently asked questions. Finding new ways to use artificial intelligence to tap into automation can help your business save costs, accelerate growth, gain a competitive edge and optimize customer service.
2. User Experience, Functionality And Personalization
Don’t you love the surprise when someone unexpectedly calls you by name? Has a stranger ever made you smile by intuitively directing you to a place you were headed? That’s exactly why I like to customize my interactions with automation that uses my customer’s or visitor’s names.
Easy ways to add personalization to your visitor interactions include sending personalized emails or content and personalizing your chat greetings. You can also ask if they’re interested in visiting a particular page or leaving a review.
According to Evergage’s report “2017 Trends in Personalization,” which surveyed 206 marketers, 96% believe that personalization can advance their relationships with customers — and I agree. Intuitively steering customers where they want to go can create a lasting impression.
3. Step Up Your Video Marketing Game
If you’re like most marketers, you caught on to the value of video marketing in 2018. In 2019, I’ll be thinking outside the box with my video marketing plans.
Videos can captivate visitors on your website as well as other social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. It is an attention-grabbing element which you can use to give customers a peek at:
• the personality behind the static photo and bio of your employees
• celebrations of your awards and achievements
• a snapshot of the diligence of your employees
• a 360-degree view of your operations so they feel at home with your company
For us, we’ll be adding text overlays and closed captions in addition to title names, file names and descriptions. I also hope to experiment with a one-to-one video approach. For starters, I envision our staff sending a short, personalized video message inviting our clients to schedule an informative session about our services.
4. Maximize The Potential Of Voice Search
“Hey, Siri, tell me the closest 24/7 in-home care service provider with a five-star rating in Queens, New York.”
“Alexa, where can I find comparisons of around-the-clock, in-home care providers in Palm Beach, Florida?”
Technology is getting smarter. Voice search engines understand vocal quality better than ever. As a result, they make fewer errors and get customers the information they need in less time. Those are good reasons for us as marketers to step up our game and ensure that voice search engines can easily find information about our companies.
As voice search continues to evolve, look for ways to help Siri, Alexa and Google find out more about your business.
5. Digital Marketing In The Upper Funnel
In the home care industry, I know that our customers are thinking about using our services long before they contact us. Our best customers sit in the upper sales funnel for extended periods before contacting us for the first time. For many of our clients, taking that first step towards contacting us for help for themselves or for a loved one is difficult. Getting them to take that step requires creating an inviting, personal online space that gives them a high level of comfort within seconds.
If your business is similar to mine, or if you’re looking to add comfortable engagement tactics from the first web visit, here are some ideas:
• Add a 360-degree video of your staff.
• Add video testimonials from your satisfied clients.
• Reach potential customers by advertising on websites that they’re already comfortable with.
• Feature the culture and long history of being a family-owned business, if it applies to your organization.
• Be visible and interactive on social media, where current clients can interact with prospects.
• Get listings on informational websites for your industry.
6. Partner With Influencers To Drive Return On Investment
Whenever I spot a cute handbag or an amazing pair of earrings, it makes me want to get to know more about the woman who is so fashion forward. That woman likely isn’t a celebrity — she may be a businesswoman or a healthcare professional or your next-door neighbor. She’s someone who the general public can easily relate to. She’s the woman who makes brands sell. Thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of others follow her remarkable lifestyle and the brands she covets because she’s an influencer.
Moving forward, scope out the kinds of influencers your audience can trust and relate to, and make a pitch asking them to share your brand.
My digital marketing plan for 2019 is not only to implement all six of these digital marketing strategies but to reinvent each of them in some fabulous way. While my plans are outlined for the year, I’ll be sure to leave some flexibility in my calendar so I can take advantage of emerging trends as they happen.