The ins, outs, trends, and algorithms that shape digital marketing are always changing. What’s working now may not be effective 12 months from now. Or it could be twice as useful.
That’s why you must be timely with the marketing methods you use.
You can’t go back in time and fix what didn’t work. And there’s no crystal ball that gives a guarantee on what’ll be hot this time next year.
But you can be hyper-vigilant, super-aware of what’s presently rewarding in the digital space. Start by adopting these top 5 digital marketing strategies in 2018.
What is a digital strategy?
Before we start looking at the best digital strategies of 2018, let’s first look at what a digital strategy is. In essence, a digital marketing strategy are the actions that you will use to achieve your online marketing goals.
While some people may find the word strategy scary, putting together an effective digital strategy is easier than you think it is. In the simplest terms possible, a strategy is basically a plan that helps you reach your desired outcome or outcomes.
As an example, you may want to generate 30% more leads via your site this year than you managed to last year.
Now, the digital marketing strategy that you use may consist of several goals and different moving parts. It all boils down to the scale of your business. Ultimately, thinking about your strategy in the simplest way can help you focus on achieving your digital marketing strategy goals.
While simple is the word here, actually getting a digital strategy up and running can be difficult to do. To help you understand what we mean, let’s take a look at what a digital marketing campaign actually looks like.
What is a digital marketing campaign?
It is all too easy to confuse your digital marketing campaign with your digital strategy. But there is a way to differentiate between the two.
As we already discussed above, a digital strategy is the plan and actions that you use to achieve your marketing goals. When looking at a digital marketing campaign, one campaign is one tactic, these are the actions you perform as part of your strategy to help you reach your goals.
What we mean by this is that you may decide to run a digital campaign on Facebook, sharing some of your best performing content to generate more leads to your website. The campaign that you run on Facebook is part of your digital marketing strategy. The end goal? To generate more leads.
Even if you were to run your Facebook campaign over a period of several years, it doesn’t make it a digital strategy. It is just one of the many parts that you use with other campaigns thus forming your digital strategy.
Now we understand the difference between a digital marketing campaign and a digital strategy, let’s look at 5 digital marketing strategies of 2018.
New types of content and advertising formats
High-quality content, authoritative backlinks, and other proven SEO techniques are evergreen. They’re always going to be effective. And as popular in 2018 as they were last year.
But relying on old, stalwart tactics alone won’t earn you the marketing improvements you’re after. Not with so many new types of content and advertising formats out there to play with.
This year, put an extra emphasis on local SEO. Micro-targeting has been huge in 2018; one of the year’s most important digital marketing strategies.
Focus on your target audience. And personalise your web content.
Create in-depth content pillars like eBooks, reports or guides that break down your core, informative piece of content into different sections, pieces and materials.
Try topic clusters; groups of interlinked, narrowly-focused webpages built around a single piece of more broad-topic content.
Never discount the importance of storytelling in advertising.
A well-told story doesn’t have to have an epic word count. A capable storyteller can get the job done with a few short, sharp words or lines.
Well told stories, even in a medium like digital, have a capacity to attract new users. And an even greater capacity to deepen the relationship with an existing audience.
Video content was massive in 2017. And its popularity will only continue to swell as we move into the future. By 2021, it’s said that 80% of all internet traffic will be video content.
Video content allows you to be far more visual and personal with your marketing. And that can make it much more convincing.
Dynamic advertising, or dynamic ads, consider factors like browsing history, location, interests and time of day to display a range of content to groups of relevant, highly targeted users.
Bottomline, you can expect better results when you start communicating more personalised messages that use new types of content and advertising format.
Influencer marketing isn’t anything new.
Advertisers have been using endorsements from influential individuals as a marketing strategy for ages. And in recent years, social platforms like YouTube and Instagram have created millions more of these potential influencers.
So, if influencer marketing wasn’t part of your marketing mix in 2017, you may want to give some real thought towards trying it on for size in 2018.
But if imploring or employing internet celebrities to endorse your brand or product is not in your price range or outside your moral threshold, that’s ok. There are cheaper and less egregious ways to make influencer marketing work for you.
Like blogger outreach. Which remains an effective method for boosting SEO. If you’re persistent and patient with your blogger outreach efforts, you’re likely to see steady and significant improvement sooner than you might think.
Social media marketing
Social media’s ubiquitous popularity makes for endless marketing opportunities across different platforms.
Well into 2018, Facebook is still at the top of the social media heap; an undisputed champion. For now.
YouTube and Instagram are top contenders, depending on your target demographic. Twitter’s gone up a weight-class from 140 to a beefier 280 characters. And Linkedin has been steadily working its way up the card with more than 800 million users and growing.
Your next digital campaign could benefit from conducting the right kind of digital marketing via any of these social media platforms.
Part of the reason platforms like Facebook remain so popular with advertisers is because it lets you target ads using its own sophisticated database of integrated data. And because other popular platforms like Hubspot and Messenger have integrated into Facebook.
Facebook also offers a live video function that digital marketers love to use because live video content tends to appear at the top of News Feeds. And with video overall looking to be among 2018’s most important ranking factors, social platforms that provide an easy outlet for it are bound to make an impact.
Messenger bots are apps that recognise users’ preferred methods of communication. They yield excellent results for advertisers by using this information to approach the right target audience(s).
There are currently around 1.3 billion active users on Messenger. And one-on-one communication always has a tremendous effect. So effective, in fact, that the click-through rate (CTR) for messenger marketing is around 80%, while the CTR for emails is around 1%.
Artificial intelligence marketing automation
In line with advancing technological developments, some of the newest trends in digital marketing tactics revolve around machine learning and marketing automation.
This also applies to big data analytics tools, chatbots, apps for marketing and sales processes.
These are mostly prediction tools that help collect and analyse customer data. The more you know about customers, the better the chance of converting them from leads to customers.
Live chat bots serve the same purpose. You can better understand your customers if you’re able to track their actions. And with tools like Intercom, you can personalise offers for customers even more. Which increases loyalty and ultimately profits.
How to structure a digital marketing strategy
The following are the pillars of modern digital marketing strategies, and the one thing you can’t do without? Patience.
Formulate a marketing plan. Understanding the key areas that you need to improve upon are vital for success. Consider using customized analytics gather as much data as you can about your audience. This helps you provide targeted content that will have an impact.
Get reach. Using the above 5 digital marketing strategies can all help to increase website traffic. Focus on content that will engage your audience and make use of social media to encourage interaction.
Focus on customer communication can help boost sales conversions. Think along the lines of social media marketing, email marketing and on-site marketing strategies. Implementing a newsletter as part of your digital marketing strategy may be old school, but it works.
Follow the latest technological trends and you’ll keep pace with the market. So consider a budget increase for the digital component of your marketing strategy.
And don’t forget the common idiom; “There’s more than one way to shear a sheep.” So much is true with digital marketing as well.
There’s no proven, singular method for increasing reach and improving engagement. Rather, a myriad of evolving strategies. And whilst there is data that supports the effectiveness of each, it’s up to you to discover the mix of digital marketing strategies that are going to work best for your brand or business in 2018.