Marketing helps you connect with your customers so you can increase your brand awareness and ultimately stimulate sales, but not any marketing technique will do. In order to be effective, you will need to use strategies that allow you to reach the right people at the right time with the right message. The process starts by truly understanding your customers and how your products or services fulfill their needs – but it doesn’t end there.
At our digital marketing agency, we have found that considering current marketing trends can maximize the return for your marketing efforts and truly drive sales growth for your company. Here’s what you need to know about current marketing trends and how you can apply them to your marketing strategy.
1. Branded Content
The first trend to watch is branded content. This is content that is not a sales pitch. It might not even have a call-to-action. Instead, it tells a story. It could be about your brand, but it could also be about your industry. The purpose is to establish trust with your audience and help them associate your company with the types of products or services that you sell, the needs of your industry, or the trends in your market.
Depending on where you share your branded content, you might be required to disclose your involvement very plainly. For instance, Facebook recently updated its policies to require that any time an influencer or publisher posts branded content that it tag the business partner. The goal is to make it easy for users to see your involvement. Your company gets benefits too, like the ability to access analytics on each post and control with whom you affiliate your brand.
2. Warm Emails
Email marketing has also been undergoing some changes. People have started to prefer more personal and personalized attention from the brands with which they connect. Cold emails are an increasingly sure way to fall flat. Instead, try to warm up your relationship with a lead before you attempt to sell anything. Use your email marketing to get to know the person and help them learn about your company, your brand, and the ways that the products or services you sell can fill their needs better than anyone else. You could also send content that helps establish your brand as an expert – anything to provide value and build rapport, before any pitch is made.
3. Facebook Advertising
Many companies are turning to paid Facebook advertising as well. “For brands, posting on Facebook alone isn’t enough anymore — especially for ones just starting out,” explains Sophia Bernazzani of HubSpot. “Sure, you can throw money at your efforts to drive people to your Facebook Page and send them to your website, but that only works if you’re smart about it.” Optimized ads are the solution. They let you target specific audiences so your message reaches the right people.
The best Facebook ads share a few common characteristics. The prominent feature of the most successful ads is a strong visual component. In many ways, the ad itself matters less than whether it is visually appealing. This should take into consideration the content itself as well as how well it fits the format in which your users are viewing the content. You should also make sure that the content is truly relevant to your followers. Finally, you need to be clear about why someone should contact you. Every Facebook ad should have a call to action and offer something enticing, like a coupon code or download.
4. Messenger Bots
Moving forward, you should be aware of messenger bots too. Also called “chatbots,” these communication assets are becoming incredible popular and useful. “Chat bots are driven by a predefined workflow and help drive customer engagement and facilitate faster conversions by answering questions or offering suggestions,” explains Ro Parry in the Huffington Post. “Use of chat apps has actually surpassed the use of social media and audiences will expect it from most companies.” According to Gartner, somewhere around 85 percent of customer interactions are going to be with chatbots by 2020.
Plus, messenger bots work. Salesforce reports that the most successful marketing teams are twice as likely to use this type of AI-powered technology than less successful ones. Further, roughly 57 percent of marketing professionals call these technologies “essential” in developing touch points with customers.
5. Local Search Optimization
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, but one feature that is going to be critical going forward is local search optimization. Somewhere around 80 percent of people use search engines to find local businesses yet the number of small businesses that actually have a local business listing is pretty small. There are two issues at hand. Many small businesses neglect to list their companies in online business directories. From small directories like local chambers of commerce to the giant Google My Business, no one can find your company unless you list it. There is also an issue of optimization. If you want customers to be able to find your business, the information you include in each directory needs to be accurate, consistent, and complete.
While following marketing trends will help you understand how your business can increase sales revenue, it takes skill and expertise to execute. You have to put in the legwork to reach would-be customers – and it doesn’t stop there. You also need to continue to measure and analyze your efforts to see which methods are successful. We can help your company develop a strong brand presence and apply the appropriate strategies so you get the best return for your marketing effort. Give us a call and we'll help you determine your next most effective steps.