2018 marketing trends

2018 Marketing Trends: The Best Ways to Grow Your Business this Year

Your business—whether in its first year or in its fifteenth—needs to operate with the mindset that your customers are becoming savvier. The products or services you provide may be far superior to anything else out there, but with a plan that doesn’t include the best 2018 marketing trends, they might never find their audience.

With the rapid advancements in technology, consumers have access to so much at their fingertips. With voice-activated search engines such as Siri, Alexa, and OK Google, it’s easier than ever for a consumer to find exactly what it is that they’re looking for. And utilizing them efficiently could allow you to prosper.

On the contrary, denying the need to keep up with the expanding knowledge of your customer base could be detrimental. Buyers are busy, want their products and services quickly, and are quick to churn out bad reviews if their demands aren’t met.

Now that the first quarter of the year is wrapping up, here are the 2018 marketing trends that we are seeing.

Currently Trending

Voice Search for SEO: With Siri and other digital assistance gaining a foothold, people are doing a lot more talking and a lot less typing. Bad news for longtail keywords, right? Well, not necessarily. You just have to tweak them. People have predictable speech patterns, so these keywords are more conversational. For example, people won’t ask their phones, “Restaurants in Miami.” Instead, they’ll ask, “What are the best restaurants in Miami?” Make sure you’re optimizing for both forms of keywords.

Social Media Engagement: We say this all the time: “Social media is social!” You might be putting good content out there, but if you’re not interacting with your audience, they’re less likely to continue liking and sharing your posts. You don’t go to a business or social gathering to scream your opinions from the corner (then again, maybe you know someone who does). You go to have conversations. Listen. You’ll learn a lot.

Video: Creating video content is more work, but your audience’s reaction will show that it’s worth it. Just start a conversation.  Just like some of your emails should be HTML newsletters and others plain text connections, include in your video portfolio some that are professionally shot and others that a more informal and destined for social media.  Live video is also trending.

SEO: You have to optimize your content for search engines if you want to be found online. Write longer descriptions with keywords. Continue creating content. Get your site up to speed. Make your mobile site look good and run like a Ferrari.  Mobile users are impatient!

Marketing Analytics: You can’t adjust your strategy if you don’t know how well you’re doing online. Marketing analytics—web, social, call tracking—is how you will find your sweet spot.

Upward 2018 Marketing Trends

Short Video Stories: Since launching the Stories component of their brand, Instagram has taken over this space. Over 200 million people are using Instagram Stories, which are short, simple, but effective ways to introduce potential buyers to a brand.

Other places you can upload short videos include YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Remember that most people are in a rush. They don’t have time for reading long articles or comparing products. A short video can introduce them to something intriguing, and in turn, they may quickly buy.

And it doesn’t hurt that these are all free forms of advertising.

Live Streaming: Similar to Instagram’s Stories, Facebook offers the ability to create live video feeds.

If a customer can watch you, a niche expert, discuss things with them through video, it gives them the feeling that you’re more personable. You can write as well as you want, but there’s nothing quite like looking at someone while they elaborate or discuss their business in real time.

People love watching your short, pre-recorded videos, but if you’re able to make a live video feed, all the better. Not only does the component of real-time make tuning in more intriguing, but with Live Streaming, potential customers can reach you via a live chat and you can communicate with them directly. What could possibly be better for the customer than communicating with you directly, live?

Influencer Marketing: For years, people have sought out macro influencers—celebrities and people with many followers—to market their brand. But the price has been so steep that only few could afford this avenue. Now, the idea of micro-influencers makes this form of advertising possible.

With micro influencers, you can hit a target market. For example, instead of reaching out to an A-list actor to promote your new t-shirt company and paying them an astronomical amount of money, you can find someone with less stature but more pull with your target demographic. This may be a blogger in your niche with a following that is small but dedicated.

With a micro influencer, you’ll reach the important customer base you’re seeking and leave behind the ones who’ll dismiss your ad, and at the same time, your ROI will be much higher because you’ll have paid much less.

Watch List for 2018 Marketing Trends

Chatbots: What’s a chatbot? Think automated. It’s the voice you hear when you call to get someone to fix your cable. They’re the automated voice-response systems designed to hold a human conversation—or mimic it, but on your website.

For small businesses, we recommend staying with chat service on your website for now, until the kinks are worked out. But with chatbot services linking up with apps like Messenger and WhatsApp, this is surely something to keep an eye on.

Augmented Reality: Snapchat is all over this, with their Bitmoji characters being injected into videos, dancing on your shoulders and the floors around you. And with iPhones 8 and X having a chip that supports AR, this will be one to look out for as a booming technology.

Facebook Spaces: Right along with Augmented Reality, Facebook Spaces is a new feature that allows you to be in the same room with your friends and family via Virtual Reality. You can be states away, yet in the same room with this feature.

For now, you’re just cartoon replicas of yourselves. But the whole idea of AR and VR has been growing rapidly. So look for this silly, fun concept to be a stepping-stone into something much greater.

Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin): Bitcoin has come under some scrutiny recently for being susceptible to ransomware attacks, but it’s still something that’s on the rise. It is a completely decentralized system of making payments with much lower fees than credit cards.

Twitter: It’s on the low end of the totem pole when it comes to the social networks, but they’re aware of that. And they’re taking steps to improve because they know that doing nothing will cause them to be the next social network on its way out.

Social Governance: Net Neutrality was a big deal just a few weeks ago. But until weeks ago, no one really knew what was going on. With the vote to dissolve Net Neutrality laws put in place just two years prior, everyone is suddenly aware of the implications. And they’re big.

If this all seems so complicated, and so in-depth, it’s because it is! But no need to worry. At ZenChange, we spend our lives devoted to research like this. And with our help, you can run your business and let us take care of this end of it, ultimately driving sales. If you want to learn more about how to incorporate the most effective 2018 marketing trends into your business, call us today at 305-702-0112 to see how we can help.