It’s the start of a brand new year and the perfect time to consider a fresh approach to your business’s online marketing strategy. Some of these trends are only beginning to gain popularity, while others have been around for a while but could be used to greater effect. Either way our list of current trends should serve as inspiration for future marketing ideas and strategies.
A simple, targeted message is very important in any kind of marketing campaign. Splash pages are useful to create awareness about your business, promote a new product or to convey a key message. The main aim of this kind of “website” is to engage with your target audience. You might want users to take up your offer of a special discount, an e-book download or send a message via the contact form. These kind of conversions are a sign that your splash page is working, however these pages are also a good way to let your audience know that something exciting is on the way or to send traffic to your social media channels.
The goal of the splash page is to provide valuable information to the visitor, without distracting them with too many options, links or other functionalities.
Setting up a splash page can thus be an important part of a broader marketing strategy or used as a temporary solution while your business website is in development. Either way these pages are excellent ways of representing your business online.
New ways of searching:
Most online marketers are already effectively using SEO to target people typing in certain relevant keywords on Google. However, they are probably less adept at reaching those using other methods of searching: Voice search and visual search are gaining momentum and are changing the SEO landscape.
Almost one third of the searches performed on Google every day are voice searches, through personal assistant devices such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Now. Since experts are estimating that by 2020 half of all searches will be voice-based, it seems worthwhile to adapt ones SEO strategy accordingly.
Voice search is typically mobile and often locally focused so your keyword strategy must be more conversational in nature and mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally. Think about the types of questions you get when customers call you on the phone to ask questions about your business.
Visual search basically entails searching for content by using an image, with the search engine identifying objects on the image and listing similar items. While visual search is still developing to its full potential, major companies are already investing in growing this technology.
Images should be optimised for web and swift page load. Assigning clear and concise captions, titles, and alternative text will enable your images to be better indexed, and consequently returned in queries. Also consider submitting image sitemaps to Google.
The most popular visual search technologies are Google Lens and Pinterest Lens, but Amazon, Bing and a growing list of major retailers are all investing heavily in this area. You’ll want to make sure your social media presence is conducive to visual search. Having a presence on Pinterest in particular is important here.
Adding AI to your marketing team:
Artificial Intelligence is a fast growing technology and a novel way to enhance online marketing. AI powered chatbots can help improve customer service for companies, without blowing the marketing budget. Chatbots have the advantage of being quicker (than their human counterparts) at finding data related answers and processing requests. They even give humorous replies and show distinct personality traits. Chatbots are likely to become more widely used and “normal” for customers in the next year.
Chatbots shouldn’t replace meaningful interactions, but they do provide a way for you to engage your customers, as well as provide information and suggestions about your core products and services. Developing a standard “question, reply, question, reply” chatbot with the most common customer questions to free-up valuable employee time.
Focus on Micro-Moments:
A micro-moment is the term used to describe those few seconds when consumers quickly turn to their smartphone or other device to get information or make a decision about something. Choosing a restaurant for dinner, buying a new laptop or booking your holiday. There are “I-want-to-know” moments, “I-want-to-buy” moments, “I-want-to-go” moments and many others. According to Google most users actually have about 150 micro-moments per day! It’s becoming increasingly important to capitalize on these key moments, as many consumers are likely to make instant decisions based on what info they get in that micro-moment.
The most important thing you can do is anticipate consumer questions and make sure you have answers ready – study your website analytics to see how your consumers are finding you and what devices they are using for search. Your website must be optimised for mobile, people check their phones in these “micro-moments” and expect to receive what they’re looking for immediately.
AR and VR:
Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR and VR) offer brands exciting opportunities in the area of customer experience. Examples are fun shopping apps which allow the customer to visualize and try out wall colours or furniture combinations before buying products.
Real content by real users:
86% of consumers (even more in the millennial generation) say they value authenticity when deciding what brands to buy. People are likely to trust in another customer sharing their genuine experience. So we are more easily convinced by an honest, unbiased, voluntary review of e.g. a restaurant, than by a company claiming to offer great service with an eloquent advert. Let your customers’ positive experience of your brand speak for itself.
Encourage customers to leave reviews on social media and Google My Business. Not only will reviews from your customers provide valuable feedback for your business, but replying to reviews can help build your customers’ trust.
Customer-centric, highly personalised advertising:
While most marketers obviously aim to be customer-centric, the customers themselves often disagree. One study showed that only 3% of buyers say that advertising they see is actually relevant to them, while the rest find the majority irrelevant. However, genuinely customer-centric marketing is thoroughly individualistic down to the smallest details. Think of Netflix, for example, where no two home pages will ever display the exact same content, as the whole experience is built around each specific user’s preferences.
First of all you need to know your customer. Analytics can provide great historic data, but you also need to do market research to understand and expand your current target audience. Make sure your content is written for this specific audience and target your audience groups via Mailchimp, social media or Google Ads.
Everyone knows it’s important to “be” on social media as a business by now, and that social media is part of almost everyone’s daily life in some way. However, it’s important to not only have a presence on one social media platform, but to coordinate your content across various suitable platforms to be able to reach various types of users. Social media is also becoming further integrated into other services and offering consumers additional benefits.
What does this mean for my marketing strategy?
While tried and tested methods (which have worked well in the past) shouldn’t necessarily be rejected just for being “old”, it’s always beneficial to explore what new technologies and ideas are being used in order to stay relevant. This doesn’t mean running after every new trend – some will stay and grow in strength while others will disappear again quickly. The trick is to keep evaluating what you’re doing, and adjusting all the time. Your ultimate goal after all should be to reach the people your business is aimed at more effectively – your customers.
Contact us if you would like to tweak your marketing strategy, improve your social media reach or discuss the possibilities of incorporating new technologies on your website.