As we kick off 2018, now's a good time for companies to take a look at their digital strategies and try out a few New Years resolutions. Recently at Ignite Academy, we've been talking a lot about the importance of building a solid strategy. To get the year off right, we believe a good strategy articulates your business goals, the audience you're trying to reach, and the most cost-effective methods for managing your time and resources.
We also believe that companies should strive to stay ahead of the curve, utilizing a toolbox of the latest trends and techniques. As new and improved technologies become available, make sure you’re on top of your game with tools tailored to your business needs.
Gearing up for 2018, let us present to you our top 18 tips to take your company’s digital strategy to the next level.
1. Connect Your Business Objectives with your Digital Marketing Strategy
According to Forbes Magazine, reviewing your current strategies is an important first step in making improvements to ensure that your business objectives and digital marketing practices are on the same page.
In many companies, there's still a divide between traditional and digital departments. Take a look around at what you already have and ask yourself how you can integrate these departments for operational optimization.
2. Integrate Video into the Customer Journey
Making it personal is the key here. Trends from 2017 show an increased demand for video personalization, as well as an interest in integrating video marketing into the customer journey.
By inserting a well-placed video to illustrate your company’s product, service, or cause, you can create a personalized journey for your customers. It’s a creative way to leave an impact.
3. Integrate Content Marketing into the Customer Journey
Did you know that 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad?
Good storytelling can humanize your company. Another bonus to consider: content marketing is cheaper than many other forms of marketing (plus it can produce more leads). You can also go to town with creativity here: content marketing can take many forms, from blog posts to videos and infographics.
4. Keep Your Eye on SEO (Still)
SEO is not going out of fashion any time soon, the majority of people searching for your company on the web still refer to search engines as their first port of call.
If you have a presence in the top positions for keywords the user is searching, then you have a much better chance of attracting more attention and trust for your company.
As for utilizing technology: consider a strategy on how to optimize your site’s content to meet Google’s standards for Featured Snippets.
5. Get On Board with Live Video
Live video is nothing new, but it’s growing exponentially. Lately, everyone wants a piece of Facebook Live - in fact, 80% of users said they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post, while according to Facebook, live video gets 3 times more views than regular video content.
Here are 3 quick tips for getting started with live video:
- Use live video at events to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the event.
- Use live video to introduce your followers to your employees.
- Advertise an exclusive sale or promotion to anyone who watches your live video.
6. Consider Paying Attention to Generation Z
Everyone loves to hate marketing to Millennials, but Generation Z can now start taking some of the heat.
In 2018, lots of businesses will want to start focusing on Generation Z marketing – the next generation. You might as well get started now, since this generation spans almost 20 years.
7. Consider Hyper-Local Marketing
The digital landscape is making it easier than ever for local businesses to interact with consumers. Google Posts rolled out to all businesses in 2017. Facebook Local gives consumers a more localized social platform.
Also keep in mind that Local Services Ads make it easier to prove you’re trustworthy. Let’s hope we see more of this local focus in search results and social media in 2018 and beyond, because this gives local businesses the chance to compete with even the biggest brands for consumer attention.
8. Check out Machine Learning for Advertising
New platforms like Acquisio and Trapica promise to optimize ad spend through advanced machine-learning algorithms. Marketers simply need to set basic campaign parameters, and the platforms then do the work of identifying ideal audiences and effective creatives.
For example, Acquisio’s High-Frequency Predictive Algorithms learn and decide how to optimize digital marketing results across ad platforms, making optimized bid adjustments within budget 24/7.
9. Incorporate Social Messaging into Communications
Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of incorporating social media into their digital strategies. As an addition, you might also want to consider using direct messaging apps along with other social media marketing techniques you already have in place.
According to the latest Ofcom Communications Market research, more than half of the total mobile audience uses Facebook Messenger (61%) while exactly half uses WhatsApp (50%). These significantly large audiences should not be ignored when considering the integration of messaging apps as part of your strategy.
10. Don't Forget to Test
As advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said:
“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”
The more you test, the more likely you are to see patterns emerge which can help guide your subject line creation.
In other words, don’t go full steam ahead unless you have the full picture. Proper testing can save you precious time and resources down the line.
11. Consider (More) Email Automation
Lindsay Tjepkema, Director of Content at Emarsys, says that marketing automation is a powerful software that aims to automate marketing processes.
With a little bit of research and training, your marketing department can greatly benefit from this technology. Learn how you can more efficiently manage repetitive tasks – including emails, text message campaigns, social media, and more – so that your team is free to focus on other aspects.
12. Try Customer Experience Marketing
Customer experience marketing is exactly what it sounds like – making sure the customer has a positive experience from start to finish as they navigate your company’s marketing process. Notably, 68% of marketers claim that their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing.
Why is customer experience essential? Customers see your company or brand as the sum of the experiences they’ve had with you. This could be anything from in-store customer service to finding your local listing online or seeing one of your company’s ads on Facebook.
So, make sure you’re putting your best foot forward – from start to finish.
13. Don't Shy Away from Transparency
In a world where everyone has access to reviews, transparency and trust are big factors when consumers are checking out an organization. There’s a lot out there that people can learn about you from the web. They search for your social media profiles. They “Internet stalk” you. In short, they want to know everything they can possibly know about you before they come to your business.
We’re most likely to see this transparency increase in 2018. So, beef up your review marketing strategy. Feel free to give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at your company.
Instead of shying away from transparency, embrace it by adding a human element to your marketing, so that whomever is searching for you will see you as more than just your service or logo.
14. Think About What Influencer Marketing Can do for You
Want to quickly build your brand online and raise awareness among your target audience? According to Social Media Today, influencer marketing is growing faster than digital ads.
The beauty of influencer marketing (if done right) is that the audience is already there. All you have to do is figure out a win-win partnership where your influencer benefits – all the while generating new leads for your company.
15. Utilize Instagram Stories
Instagram is growing at an impressive clip. In 2017, Instagram announced that approximately 800 million people now use the platform each month. Their latest tool, Instagram Stories, became more popular than Snapchat just one year after going live.
Since brands tend to see better engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform – and because of great advertising controls – Instagram is poised to become the go-to channel in 2018 for brands interested in social media marketing.
16. Revisit Twitter - Do You Need it?
Twitter has only shown moderate growth in 2017. This may be due to the fact that the platform has focused on user acquisition rather than on making improvements to their ad platform - as a result, marketers are already using other social media platforms to connect with prospects. It may be worth considering whether Twitter is still producing the results you want as part of your 2018 planning.
17. Consider Which is Better for You - Gated Content or Stronger SEO
In the B2B world, gated content is how many marketers generate leads, but some of the top brands – including Hubspot and Zendesk – are now un-gating their content. The reason for this? Developing a stronger organic search presence in an increasingly crowded content landscape.
If you think this might be the right move for your company, consider making the switch for 2018 as well.
18. Remember, Strategy Over Tactics
Your strategy is the process that defines your approach to reach your business goals. Without a strategy, the time and resources you're putting into your tactics may turn out to be a waste.
A solid strategy will help you determine your budget, while it'll also assist with the evaluation process, so that you can efficiently cut out what’s not working and push forward with what does.
Once you’ve determined your goals, make sure your strategy is fully committed to achieving those goals. In other words – don’t be reactive; be proactive.
Now, isn’t that a great way to take your company into the new year?