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Every year, we learn about new techniques in digital marketing that could power up our online presence and help achieve our business goals. But those are not entirely new techniques as the majority could carry old familiar faces, perhaps with just a little makeover.

In this article, I will be discussing the digital marketing techniques that prevailed last year and what you can do this 2018 to plan out a better strategy to boost your website’s online strength.

Top digital marketing techniques in 2017

  Content marketing has been sitting in the top ranks of strategies that businesses consider as important. Over the years, the focus has shifted from producing daily content to prioritising in-depth, high-quality content released on a weekly or monthly frequency. Blogs, case studies, and other written content are still vital in content marketing, but visual content especially videos earned significant popularity in the past year.

Also Read: Targeting a B2B audience? Here are 5 ways to improve your sales and marketing performance

Businesses have also realised how data could play a huge part in targeting specific customer’s needs. Insights from the available data help them craft the right marketing strategies that will match every segment of their market.

Marketing automation has grown in importance for many businesses. According to Salesforce, in 2017, 67 per cent of marketing leaders already used marketing automation, and an additional of 21 per cent plan to use it in the next two years. Among the top benefits of using a marketing automation platform include an improved targeting of messages, improved customer experience, and better quality leads (Liana Technologies “The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Automation” 2017).

Business websites were challenged to become mobile-responsive (thanks to Google’s mobile-first index), but the struggle didn’t end there. The gap between mobile and desktop usage continued to grow but what’s worth noticing is the gap between the two devices in terms of conversion rates. According to Monetate, smartphone conversion rate is nearly half of desktop conversion rate. Security concerns top the list of reasons users switch from smartphone to desktop when completing a transaction.

Social media today is not only a channel for businesses to engage their audience and create brand awareness but also a tool to enhance customer service. Automated messages boost response rate, sending quick replies even while you’re away. Interactions that happen on social networks, when structured properly, are good points to turn leads into customers.

Building a better digital marketing strategy in 2018

Content marketing remains a priority. According to HubSpot, 53 per cent of marketers prioritise blog content creation in 2017. This year, video content will not take the backseat as 48 per cent plans to add YouTube as a content distribution channel. Your video should always carry the right message at the right time. Figure out the video length that suits the attention span of your audience and add a caption so those watching on mute will still get the message you’re trying to convey.

Artificial intelligence—we’ve all heard about how AI could shape the future of business. You don’t have to be a huge tech giant to integrate AI and become a data-driven company. A small enterprise can start by using a smart CRM or an AI-powered platform in the most important workflows where data is available.

If you’re looking at including influencer marketing in your strategies this year, assess all the pros and cons one more time and see if it’s worth the try. Planning to reach out to celebrities or famous personalities? How about collaborating with a micro-influencer instead? Micro-influencer, or those with 1,000 to 100,000 followers, charge way lower than influential celebrities.

But you know what’s even more powerful? Peer-to-peer marketing. According to Nielsen, 92 per cent of consumers trust referrals from people they know. It’s better to pick an influencer that’s already a fan of your brand because their referral is more authentic. If they post about your products or services, their families and friends will trust their reviews because they know the person promoting your brand.

What else can you do to power up your website’s online strength this 2018? Check out what other areas of digital marketing you can improve in terms of:

Creative data collection

Email is a cost-effective means to collect data from your potential and existing customers. But if you’re not doing segmentation and targeting, the data you would gather might not be as insightful as you expected. Collect relevant data by sending targeted emails to different segments in your database.

Also Read: TOP100 Academy with David Fallarme: Building awareness with inbound and content marketing

The next thing you’d want is to send relevant and engaging content to various segments of your audience. That’s when you need to personalise. But personalization could present you with new challenges that will test your patience because it takes tons of time and effort to create great content for every group. And without data analytics, personalization will fail. Using machine learning will help you analyse your data and identify patterns needed for optimising content for your personal message.

Engagement

More brands realize the advantages of integrating augmented reality to amplify their engagement with their audience. That being said, the AR market is expected to reach US$ 61.39 billion in value by 2023 according to Markets and Markets research. AR provides a unique and engaging experience, the perfect examples of which are Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters. Some brands have tried creating virtual tours of their brick-and-mortar stores to bring their business closer to their online audience.

Consumer Control

With loads of content uploaded every day, people have the freedom to filter which they want to see and which they rather hide. Being bombarded with irrelevant content is not the experience people want from your brand, even more so with ads, which they can stop seeing with ad blockers. The only thing that can save you from being unfollowed and blocked is to produce content that is genuine and relevant to your audience.

Communication tools

You can rely on Messenger chatbots for instant communication. There are other communication tools like SmartSuite that lets you send text, digital receipts, and personalised ads, or OwnerListens, which shows you all the messages your customers sent via different channels.

SEO

If you want to target more specific customers, strengthen your local SEO. This would help you reach a highly specific audience — those mobile users who are searching for what they need that’s nearby. Seventy-two percent (72 per cent) of consumers who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles (Wordstream, 2016).

Social media

As mentioned earlier, social media has also turned as a channel to provide better customer service. Increase your engagement and nurture the relationship early at this point. Combine the power of social media and CRM, so you can be there at every stage of your customer’s journey.

Takeaways

Don’t underestimate the power of content marketing. But every content should be of the highest quality you can create. Always think that quality matters over quantity.

When running your business has become overwhelming, it’s time to automate as many tasks as you can. You will save time, money, and effort, on things that can be done with less to no human supervision at all.

Also Read: Strapped for resources? Here’s how marketing automation can save you time and money

Data is significant in most parts of your business workflow. Make sure you’re getting insights that will let you know your market better so you can provide them what they need when they need it.

Always focus on your market and how you could serve them better. Take care of the relationships you’ve built with your existing customers because even if you have the best digital marketing strategy, what your customers think and feel about your brand will still be the determining factor of your success.

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