Savvy marketers know that they need to keep up on the latest digital marketing trends within their industry, but outside of marketing circles there’s often a lack of awareness about how important it is to stay current with the marketing trends—digital is changing fast, and businesses that fail to pay attention fall behind before they know it.
Digital marketing is something that every company should be focused on, and knowing the most important trends for this year will allow you to spend your marketing dollar more effectively. We know that digital marketing seems to be in a constant state of flux. With new marketing platforms emerging seemingly every day, it’s a challenge for marketers just to keep up with the latest up-and-coming social networks to stay ahead of the curve, let alone stay on top of the emerging technologies and strategies that promise to make your marketing more targeted than ever.
On top of that consumer and buyer behavior isn’t static and keeps changing, which means you must predict these shifts in trends in order to reach your audience on the right mediums and with the right messages, and that’s where things get pretty complicated. The other challenge is that most marketers don’t have the luxury of endless budgets, so you must carefully select the right marketing mix that offers the best ROI.
For example, 51.9 percent marketers worldwide named video as the type of content giving the best ROI (Adobe 2015). Cisco predicts that by 2020, video will account for 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic as mentioned by Entrepreneur India.
While 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers (HubSpot 2016), this channel may not work for everyone.
Here are five of the biggest digital marketing trends that are taking shape this year.
Automation Is The New Game Changer
One of the keys to running a successful business is having a system in place to streamline or automate every possible area of the business. That trend has been ignored in digital marketing for far too long—but that’s now starting to change.
Marketing automation allows you to create methods of automating your marketing initiatives, allowing you to nurture leads in a more targeted manner. This type of automation creates real results for your business, with DemandGen reporting that nurturing your customer with marketing automation can improve sales opportunities by up to 20 percent.
Email Marketing Redux
While email has been around for a long time now, email marketing is still an incredibly inexpensive method of promoting your business, provided that you do it the right way. It continues to give the highest ROI of all digital marketing channels, with an average return on investment of 4300 percent.
The cornerstone of a good email marketing campaign is the CRM that you use to store and manage all the data needed for that campaign. By using a well-integrated CRM software, you can maintain excellent records of your customer base, allowing you to better segment them for more targeted email marketing campaigns. It also helps you more easily report back on your email marketing results as well.
Real-Time Connections with Live Chat
We’re at the point now that our cell phones can sometimes have faster data connections than we have at home or at work. This allows us to more easily connect with friends and family around the world, but it also means that we want to be able to connect with businesses just as quickly.
Sending an email to customer support with a problem might be fine for some people, but many customers now want the instant gratification of being able to connect with a customer support rep right then and there—and while browsing a company’s web site.
In fact, Forrester Research, Google and others have found that more than half of all customers say that they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat as part of their sales or support service. It can also be a time-saver for you too, as most live chat problems get resolved in 42 seconds, far faster than almost any email back-and-forth exchanges.
Content Marketing Still Works
There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and a widely-publicized annual blog post proclaiming the death of content marketing. The death of content marketing is greatly exaggerated, however–content marketing is still king. Digital marketers who prioritize blogging as a form of content marketing are 13 times more likely to realize a positive ROI from the experience. Research with HubSpot, illustrated in the Competing on Content infographic, shows that more businesses are now using a strategic approach (40%), so this is a trend we can expect to see continuing in 2017.
If you’re already chatting with your customers live, and you’re sending them hyper-profitable emails, then content marketing will help you get more of new customers through the door or onto your site, which is never a bad thing.
Social Media Marketing Is A Great Way To Interact With Customers
An interesting parallel between live chat and social media marketing is developing. While live chat allows you to create an unparalleled one-on-one experience with customers, whether for troubleshooting a problem with a product or to get better results during the sales process, social media marketing allows you to have a similar type of conversation with thousands of potential customers.
There is no doubt that the message is diluted a bit, and nothing will be as as taking the time to connect with your customer one-on-one. That being said, Deloitte Consulting reports that customers who interact with your business over social media are 129 percent more likely to convert.
That’s a huge increase from just sending a few tweets or Facebook messaged.
We all know that social media isn’t just about Twitter or Facebook, but about creating a social element to your business. The reason why social media is still considered one of the strongest digital marketing trends in 2017 is because companies are finding new and innovative ways of creating their own social pull toward their business.
One example is finding new ways to generate customer reviews, still an important part of digital marketing. Reviews are key, with 67 percent of customers saying they are influenced by these types of reviews, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers research. Businesses are using automation and more engagement followup to get these reviews. Even small brands will leverage the video medium.
Even Small Brands will leverage the Video Medium
Building the brand is key and what better way than videos? Its never been easier to Create Videos With The Help Of Free And Low Cost Tools. As per statistics by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Facebook has made it even easier with its Facebook Live feature, which is a very engaging tool, especially for the entertainment, fashion and hospitality industries.
There are plenty of digital marketing trends that have appeared over the years, but we feel that 2017 is going to be a year of consolidation among some of the major digital marketing trends that we have seen take shape over the past few years. Just as smartphones are iterating but not making wild advancements like in the past, 2017 is the year when the biggest marketing trends are basically trends of years past taken to the next level. Businesses have the foundational technologies and systems—it now is about putting them to better use. That’s the overarching trend among the trends we see this year.
So think iteration with your digital marketing this year, whether it is getting serious about automation, tweaking your email marketing workflow, doubling down on content marketing, using social media more intelligently or finally embracing live chat.
This isn’t the year when there are splashy new marketing gimmicks, it is the year when businesses are taking the tools they already have and using them more intelligently and for actual ROI. That means reviewing existing workflows, moving to better tools, and going from the experimentation phase to mature deployment of things like automation and live chat.