Look out, 2018 – here we come! Lots of exciting business opportunities on the horizon, not the least of which are related to digital marketing.
Here are some strategies to consider from Cathy’s column in Sunday’s Knoxville News Sentinel.
While I love our warp-speed world and the new opportunities it presents for us to learn and to be ever-amazed at all the mind-boggling ways we now have to connect, influence and sell to each other, the window of time to adapt and put new technologies and methodologies to work for our companies is a narrow one.
That window opens and closes more quickly than ever before, making it difficult to know what we should spend time focusing on versus what has very little application for our particular organizations.
However, here are some marketing trends that I believe we should pay attention to and at least evaluate relative to our businesses in the coming year:
The changing influencer market
“Micro-influencers” are emerging in the digital world with ever-increasing power in terms of building brand interest and loyalty. They typically have a total digital audience size of between 1,000 and 100,000 followers (compared to macro-influencers, who can have up to 10 million followers).
Micro-influencers post about specific niche topics and are four times as likely to get a comment on their posts than are macro-influencers. Because their followers share their passion, 90 percent of those followers trust them more than they trust messages conveyed by the actual brand.
With more than 32 percent of internet users enabling ad blockers in 2017, it is increasingly more difficult for companies to reach their customers directly. Therefore, you need to identify and connect with your micro-influencers in authentic and consistent ways. The trend will be away from high-cost mass media advertising and middle-tier influencers who drive awareness but don’t drive much ROI.
Evolution of content marketing
With new formats evolving every day (it seems), content marketing is no longer just about writing blogs. Voice search will alter a lot of content strategies, as we will see brands aim for interactive tutorials that can be spoken to people as they do other things. Content will become more interactive and integrated overall.
And then there is video, which is becoming the most popular and influential form of digital content marketing. Smart marketers are relying heavily on creating video content which boosts search engine rankings and increases website traffic rates, for instance.
“Explainer videos” are emerging. These are typically short, uncomplicated videos that explain your company’s products or services in easily-understood ways. When explainer videos are used on websites, viewers are four times as likely to watch these videos than they are to read text.
Another trend is the growing popularity of live video. According to Facebook, users spend triple the amount of time watching live videos than they do viewing videos that are not live.
In conclusion, rather than chase every trend, take the time to do your own research regarding what might work best for your company, but be open to the possibilities.
Use data and experimentation wisely, and keep an eye on the top performers in your space to monitor what they’re doing that seems to be working. These are just a couple of examples of some great new ways of reaching and influencing customers than are coming into their own this year. They may be worth checking out for your company!

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