As I look at my digital marketing calendar for the year ahead, I’m equally enthusiastic and challenged by how I’ll need to fine tune my company’s digital marketing platform in 2018. My past and current marketing efforts have helped me further brand recognition, increase online leads and establish my company as an authoritative resource in the home-care industry. Next year, I want to push our marketing efforts even further.
In 2017, my main focus was on content marketing, SEO, PPC and PPL. Based on data collected over the last 12 months, I’ve decided that I need to shift my focus to organic search. Planning my content marketing strategy in advance and having great writers and graphic designers on hand makes a big difference.
In 2018, marketers should focus on anticipating user questions, needs and emotions in order to engage with them. To that end, I’m planning to focus my efforts on researching relevant topics that can answer user questions. Becoming a reputable source where people go to learn more before making the decision to purchase helps you build trusted relationships with customers, and happy customers become evangelists of your brand. Using data will help marketers develop great content, not only based on keywords but also on developing topics. A good marketer knows that this is the key to a long-term client/company relationship.
As a marketer, my audience has trained me well. I can tell what information they want and how they want to receive it just by watching and monitoring their behavior. The key to captivating your target market in 2018 is creating content that is not only engaging but also smart, timely and personalized.
Striking The Right Tone On Your Website
What would your website homepage say to a visitor if it didn’t have any words? Marketers need to choose their colors and images intentionally so that they deliver the right message that speaks for the brand. Today’s consumers have a sharp eye for overused stock photos. They’re more likely to be drawn in by photos, images and videos that blend in naturally with the webpage design. I intentionally chose photographs of active seniors socializing with caregivers and family members to enhance our website, which we designed in warm, pastel colors. The total effect feels personal and homey — just like our brand.
Having a website that balances user experience with SEO is a game changer. Simple language and the right call to action encourages customer interactivity. Big blocks of content, on the other hand, will overwhelm your visitors. A quick fix is to break down content with images, bullet points, icons and other graphic elements. Make sure that your website is intuitive and easy for users to navigate. Visitors to your website who can’t find information quickly won’t be back.
Make sure your content is relevant. Every section of your website should add value and have a purpose. For example, I added testimonials from our valued clients because our clients are looking for first-person assurance of a positive experience. When in doubt, leave it out.
Marketing In A Micro Moment
Technology has made it easier for marketers to learn the behavior of their customers. Making the most of micro-moments and smart technology will place you well ahead of the marketing pack in 2018.
Apps can tell us the geographical location of potential customers, the types of products they usually buy and the times of day that they tend to be on the internet. This is exactly the type of information that marketers need to pay attention to in the coming year.
One of the challenges of 2018 is how marketers can tap into this information to get their messaging in front of clients exactly when and where they need it. Why would someone shop around to the competitors when the perfect product or service popped up on their cell phone just as they were about to search for it? These are called micro-moments. Micro-moments attract shoppers who are ready to buy on impulse.
Here are a few tips for designing micro-moment ads:
• Give the shopper the main idea at a glance.
• Add a clear call to action.
• Make the call to action accessible in one touch.
• Optimize content for mobile apps.
Have you been delaying getting an online chat application for your website? Customers in 2018 expect to be able to chat with a knowledgeable professional right away. An online chat box is a valuable addition to your digital marketing efforts, if you haven’t implemented one yet.
Smart content also means differentiating content for prospects and current customers and personalizing the experience for each. Greeting someone by name when they revisit your site makes it a more personal experience. At my company, that personal experience ties directly into the mood of our brand.
Focusing On Content Development
Creative groups, either in-house or remote, are the digital marketing thought leaders of 2018. Creatives who specialize in writing, graphics or design know how to create meaningful content to attract prospects from all types of industries. Good writers know that the right words combined with the most appropriate images can tell the story of your brand in that micro-moment that ultimately captivates a prospect. Experienced writers and designers create the tone and voice that helps your prospects connect with your brand on a personal level.
The Wrap-Up On Digital Marketing Trends
As you finalize your marketing plans for the new year, the best advice I can give you is to think like your customer. Your customers are searching for your products and services while they’re waiting in line for their morning coffee. They’re commuting on planes, trains and ride-sharing services. Their downtime is your prime time. Challenge yourself to create a marketing plan that makes interacting with your business as easy as buying a cup of coffee.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.