Digital Marketing Trends You Must Follow in 2018

Michael Brenner on Apr 9, 2018 in Content Marketing

The world of online marketing moves fast. There are strong and rapid currents which brands use to promote their products and services, many of which will be effective for only a few years before a big change.

The more a certain marketing technique is used, the more audiences around the world become accustomed to it – and, in turn, immune to it. In order to keep growing your business, it is not enough to simply use the old tried and tested strategies. Instead, you must closely follow online marketing trends to stay ahead of the crowd.

Earlier this year we looked at the biggest digital marketing trends from 2017. These are the marketing trends you can’t ignore in 2018.

Personalized marketing messages

Using a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer the right way to target customers. Instead, businesses must focus on personalizing their message, using email funnels, social media targeting, and customer grouping to achieve a campaign that is tailored to the individual.

If you’re wondering how to do this in practice, here’s a strong example of a fictional customer interacting with a fictional online clothing store. First, the customer sees the brand being worn by a micro-influencer as part of a paid Instagram campaign. A micro-influencer is a social media leader who has fewer followers than what we have seen from social influencers in the past but is likely to have a stronger sway with their niche followers.

After seeing this post, the customer visits the brand website. She clicks on a few listings but does not buy anything.

Later, when browsing the web, she sees tailored adverts in the sidebar of her favorite website which show the specific items she was interested in from the clothing store. She also sees a targeted Instagram ad featuring the brand’s clothes because she follows the micro-influencer and falls within the location and age parameters set in the campaign. After this encouragement, she visits the clothing store again and signs up for an account. She puts an item in her basket but does not check out.

She later receives an email addressed to her by name, reminding her about the item left in her basket – and promoting a few similar items she may wish to buy instead. Finally, she returns to the website and makes a purchase.

This is not the limit of personalized marketing. Now that you know what she is likely to buy, you can target her even more directly with new releases and curated emails showcasing items she might like. You can email her on her birthday. If she bought an item for a newborn baby, you can send her an email in six months promoting your range of items for children aged 6-8 months. The possibilities continue.

Evergreen content

Content marketing has been king for a couple of years now, and its reign continues – but in a new form. There has been a backlash against the sheer volume of content produced by brands, much of which has been meaningless or poor quality due to the rush to produce more and more. Not only that, but consumers have been overwhelmed, and unsure of where to look.

Now, the focus is on producing evergreen content which will last longer. Brands should be looking to produce one new piece of longer form content every month, perhaps at most. Some key brands have already revealed plans to put out new white papers or long-form articles only every three to six months.

The focus for content is now about creating something that will not only provide value to your customers today, but in a year’s time, or even further than that. Think about creating something they will want to bookmark and read again. Try to publish content that they will be searching for next year, or further down the line, because it will still be a relevant issue for them. Create rules to live by, tips that never go out of style, and hard-hitting emotional editorial pieces that will stay with them.

The color of the year

Over recent years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has become a serious force in online marketing trends. It is everywhere you look, and this will continue to be the case in 2018. What is it?

Ultra violet was chosen to represent the year because of a rising trend in purple food, clothing, home décor, and accessories – and that trend represents the taste of a large percentage of consumers.

Using ultra violet in your online marketing campaigns is bordering on essential. While you may be able to create a strong campaign without it, you will be more shareable with it. Consumers will respond more to adverts and social media posts containing the color, even if it only affects them in a subconscious way.

The way brands will use this color is going to vary. Some will opt for subtle pops of color in brand photography. Others will go all-out with graphic design, turning their social feeds into a wall of ultra violet images and text. The way you go about it is up to your marketing team – but you need to demonstrate your current, fresh, and on-trend brand by putting it in there. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple color to attract new customers and followers across the board.

Non-visual experiences

Smart speakers have become part of the home almost overnight, and their wild popularity means that a whole new world of potential has opened up for advertisers.

Apps are more important now than ever, but curiously, few brands seem to have leapt in feet-first to the world of smart speakers so far. What can your brand offer to get ahead of the wave? Can you present a ‘skill’ that Alexa could offer to potential new customers? This is food for thought for marketers who are forward-thinking and ready to take a risk.

While your marketing efforts may focus on the staples as always – social media posts, engagement with followers, and email marketing – there are new ways to do all of them. Make sure you get in first and make the most of these online marketing trends rather than joining the party late.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.