The New Year has arrived! I am sure, like most years, you want 2018 to be the best year yet for your business. Whether you’re starting a new business, managing an established one or looking to rebrand, digital marketing will be an important way to hit your goals this year. Whatever your plan, here are a few new digital strategies to utilize in 2018 to keep up with digital marketing trends:

  1. Create Videos: YouTube attracts more adults during peak TV hours than any cable TV network. Additionally, 1.65 billion active Facebook users watch about eight billion videos each day. With proliferation of smartphones with good quality video cameras, it has never been easier to create videos. For these reasons video should have a place in your 2018 digital marketing strategy. Here are a few articles to help you get started with video marketing.
  2. Try Live-Streaming: Your customers want and expect real human connections. According to The Stream, 80% of audiences would rather watch live video than read a blog. Whether it’s streaming a live interview or hosting a live Q&A, live video is becoming an interesting new marketing tool for small businesses.When hosting a live-stream, make sure you have access to a power source, and make sure you are connected to reliable Internet. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of your stream and having the video cut out or lag. Also, keep in mind that live streams are appealing because they are authentic. Don’t strive to be perfect in your video. Practice a few times before you begin your stream, but remember that if you do make a mistake, do your best to accept it and move on. Watch live streams from companies and brands you follow and copy ideas that you like. Be creative and have fun with it!
  3. Segment Your Audience: Segment your customers and potential customers so that you can personalize your marketing messages based on interests. According to a report by Gartner, companies that have invested in some kind of personalization by 2018 will outsell those that don’t. Depending on how you collect consumer information, you can segment it in different ways. If you use a CRM tool, you may be able to download email lists that are sorted based on demographic and behavioral information. For example, maybe you want to segment your audience based on their geographic location, gender, income or other details.After you’ve segmented your audience, you can start developing content personalized to different groups. When developing ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can upload your specific segmented lists and target that way as well.
  4. Engage Your Audience, Especially on Social Media: It’s called “social” media for a reason. The content you generate on social media should generate conversations with your audience, and you should engage in these conversations. Respond to comments and messages in a timely manner. You can take it one step further by allowing your audience to generate content for you on social media. This is called “user-generated content.”User-generated content is gaining popularity because people are more likely to trust the opinions of your customers over yours. One strategy would be to allow a trusted follower to “takeover” your Instagram account for a week, or start a hashtag campaign around a product launch. Just keep in mind, if you decide to go with the takeover idea, that you need to have a vetting process in place. For example, if you operate a blog and have regular contributors, make it a rule that only contributors can take over your account, or let one of your employees do the first takeover to establish a process. Finally, make sure that whoever is taking over your content is still posting relevant content that matches your brand guidelines.
  5. Be Discoverable Online: Micro-moments are a recent trend where consumers look for products the moment they are ready to buy, using their smartphones. Your customers always have their phones on them, and when they need to run a quick errand, your website or social pages need to be readily available to them. For these reasons, it is important to optimize your website for mobile. Next, make sure you have created and/or claimed your business listings on all the major sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Facebook and Apple Maps. This will help your business rank for relevant searches in your particular market. The bottom line is your business information needs to be readily available to your customers.

The effectiveness of these ideas will be a direct result of three things: your strategy, your resources to aid in these efforts and the actual execution of these tasks. In addition, these are by no means the only marketing methods your business should consider in 2018. Get creative and continue to educate yourself on all the latest trends and tactics for generating clicks, calls, store visits and other important customer actions.2018 marketing