Mar­ket­ing is evolv­ing at an expo­nen­tial rate. In fact, one sur­vey found that 76% of respon­dents felt “that mar­ket­ing had changed more in the past two years than in the pre­vi­ous 50.” Con­sid­er these dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing stats: By next year, mobile will account for 72% of dig­i­tal ad spend. Over the last year, 60% of peo­ple start­ed using voice search. Social media is the most pop­u­lar con­tent mar­ket­ing tac­tic for 90% of busi­ness-to-con­sumer (B2C) busi­ness­es, and 94% of busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) mar­keters use LinkedIn as part of their con­tent strat­e­gy.

Human behav­ior has changed, and mar­keters must keep up. Here are four dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing imple­men­ta­tions that have moved to the fore­front this year.

Hyper-Focused Content

Mar­keters are cre­at­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly more con­tent. Between social media, video, pho­tos, info­graph­ics and inter­ac­tive con­tent, con­sumers are sat­u­rat­ed with con­tent. You’re com­pet­ing not just against brands with sim­i­lar prod­ucts, but for your audience’s atten­tion, affec­tion and mon­ey. Regard­less of your indus­try, you must cre­ate a niche or hyper-focused con­tent to attract atten­tion.

Get spe­cif­ic. Think about under­served sub-nich­es with­in your audi­ence and adjust your con­tent cal­en­dar to appeal to these groups. For exam­ple, a fit­ness cen­ter may cre­ate con­tent based on weight-loss tips or effec­tive exer­cise tech­niques. Define your niche even more with a blog post such as “Weight train­ing for busy moms” or “Safe and effec­tive body­build­ing for those over 50.” If you pro­vide the same con­tent as your com­peti­tors, you’ll bore your audi­ence. If you go out too far on a limb, you’ll con­fuse them. Find the bal­ance between what your audi­ence is already inter­est­ed and what they haven’t seen yet. Think about tar­get­ing the niche of your niche.

Voice In SEO Strategies

Ana­lysts pre­dict that by 2020, 50% of all search­es will be done using voice. That means if you are not includ­ing voice in your SEO strat­e­gy, now is the time to get start­ed. Mar­keters know the impor­tance of cre­at­ing qual­i­ty con­tent to move up the inter­net search lad­der. It’s even more impor­tant with voice search. The goal is to be in the cov­et­ed “posi­tion zero” when Google Assis­tant answers a user’s ques­tion. Posi­tion zero is usu­al­ly the same “fea­tured snip­pet” block that appears at the top of a search page. Opti­miz­ing con­tent for those fea­tured snip­pet blocks is crit­i­cal to being fea­tured for voice search.

Con­sid­er these three tips:

• Pro­vide spe­cif­ic and con­cise answers. Cre­ate con­tent that will direct­ly answer a ques­tion in the fewest words pos­si­ble. Do not include indus­try jar­gon. Para­graph snip­pets are most com­mon­ly cho­sen, accord­ing to Get­Stat.

• Ensure your web­page is already opti­mized. You won’t have a fea­tured snip­pet if you aren’t already writ­ing engag­ing and inter­est­ing copy. One study found that 99.58% of fea­tured pages already rank in Google’s Top 10. Your web­page must be engag­ing. Include strong exter­nal and inter­nal links. Your meta­da­ta must already be opti­mized, and you must already be using a strong SEO strat­e­gy. Since voice search is almost exclu­sive­ly used on mobile devices, be sure your web­site is mobile-opti­mized, too. If not, users will grow impa­tient and bounce back, fur­ther knock­ing you down the rank­ings lad­der.

• Research ques­tion-based key­words. Find out what word sequences are used most by your audi­ence. For exam­ple, “What’s a good [metric/benchmark] for [indus­try]?” or “How do I [insert ser­vice]?” or “How much does [x] cost?” Think about what your tar­get audi­ence will be ask­ing.

Millennial Drivers

One study not­ed that con­ve­nience stores are twice as impor­tant to mil­len­ni­als as fast-casu­al restau­rants. Why should this inter­est mar­keters? It shows that mil­len­ni­als want expe­ri­ences that are short and sweet. Con­ve­nience is key. They want quick answers that are easy to find. Meet this need by offer­ing a vari­ety of search options with deep knowl­edge. Move past sim­ple key­word search­es. Use nat­ur­al lan­guage and phras­es that your mil­len­ni­al vis­i­tors are like­ly to use. Ensure they get the right answer by offer­ing a real-time chat to guide cus­tomers that don’t find what they are look­ing for imme­di­ate­ly.

How?

• Use video.

• Engage your audi­ence on social media. Go beyond just hav­ing a pres­ence.

• Cre­ate valu­able con­tent. Work with their on-demand lifestyle by giv­ing them the option to down­load meaty arti­cles, e-books or webi­na­rs.

• Devel­op an app to give mil­len­ni­als imme­di­ate infor­ma­tion with­out the wait.

Artificial Intelligence

AI automa­tion is trans­form­ing the way busi­ness­es inter­act with cus­tomers. In one study, 15% of respon­dents said they have used a chat­bot to inter­act with a busi­ness in the past 12 months. How can you inte­grate bots into your dig­i­tal strat­e­gy? Con­sid­er these three ways.

• Inter­act with web­site vis­i­tors. AI bots are an easy way to live chat with vis­i­tors with­out a ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee. Bots can be pro­grammed to answer com­mon ques­tions, then pass the vis­i­tor onto a real per­son if the bot is unable to help. Remem­ber to write ques­tions and answers in your own voice, stick­ing to your company’s brand­ing.

• Qual­i­fy leads. Lead man­age­ment is a chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly with increas­ing num­bers of leads com­ing from all of your dig­i­tal efforts. Set up a bot to find out where the cus­tomer is in the sales fun­nel. Bots can con­verse, ask ques­tions, answer ques­tions, then pass the cus­tomer onto a sales rep when appro­pri­ate. Inte­grate with social media with tools such as a Face­book Mes­sen­ger bot. You can direct cus­tomers to the right prod­uct with­out ever actu­al­ly speak­ing to them.

• Per­son­al­ize the expe­ri­ence. Cus­tomers love a per­son­al expe­ri­ence. Bots can be pro­grammed to take in data from users so their vis­it can be per­son­al­ized each time.

As 2018 unfolds, we should expect a good deal of changes in an ever-chang­ing dig­i­tal world. Be sure you stay abreast with the lat­est trends to assure you reach your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing goals.

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