The only constant in digital marketing is change. Change comes fast and it comes hard. You need to be ready for those changes. I follow trends and I understand them. That way I can predict the directions customers are moving in. Then I use that knowledge to benefit my businesses.
In the next six months, rapid changes are coming. Here are 15 you need to know about now.
1. Mobile sits at the top of the food chain.
The growth of mobile use over desktop use has been remarkable, and it shows no signs of slowing. Mobile use has grown from 12% of a person’s time on devices to 42%, in just 8 years.
If you are not ready to serve your customers on mobile, then you are not ready at all. This means customer apps for easier shopping. It means your site must be mobile friendly. It means advertising directly on mobiles.
2. Digital assistants are critical to businesses worldwide.
Listings of stores and restaurants on Google maps were only the beginning. Automated assistants on mobile devices are going to direct customers to the places profiling shows they want. You need to be high up on your customers’ profiles, or you will be dead.
3. Virtual reality is coming.
Virtual reality is big in gaming, and it is moving into marketing too. Plan to browse in virtual stores, not click on little 2D images. Provide a full immersion experience and make big gains in customer involvement and purchases.
4. Visuals are more important than ever.
The enriched experience of visuals to supplement and even replace text is a big new trend. Consumers brought up on visuals find big areas of text dull. Make sure your content is rich in images.
Video is the direction to go. A well-made 10 or 15-second video can be a big winner for you.
5. Customized content is the name of the game.
Big data is going to give you real insights into the tastes and interests of customers from the moment they enter your site. If you are providing content that is relevant to that customer, you will grab their interest.
They will stay longer, browse more, and so be more likely to make purchases. They will leave with higher customer satisfaction, because they had a personalized experience with you.
6. Customer targeting is crucial.
Just as your content will need to match the customer, you need to target customers with interests that match your goods and services. This means using Facebook and similar sites to make connections with the right leads.
7. It’s time to build – and grow – communities.
Customers are increasingly going to live in brand niche communities and vertical communities of shared interests. Reach out to those communities with targeted marketing aimed straight at the groups you need for your site.
8. Marketing campaigns + customer-generated data = perfection.
Your existing customer base is your number one asset. Encourage them to leave feedback. Encourage them to write product reviews on your site and on your distributors’ sites.
A genuine review from a genuine customer is worth gold to you. That means giving your customers a great experience from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave.
9. Rewards programs are keeping more customers loyal.
You worked hard to get those happy customers. You do not want them leaving after one or two purchases. Give them an incentive to come back to you by creating a unique loyalty program.
10. Customer relationship management can no longer be ignored.
CRM is about integrating all your activities into a single experience. This should take place right across your business. Use all the tools available to you, and all the technologies and procedures you need.
Your goal is to facilitate every interaction to create a seamless experience.
11. Behavioral email marketing is coming with a vengeance.
Mass emails as a selling tool are outdated. Now you need to provide individualized emails to your customers. See how they reacted to other emails and marketing tools you used. This means using more than basic information like age and location. It means tracking their actions on your site.
Monitor the last time they visited, the products they viewed, their purchases, and if they completed a checkout. Match your emails to their experience.
12. Partnerships matter more now than ever.
You should be using different partnerships to increase your business. A big trend for the future is affiliate marketing. If you have goods and services that compliment another business, link up and cross-sell.
13. Paid search marketing is making the most irrelevant become relevant.
In an increasingly competitive market, you need to spend some money to improve flow to your site. Pay-per-Click can bring dividends and profits if you place your ads wisely and attract the right customers.
14. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is too important to ignore.
You are often paying to attract people to your site, but you need to convert those people from visitors to customers. CRO is all about improving that process.
Adjust your advertising to bring in people with the right profile. Improve their experience once they arrive to maximize the return on your ad spending.
15. Devices are now fashion statements.
The release of the Apple Watch created a new era of more intimate devices. Worn constantly, activity trackers not only help the wearer, they create in-depth profiles for your marketing.
Even augmented reality, with devices like Google glasses, may have a place in your marketing.
Now you see what I meant about keeping up with change. All these trends and changes are going to affect how you market your products and services. Now is the time to prepare.
How prepared are you for all these changes?