Online marketing is one of the most effective tools to grow a business. However, in order to have an efficient strategy, businesses need to stay ahead of changing technology and user trends.
Over the years, the way people consume online content has shifted considerably. A recent study by GlobalWebIndex shows that 28 percent of online activity happens on social media. Ad buys on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram have grown significantly over the past few years, with Instagram outselling Facebook by 117 percent in 2018.
In addition to the growth of social media, most people are consuming content via their mobile devices, which changes the way businesses need to think about displaying content.
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If you’re looking to include the newest marketing trends in your plan this year, these are four online marketing strategies that will help your business stand out.
1. Optimize for voice search.
Whether you use Siri to get directions to dinner or Google Assistant to play music in your home, there’s a voice assistant for every device. One statistic says that 40 percent of adults use a voice assistant at least once a day, and 20 percent of mobile searches are done via voice search.
This means it’s more important than ever for businesses to optimize for voice search. How do you do that?
- Use structured data on your website to answer typical customer inquiries.
- Updated your website with the most relevant and easy-to-read content to ensure a voice assistant will pick up the information.
- Work on your online reviews. More than 67 percent of consumers consider online feedback when making a purchasing decision.
Many businesses are going above and beyond to meet the needs of these voice assistants. For example, DoorDash has worked closely with Google to make it possible for consumers to order food delivery via Google Assistant. Users can do everything from save their most popular meals to placing dinner delivery orders right through their Google Home speakers.
While your business might be smaller in scale, it’s still important to think through the many ways you can begin to build a cohesive voice search strategy into your online marketing plan.
2. Vertical videos.
We live in a mobile world. That means it’s important to develop content that makes sense for mobile consumption.
According to Mobile Overview Report (MOVR), 94 percent of users watch videos vertically, even if they were intended to be viewed horizontally. What does that mean for you? If you’re putting together video content for your business, start transitioning to vertical video.
Look at the way people are consuming content on Instagram Stories, Snapchat or even the rising popularity of InstagramTV. These avenues have changed the way that consumers see and interact with video content in an astounding way.
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One great example of the power of the vertical video is how “The Infatuation” utilizes Instagram Stories to take their viewers on restaurant reviews. Each week, an editorial team member takes over the Instagram feed to post videos of the meal, give a quick 15-second review and allow viewers to ask questions along the way. The Infatuation has experienced significant growth since it’s launch in 2009, thanks in large part to it’s dedication to high-quality content that keeps consumers continuously engaged.
3. Review your social media activities.
Being stagnant is never a good thing, especially when it comes to social media. That’s why it’s important to always update your social media advertising strategy. Whether that’s changing up your demographic or switching from Instagram to Facebook ads, keeping things fresh keeps viewers coming back.
Think about new avenues that might make sense, like YouTube, which saw ad spend go up by 189 percent in 2018 or Snapchat, which helps brands reach a younger audience.
While many small businesses have been hesitant to invest in ad spend on social networks, taking advantage of advertising opportunities via these avenues can make all the difference.
Rapidly growing yoga franchise, Y7, has taken advantage of Instagram ad space to help increase their client base in each of their locations. By setting up specific geographical and audience demographic information for each ad, as well as using eye-catching content, the brand has created an online experience that fitness-focused individuals can’t resist.
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In the last three years alone, the brand has grown more than 4,022 percent and now has 10 locations nationwide, with plans to expand in the next year. It’s a clear indicator that great content, along with niche ad buys, can help grow a brand.
4. Automate stuff by using chatbots.
Dedicated to the customer experience? Two best practices for outstanding customer service are to take action promptly and give customers the tools to solve their own problems. Implementing chatbots can help you achieve both. According to data from Facebook IQ, chatbots have experienced 5.6x year over year growth since 2017, becoming one of the most popular forms of business-to-consumer communications.
It doesn’t stop at customer service. Many of these chatbots are great marketing tools that help consumers through the sales cycle.
One company that uniquely uses chatbots is the online investment company, Betterment. Their chatbots allow clients to completely onboard themselves by walking them through each step. The chat feature will pop up to help move clients through the investment process, even providing customized insight into their financial wealth. Landbot recently featured a number of great case studies of how companies gather personal information with chabots and use it to qualify and nurture leads.
Online marketing is an ever-winding maze of intricate tips and changing trends that can be hard to navigate. The best takeaway any small business can put into practice when developing a plan is to focus on how consumers are using online media. Implementing any number of these strategies into your online marketing plan will ensure your brand stands out and set you up for a successful 2019.