Move over, paid advertising—2018 is all about engaging content, customer experiences and savvy search engine optimization.
Reboot Online recently compiled data from Hubspot’s State of Inbound Report, listing marketers’ top priorities for 2018. Data showed that the majority of marketing pros (77 percent) want to turn leads into customers, and more than half (55 percent) aim to boost website traffic.
With those goals in mind, most marketers are putting less of an emphasis on paid advertising, focusing instead on producing and distributing content consumers crave.
Improving SEO and creating content have become the main objectives for more than half of marketers (61 and 55 percent, respectively). Distributing content across the web, automating marketing processes and crafting interactive content are also high priorities on many marketers’ lists:
By contrast, 32 percent of marketers said they were focusing on paid advertising, and 11 percent said they were using social media ads and pay-per-click tactics. Thirteen percent reported focusing on organic social media growth—and those numbers might further dwindle now that Facebook has made it harder for marketers’ content to be featured inusers’ news feeds.
Increasing online traffic and converting marketing leads are this year’s top priorities, but they also represent marketing struggles: 63 percent said generating traffic and leads was their biggest challenge.
Forty percent of marketers said proving ROI was a hurdle, while others listed securing budget dollars (28 percent), selecting the proper technology (26 percent), managing organizations’ websites (26 percent) and creating content targeted to international audiences (21 percent) as challenges:
With these goals—and matching challenges—how can marketing pros entice consumers to spend time on their organizations’ websites—and further, turn them into loyal customers?
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Reboot listed eight trends marketing pros should consider including in their strategies and campaigns this year:
1. “Micro moments”. These are moments that happen when consumers reflexively take out a mobile device to learn or discover something—and 96 percent of consumers use mobile devices and other smart technology to find organizations’ information.
2. Voice search. In November 2017, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reported that 20 million Amazon Echo and 7 million Google Home smart speakers were purchased by consumers in the United States. Google said it sold a smart speaker device every second since October 2017, when its Google Home Mini started shipping.
3. Increased artificial intelligence and chat bots. Fifty-seven percent of marketers are already including this trend in their strategies and campaigns.
4. Brands speaking out on hot-button issues. Two-thirds of consumers want organizations to speak out about politicaland social issues, so remaining silent during controversy might not be your best option.
5. Storytelling and data visualization. Data should drive your PR and marketing strategies, but it can also help you tell better stories. Embrace the trend to become more visual by partnering with designers that can help you turn analytics into something visually appealing.
6. Changing SEO strategies. Search engine algorithms are changing. Instead of stuffing your blog posts with keywords, tailor your content to contain key phrases that your consumers might type in (or speak) to search for related products and services.
7. Interactive content. It’s important to create content that consumers find helpful and interesting, but making it interactive can help boost engagement numbers—and attention spans. Consider using Twitter and Facebook polls, quizzes, videos or podcasts to attract more eyeballs.
8. Live video. Most consumers (80 percent) would rather watch a live video than read a blog post, so the time is now to embrace video streaming. Creating and publishing this type of content can also help your reach on social platforms such as Facebook.
Reboot also crafted a helpful visual guide to a few effective replacements for tired marketing tactics:
What marketing strategies and tactics are you focusing on this year—and what would you add to this list?