Online marketing constantly evolves, providing you with new ways to attract your target audience and convert them into sales and revenue.
While there are search engine optimization and email marketing will continue to produce results, new trends can’t be ignored. Here are four that you need to pay attention to this coming year — this is where you are going to find a large percentage of consumer attention.
Influencer marketing can deliver the highest return when stacked up against other forms of online marketing, which is why I founded a second agency that focuses solely on influencer marketing. Some brands have built multi-million dollar companies using influencer marketing exclusively.
The cost has gone through the roof over the past couple years to secure the services of highly desirable social influencers. And not every brand can afford to pay a Kardashian upwards of six-figures for a social plug. This is one reason that micro-influencers are becoming increasingly popular — that and they work extremely well.
Finding micro-influencers with smaller followings that align with your brand can deliver amazing results. They are more affordable that the big names and their engagement is genuine. I have been able to analyze a lot of data through my agency and multiple micro-influencers always outperform a single big name post. Instead of trying to hit a home run and striking out, hit singles and doubles. In the end, you will experience much better results.
2. Live video
Some early adapters dabbled with live video streaming last year, but this is the year it’s going to become part of everyone’s online marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live Video allow you to reach your customer base in a way that’s very personal and raw.
There are no fancy video edits — your audience gets to take a peek inside and see the real you. There are so many ways to use this to generate buzz. Broadcasting from special events, in-store sales, etc. The opportunity is truly endless, especially for personal branding.
It’s going to take some testing and tweaking to determine what live approach your audience will best respond to. Start testing now before your competition masters live video — don’t get left in the dark.
3. Paid social media
The organic reach brands experienced in the early days of Facebook and Instagram is long gone, and this should be no surprise. These social networks make their money via advertisements — if you want to reap the benefits of their reach and audience you need to break out the wallet. Pay to play, baby!
I love when business owners complain to me about diminishing organic reaches. Social networks are businesses — they exist to make money — piles of it.
I would suggest starting small and learning the ins and outs, before dumping large sums of money into paid social media promotion. Facebook ads, for example, can deliver incredible reach at a very low cost, if you have your campaign properly optimized. It can take time to master Facebook ads — and there is no better education than jumping in and learning through hands-on experience.
4. AI (Artificial Intelligence) chat bots
Investment in artificial intelligence is expected to triple in 2017 according to Forrester research.
Brands are tapping into the potential of machine learning, with Facebook leading the way with the roll-out of news feed ads that open directly into Messenger chats and hybrid products such as Google Allo, a smart messaging app with an integrated AI assistant.
This gives you the ability to go from mass targeting to one-to-one conversations. Imagine being able to start a conversation with a potential customer rather than have them click-through to your website and hope they submit a form or make a purchase? There is so much potential here and it’s brand new — you will gain a huge advantage over your competition if you are an early adapter.
by JONATHAN LONG
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