Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Leona Henryson, Commercial Director at Essay Supply.
If you really want to create a marketing campaign that reaches your target audience and increases revenue, it’s important to be aware of the most recent trends. Some of them are enhancements of strategies you already employ. Others will be new to you. The good news is that all of them can be put to good use and help achieve your goals. Here are several of the key trends that should be included in your marketing plan.
1. Marketing Via Smartphones and Tablets
While desktops and laptops are not gone yet, the advent of smartphones and tablets have changed the way consumers look for information about the goods and service they want. That’s led to marketing professionals changing the way they seek to connect with those consumers.
According to this chart using data collected by Statcounter, the most common mobile screen resolutions around the world between November 2016 and November 2017 were:
- 360×640 – 41.11%
- 375×667 – 9.58%
- 720×1280 – 5.16%
- 320×568 – 4.55%
- 414×736 – 3.79%
- 320×534 – 3.46%
The lesson here is to stop designing landing pages, websites, and advertisements for larger screens. What you need are internet marketing pieces that look great and load quickly on smaller ones.
2. Refreshing and Adding to Site Content
Relevant content has been a staple of online marketing for over two decades. You still want to ensure the content displayed on your pages or the copy used in ads is informational, engaging, and speaks directly to a need of the consumer who’s reading it.
Too many online entrepreneurs have allowed themselves to become distracted with the latest Google algorithm tweak that will supposedly make all the difference in creating written content. While you should pay attention to this stuff, keep in mind that everyone’s favorite search engine is bottom line concerned about one thing – returning the most targeted results possible to searchers.
How do they do that? Not by counting the number of times you repeat a certain word or phrase but by how much your copy connects with a visitor, measured by whether or not they click deeper into your website.
Remember that content is not just words. The images you display online also need to be refreshed from time to time. Add a few more if they happen to convey something important about the products offered. Images, charts, and words that work together increase page rankings and make it easier for consumers to find you.
Are you not sure how often to freshen your content? Start with the standard used for decades with offline marketing. Everything should be updated at least once every 18 months. Given the wealth of information online and the shorter attention spans of consumers these days, consider updating at least once every 10 to 12 months.
3. Grow With User-Generated Content
The fact is that you only control part of the marketing experience. That’s not a bad thing. User-generated content is one of the most important ways people share the word with others. Be mindful of blog posts that contain backlinks to your pages. Don’t overlook how often something from your site is shared on social media. Being aware of who is sharing and what people are responding to will bring more direction to your marketing efforts and increase the returns generated by those efforts.
In today’s sharing-driven world, don’t feel like you’re going to be able to control your entire marketing plan. A lot of it is out of your hands. The people who follow your social media accounts, post reviews of your products to third-party sites, and comment on your blog posts will likely make up the majority of the content that swirls around your brand.
4. Email Marketing Still Works
If anyone tells you email marketing is dead, pay no attention. Email campaigns are still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach consumers. This is especially true if you build opt-in email lists rather than buy suspect lists. As with your website and blog, high-quality content in the body of those emails will attract attention and generate more business volume. Remember that emails can also be shared easily within your own network of partners.
5. Text Marketing
With most consumers walking around with a smartphone, text messaging as part of your marketing is one of the latest trends. People will read a short text when they won’t make time for emails or longer posts on social media. Keep it short, sweet, and always include a link to follow. Remember to only use a qualified listing for the campaign. Blasting texts out to people who have not expressed an interest in what you have to sell is a sure way of building a negative reputation.
As with email marketing, don’t go crazy with the number of texts you send or risk running afoul of federal laws that prevent the sending of unsolicited messages over the air. Make sure to get permission first — it counts if they’ve agreed to receive an email newsletter. With the near manic concern (understandably) about online privacy and the rise in use of ad-blocking technologies and virtual private network software packages, it’s interesting to note that even the fanciest of these don’t normally block or encrypt text messages, which work solely through the cellular network and not an internet connection.
6. Stop Focusing on a Single Generation
There was a time before widespread use of the Internet when marketing professionals went after the coveted baby boomers. By the time the World Wide Web began transforming the way people find out about different companies, the move was on to capture the following generations. More recently, many campaigns have focused on reaching millennials.
Here’s the growing trend in marketing today: stop focusing on a single generation. Place more emphasis on location, income level, culture, and recreational trends. All of these can transcend age barriers and appeal to consumers who happen to be part of several generations. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to reach a wider range of people if you go for a more inclusive strategy.
Are there more trends that you should consider? Absolutely! This time next year, some new ones will join these while others wane or become irrelevant completely. Your job is to stay on top of the latest fads, determine how they can help reach the widest possible customer base, and come up with the specific combination of elements to do just that. Take the process slowly, monitor reactions, and never be afraid to adapt of adjust something that isn’t yielding returns. In the long run, your campaign will make the most of current trends and perhaps generate more revenue than you ever expected.
Leona Henryson is a freelance writer and UX designer at Essay Supply. Also, she is a contributing writer for various blogs. When she is not writing or designing, she is swimming, hiking, and, weather permitting, snowboarding.