Here is our next guest post!
In 2018, it’s time to set your brand marketing strategy up for success! With so many different marketing channels and vehicles, it can be hard to find the plan that works for your business. In this guide, I’ll cover the brand marketing strategies your competitors will likely be using so you can stay one step ahead in 2018!
#1. Boost Customer Service Success with Chatbots
Chatbots are intuitive computer programs that work to convert your target audience into buyers by engaging them through conversation on various platforms. Although once seen as a gimmick, chatbots are proving to be an effective marketing tool for thousands of brands, as advances are made in artificial intelligence technology.
Chatbots provide a significant advantage in improving customer service turnaround time, which is currently one of the top SEO ranking factors. Chatbots can answer questions about your products, your store hours, or anything that you input into the platform. They are incredibly easy to set up and deploy these days, and you don’t need to have any coding knowledge.
#2. Influencers Are The Best Brand Advocates
Influencer marketing has exploded over the last few years, with Instagram stars replacing traditional celebrities as a methods of promotion. However, attracting big-name online influencers to endorse your brand can be challenging due to competition and growing demand. 2018 will be a particularly big year for smaller, industry-specific Micro Influencers.
Micro influencers are similar to regular influencers, except their messaging is hyper- focused and directed towards relatively smaller followings. They are great if you want to target specific customers in a geographical area or more niche industries. A percentage of their followers might know them personally and will trust their opinions much more because of that connection.
With this type of marketing strategy, it can be difficult lock down your KPIs to ensure you are reaching your desired ROI. Luckily, there are a few online platforms, like BuzzSumo.com and HARO.com, which are geared specifically towards influencer marketing campaigns to help startups better manage and track their performance.
#3. Promoting at Industry Exhibitions
Industry expos are still a great way to gain exposure for your brand and company! They offer the ability to talk face-to-face with prospects and deliver a winning elevator pitch to prominent players within your industry. One of the best ways to boost your exposure and captivate attendees is by planning a modern trade show marketing campaign for your booth space.
No matter how large your company is, promoting your brand using innovative pre-show marketing techniques and enhancing your visibility by upgrading to an eye-catching backlit display will cause show attendees to take notice. In addition, incorporating creative design and interactive technology can increase your booth space traffic. Finally, when selecting your trade show service provider, make sure they employ experienced exhibit consultants that will integrate the latest face-to-face marketing technologies, branding strategies, and graphic design trends.
#4. Get Creative with Your Content
If you want to engage your audience efficiently, your content marketing strategy must be well-executed. Create original content that is both unique and informative, while also promoting your product or services. Creating content that is superior to your competitors’ is the most effective organic SEO ranking tool for small businesses in 2018-2019.
The best organic content communicates a brand’s message and provides readers with interesting and resourceful information that they are naturally drawn to click on, read, and share with others. Users have a desire to learn when engaging with online content. Utilize as many content outlets as you can.
For example, a newly established tech startup working on a shoestring marketing budget should absolutely focus on a content marketing campaign that has the potential to generate high ROI with minimal cost. This startup’s goal should be reaching the largest audience of prospects through free, organic channels. These channels include daily website blog posts on hyper-niche topics, weekly email outreach campaigns to connect their brand with industry influencers, and their own website blog. If your original content begins to gain exposure, you might receive editorial approval to become a guest contributor on a well-known entrepreneur blog, or other top industry-related resource websites.
In another example, a new martial arts and fitness training complex started their content marketing strategy by driving new traffic to their website. They were trying to rank for the keyword “mixed martial arts training near me” and started writing content for their website using the keyword “mixed martial arts training.” After they began getting more monthly users to their website, they began surveying their current gym members to determine what blog topics to write. The gym owners collected information to find out what kinds of information the members would have liked to know about before they joined the gym. The gym owner’s soon found out that many of their prospective customers had questions and concerns that were not currently being addressed on their website. Things like “what to wear on your first training session?” or “how likely is it to get hurt?” By creating content that was customer-centric, this MMA gym was able to deliver content that was truly useful to their customers.
When creating new content for a published guest post, keep the 80/20 rule in mind. To avoid coming off as too “salesy”, we recommend that 80% of your content is strictly resource-based, related to your industry, and centered around topics that you know will engage your audience. The remaining 20% can loosely revolve around products, services, company culture, and more.
#5. Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere
Social media has grown to become the primary marketing channel for many small companies. It is usually inexpensive and provides an opportunity to engage with consumers on a personalized level.
One common issue for B2B marketers is finding the right social networks that work for their industry. More often than not, B2B marketers still overlook video content platforms like Snapchat and YouTube. While a staple for B2C marketing in the past few years, only recently did B2B marketing ads have become a daily part of targeted Instagram user feeds. For B2B companies that sell tangible products, visual marketing through Pinterest and Instagram have quickly become valuable channels for building brand awareness and generating targeted referral traffic directly to e-commerce pages. Whether companies grow their visual marketing campaign through sharing professional product photos, creating interesting YouTube videos that offer value to customers that watch, or using visual storytelling through daily Instagram stories, visual content is a top organic ranking factor in 2018. Digital marketing agencies and competent freelance SEO experts are seriously focused on the importance of visual content creation in 2018.
#6. Leverage Big Data
Analytics and big data aren’t just for the techies anymore! In fact, any company, no matter the industry, should take advantage of customer data to boost their brand marketing efforts. Here are a few ways that small startups can leverage big data:
- Research your competition: By simply looking at Google Trends or social media trends, you can gauge the popularity of competitor brands, and see what customers are saying about them. Take their comments into consideration and adjust your marketing messages accordingly.
- Dive into Analytics: Learn more about the people that visit your website using free platforms, like Google Analytics. It is easy to use and provides insight on the interests, age range, and other demographic data of your site visitors that will help tailor your campaigns.
With big data, your team will be better equipped to have a more in-depth understanding of your company’s target market. This includes their buying behaviors, what they like to shop for online, their specific needs, and more!
Developing and creating a great product is only half the battle. You also have to make sure your customers are aware of the product. When used together, these six tips can elevate your marketing efforts in 2018 to ensure you are reaching the right customers with the right messaging. Implementing these strategies will give your business the competitive edge needed to thrive and succeed in the coming months.