Forty-six percent of small business owners are unsure if their current marketing strategies work while 37 percent say their efforts are effective. Digital marketing is an essential tool for small businesses in order to expand their consumer reach and stand out in the marketplace. Despite the growth in e-commerce and m-commerce, 28 percent of small businesses still don’t see a need to increase their budget and strategies around digital marketing.
However, if you’re looking to revamp yours, check out these four digital marketing trends for 2018.
- Small businesses invest more into social, organic, paid, and analytics.
In a study done by MarketingProfs, the top spending trends for marketing are social media management (at 38 percent), SEO and digital ads (at 30 percent), and website analytics (24 percent). With these, it’s important to measure and monitor your strategies to see if they drive traffic and conversions.
SEO will see the rise of SERP features (local packs, Knowledge Panels, etc.), structured data, the increasing importance of UX speed and voice search. The trends for digital ads include the rise of ISPs, the importance of data, identity, and personalization and a change in the U.S.’s regulatory stances. In 2018, focus on mass analytics, predictive analytics, and integration. We’ll expand more on social below.
- Target micro-influencers instead of regular influencers.
Having high-following influencers promote your brand and products isn’t always possible for small business owners. Sponsorships can be pricey, so micro-influencers can save on your marketing budget. These influencers might also be more effective than larger influencers as well, as people tend to relate to them since they have a more attainable lifestyle than those with 100K or more followers.
Influencer marketing has been an effective method of personalization for potential customers, but it’s not always possible to have a high-following influencer promote your products or services. For 2018, consider focusing on micro-influencer marketing instead.
- Grow your social media presence.
Social media has been and continues to be extremely popular among consumers (with 85 percent using social media in some way). Fifty-eight percent of social media users follow brands on their channels, with 45 percent being influenced by social media for their purchasing needs. As such, you must have a strong social media strategy and presence to increase your small business’s revenue.
Social media isn’t becoming more popular with just users, though; 38 percent of small businesses plan to put more of their budgeting toward their social media channels in 2018. Of course, the type of social channel you should be on depends on your industry. Construction crews can focus more on channels like Facebook and Yelp while retail stores can showcase items on Instagram and Facebook.
Your social media strategy should focus on a current priority or one you haven’t touched on much yet. Let’s say you spend 2017 running paid ads to get some momentum going. In 2018, scale back a little on advertisements and focus on your organic reach and engagement.
- Generation Z are the upcoming consumers you want to reach.
Generation Z are those born between 1996 and 2010, meaning they’ll soon account for 40 percent of American consumers. Unlike millennials, Generation Z prefers to shop in stores and especially malls. They enjoy live events and desire more personalized experiences. Target this generation through your marketing strategies by giving them that experience. Your approach for these consumers can be different by enticing them to visit your store. Instead of highlighting just your products or services, highlight the experience people have working with you or coming into your store.
Let’s say you have a retail store and are targeting this generation. Continue posting products, but do so at a smaller rate. You should also start including posts showing how people enjoy your store, how well you know your customers or even what fun events or treats you have going on (in the winter, apple cider and cookies; in the summer, ice cream).
If your digital marketing efforts need a tune-up, these four trends for 2018 can help potentially increase your brand’s presence and even revenue. However, as the biggest challenge for most small business owners is finding the right time or resources, consider investing in a marketing team or freelance marketer to help you effectively manage and strategize around these trends.