5 Digital Marketing Trends To Watch This Year

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Time to pick up on these trends before your competitors do

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Last year, I enrolled in a digital marketing course.

Crammed with insights and digital marketing trends, the course gave me a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of a powerful promotional campaign and how it works in a distracted world.

It didn’t take me long to realise how brutal the course was. When I finally received my certificate, I remember thinking, “Okay, that’s it. No more.” Alas, the sweet burst of exhilaration was short-lived. My newfound knowledge couldn’t hold a candle to the marketing world.

And no wonder, because in order to slay at marketing, I have to go beyond hitting the books. I have to put in more effort to find out what makes people tick. It’s a lifelong process. One way to do this is to take a deeper look at the latest digital marketing trends and bring them into play.

Now you’re too cool to make the same mistake as I did, but just to be on the safe side – and to reinforce the cruciality of what we’re talking about here – here are 5 digital marketing trends to keep your eyes peeled for in the coming new year.

Targeting specific audiences with Micro-influencers

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A wise bald man once said, “Bigger isn’t better. It’s merely bigger.”

Ever hired a celebrity influencer to promote your product? Noticed how the results always fall short of your expectations? It’s not Lady Luck playing a cruel joke on you if that’s what you’re wondering. According to BlogsRelease CEO Eti Nachum, it’s the norm.

Engaging in celebrity influencers tend to backfire because of two main reasons. One, they’re more prone to attract a higher number of fake accounts. Two, most of their followers aren’t interested in the product they’re promoting. It’s the worst of times for genuine engagement.

Luckily, this is where micro-influencers come in. While this group boast a significantly fewer number of followers (1,000-100,000), the intimacy in their small community makes up for it. On top of that, because these influencers focus more on their niche, they’re seen as credible figures in their relevant industry.

If you want to target a niche market but don’t know where to begin, e-hop over to local social media communities like StarNgage and ChurpChurp. You’ll find your soulmate influencer in no time.
 

Create a rich mobile user experience

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A wooden club to a caveman is a mobile phone to us common folks – we need it for survival.  

In Business 2 Community, digital marketing professional Justin Wilson writes, “Google has started to not only drive the speed of mobile websites through its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, but is starting to really look at mobile SEO and allow it to lead the agenda over desktop.”

This statement alone proves the longevity of mobile and mobile marketing. If you’re still hemming and hawing over this trend, get this: there are 9 out of 10 Singaporeans under the age of 60 who use their mobile phone everyday. Take a minute to imagine the potential. 2016 was a big year for mobile. 2017, dare I say, will be bigger.

That said, zoom in on mobile marketing SEO techniques to promote your business. But before you put your tactics to the test (easy, tiger!) see to it that you have a mobile responsive website. You don’t want your users to claw their eyes out while browsing your site, do you? Poke around it and ask yourself: “If I’m a mobile user, will I be satisfied or annoyed by this online experience?”

Better yet, do a mobile-friendly test.
 

Live-streaming 

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An article on Huffington Post states that live-streaming works incredibly well because they “provide an unedited look at brands due to their raw, spontaneous nature.”

Fact: we’re visual learners. If your blog isn’t drawing attention – don’t we just hate it when that happens? – it’s time to switch gears to making videos as part of your brand’s content strategy.

Here are some ideas to tickle your inspiration. For one, you could start a Q&A video series like what TreePotatoes did early this year. Or, you could follow the footsteps of The Smart Local. Just this month, the media company shared a behind-the-scene footage of their new 7,500sq ft office space!  

Give live-streaming a go if you want to reinforce your connections with your current and prospective customers. If you’re a beginner, mouseover to this nifty ‘Easiest Video-making Tools’ list on Buffer.

Using Personalisation to grab attention 

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“Nowadays, an email that greets you as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ is more likely to be treated as a Nigerian banking scam than a legitimate missive worth your time,” writes Jonathan Crowl on Skyword.

He’s right. (Side note: this rule also applies in job applications.)

Take a minute to skim through your emails and you’ll discover that almost all of the newsletters you’re subscribed to addresses you by your name. That’s great, but here’s the rub – we don’t read these emails anymore. Sure, these newsletters are packed with value, but they’re also… irrelevant.  

Good businesses know how to craft valuable content. Great businesses know how to craft valuable content and marry them with relevancy. One company that accomplishes this clever feat is Quora. The Q&A site sends a weekly digest packed with content personalised for each user. And not only that, their email subject line always starts with a compelling question. The last Quora Digest email I got was this: “How do I lose a Singaporean accent?”

Right? It draws you in and makes you want to read the rest of the content. If you need more ideas, here are 12 splendid personalised email examples that did just as well as Quora, if not better.

Chatbots

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On April 2016, Facebook announced that they were launching the Messenger Platform, giving brands the opportunity to connect with more than 900 million people across the globe. Two words to describe this announcement: total goldmine.

By building their own chatbots, these brands take their customer service to a higher tier and promote themselves in novel ways. Out of all the digital marketing trends in this list, chatbots are by far the most intriguing.

Take Sephora, for instance. The cosmetics company uses quizzes via their bots to obtain insights on their customers and then take these data into account for their future marketing strategy. Customers can also book a makeover via their chat bots, saving them the hassle of setting an appointment on the phone.

Another rad example is Poncho. This Brooklyn-born virtual weathercat sends personal weather forecasts in the form of GIFs and pop culture references! (And yes, in case you Marvel fans are wondering, Poncho is funnier than Tom Hiddleston reading the weather report on Good Day Chicago.)

Want to give chatbots a shot? Great! Here’s the place to build your own virtual assistant in 10 minutes.
 

Where do we go from here?

Digital marketing trends come and go. Some stick. Some pack their bags. Some go stagnant and resurrect when marketers give them the eager kiss of life.

The key takeaway from this article is to commit to your campaigns like the way you’d do in a relationship. Experiment with these 5 digital marketing trends, have a smashing great time exploring them, and make 2017 one of your best ever yet. Do it right and you’re a step closer to knocking up a promotional campaign as cool as Deadpool’s.