7 Marketing Trends You Should Be Watching In 2018

 

fb_bannerWhile I realize we are quickly approaching May, we can still use the remaining eight months of 2018 to consider these marketing trends and their impact on our strategy going forward.

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How the Use of Emojis Can Improve Social Engagement

The beauty of emojis is that they enable us to communicate in ways we just can’t do with words. They also allow us to make an emotional connection, no matter how fleeting. This is why marketers are increasingly implement strategic (and restrained!) use of emojis in their communications to prospects.

And studies show they are making a smart move. In a recent study by All Academic Research, participants who were sent messages with emojis scored higher on memory than those who were sent messages without emojis. This indicates emojis are an effective marketing tool. The study also went on to report that the use of emojis works to portray businesses as friendlier.

In case you weren’t sold on the use of emojis in your marketing, check out these facts:

  • Emojis in a tweet can increase engagement by 4 percent
  • Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of likes by 57 percent
  • Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of comments and shares by 33 percent

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be using emojis to increase engagement. Here’s where it can get tricky. There are literally thousands of emojis to choose from, so choose wisely and use them judiciously. According to a study by HubSpot that looked at 19,617,281 HubSpot published posts across all social platforms, here are the top 10 emojis most likely to increase click-throughs:

At first glance, this is an odd selection, right? I’m sure you noticed that none of these emojis are faces, which really surprised me. This could mean it’s productive to use less popular emojis in your marketing strategy, for the novelty factor, which may be what helps drive engagement. So, pick unusual emojis that are relative to your content and use them sparingly.

 

Why You Should Use HTML for Your Marketing E-Mails

There was once a time when there was a valid concern regarding the deliverability of HTML e-mails, but that is no longer the case. So if you aren’t using HTML for your marketing e-mails, you should. Here’s why.

1. HTML Drives More Leads

With HTML you can build in interactive hyperlinks and calls to action that take your content to the next level, generating more leads and sales conversions than plain text ever could.

  1. HTML Is Responsive

Another advantage of using HTML is the fact you can offer an unsubscribe option. This gives your prospects the opportunity to opt out of future e-mails from you, so your list is comprised of only the best, most qualified leads who want to hear from you.

HTML also gives you the huge advantage of gathering analytics, seeing who engaged and how. This enables you to track and measure audience engagement and refines your e-mail marketing strategy based on what you find out.

  1. HTML Design Isn’t Busy

Often marketers worry HTML e-mails will be too busy. Not true. You can make HTML e-mails just as clean as plain text e-mail but with all of the added benefits HTML offers. In fact, HTML provides the perfect balance between effectively branding your company and controlling the content message, ensuring the content is the focus of the e-mail.

  1. Even HTML Design Must Follow Best Practices

When using HTML, you still have to follow best practices. Keep your design clean, your copy short, and your call to action prominent. Take advantage of analytics and test subject lines and offers to see what works best to get your prospects’ attention. Remember though to only test one thing at a time or you won’t know what impacted the results you see. Most importantly, always, always use a good e-mail list!

HTML is really the only way to go when it comes to sending your marketing e-mails, so don’t be afraid to use it. You won’t regret it!

 

How to Nurture Leads for Increased Sales

In order for any lead nurturing campaign to be successful, it must be part of a comprehensive plan. It cannot exist in a silo. It must be connected to your other lead gen programs and analytics. The beauty of e-mail campaigns is you can select exactly whom you want to send your message to. And you can help direct your recipients’ next step by sending them to your website or by offering a special download – something to engage them. Then, you can use analytics to determine each prospect’s level of interest based on their level of engagement.

You should qualify your prospects based on opens and clicks. Did they open the e-mail? Did they click through on your call to action? This is their way of responding to your e-mails, telling you if they are effective or not. So, choose your content wisely and make sure it’s relevant. Communicate about special promotions, events, offers, anything of interest to your prospects.

Another key to successful lead gen campaigns is to know your saturation point. Do you need to send weekly e-mails or does monthly work best? You want your e-mails to be a welcome sight in your prospects’ in boxes and not a nuisance. Lead nurturing is about engagement. You want to keep prospects as engaged as possible along their buying journey. You want to keep your prospects interested, show them you care, you understand their unique needs, and how your company can help.

Knowing where your prospects are in the buying process is helpful. And how they engage with your e-mails will help you determine whether they are gathering information, considering, or ready to buy.

E-mail lead gen campaigns enable you to learn more about your prospects so you can better communicate with them and nurture them throughout their buying journey. This helps you provide the right content at the right time, moving them down the funnel to a purchasing decision.

 

How to Make Your Prospects’ E-Mail Experience Better

E-mail marketing is so effective it’s easy to begin to think of it as simply an engine that drives your sales results. The problem with this thinking is that it removes the human element from the equation. And, the success of e-mail campaigns relies on the human element. Your e-mail must be a personal experience for your prospects. Here are four questions you need to answer to get you headed in the right direction to make your prospects’ e-mail experience better.

  1. Why did your prospects sign up to receive your e-mails?

You have to know the answers to this so you can make sure you meet those objectives. Then you begin the work of striking a comfortable balance between pleasing your prospects and driving revenue.

When you know why your prospects want to hear from you, you can create very strategic content so it’s not necessary to bombard your prospects with too many e-mails, which will only work to turn them off on your brand. Predictive modeling can help you further segment your prospects to ensure a better e-mail experience for them.

  1. How often do you think about your prospects when you develop your e-mail campaigns?

We’re all a little guilty of it. We fall into the trap of thinking of e-mail simply as a tool for driving leads. We sometimes forget that there are living prospects on the receiving end of our e-mails. And, e-mail is a great medium to really address your prospects’ different needs and wants, developing content that speaks to them. Always keep the human element in mind when executing your e-mail campaigns.

  1. Is your content hitting the right note?

I believe e-mail is a great way to have a personal conversation with your prospects. So, even when you’re announcing a special sale, a new product launch – whatever – you need to make sure you are keeping it personal for your prospects. Tell them why it should matter to them. This thinking should start at the subject line with a message that has meaning and relevance to the prospects receiving the e-mail.

Prospects only view your e-mails for a few seconds. To have impact, your e-mails must be “scanable” to easily determine value. Best practices really apply here. Often the urge is to overdesign e-mails, but you do so to your peril. Keep in mind that most prospects view your e-mail on a mobile phone. Keep reminding yourself of that when you’re tempted to keep adding to the design.

  1. Is how you’re saying what you’re saying making a connection?

It’s not only important what you say but also how you say it. The tone of your e-mail matters. The tone should be in line with your brand and reinforce how you want prospects to view your brand. There is a tendency to forget this when creating content for e-mail.

Your e-mails should also set a good customer service tone. Give prospects links to helpful or pertinent information. Don’t make them hunt for it.

E-mail is a personal medium that works wonders to drive leads and sales. It has a high ROI. Make sure you are using it to its fullest potential.

9 Social Media Trends to Watch for 2018

Modern Keyboard With Colored Social Network Buttons.

I came across this infographic by film editing simplifiers Filmora that lists nine trends we marketers should keep an eye on in 2018. A few that got my attention:

  • Video, especially livestreaming, is watched three times longer than regular videos.
  • 30% of our chat conversation will be with chatbots in 2018.
  • Increased brand participation in “dark social” or platforms not publicly visible, like the messaging apps WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat.

To see all nine trends to watch for in 2018, here’s the infographic.

How to Design Your Ads So Prospects Read Them

 

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If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ve likely discovered that marketers like us are trying to make ads look less like traditional ads. Now, why would we be doing this? Because we know our ads will be far more effective if they look more like content!

Here are some popular (and effective) ways to make your advertising look more like your editorial content.

 

Native Advertising

Ads that purposely look like your other content are very effective. Prospects are likely to click on it because they think it’s editorial and not an ad. There’s a fine line here though. No one likes to feel tricked. And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in on this stating, “advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers.” So, while this is a very effective tactic, use it wisely.

Influencer Marketing

It likely comes as no surprise that celebrity endorsements are hugely effective. And today you don’t have to be famous in the traditional sense to be an influencer. Influencers are also people who have created a following entirely through their online activity.

There once was a time when influencers weren’t required to make it known that they were getting compensated to promote a brand. Not so anymore. The FTC issued guidelines (and threatened penalties) that require upfront disclosure. So, while using influencers is smart, do so properly.

Sponsored Editorial Content

Sponsored editorial content can be very effective if not the most powerful of all content related advertising.  Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, provide the perfect platform to not only place sponsored content but also micro-target.  Using the micro-targeting tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn will place your sponsored content on the targeted audiences page – a winning strategy if the content is written to meet the needs of the intended audience.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms are following the trend, and they too have made it harder for prospects to determine what is an ad and what is editorial. Each platform uses a faint “sponsored” or “promoted” disclaimer to meet FTC requirements. Even Google has gradually blurred the line between paid ads and organic ads – no longer flagging ads with a large “ad” box as it did in its early inception.

The point isn’t that we want to trick prospects. The point is that we want to deliver ads they actually want to read. It just so happens the more an ad looks like editorial, the more likely a prospect is to click on it. And, engagement is what we are going for. So, try to make your ads look more like your editorial content (legally and ethically) and you should start seeing higher ad engagement and more sales.