Technology changes faster than most of us can keep up. The Internet is changing, user behavior is changing, and the way we interact with tech is changing. Google makes hundreds of minor updates and a handful of major updates every year, Facebook changes their algorithm (as they did with their update in the beginning of January), and new social media sites arise.
Although predictions are just predictions, we can see where the world of online marketing is headed. The days of spammy link-building, raking it in with Google AdWords, and dominating social media for free are over for many of us. With all of the changes, here are nine tactics you should investigate for your online marketing campaigns in 2018. We’ve started with a few of the simpler ones, and move into a few that may take some technical know-how.
9 Marketing Tactics to Try in 2018
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has grown in popularity in recent years, but it has been around for quite some time. The idea is simple: use people and brands with influence to share your message, brand, and product. It may be a big influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers, or a micro-influencer who is specific to your niche.
Influencer marketing is popular on social media, and you may choose the platform that fits your users best. You can look for users who have some following in your niche, and try to find the right people. You don’t want to approach people with hundreds of thousands of engaged followers unless you want to pay a pretty penny. Instead, target people with a few thousand followers with an account highly relevant to your offerings.
We highly recommend using a software to find influencers that fit your budget and niche. Personally, we love Intellifluence. With Intellifluence, you can find users, get contact information, see prices, and get going with influencer marketing with little-to-no technical expertise!
2. Use Video
Video marketing has just skyrocketed in the past few years, and more growth is expected. The video marketing statistics are a bit mind-boggling. About 45% of people watch more than an hour of video on Facebook and YouTube a week, more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube a day, and an estimated 1/3 of time spent online is spent watching videos.
You can create videos for many things, regardless of industry. Offer a behind-the-scenes look at your business or industry, create engaging visuals and infographics, or offer truly useful content to your users. For example, we created this simple meditation below for One Mind Dharma, which was and is popular on social media.
This is an example of something that simply creates brand awareness and gives users a positive interaction with your brand. You can also offer something more related to business and selling, like this video for Mindful Marketing.
The opportunities are endless with video. You can create something simply yourself with your smartphone camera, or pay a nominal fee to have videos like this created for you! Post them on social media, share them on YouTube, and utilize this valuable medium.
3. Collaborate with Others
This is a marketing technique that we often have a difficult time selling to our clients, as we talk so much about “competition” and “competitors” in the digital marketing world. However, you can really benefit from working together with others to create content. Yes, some of the traffic may go elsewhere, but you have the opportunity to gain quite a bit of exposure.
You can go with the “expert roundup” style post, which is a post or a page with input from different people in your industry. Take a look at Addiction Rehab Blog’s post Staying Sober – 9 Powerful Tips from Recovery Advocates for a great example. Nine different people came together to create this post, and the post was shared with nine different newsletters and on nine different social media accounts. Each business got new exposure from the others’ followers and supporters.
Work with others to create a piece of content that is truly worth sharing. It may be a video, interviews, the expert roundup, or anything else you can think of. By collaborating, you show your authority in the industry, give your readers other viewpoints, and open yourself up to new readers and potential customers.
4. Email Marketing
It’s becoming increasingly hard to reach people on the Internet. As it becomes more popular as a marketing tool, more companies are dumping money into their campaigns and we can’t reach people as easily on search or social. When you do have people come to your site, you need to keep them engaged. Email marketing is perhaps the best way to do this. Like video marketing, the email marketing statistics may blow your mind.
Set yourself up with an email marketing platform, and collect email addresses from your visitors. We know there are many out there, but we hands-down recommend Mailchimp. You can start for free, and stay free if you’re under 2,000 subscribers. Mailchimp is user-friendly, you can set up automation to welcome new subscribers, and it integrates well with most website builders like Wordpress, Squarespace, Shopify, and more.
As 2018 rolls on, email marketing is going to continue to grow. When somebody subscribes to your email list, you have the opportunity to reach directly into their inbox. Rather than fighting to reach them on social media or in searches, you can streamline yourself directly into their view.
Enter your email for free to get our step-by-step guide to setting up email marketing!
5. Guest Posting
Yes, the old tactic of guest posting. This article is about marketing tactics for 2018, and didn’t say anything about all of them being new! Guest posting is one of the oldest SEO methods, and has been widely abused. However, there is still quite a bit of value in guest posts. You can secure valuable backlinks, which is crucial to ranking your site in search engines. You can also drive traffic with well-placed posts and build brand authority.
Find some blogs in your industry with strong authority. Steer clear of the sites that look like PBN’s (Private Blog Networks) that just sell guest posts. Instead, you want to post on sites that have true user interaction, readership, and value. One of my go-to’s is to check the website’s social media accounts to see if they really have engagement. Reach out, see if you can write a post, and do your best to publish a useful piece of content!
Mindful Marketing can help you find blogs to guest post on, edit content, and create the content. If you want help with any of these things, please use the contact form at the bottom and we will get back to you with pricing!
This tactic may be a bit more abstract, but is incredibly valuable. When you search for something in Google, the algorithm that runs incorporates what we call personalization. Search personalization has many layers and factors, but the common ones are location, search history, and clicks. Google is showing you results based on your location, what you’ve searched in the past, and what you’ve clicked on in previous searches. You can see an example to the right where Google shows that the page has been visited before.
So, what does this mean for your marketing campaign? Many things. Perhaps most importantly, you want users to engage with your website so they continue to see your website in search results. Gone are the days where we can simply target conversion-related keywords. When somebody is looking for your offerings, if they have clicked on your website before, you’re more likely to pop up in search results.
Let’s take the example of Elevation Behavioral Health. Somebody searches in Google “Can you go to rehab for depression?” Elevation Behavioral Health is on the first page of Google, and the user clicks onto their site. This is not a conversion-related term, and the user reads and leaves the page. A week later, the user searches for “depression treatment in California.” Elevation pops up higher than they would normally, because this user has already visited their page and read their articles.
The personalization of Google searches marks an important change in search engine optimization. To get the users, we need to create useful content, not just optimized landing pages focused on converting. You can bring users in from search, social media, or email marketing campaigns. More engagement means more people will find us in search for the conversion-related terms.
7. Get to Know RankBrain
This is another one that is on the abstract side, but likewise important. Google RankBrain is a piece of their algorithm that was released back in late 2015. Before RankBrain, Google relied largely on exact match keywords in posts and in backlinks. That is, if you searched for “What are the seven wonders of the world” in Google, you would likely get pages titled exactly that. Now, Google understands better what you are typing, and serves you with results to answer your questions.
Utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine-learning, Google is beginning to understand better what people mean when they search. They know that a search for Myanmar is probably similar to a search for Burma, and that Valium® and diazepam are the same drug essentially. This means you no longer need to produce content that is blatantly targeted at ranking for a specific keyword (at least not all the time).
RankBrain, like personalization, is a push toward more useful and less over-optimized content. As machine learning grows exponentially, Google will get even better at understanding search queries. When you write your blog, don’t write it just for search engines or an exact match term. Try to produce content related to what people are searching, but unique and useful. Metrics like social shares, user engagement, and click-thru rate may become more important than matching your post exactly to a user’s search!
Back to a few concrete and pragmatic tips. Browser notifications are relatively new thing in the online marketing world. You can check out the marketing master Neil Patel’s website for an example. Notice that little bar that pops up in the top left? That’s a browser notification bar. We are working on getting ours working right now, so depending on when you read this, you may notice one on our website too!
This is a fantastic method of reaching people. When people subscribe, they will receive notifications of your choosing. You can set it up to immediately send a notification for a new post or a sale, or send a custom notification when you want. The notifications generally work on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Android devices. Some notifications also work on Apple devices.
Like email marketing, this allows you to streamline yourself into a user’s awareness. We all look at our phones constantly, and a notification is a great way to get someone’s attention. This is relatively easy to set up yourself if you run a Wordpress blog (we recommend using One Signal, a free plugin). You can also hire someone to set it up on another platform, and most likely manage it yourself. You’re of course welcome to reach out to us below to get this set up!
9. FIA and AMP
A post about digital marketing would be incomplete without some good ol’ acronyms! Facebook Instant Articles (FIA) and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are the future. Let’s take one at a time. First, there’s AMP. If you go on your smartphone and search “Buddhist symbols” on Google, you’ll see a listing from One Mind Dharma (hopefully near the top!). Below the page title, you’ll see the little AMP symbol.
These AMP pages load super quickly, are especially made for mobile, and have correlations with higher rankings in search engines. Essentially, they’re stripped down versions of your pages. In Google, these listings may begin to get more clicks, awareness is going to grow, and they’re going to be a necessity for any serious marketing campaign. Learn more about the AMP Project here.
Facebook Instant Articles are the same thing, but on Facebook instead of Google. They load almost instantly, are more likely to be shown to other users, and increase engagement by being easy to use and device-friendly. They may be a little bit more difficult to set up and get approved, but well worth the effort. You can learn about FIA here.
Both of these forms of mobile-friendly pages and posts are an important tactic to begin investigating now. As of mid-2017, there were over two billion AMP-friendly pages. Make your pages AMP and FIA friendly, and reap the benefits. As awareness grows of that little lightning symbol on Google, people are going to tend toward clicking those listings. The increased user-friendliness will lead to more engagement, more positive interactions, and of course influence personalization!
We will see what 2018 brings. Like recent years, we expect to be surprised (oxymoron?) with the way digital marketing progresses. As the industry, world, and users evolve, we must too. Although new technologies will arise, we are confident these nine tactics will be useful moving forward.