The year 2017 has been exciting for the digital marketing industry. The popularity of Inbound Marketing has increased considerably and some significant inbound marketing trends have emerged. Many more companies decided to take the plunge and have embraced Inbound Marketing for their businesses. Inbound has now become a solution of choice for companies of all sizes, vintage and industries.
We expect 2018 to be even more exciting and several inbound marketing trends which emerged in the Inbound Marketing space in 2017 are expected to become even more prominent. As we slowly move towards a world that is more digitally connected, the spending is expected to shift even more towards Inbound Marketing from the traditional outbound channels.
If you are serious about your business then there are chances that you have already adopted digital marketing in any form for your company. If not then it is still not late at all. You can take your business online in 2018 and sharpen your marketing strategies by incorporating various inbound marketing in your playbook. After all, there is no fun in not catering to the customers who are going online in herds. Ignore them and you would be missing out on a chunk of business that can easily be yours if you choose to go online.
Inbound Marketing Trends for 2018
So let us talk about some of the inbound marketing trends which we can expect to gain further ground in the days to come:
1. Customers Will Continue To Be King
Though this is a cliche, it is certainly an evergreen one. As a business, you need to shift your focus to where your customers are. With the world coming to their fingertips with the wide availability of higher bandwidth, omnipresent connectivity and smart devices, they are now looking for solutions that can save their time, energy and even money. If they need anything it is more likely that they will go online and look for alternative solutions which can fulfil their needs. If you are online then you certainly can catch their attention. Otherwise, you will language in anonymity.
However, just going online is not sufficient. Since the competition is hotting up in the digital space by the day you need to delight your potential customers at every step by nurturing the leads properly. Your effort to win them over must be an ongoing one and you can not stop after making one sale. You need to delight them continuously so that they keep on doing business with you regularly.
This is especially true for e-commerce and retail companies which sell products that people need regularly. If you keep them happy, then they will shop from you every single time. One bad experience and they will start looking for an alternative.
While we feel that making a single sale is relatively easy, keeping the customer delighted is indeed a challenge that many businesses fail to overcome. This is where inbound marketing comes in particularly handy. With it, you can keep in touch with your existing customers and take the necessary steps to keep them happy so that they stay loyal to you.
2. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is an essential component of Inbound Marketing and not without reason. The success of Inbound Marketing depends upon how well you communicate with the customer and provide him all the information and prove that will eventually help the customer to choose you as a solution provider.
Needless to say, this is a herculean task that requires tremendous effort and time to accomplish. If you do not choose marketing automation then the only other option is to employ tens and hundreds of employees who will do the work manually. Even then the process will be prone to errors and some tasks are even absolutely too difficult for humans to accomplish.
Hence going forward, we expect more and more businesses to embrace marketing automation and the automation providers like HubSpot, market to, Salesforce and the others are expected to become even more important to the Inbound Marketing success of businesses.
3. Personalised Email Marketing
Are you still purchasing email lists from someone and sending out mass emails hoping that somebody somewhere will respond?
If yes, then it is surely time to stop spamming your customers. The junk filters of the email clients have become smart enough to recognize spam and the best way to beat the junk filter is to not send spam. That’s a no-brainer, right?
Unfortunately even in 2017 many marketers kept thinking that such tactics work. Way back in 2014 Cyberoam reported that approximately 54 billion spam emails are sent every day. The number would have grown significantly over the years.
The best way to catch the attention of your target customers in 2018 is to send them personalized emails which offer solutions to problems that they are facing. That is the best way to get them to engage with you, irrespective of whether you are a b2b or b2c company.
Personalizing every communication is a great way to show the potential customer that you care about him/her, respect privacy and also generally want to provide a solution which the customer needs. That’s the best way of making the customer feel important, and that will improve the chances of getting the person to do business with you.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is completely changing how marketing is done. Machine learning is powering a plethora of critical systems on the internet now and its importance is expected to go up many folds over the coming years.
Artificial intelligence will eventually replace humans in a lot of repetitive activities that power businesses. This will be achieved through deep learning which involves creating a replica of the human brain by building artificial neural networks. Google is known to use this technology to a large extent and social media networks have also followed suit.
So, be it the searches that you are doing on the internet or the feeds and stories that you are seeing on your timelines in social media, artificial intelligence is powering them all.
As a marketer, you should take advantage of this technology too. It will help you to understand your customers and also power your marketing efforts even while you are away.
So go ahead and leverage the power of AI by creating a chatbot for your Facebook page. It will help you to keep in touch with your customers 24×7. No need to worry about who will respond to the customers when they send you messages. The chatbot will.
You can start by building a chatbot with an AI service provider Chatfuel. Just program the bot with some questions that you will like to ask your customers and provide the answers to certain repetitive questions that they have always been asking you and you are good to go.
5. Live Chat
While chatbots are here to stay, it does not mean that live chat is dead. We expect live chat to become even more important in the coming days because not every query of the customers can be resolved by a chatbot. So while a chatbot can take over your customer interaction after business hours, live chat powered by humans is certainly the way to go during the regular working hours of your business.
We expect live chat to become even more important not only for generating sales but also for providing support in 2018.
6. Video Marketing
Video marketing is one of the inbound marketing trends that has been gaining traction over many years now and its importance is expected to increase even more in the coming years. Nothing can engage your customers better than audiovisual media be it recorded videos or live streaming.
We expect many more companies to embrace video marketing in various formats like Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, webinars, webcasts, etc.
From our experience as a digital marketing agency, we have seen that video marketing has one of the highest conversion rates among all the digital marketing tactics. It is not surprising therefore that:
If you want to be a successful Inbound Marketer then you have to be not within arm’s reach, but palm’s reach of your customers. This is why mobile marketing was, is and will continue to be important. With over 60% of the searches in Google happening through mobile marketing and with the young generation going crazy over engaging apps, your best chance of impressing them is to have a dedicated mobile-based strategy.
Weave content around mobile, develop responsive websites, make lightweight videos that play well even on regular bandwidth, develop apps focused on providing education or solutions to your customers and do everything else that is required to engage them on large as well as small screen sizes.
So these are some of the Inbound Marketing trends which are expected to continue through 2018. Pay close attention to these and we are sure that you will have a successful year ahead.
What Are Your Favourite Inbound Marketing Trends?
Which are the inbound marketing trends that you predict? Did we miss out on any trend that you feel is going to be important? Feel free to comment here and if you feel like having a friendly chat, then get in touch with us to see how we can redesign the inbound strategy of your business to make it more laser-focused.