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Marketing and its system have been evolving since the beginning of time. Furthermore, since the use of Graffiti, wall writing and painting till the industrial revolution where multiple techniques have come up with the different phases we have today which digital marketing is one. The icing on the cake is the evolution of technology that began to affect the face of digital marketing and its strategy.

This led to a growing challenge for industry professionals, to keep their minds open and move with the trends so as to incorporate them in best way to their marketing plans. Here is another shift in strategy for these professionals as we are moving into a new year, 2019. This is an up-to-date look at best practices for digital marketing in 2019, and at how marketers can take advantage of cutting-edge technological developments to create their strategy:

  • Data-Driven Marketing

Interestingly, data technology hasn’t been helpful to programmers alone in the recent past, it has also found its way into the world of digital marketing. This is why companies like SE Ranking have invested more resources in gathering data for these marketers with their SEO ranking software. It is a good news to know that the use of data together with marketing automation can bring about huge benefits for a digital strategy. Brands have begun to experience the innumerable opportunities that data provides to get an insight into customers’ needs, helping them to improve sales and customer satisfaction.

Another blockbuster is that the big data market may reach $9.4 billion by 2020, which was from just $1.7 billion in 2016. This feasible prediction indicates the untapped opportunities that data can offer when used strategically and effectively.

When building a new digital marketing strategy, personalization is very crucial because it proves how a company knows the best ways to approach a target audience. Therefore, the combination of segmentation and personalization makes customers and prospects feel more valued and in turn, their behavior offers important insights for marketers.

Just as social media platforms offer us a great variety of analytics, it becomes utilitarian because more companies have become more strategic with the available data to create a plan on how they would be utilized for their audience. For example, Facebook offers the option to target custom and lookalike audiences by adding an existing list of people to explore further relevant leads. That is a befitting example on how existing data can lead to re targeting to either convert known prospects or find new ones.

  • Content marketing to meet content needs

Without mincing words, content marketing has played a significant role and still playing a significant role in the evolution of digital marketing. Obviously, there is a growing demand for content in 2019. And because of this, it’s imperative for any brand to develop a content strategy that aligns with wider goals. Though, focusing on content is not equal to focusing on quantity over quality – in recent years, it has become more important than ever for brands to prioritize relevant and in-depth content.

Here, when we say ‘content’, it doesn’t mean the text part of content development alone, even when written content is not expected to vanish anytime soon, but the rise in the adoption of visual content, both images and videos, has given brands more outstanding ways to showcase their creative side.

Evidently, video marketing has been one of the single biggest trends in digital marketing over the past years, and it grow even more as social media networks evolve more and keep high focus towards featuring this type of content.

YES, content is still king – provided that you know how to use it in the right context!

  • Video Advertising

The rise of video creativity has been a major trend not only in content marketing, but also in advertising too. Video ads tend to be more effective than other varieties, as they are prone to capturing audience’s attention in the most engaging way and leave lasting impression that encompasses both sight and sound.

Advertising deals with appeals and video content has the power to create compelling ads that can increase brand awareness, of the association with a particular product; recent video ads are testimonies to this. There are many creative moves for creating successful video content, ranging from adding captions to your videos – making them understandable even while muted – to finding the ideal length to engage an audience without delaying the actual message and leading to boredom.

Now that more concentration has been placed on video content by social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, we can expect the trend to grow even further and wider to facilitate more video advertising by digital marketing companies and build their business models around it.

Marketing automation

This is the practice that helps marketers automate tasks with the use of triggered events that occur in set moments. Marketing automation can facilitate a digital strategy by offering an improved and relevant experience to users.

Therefore, the proper application of marketing automation could make channels like email marketing and social media vastly more effective, hence; why more than 55% of B2B companies have adopted marketing automation technology i.e. the use of bots and AI.

Here are some examples of marketing automation in action:

  • Automated replies to improve social customer service
  • Automated posts on social media for set occasions
  • Automated email messages with a set trigger (registration, customer service inquiry, confirmation of purchase, etc.)
  • Integration with a CRM system to better align marketing and sales leads, etc.

Marketing automation comes with customization, this makes the best marketing automation tools come in handy to be customized to every brand’s needs, from interaction with the customers to the proper approach when exploring new prospects. Despite the time it takes to initially set up various triggers, it is a process that ends up saving precious time in the subsequent communication, while the benefits go beyond the saved time.

Research have grounded more reasons to adopt marketing automation. According to Nucleus Research, marketing automation drives an increased sales productivity of 14.5%, and also leads to 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.

Basically, it is the power of intelligent technology that can become a vital part of marketing strategy and we are expecting this practice to develop even further in future, especially with the rise of artificial intelligence.

  • Mobile marketing

The rate at which mobile usage has outgrown desktop usage by an individual around the world is an alarming one. According to comScore, US users spend an average of 87 hours per month browsing on a smartphone. This increase in mobile phone usage makes it critical to devise a mobile-focused marketing strategy by digital marketers.

A typical mobile-focused marketing strategy should put in place the following:

  • Speed
  • Accessibility
  • Readability
  • Clarity
  • Different type of content consumption
  • Visual focus

Ranging from mobile-optimized pages to tailored mobile advertising, creating dedicated mobile marketing may seem time and resource-intensive, but it is an extremely worthwhile investment in 2018.

In 2016, for the first time, mobile web usage overtook desktop usage globally, while mobile display ad spending was also seen to outstrip PC and tablet spend in the same year; this shows that mobile usage is a trend that will continue to snowball. Increasingly, users are accessing information on their mobile devices first and foremost.

Meanwhile, a major challenge with mobile marketing is to turn prospects into conversions. Even with a proven fact that mobile users are on-the-go, they lack the time and attention to focus on an advertising message or a brand that is less than completely relevant to them.

It then becomes important for companies to focus on native mobile messages, while a multi-channel approach can ensure consistency across devices. Hence, the need to answer these three key questions for brands trying to capitalize on the growing mobile trend: What is the new best way to facilitate mobile shopping, mobile search, or even mobile communication?

Interestingly, new innovations are opening up in this space all the time, from augmented reality apps to chatbots, which could potentially offer solution to such challenges.

  • Social Media for Customer Service and Conversion

It used to be a struggle for number of likes and followers, social media marketing has now grown beyond that to become a valuable tool in the attempt to improve customer care. Social customer service is on the rise, and many brands use Facebook and Twitter to answer their customers’ questions as quickly as possible.

For example, Facebook, facilitates this communication with a series of features, like automated messages when you are away, instant replies, or the introduction of their Messenger chatbots to offer communication and quick transactions; thanks to AI.

In addition to this, social media and CRM can always be a powerful combination, helping companies understand their audience and organize their communication in the most structured way. Meaning, a conversation that starts on social media can now be part of a company’s CRM or policies, keeping track of all the interactions, the stage of each prospect or client, and the next steps to follow.

Social networks are no more just an avenue for brand awareness and increased engagement anymore, as the maturing state of many social networks also allow brands to drive conversions and turn leads into customers through appropriate nurturing.

  • SEO in a mobile-first World

Before now, SEO used to be a web-based activity that was not given appropriate concentration on mobile. Now, SEO has been considerably affected by the growing audience on mobile, which is crucial to bear in mind when crafting an organic search strategy.

Having a huge presence in search is key for many brands to build awareness of their product and service, and to be present when consumers are conducting research during the buying process. As such, it is important to understand it as much as possible, along with the changing search habits of users.

Relevant and informative content is still key, but it’s also important to consider how speed, optimization and mobile experience can affect search traffic. Search engines are becoming more intelligent in interpreting users’ queries, and a good mobile experience is increasingly important to rankings – especially with Google’s mobile-first index slated for imminent launch.

Another interesting angle is the increasing importance of local SEO, especially among mobile users who are performing “near me” searches whilst out and about. With this, more brands are trying to “think local” in an attempt to reach a highly specific audience and offer the best value for them.

Getting local SEO done is basically by understanding how mobile local marketing works and how users search for queries when looking for a very specific answer or service. Likewise, SEO can be perfectly combined with the rising trend of voice search. To show how dynamic and evolving users are becoming, according to MindMeld, 60% of users have used voice search during the past year.

As it adoption keeps increasing, it is offering a big opportunity for companies to take advantage of the growing number of mobile searches, along with the need to understand the power of search using natural language.

  • Prioritize relevance in your influencer marketing

The recent influx of influencer marketing has become popular enough to create a new generation of internet stars who become popular through their engagement with their followers on social media. This led to many brands turning to influencer marketing to promote their products and services, as social proof can be very effective. However, it can be challenging to find the perfect match that offers the desired ROI at the right budget.

Even with the growing number of influencers and increase in influencers’ payments, the expectations are higher also. However, if a brand does not find the right type of influencer for their brand, the number of followers an influencer has will not guarantee success.

Hence, the attention given to relevance, which is the factor that can make or break an influencer marketing campaign, which is why brands have begun exploring the idea of “micro-influencers” i.e. influencers with smaller but highly engaging and relevant audiences. For example, if a brand wants to promote a facial care product, a beauty blogger with 50k followers can lead to better results than an athlete with 150k followers.

Also, the rise of influencer marketing has made customers more hesitant towards promoted products, which means that it is important to seek for collaborations that seem genuine to users.

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