It’s already 2018 and you need a game plan. The best inbound marketing strategies are never thrown together. Sure, you may accidentally stumble upon a few nuggets of success; but if you’re going to have staying power, you need a playbook.
Lucky for you, we’ve been studying the trends and predictions to gear you up for an amazing year with tons of growth and, of course, a newfound knowledge of all things inbound.
Let’s get started. We’ll talk about five areas of inbound marketing and how you can use them to create one killer strategy for 2018:
- Email Marketing
You’re probably not too shocked to hear that SEO best practices are changing once again. Truth is, they’re never changing “again.” They’re just always in a state of flux. So here’s what you can expect in the coming months and how you can adapt your marketing accordingly.
Voice search. With in-home devices, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Home, we’re becoming a society that relies heavily on AI.
How to adapt: What this means for you, as a business owner, is that you finally get to do SEO the way you want to — like a human! Although we all know that keyword stuffing is ancient history, the traditional rules of keyword placement are modifying the way content is written.
For instance, ages ago you might have typed in a query that read something like this: seafood Portsmouth, NH. With voice search, you’re more likely to ask: What’s the best seafood restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire? All of this is great news for your content, since you can focus on writing in an increasingly authentic style.
Multimedia and image search. We all love video, and Google knows this. Therefore, it’s poised to give users what they want, phasing out strictly text-based content.
How to adapt: If you haven’t already jumped on the visual marketing bandwagon, it’s time to do so. Create video content, image content, and audio content that provides real value. And if you already have visual content, make sure it’s optimized for search. For example, every image in your content should include alt text, which helps Google figure out what the image is all about.
On that same note, Google Lens is poised to bring visual search to the next level by allowing users to simply snap a photo of any object in order to perform a search.
Organic reach. On January 11, 2018, a nearly-audible groan came from marketers everywhere as Facebook announced the inevitable change to its algorithm. Pages (businesses) will now rank even lower in user news feeds. Zuckerberg said this change is part of an effort to use Facebook how it was originally intended: to draw friends and family closer together. It certainly doesn’t hurt Facebook’s pockets, either, as the “pay to play” methodology becomes ever more important.
How to adapt: It’s true that paying to have your content displayed can help. However, you can also ask your followers to click the option to see your posts first in their news feed. And, as always, make sure the content you post is engaging, relevant, and helpful.
Quality vs. quantity. Back in 2015, Hubspot published an article stating that businesses that blog at least twice per month receive much more traffic than those that blog 0-4 times per month. This stat was updated in 2017, as Hubspot reported that companies blogging 16+ times per month got almost 3.5x the traffic than those who blog 0-4 times per month. Does this mean that more is better? Not necessarily.
According to Hubspot’s report, 8 Digital Marketing Trends Set to Expire in 2018, since the internet is completely saturated with content, it’s increasingly important to get to readers’ pain points right away. If you’re not addressing a pain point, the post has little to no value.
How to Adapt: Don’t blog just for the sake of blogging. Quality is key. If you can pump out a dozen blog posts a month that solve a problem for your readers, more power to you. However, if you struggle to create an editorial calendar simply for the sake of putting content out there, you’re better off going back to the drawing board and developing useful content, even if it means that at first you’re only blogging a few times a month. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to producing quality content on a regular basis.
Pay to Play. As we’ve already touched on, paid advertising is becoming increasingly important for brands that want to be seen. However, it’s also becoming increasingly expensive as the market grows ever more competitive.
How to Adapt: Taking small steps, like boosting Facebook posts that you notice already have good engagement, is a great way to start increasing your reach. It may also be that Pinterest Promoted Pins are they way to go for your business. Many companies see a cost per click of just two or three cents, depending on the industry.
5. Email Marketing
If I neglect my inbox, by day two, I typically have nearly 1,000 pieces of junk mail to sort through, and that’s a pretty low figure in comparison to many. I even use the extension, Unroll.me to help wrangle these once-sought-after email subscriptions into one simple email. And yet, somehow I keep signing up for new subscriptions.
Given this typical email overload, marketers often see their emails land in the trash, never to be opened.
How to Adapt: Again, relevancy is key. Segmented email lists are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Not only will you see increased open and engagement rates for segmented lists, but you’ll increase the likelihood of your email’s delivery in the first place. How’s that?
As an email sender, you have a reputation. Let’s say 20,000 of your subscribers are Gmail clients. However, you don’t segment your list, so out of those 20k contacts, your email is only relevant to 5,000 contacts. Only 500 pull your email out of their promotions tab, and out of those, only 100 open your email, and only 15 click through.
According to Gmail, your email is really only relevant to 0.025% – 0.005% of your contacts. That labels you as a bad email sender and fewer and fewer of your subscribers will see your emails at all.
However, if your audience is segmented and emails are personalized, you may only have 5,000 in your distribution list for a particular email. However, now your email is relevant to 0.1% – 0.02% of your subscribers, signaling Gmail that your content is useful and deserves to be seen.
2018 Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook Summary
Essentially, 2018 is the year of relevancy and humanity. Create content that is helpful, relevant, and specifically designed with your target audience in mind. Get ready for social media to continue morphing and costing more as competition increases. Steer away from text-only content, and be sure to use videos and graphics in whatever you create. Segment your email lists so you don’t annoy your subscribers and so your reputation as an email sender remains in good status.
Above all, create a marketing strategy that will attract leads and grow your business in 2018!
More than ever, a well-planned strategy is vital to the success of your marketing efforts. If you need help with your game plan, reach out to us! We’re ready to help. Just fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.