The New Year doesn’t mean everything has suddenly changed overnight, but it does serve as a reminder that digital marketing is constantly evolving and new trends are taking hold. This year, we anticipate some BIG changes as both new and existing trends continue to grow! Check out these 4 marketing trends you should start thinking about in 2018:
1. Follow the Route to Advertising on Maps
With several map apps available these days, it’s only natural that advertising would follow. Though sponsored map results have been around for a while, in 2018 there will be a rise in competition as more and more small businesses begin utilizing them! Our Google AdWords program already includes Google Maps advertising to make sure you’re competing. If you’re ready to push the envelope even further on your own, try looking into Waze ads so that you can target more drivers!
2. No More Ignoring Facebook Ads
At this point, Facebook advertising is a crucial part of most marketing strategies. Keep a leg up on your competition by putting yourself immediately in front of your customers in the News Feed. They build brand awareness and are a great way to drive more business to a very specific target audience (You can even use your existing customer list to target similar users!).
PLUS, this year Facebook Ads will become even more important due to Facebook’s latest update to the News Feed. Its updates are going to result in more posts showing from friends and family, and less from businesses and pages. By running ads, you can ensure your shop shows up where it otherwise might not!
3. The Rise of Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
We live in an “instant age” where customers seek instant gratification, and businesses have to learn how to respond to that. Possibly the biggest trend this year is the chatbot evolution, which is offering customers new and improved ways to communicate with businesses — and fast. They’re even utilizing artificial intelligence now as a result! While many big-box companies are already in the middle of using intelligent chatbot solutions, the chat market hasn’t become critical for local small businesses yet.
However, one free chat solution (that your customers are already using) is Facebook Messenger! Many users already communicate with brands on Facebook as an alternative to email, since it’s often quicker and more convenient. Even though it’s instant for the customer, we know it can’t always be instant for your shop (maybe it’s after hours, you’re under a car, or it’s just a holiday). Luckily, Facebook already offers instant replies that can help you respond to your customers, absolutely free!
4. Influencer Marketing Isn’t Just for Big Business
If you’re already familiar with the term “influencer marketing,” then you’ll know this buzzword is referring to marketing that utilizes members of your community who have a large network or audience of followers. In short, businesses are paying these influencers (far less than most traditional marketing, I might add) to promote their product or service to their followers. Think of your Facebook friend who makes a post, raving about a certain restaurant they tried, which plants a seedling of interest to readers and maybe even sparks a conversation about what food they tried. This is a perfect example of influencer marketing that readers won’t even recognize as advertising!
For your shop to try influencer marketing, you’ll need to do a little research to find someone that fits the bill. Consider these factors:
- Do they represent your ideal customer?
- Do they have an active social media presence and local-to-you followers?
- Would they prefer a monetary payment, or perhaps free or discounted services instead (think of regular free oil changes or tune-ups in exchange)?
- Will they promote your shop with their own posts? Will they also engage with your page’s social media?
As with any trends, some will stay strong and others might wither with age. But to keep your shop on the cutting edge, start considering these trends now while they’re still evolving and gaining momentum. After all, if you’re trying new methods before your competitor, you’ll be the first to know what works!