How did we get here? It’s hard to believe that it is already December. But as we are winding down 2018 and getting amped up for 2019, it is a great time to reflect on the marketing lessons we’ve learned this year and how we can carry them into the New Year.
Content is Still King
And I am not just saying that because I am a writer! Content is the driver behind organic website traffic and it can make or break any email marketing or direct mail campaign. Without compelling copy, emails won’t be opened or clicked through and direct mail pieces will end up in the trash can. The biggest lesson from 2018, however, is that content must be useful. Google is ranking sites based on fresh content that audiences find helpful. Just posting content to post is a thing of the past. Going into 2019, we must keep our websites and blogs engaging and useful to our readers.
But Don’t Forget About Visual
While the keywords will bring in the audience to your website, compelling media like videos, podcasts and images are what keeps them around. And the longer a visitor stays on your website, the more likely they are to convert. Give the viewer something that catches their eye. Videos that showcase how a product works, infographics with numbers or percentages and colorful images will all help conversion rates and Google rankings in 2019.
Be Engaging with Social Media Marketing
The talk of 2018 when it comes to social media was, of course, the Facebook algorithm change. It impacted many brands and changed the way many marketers looked at using their Facebook page. The fewer number of “likes” and less engagement with each post shocked many, but what did we learn from this? We need to produce compelling content that encourages the social media user to “like,” comment, share and engage. 2019 will continue to be about “meaningful interactions.” Comments, shares, click-throughs, and the likes, loves, ha ha’s, wows and, yes, even the angry face all equate to a meaningful interaction.
This lesson doesn’t stop at Facebook. Fill your Instagram feed, your Pintrest boards, your Snapchats, your LinkedIn feed and your blog with useful and meaningful content, including video. The more use of visual, moving graphics in social media the better. According to a study by Microsoft, the average American attention span is 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds in 2000), so you better pique your end-user’s curiosity quickly, and the easiest way to do that on social media is with imagery. Capture the eye and then intrigue further with the copy.
Email is Not Dead Yet
While it may not be cutting edge and may even seem stale, email marketing is very much alive and well. In fact, it’s a growing. With more ability to automate email drip campaigns and to personalize them, email continues to be effective – and affordable. It is an easy way to engage the customer at any stage in a marketing campaign, and because of that, email will never go away. But it is evolving. Many experts questioned by EmailMonday.com expect email to become more visual, hyper personalized and automated based on trigger events. Email marketing will also change to be designed with mobile in mind as 59% of email opens occur on mobile according to Adestra “Top 10 email clients” (July 2018).
SEO and PPC – OMG!
Inbound marketing is a big piece of the pie! You can take a bite out of it by engaging your company in search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC). Inbound marketing simply refers to drawing customers in rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service. SEO and PPC are excellent forms of inbound marketing.
Correctly using SEO, of course, comes down to publishing relevant content that includes the keywords you want to rank for. Don’t just guess. Do research on keywords. Use Google Analytics to see how people are organically finding your website. Then consider what words you want to rank for that aren’t resonating? Also consider long-tail keywords. Think like your end-user. Anticipate the Google search and use the answer as your keyword phrase.
PPC, pay-per-click advertising, works similarly. But in this instance, you’re paying to appear at the top of a search engine for a certain keyword or keywords. Then you will only be charged for each customer who clicks on your ad.
PPC saw a lot of changes in 2018, including LinkedIn profile targeting, an increase in targeting Amazon, and Google AdWords being rebranded to Google Ads. According to SearchEngineJournal, these will impact PPC in 2019 as well. Spending will continue to be diversified and increased across all channels. Automation will continue to increase among PPC marketers as more data becomes available. PPC will continue to be a driver for companies who invest in it, but will artificial intelligence and other data factors, it will become even more complex. If you want to venture into PPC for the first time in 2019, you’ll want to invest in help from an SEO professional.
Get Your Marketing Plan Ready for 2019!
Even though 2018 is coming to an end, don’t leave the marketing lessons we’ve learned in the past. Take them into 2019 to improve your marketing endgame, reach more customers and, perhaps, even improve sales numbers or your marketing ROI.
Marketing may continue to change and evolve, but by focusing on the marketing lessons learned in 2018, you can use that information to form your 2019 marketing plan.