2018 Digital Marketing Trends

It’s 2018 and the times are a changing. Even more rapidly for the marketing world. A couple weeks ago I went to a panel focused on digital marketing trends for 2018. And while the topic of many of the presentations were focused on much larger companies than I normally work with, there’s no reason that we as small business owners can’t apply some of these same tactics and to great results. Here are my top three takeaways translated for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

2018 Digital Marketing Trends Translated for Small Business Owners + Entrepreneurs

1. Personalization

This is a big thing for giant companies (think Samsung, Amazon, Apple, etc.) in the sense that everyone now wants a personalized experience tailored especially for them (source). What this means for us as small business owners is that keeping your target audience’s needs in mind at every step of the way is going to be super important.

Make sure you're thinking through your customer's journey from when they first interact with you, all the way until the hit BUY. Is there anywhere that you can add a personal touch to their experience or make it easier for them?

It also means showing that there's a real person behind the brand instead of a robot or corporate desk jockey. Showing your face, showing moments behind the scenes, and showing off who you are as a person is only going to help you as a small business. Even sharing your failures will humanize you.

This holds true for every platform that you’re on. From your website where visitors want your content to talk directly to them, to your social media where algorithms are now valuing authenticity and relevance just like Google started to for SEO (source). 

Bonus: Use features like Instagram stories to show behind the scenes of your business or anecdotes to the perfection people see on social media everyday. This helps humanize you, without affecting your beautifully curated feed. 


2. Social media as an extension of your website

Ever since I’ve been in marketing (which is like 8 years now), websites have become the number one asset for a company and the end goal has always been to traffic people to your website. But now we’re seeing a shift even more towards social media.

While social media won't completely replace your website (source), consumers may be looking you up on Facebook or Instagram before they even decide to visit your website. That means that you have to give them the important information and impress them on your social platforms before they even decide to visit your website.

To use this to your advantage, make sure your social media profiles have all the important info people need in order to make a decision about whether or not to hire you or buy your product. Make sure your posted content is relevant, but not only that, have an impressive profile and bio that gives enough details about who you are + what you do.

The benefit to this is that the people who then choose to visit your website are already warmed up to you and have intentionally chosen to learn more. Huzzah!


3. Testimonials and reviews

Customer reviews and testimonials are more important than ever. Your customers are starting to distrust big companies and corporations because they don’t feel like real people, especially millennials and younger (source). Instead consumers are turning to peers around them for recommendations.

The way you can translate this to your small business is by proactively gathering those reviews + testimonials (get tips on how to do that here) and displaying them so that visitors can easily find them. By being proactive about getting reviews, you then have the opportunity to 1) make sure that you have positive referrals for your business, and 2) it gives you the opportunity to address any issues before someone goes out on their own and tells other potential customers.

I’ve personally noticed an increase in the last year or so of people asking me for references. It’s not something that I normally have on hand as a freelancer, nor do I feel comfortable giving out the contact info of my previous clients and inconveniencing them. But I do gather testimonials from clients after we’ve worked together and they’re shown prominently on my website. So I can always refer people to those as social proof that I am great to work with and reliable.

Pro tip: If you’re gonna display testimonials on your website, be sure to include a headshot if possible as well. It shows users that it’s a real person giving this review and they’re more likely to believe it. 

Technology and marketing is changing faster than ever, but that isn't always a bad thing and there are always ways that we can use it to our advantage -- even if we don't have a huge corporation or team of 50 minions under us. Implement some of these strategies to conquer these 2018 digital trends and see what kind of brilliant results you can create.

Do you have plans to update your marketing efforts to include any of these tips? Any other trends that you've seen so far in 2018 that are making a big splash?