5 marketing trends for 2018

1. Google’s mobile-first index approach

In November 2016, Google announced that they were going to be moving to a mobile-first index, and over the past year, they have been slowly preparing for that move.

Currently, Google ranks your website on its desktop content, speed and usability, but soon it’s the mobile site that will be the key factor in your rankings.

Why does it matter to me?

If your site’s been well optimised for mobile then you could see a jump in your rankings compared to your competitors who have been focusing solely on their desktop site’s performance and design. If your site isn't up to speed for mobile, then it's time to seriously consider getting in touch.

2. Data accountability - GDPR

Businesses all over Europe have been scrambling to get ready for the new regulations which come into force in May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will change the way you can collect, store and protect the personal information of customers, clients, and even visitors to your website.

The Europe-wide set of data protection laws is designed to harmonise data privacy practice across Europe. With the goal of protecting citizens and their data, and giving users more information and control over how it’s used. For non-compliant businesses, there will be huge fines.

Why does it matter to me?

If you collect and use data for marketing such as email campaigns or store personal data from clients on your computer, you will need to know the ins and outs of the new regulations.

3. Instagram Stories takes over

With the decline of Snapchat comes the unstoppable rise of Instagram Stories. Snapchat has seen its share price and user growth rate fall considerably since the stories feature was released, as Facebook and Instagram realised they didn’t need to outdo Snapchat, they just needed to copy it and put it in a more convenient place in apps that people of all ages already use.

In 2018, we expect to see the decline of Snapchat daily users so that it goes into negative monthly growth rates. Meanwhile, Instagram Stories will surge and perhaps get even more views than traditional Instagram posts.

Why does it matter to me?

If your business uses Instagram to reach your audiences then using the stories feature can place you at the top of everyone’s feed and create a more ongoing relationship through regular content. Refocusing your strategy away from Snapchat to Instagram Stories may also be a wise choice if you use Snapchat in any way at the moment.

4. WhatsApp Business 

The new app will allow businesses to have a verified WhatsApp account to connect with customers directly on their WhatsApp personal accounts. This is big news and will cause a shift away from customer service through websites and social media to messenger apps, where people spend most of their time.

You may or may not have heard of WeChat, but it has almost 1 Billion actively monthly users and is the leading messenger and social media platform in China. WeChat is arguably ahead of the curve on many business features that it offers users. For example, the ability to send payments over the service is something that WhatsApp is likely to adopt in its planned business features.

Why does it matter to me?

Look out for the UK launch of the WhatsApp business app and make sure you get your business verified and set up to start connecting with customers. Being first will help set you apart from the competition who may wait longer. Remember being where your customers are is the best way to build relationships with them.

5. The rise of key account marketing

A lot of time and effort can be put into catch-all marketing approaches, where businesses typically mass distribute messaging in the hope that they will attract some new clients. With the noise and overload of generic promotions, ads and messages people receive every day, standing out is becoming impossible.

We see a shift to more specific key account/clients marketing and a focus on developing business from a select group (hit list) allowing companies to hone their messages, become more personal and focus their spend on specific goals rather than the fishing net approach.

Why does it matter to me?

Consider adopting a similar approach, think which 5 clients you want to win in 2018. Draw up a list of the key decision makers in each and their positions, interest and which channels you can connect with them on (email, phone, social media etc.). Then create a plan on how you are going to build the relationships, send your marketing messages and convert them into clients.

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