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5 Digital Marketing Trends Small Businesses Need to Know in 2018

In the world of digital marketing, things are constantly changing. New trends arise daily, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must adapt.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 digital marketing trends you should know about and implement into your strategy in 2018.

1. 2018 is the year of video

If you are in the digital marketing space, I’m sure you’ve heard this quote many times. It’s funny though; people have been saying it’s the year of video since 2013. But we believe it’s finally the perfect storm to make this come true thanks to the quality of cameras, the growth of smartphone adoption, the increase in browser video capture applications, and the ability to edit, publish and promote all from your mobile device. Not to mention, in this cluttered online space, people crave authenticity – and video is a great way to do that.

If you want to have a successful video marketing strategy, you can’t forget the video platforms (Facebook is right there as well but we’ll get to that). It is important to know how to optimize your video content for them if you want to use video to maximize your online marketing exposure and engagement. If you are not familiar with SEO for videos, it’s easy to learn.

Here are a few things to consider when on optimizing your video content.

Titles, description, and thumbnails

This might sound obvious, but titles play a huge part in video SEO. Beyond including your keyword in your title, the title needs to drive a high CTR (click-through-rate). To drive a high CTR, your title needs to be compelling enough for people to want to click on it without stuffing a ton of keywords in it (that doesn’t entice anybody!). To create a solid title, you should do keyword research, follow analytics, or even consult with your peers. You may also take a peek at what competitors are doing with video titles in your space.

Another way you can improve your video SEO is by providing a good description. Catching someone’s attention with an interesting description not only improves your CTR but also helps platforms such as Youtube, Covideo or any other understand what your video is about. To achieve the best results, try and focus on creating a description with 200+ words. Entice them with the first 1 or 2 sentences and be honest. Don’t try to trick people into watching the video as that will hurt your engagement rate which then hurts your channel exposure overall.

One last thing you can do to improve your overall SEO is creating custom thumbnails for your videos. This creates a professional image for your business and users are more likely to click videos with thumbnails.


2. Mobile optimization

Everyone has a smartphone in their hands at all times – or so it seems. Because we spend so much time accessing the web on our mobile devices, we tend to get annoyed when you can’t access or view information properly on your smartphone. Now, Google even penalizes you if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, which results in lower traffic numbers and lowers online visibility overall.

As a small business, you may be overwhelmed at the idea of changing your website to be more mobile-friendly. But here are a few times to get you started optimizing your site for mobile.

Create a versatile design

Creating a website that works on every mobile device is so important to SEO in 2018. If you want to rank well, you must create a website design capable of filling out every size screen. To do this, you will want to create an HTML code that makes your site adjust to any given device.


Flash is hurting your site

While Flash can be used to make pretty cool designs or animations for your website, it is a waste of time and money. Nearly 30% of the mobile market is Apple products, and Apple does not support Flash and is not planning on it in the near future. Plus, flash has a way of telling the visitor – we don’t care to be current!

Compress video & images

People are more likely to interact online with pictures and videos more than anything else. But the challenge with these visual mediums is that they can be HUGE files if not optimized properly. And a very large photo or video files will slow down your site and make the user experience very poor (think spinning wheel of death as the page loads!).

To remedy this, videos and images need to be compressed to become high quality on mobile devices. To make sure your images and videos are easily compressible, it is recommended to use PNG formatting, as this results in very little loss of quality.

If your website is built on WordPress, there are also some plugins available to help you compress and optimize these components.


3. Social Media Marketing

Social media is here to stay – but the social media of yesterday is not how it works today. If you want to remain relevant and drive your growth, you need to join the wave, but you have to be strategic and selective in how you utilize the medium. It’s not long enough to simply have a Facebook page and post on it every day.

Facebook has changed how their algorithm displays content to users, and the organic reach (also known as the reach that’s “free” or not paid for) is at an all-time low.

When looking at social media marketing for small businesses, one of the best opportunities is to leverage Facebook with a combination of paid ads and live video.

Facebook ads

With Facebook ads, you can set demographic preferences and reach up to 10,000 people in your target audience with just $50.

The best thing about Facebook ads is you can track who is interacting with your content. This will help you generate more leads and if executed correctly, more sales. If you truly want to drive growth, you should be investing time and money into Facebook ads.

Side note: Facebook owns Instagram, so this is an excellent opportunity as well. You can run ads on Instagram, which hasn’t been as highly utilized by many small businesses yet. For tips on running ads on Instagram, check out this post: How to Conquer Instagram Advertising Without Breaking the Bank.


4. Metrics

Metrics might be one of the most tedious trends in digital marketing, but tracking ROI is inevitable to the success of your digital marketing. If you are tracking the right things, you will improve sales and be able to cater your content to target audiences more efficiently.

Here are a few basic metrics you should be tracking.


These metrics are not only easy to track but essential if you want to obtain better results in your ads. Impressions are the number of people exposed to your content. If one person sees your ad multiple times, your impressions will increase. Reach measures the true amount of unique people who have seen your ad. Frequency is the average number of times your content is presented to the audience and can be calculated as impressions/reach.

Website traffic

Tracking website traffic is something every business should be doing in 2018. By using a free analytics tool such as Google Analytics, you can see what pages are driving the most and least traffic, where your visitors are coming from, and even the device they are accessing your site on.

Knowing this key data can help you optimize your content for your audience.


5. Strategic partnerships

Are you really looking to grow your audience and sales? Strategic partnerships are essential for businesses and showing a huge ROI as of late. Again, because of the increase is the total number of companies worldwide and the continued clutter of digital and traditional advertising, more and more people are turning to partnerships and “person to person” marketing to generate awareness and drive sales.

Strategic partnerships provide the opportunity to leverage the trust of another audience to explore your product or service.

Here are a few strategic partnerships to consider:

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become huge in the digital space in 2018, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. We’ve all seen YouTubers and celebrities advertising products. That’s exactly what influencer marketing is. And you don’t have to find “influencers” with millions of followers for this to work. What you want to look for is engagement.

If you’re a local restaurant, you’ll be better off finding a local social media influencer who has 50% engagement on each of their Instagram posts, versus someone who has thousands of followers outside your city and only a 2% engagement rate. When done right, influencer marketing can drive up to 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing! If you can make the right connections and find an influencer in your niche to promote your product, this can work wonders for your business.

Referral partners

Another strategic partnership worth looking into is referral partners (which may also be called affiliate partners). A good example of a referral partnership is Spotify and Hulu.

Spotify promotes that if users purchase Spotify premium, they will be able to access Hulu for free. This drives traffic to both applications and overall improves their ROI. It may take some time and relationship building to establish a strategic partnership, but if done right, it can help you and your partners rise to the top.

Digital marketing wrap-up

These 5 digital marketing trends are excellent opportunities for small businesses to capitalize on in 2018. The key is focusing on one at a time, and then finding what works and doubling down on that tactic for your business (refer back to the metrics section!).

What are your thoughts on these digital marketing trends? Which ones have helped your business grow and which ones do you think are hard to scale?


Kyle Carlson is an inbound marketing specialist at Simple Strat.
When he is not connecting people with brands, he likes to play sports, spend time with family, and travel!

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