Staying up to date with the latest trends in online marketing as well as recent digital marketing tactics is one of the biggest hurdles that online entrepreneurs face with the extremely fast pace that new online marketing trends come and go. Here’s what’s hot for 2018!
Transcription Episode 96: #AskDerek: Digital Marketing Trends, Strategies, & Tactics For 2018
Welcome to another episode of the Project Ignite podcast. This is your host, Derek Gehl.
In this episode, I’m going to answer a question that I’ve been getting a lot since the beginning of 2018. That question is, are there new trends, tips, strategies, things in the world of digital business and digital marketing that are changing and that you need to be aware of in 2018 if you want to grow your business?
The thing I love about being a digital entrepreneur is, the internet evolves so quickly. It’s funny. I hear people complain about how things are evolving and changing so fast and so hard to keep up. When in reality, I see that as such a massive benefit because change creates opportunity. If things never changed, it would stagnate. You’d get businesses that would dominate, start channels and new opportunities wouldn’t be opening up as quickly, but because the internet is evolving and always changing so fast, it’s always opening new opportunities.
What I want to do in this episode is, I want to just share five things that I see happening in 2018 that I think you need to be aware of if you’re running a business on the internet. Will all these things apply to you? Maybe, maybe not. You pick and choose the ones that work for your business and the things that you need to be paying attention to.
Keep in mind, these are not brand new things. Some of it is newer but these are things that are evolving, that are gaining traction, that are growing where I see lots of potential and opportunity. That said, let me preface this by saying that none of what I’m about to share with you will help if you are neglecting the time tested principles of a strong online business, which includes having a right offer in front of the right audience with a well-constructed sales funnel with persuasive sales copy and videos and credibility to convert maximum visitors into customers, and then having a process that then nurtures those customers and gets them to come back and spend more with your business, increasing that value over time. That’s the foundation, right?
It’s funny because what I see people get really excited all the time about, “Oh, there’s a new Facebook thing or a new YouTube thing or a new Google thing. We all have to go after it.” When I peel back the layers, I see that the fundamentals, the foundation of their business is weak. You can throw as much traffic at it as you want, but unless the foundation is there, you’re probably wasting your time throwing traffic at it. You still need a foundation.
The foundation hasn’t changed since I started online. The tools we use to implement the foundation have evolved. The technologies have changed, but the right product to the right audience with a high converting offer of a persuasive message that converts people, that’s time tested. That predates the internet. You have got to have that, okay?
Once you have that, if you’ve got all that figured out and now, you’re looking for ways to grow your business, here’s the five things that I think you need to pay attention to in 2018.
Facebook Messenger Marketing
Let’s start with number one, Facebook Messenger Marketing. Now, Facebook is an interesting platform. It’s evolving at an incredible rate. They’re constantly inventing new ways for companies to leverage that platform to grow their businesses. I’m always looking at, what are the new things that are happening on Facebook that represent some incredible new opportunity? Here’s the way Facebook works: when Facebook launches a new advertising channel or tool or something along those lines, typically, they’re very liberal in letting you use it, okay? They don’t put a ton of restrictions on it. In many cases, it doesn’t cost much to use. They’ll give you extra exposure with it. As more and more people adopt it and jump onboard and start using it and get addicted to it, if you will, they’ll then lock it down and they’ll start finding ways to make you pay to continue to get that same traffic from that specific channel, the same sales from it.
Right now, something that’s in its infancy is Facebook Messenger Marketing. Look, companies that have already embraced Facebook Messenger Marketing are noticing really high engagement with their marketing messages compared to even typical email marketing. Basically, what’s happened now is, Facebook Messenger allows you to push marketing messages out to everyone who is engaging with your Facebook fan page, your Facebook groups. The technology is still really new, but there are lots of companies that are doing huge sales by integrating Facebook Messenger into their sales funnels and their online stores.
Probably, in a future episode here, I’m going to seek out some really kick ass Facebook Messenger Marketing experts here and really get inside their heads and see what’s working, but it is something that needs to be on your radar. There’s lots of different tools that are evolving, chatbox bots so you’re able to automate the messenger marketing, so that when somebody engages, you’re automatically sending them a Facebook Messenger message, et cetera.
Look, this is one of those channels that in the short term, the early adopters are going to benefit from it. Because right now, it’s not an overly abused channel, but once more and more people pile on and people’s Facebook Messenger accounts are getting inundated with messages, as per Facebook’s mandate they’ll start to tighten things up to make it more difficult to turn it into more of a pay to play platform. That’s my prediction.
Now, the early adopters get to win with this. We get to utilize it to grow lists, to make sales, integrate it into sales funnels. In this window of time where it’s very cost-effective and very effective because we’re not competing with a whole bunch of noise of other companies also using that strategy.
Number one, Facebook Messenger Marketing, which brings us to number two. This is paid traffic … Well, let’s call it paid traffic versus organic traffic. Let’s face it, everyone likes to get free organic traffic from Google, which really explains why search engine optimization, SEO, has been so popular since online business began. Because if you can get good rankings, that free traffic will convert like crazy. But with increasing competition and I mean, still thousands of websites coming on every day, getting top rankings in Google by simply writing and publishing a blog post isn’t there anymore. It’s a far more involved process.
Look, I love SEO. I’m always looking for free traffic and I really encourage you to look for free traffic, but the reality is, businesses that want to grow in 2018 reliably, predictably, scalably. You need to not only focus on free organic traffic. You need to start focusing on high quality sources of paid traffic that you can convert profitably.
As you see across so many of these platforms, platforms that were free are now moving more to paid models. Let’s take Facebook for instance. Facebook, in its earliest days didn’t even have a way to buy ads, right? Now, obviously, they have a huge advertising platform. It’s got incredible targeting options, all sorts of different ways you can advertise, your newsfeeds, your messenger, stuff like that.
One of the things you’ll notice is, Facebook is constantly locking down what we call our organic reach on Facebook and diminishing it so that we’re forced, if we want to get our message out there even to the people that are following us, we’re now forced to pay to push that out there. Over late 2017, Facebook made some big changes that if you have a page and people like it, historically, if you posted something, if you have good engagement, they would give you good organic reach.
On one of my pages where I have about 20,000 people that liked that, on any given day, if I posted something decent on there, I could get anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 people seeing that in their newsfeed. It didn’t cost me anything. It gave me organic reach, but as Facebook is growing, now, Facebook says, “Hey, I’m trying to keep your newsfeed clean,” okay? They came out and said, “We’re no longer going to push post from pages you like into your newsfeed.” Their explanation is, “Well, we want people to not be overwhelmed with a whole bunch of marketing and stuff coming to their newsfeeds. We want to keep it more personal.”
That was really smart positioning on their part, but really, what they are trying to do, at least in my opinion is, they’re forcing people who have pages and have large followings. If you want to reach that following, you now have to pay. You have to boost your post or reach that audience.
Now, again, they’ve cut off this free channel we’ve been using and they’re forcing us to pay. We need to be willing to pay for traffic, but one of the mindsets that I see sabotaging people is, they go, “Well, how much do I have to budget? How much do I have to pay?”
There’s this mindset that you need to go out there and spend thousands of dollars and be prepared to lose money. That’s the wrong way to look at it. We’re not Nike. We’re not Coca-Cola. We’re not branding. We’re not going out there to drive traffic and just get our brand in front of people. Rather, what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to get clicks to a website and then we’re trying to get those people to engage and ultimately buy, right? Our goal is to develop campaigns where we are profitable as quickly as possible.
Another way to look at that, if I said to you, “Hey, I could show you a place where you could spend $1 to get a visitor and for every $1 you spent, you’re going to make $2.” Now, if I could show you that, let me ask you this, what should your budget be? How much do you want to spend on that advertising if you can spend $1 and make $2? How many times should you spend a dollar? Well, the answer is as many times as possible, right?
It’s not about budget now. Once you have a campaign that is profitable, a source of traffic that is profitable, you can buy that all day long. Now, the only thing that it comes down to is a bit of cash flow management. You spend the money and in time you get it back through a sale. My point here is this, as the internet evolves, more and more free traffic sources are becoming less free and they’re moving to pay-to-play models where you have to be willing to pay whether it’s Adwords, whether it’s Facebook, or whether it’s any of the social media platforms.
Look, here’s the reality… if you want reliable, predictable growth, paid advertising, it’s the way to go. Let me ask you this, do you really have any control over something that you don’t pay for? The answer is no, you don’t, right?
Again, I’m not dissing free traffic. I love free traffic. I love organic traffic. I have sites to get tons of it, but it’s just one strategy. My real grow strategy is going to be on the paid side.
All right. Remember, number one, Facebook Messenger Marketing, two, be prepared to pay to play when it comes to traffic and that brings us to number three of five. This trend that I am seeing is live video. Video has taken over the internet, really, over the last decade as bandwidth around the world has increased as people have gotten better internet connections. Video is everywhere.
Video is just common place on the internet now. People are used to seeing video, but the next wave of video isn’t just prerecorded stuff. Rather, it’s live video. That’s going to continue to be a big trend in 2018. Every social media platform is jumping into live video and adding new features to their platforms.
There’s new technology. There’s new tools out for creating live video, streaming live video. Creating higher quality videos from our smartphones and streaming it live. Here’s the reality, live video is a fantastic way to connect with your audience. With Facebook, with a simple click of a button, you can broadcast live to all your fans and group members instantly. It’s such a powerful way to engage with people, create content on the fly, but also to create real personal connections.
In this day and age, in the world of social media, people want to do business with people. People connect with people. Not with nameless, faceless brands but with people. When you can put your face out there and connect with people and share with people and let them see you’re a human being, that’s going to go along ways in your marketing.
Now, the technology is there to do that for us. It’s incredible. Nowadays, with any decent iPhone or Android phone, you can be broadcasting live. If you want to step up the quality, there’s now live broadcasting systems that you can set up in your offices. There’s these handheld, what are called Gimbals, from drone makers once called the Osmo. They just launched one called the Osmo Mobile too that you can put your phone into. You can walk around, it’s like a selfie stick, but it completely smooths out the videos. You’re getting professional quality video, live streaming to these people. You’re doing it with a device that cost a couple hundred dollars. Pay attention to live video. Don’t be afraid to embrace it.
Here’s a reality… Most people aren’t comfortable public speaking or getting on camera, stuff like that, but I can tell you after doing, literally, hundreds and hundreds of live presentations, speaking at events, stuff like that, it’s something that just gets easier with practice.
You know what, the first time you do it, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. The second time you do it, a little less so though. The more practice you get, the better you’ll get, but here’s the thing, you don’t need to be perfectly polished. You need to be authentic. That’s what people are looking for here today.
Which now brings us to number four and that is influencer marketing. Now, if you’re not familiar with influencer marketing, basically, what this means is going out and finding people that already have reached an influence into your market. Somebody that’s already an authority, that already has some kind of a following that can influence your market. Working with them or paying them or setting up some kind of a deal to get them to recommend and endorse your products. This is a strategy that’s been growing massively in popularity for the last couple of years, but here’s what’s really fascinating about influencer marketing today versus let’s say, 10 years ago. Now 10 years ago or so, influencer marketing was really more about celebrities, going out, finding celebrities, athletes, well-known, famous people that your market knows and getting them to endorse your product.
Now, with the growth of social media, we now have a massive, massive opportunity to start working with not celebrities, but let’s call them a step down from celebrities, niche celebrities if you will. Not famous people. Not actors and actresses. Those are powerful influencers, but they’re very, very expensive, but rather, people that have cultivated followings on different social media platforms that make recommendations that people listen to. These are the mommy bloggers of the world. These are people that have little niche expertise that have built followings that you can now connect with and you can leverage to endorse your products or use your products.
It can be as simple as somebody creating a video and throwing it up on their Facebook pages saying, “Hey, I just got this new widget. Really cool. Love it. Look at this. Look what it does.” That’s all they do, but all of a sudden, they now have tens of thousands of people that are paying attention to them going, “Hey, that’s really cool. I want it too.”
What you’re doing is leveraging … let’s call them micro-influencers. These aren’t the major celebrities. These are the next level down. These are people that earn a living by producing content, engaging their markets but working with small companies, brands, stuff like that to endorse those products. It’s very, very cost-effective. It can be a quick way to add credibility, to reach your market, et cetera.
If you’re not familiar with influence marketing, go out there and do some searches. Just on the key word, influencer marketing, you’ll start to find lots of interesting information out there. You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to work with some of these micro celebrities in your niche as micro-influencers to make that happen. Influencer marketing, is an area to pay close attention in 2018.
YouTube Video Marketing
This brings us to number five on the list. This isn’t new, but this is one that I don’t think people are paying enough attention to and that’s video marketing on YouTube. When I ask an audience, when I’m doing a live event, I say, “Okay, guys, what is the biggest search engine in the world?” Everybody yells out, “Google.” When I say, “Okay, who’s number two to Google as a search engine?” Now, a large majority of the audience will yell out, “Bing” and then another percentage will yell out, “Facebook.” I have to educate them that Facebook is not actually a search engine, but what most people don’t realize though is, Bing is not the second biggest search engine in the world. In fact, it’s YouTube. YouTube has a second highest search volume only to Google.
Nowadays, with the growth of video, more and more people, when they’re looking for information on something, when they’re looking for products, when they’re looking for reviews, when they’re looking for all of this stuff, they’re not going to Google per se anymore. They’re going to YouTube.
This is really true for millennials, upcoming generations as well. They’re going to YouTube to find information. They’re treating it like a search engine. I need help with something, I want to know more about a product or something like that. They’re going to YouTube. YouTube offers a wealth of traffic generation opportunities for your business and that’s going to continue to grow and grow. Whether that’s through paid advertising or even creating your own videos and optimizing those.
What I can tell you is, ranking a video on YouTube and getting good traffic is far faster than trying to get a website ranked in Google. In fact, YouTube, in many case, is like backdoor into Google, but that’s a whole other story as well.
Getting out there, finding, using keyword tools like keywordtool.io to see what people are searching on YouTube and using those keywords in your video optimization, et cetera, et cetera. If you go to Project Ignite and you search YouTube video marketing, you’ll find a whole post on how to optimize your YouTube videos there. Go to Project Ignite and then go into the blog and you’ll find that there. Lots of information on how to do that. That’s going to continue to grow.
Interesting, it’s going to be a big, big year as it always is on the internet. There’s lots of opportunity. Lots of thing are changing. Yes, there’s lots of new little companies. Things popping up here and there.
I like to keep my eye on the newest social network stuff, the Snapchats and stuff like that, but here’s the reality… where I’m going to focus the majority of my time is not on these new upcoming social networks. Rather, I’m going to focus the majority of my time on the tried and tested companies that have already stood the test of time, are already established and aren’t just going to disappear.
A perfect example is Vine. Vine came along with the big hot thing and now, Vine is gone, right? I feel sorry for all the poor people that put all this time and effort into Vine and now, it’s gone.
I like to keep an eye out on those things and maybe dabble, but the majority of my effort is going to be spent on things that I know are here to stay. Things like Facebook Messenger Marketing, good sources of paid traffic, live video streaming, whether it’d be webinars, whether it’d be Facebook broadcast, influencer marketing, YouTube. YouTube is going nowhere. It’s growing. How do I carve my place in my niche on that platform?
There you go. That was an overview of the five things that you need to be paying attention to, in order to grow your business in 2018.
This is Derek Gehl signing off. I’ll see you in the next episode.