Top 5 Inbound Marketing Trends: Marketers chase trends like surfers chase waves. The information industry benefits from being ahead of the curve.
So how do you know which trends are going to be big and which ones are going to come up empty?
Like the best surfers, top marketers have learned to see the big moves in their space. Instead of wasting time and energy on minor trends, they go head-to-head into the big ones.
Today we take a look at some of the biggest inbound marketing trends taking shape this year. Being agile in an industry as volatile as marketing means you can always move forward at full speed. The more opportunities you catch, the higher your revenue will be.
1) Interactive content
In a survey, 75% of marketers said they are increasing their investment in content marketing. And while traditional blog content still dominates, interactive content is gaining traction.
Webinars, infographics, interactive apps, surveys, calculators and other rich content will breathe new life into your site.
“Don’t interrupt what your customers want to consume – be what they want to consume.”
– Mike Volpe, CybeReason
Marketers agree that interactive content – which allows users to try out or play with something – is more effective than static content in several ways:
- 81% say interactive content is more effective at capturing viewers’ attention
- 79% agree that interactive content leads to repeat visitors and increases memorability of brand messages.
By enhancing the consumer experience with interactive elements, you’ll see increased time on page and higher engagement levels, which means the content is more likely to generate interest.
2) Artificial Intelligence
The most notable trend in inbound marketing is artificial intelligence (AI). Thanks to machine learning algorithms and data analytics, vast amounts of customer data are more accessible and more valuable than ever.
AI solutions are able to predict customer behavior with predictive analytics that are too complex for humans. As a result, more and more companies are beginning to use AI to automate their marketing processes based on actionable insights from such analytics.
What actionable insights are we talking about?
“… What personality traits they share, what motivates them, who is more likely to share content with others, and more.
Using personality traits, we were able to build a targeting strategy based on Twitter users who would be more receptive to our content, which in turn improved our campaign results and made the most of the money we spent on Twitter ads.”
– David Rodriguez, Telefonica
In addition to expanding targeting and informing capabilities, AI is starting to automate customer interactions.
A prime example is chatbots, which can be found on many web pages to improve customer service. Facebook has also introduced bots to support the user experience.
In the image above, you can see how 1-800-Flowers uses sales chatbots to optimize online purchases. Such AI touches not only improve service, but also help accumulate more data, providing companies with the information they need to convert leads into sales.
3) Mobile Inbound Marketing
In 2017, Google announced that 50% of search queries are from mobile devices. Two years later, mobile-responsive website design was a must-have feature. The mobile-friendly trend continues, pushing marketers to create more mobile-friendly content.
The key is to create content that is more appealing and relevant to people viewing it from small mobile devices.
It’s all about making content personalized, easily digestible and easy to distribute. As users move from mobile to desktop devices to search and shop, marketers who provide a seamless cross-channel and cross-device experience will be rewarded with higher revenues.
Amazon’s mobile shopping cart abandonment email pictured above is a perfect example of how to work with mobile users. Amazon’s automation is sophisticated enough to address users via mobile when they are ready to make a purchase-even if the cart abandonment occurred on a desktop computer.
Interoperable platforms are what enable mobile, omni-channel strategies and provide users with the seamless brand experience they expect.
4) Marketing Automation
Companies are currently spending more on marketing technology than advertising itself. As inbound trends such as content marketing and mobile technology evolve, so will the means of tracking and interacting with users across channels.
Marketing automation allows companies to develop detailed customer profiles, prioritize leads through scoring, orchestrate targeted campaigns with messages running on any channel, and then drive the final conversion at the right time.
Marketing automation also provides end-to-end visibility into each lead’s path through the marketing and sales funnel, eliminating cross-departmental barriers to finding and applying the data. This allows sales and marketing to integrate more closely with each other, providing a “marketing” approach to campaigns.
A study by Heinz Marketing found that 61.5% of marketers with “smarketing” skills expect to increase their budgets in the next year. As customer engagement with online interactions and subsequent free data ownership grows industry-wide, marketing automation is becoming a key success factor.
5) Video Marketing
Google knows that 50% of Internet users search for videos about a product or service before visiting a store. And Wordstream found that 45% of people watch more than an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube per week.
As mobile devices become more widespread, high-quality video is expected to reach new levels each year and attract new users.
Video allows marketers to quickly deliver a lot of information in a super engaging way. No matter what stage of the marketing funnel your audience is in, video leads to high retention rates.
The expansion of Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram makes video content an integral part of any inbound marketing strategy.
The challenge for marketers is to create hyper-engaging videos that lead to conversions and shares. Viral video content is like the holy grail, and for good reason.
It’s hard to simultaneously entertain and guide viewers in such a short amount of time. Be sure to use emotional storytelling and creative imagery to hook viewers and drive them to their final CTA.
Above, we see how Dollar Shave Club shows – rather than tells – its audience that this is a business you can trust. In 2017 and beyond, we’ll continue to see the best marketers apply this balancing act in effective (and funny) ways.
Marketers looking to make waves with their audiences are turning to these top five trends. As online consumer psychology evolves, companies must provide their customers with what they want and when they want it, or they will be left high and dry.
Step up your inbound marketing strategy by investing in video and interactive content. And don’t forget to make sure all content is mobile-friendly.
AI and marketing automation will continue to support responsive, intuitive customer interactions, which in turn will lead to a superior customer experience and higher conversions. The ability to leverage data in dynamic and actionable ways empowers businesses like never before.