1. Customer focus

Forward-looking companies are being truly customer focussed to build customer loyalty. This means making all your channels work together seamlessly, allowing your customers to choose what works best for them at any moment in their journey from research to purchase.

2. Content as king

There are almost 3billion social media users and thousands of hours of video are uploaded every day. Competition for attention is frenetic and you need to earn your share. Innovation, creativity and interaction are important if you want your content to stand out from the crowd. You also need to learn what works and test your ideas carefully. If you change everything you won’t know what made the difference.

3. Micro-moments

With more than half of internet traffic now on mobile devices, successful marketers want to make an impact at the moment someone picks up their smartphone or tablet. Sometimes called the ‘micro-moment’, this is an ideal time to capture the interest of a casual researcher or internet surfer and help them to make instant discoveries and purchase decisions.

Google says that its Mobile First Index, which prioritises mobile responsiveness in search engine rankings, is already ‘in the wild’ and will be rolling out in 2018. That means your site’s mobile performance also needs to be a priority, regardless of your user’s current preferences.

4. Chatting with bots

Ease and speed are important, so conversational-style content suitable for voice or text interfaces with chatbots should be part of your plan.

Rule-based chatbots can deal with simple enquiries, but the increasingly clever bots that use machine learning (or artificial intelligence) will soon handle more complex things like frequently asked questions, service support and delivering quick offers of help to anyone who abandons their online purchase.

5. Messaging app magic

There’s a growing trend for people to use messaging apps like WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, rather than social media. Messaging apps are not only a way to chat with friends, they also allow people to browse products and engage with content. The chatbot’s home territory is in messaging apps, where they can deliver real-time responses for simple enquiries and hand over to your ‘live’ team when needed. Investing time and money in messaging apps in 2018 could extend your marketing reach significantly.

6. Machine learning

It’s not just chatbots that benefit from machine learning. Customers and business buyers now expect real-time information about pricing, stock availability and deliveries. Businesses that fall behind this curve are likely to lose out. Integrating machine learning algorithms into your business processes will allow you to spot patterns and trends and build models to optimise your marketing.

7. Conversion rate optimisation

Converting more visitors to your site into customers will continue to be a cornerstone of marketing strategies in 2018. Modern search engine optimisation (SEO) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is sophisticated. With real creativity and customer empathy applied to your raw data it’s possible to put effective engagement at the heart of your customer’s journey.

8. Corporate blogging

Corporate blogging can support improving organic search results and builds your community of interest. Corporate videos and blogs are becoming essential tools to drive traffic to your website and engage potential customers. Once you have subscribers make sure you acknowledge their interest and deliver added-value content.

9. Let your advertising go native

Online native advertisements match the platform where they appear, merging your product or service with the content. They are an effective way to attract your target audience and provide the right information for users when they need it. Overall, they deliver relevant content in an easy-to-use format for improved engagement with your customers.

10. Make it personal

According to Salesforce Research around two thirds of customers are likely to change brands if they feel they are being treated as figures rather than people.  On the other hand, personalised emails with relevant content are almost four times more likely to be opened than non-personalised emails. Identify your subscribing customers’ preferences, based on their behaviour, interests, age and gender, and you’ll be sure to improve engagement and build loyalty.