A Digital Marketing Plan for 2018
Every year, we ask, “What are the next big trends in e-commerce marketing?” While there have been some constants in recent years, the list for 2018 is long and diverse.
Should you focus on artificial intelligence? What about marketing automation? Is your website optimized for all devices? Are your emails properly segmented, personalized and focused on consumer shopping behavior?
Bronto's newly released report, 2018 Trends: Predictions From E-Commerce Marketing Experts, aims to answer these questions with expert insights from industry leaders and firsthand consumer shopping data. Here are a few key takeaways to consider.
If it’s Broken, Fix it
Your first goal should be to optimize the campaigns you already have in place. If you’re not using personalization or segmentation in your email marketing, it’s time to start.
There's a tremendous opportunity for e-commerce businesses to leverage consumer data and shopping behavior to their advantage. Something as simple as a welcome or post-purchase email series can go a long way toward building up your brand and establishing repeat customers. Think holistically about your customer and how you can engage them on a personal level.
One of the quickest ways to determine where your marketing program is lacking is to sign up for your own emails and act like a customer. Look at your entire shopping journey, and identify any gaps in your messaging that can be optimized.
Every Year is the Year of Mobile
You’ve heard it many times before, but it’s not going away: mobile optimization is essential. Last year, 95 percent of e-commerce executives we surveyed said mobile is either critical or very important to the future of their brand. Yet 51 percent treat mobile and desktop the same, which is a missed opportunity when you consider that the experiences are very different, and even more so when you take into account the various devices people shop on.
Is your brand optimized for mobile experiences? And that doesn’t just mean on your website. If you aren’t optimizing your email campaigns for mobile as well, your customers will take their business elsewhere. Mobile isn’t an add-on strategy; it’s an essential part of 2018 business success.
Browserless Shopping Isn’t Just a Dream
Voice assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, are already a huge part of many consumers’ lives, and the future looks even brighter. While it may seem like a fantasy to think of ordering big-ticket items via a voice assistant, that could become a reality sooner than you think.
As technology continues to evolve, it’s not unreasonable to think voice assistants could connect to visuals on a TV or other device to completely avoid shopping through a web browser. It wasn’t so long ago that shopping on a cell phone was only a dream, so don’t be surprised if browserless shopping takes off in the near future.
Machine Learning and its Impact on Email Marketing
Personalizing your brand experience is another essential objective to tackle in 2018. According to Movable Ink CEO Vivek Sharma, “The smart retailers are going to start creating an experience around products. Computers are finally starting to understand what our images are about.”
Sharma went on to explain that consumers are looking for a unique shopping experience. For example, a newly married couple might be intrigued by vacation images showcasing beautiful sunsets and romantic dinners, whereas athletic beach goers might zero in on images of water sports and adventure. Here’s where machine learning could step in and automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time and resources.
User-Generated Content is Essential
User-generated content (UGC) is the No. 1 marketing tool for shopper influence, according to John Swords, CPO of TurnTo Networks. “User-generated content helps build trust and offers a more authentic shopping experience.”
According to TurnTo research, 81 percent of consumers are willing to pay more or wait longer to receive products that have UGC associated with them. By focusing on authentic reviews, deeper engagement to foster brand loyalty, and some creativity, any e-commerce company can get its customers on board and leverage their unique and powerful perspectives.
Driving Revenue in 2018
These trends and more are what will shape the e-commerce industry in 2018. It’s now your job to determine where to focus your efforts. Decide which of these trends to prioritize, and start investing in the areas that will best help you create a seamless shopping experience and drive revenue in the year ahead.
As vice president of marketing for Bronto, Susan Wall is responsible for all marketing strategy and leading all demand generation, branding and positioning initiatives.
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