It’s time to take stock of your business’s marketing strategy and make some adjustments for 2018. Digital marketing changes so quickly that it can be hard to tell what you should focus your time and money on in the new year. We’ve taken the guesswork out of that. Here are five marketing trends to pay attention to in 2018 and how you can capitalize on them.



1. Content Remains King



This year there was plenty of buzz about generating quality content if you want people to visit your website or follow you on social media. Rather than just spamming endless streams of low-quality noise, marketers sang the praises of genuine, honest content pieces drawn from your own experience and research. This advice holds true in 2018, and, if anything, it’s even more important. Now is the time to commit to a posting schedule of once or twice a week and make a plan to help you stick to it. Like many worthwhile goals, adhering to a regular posting schedule is no easy task. Whether you decide to divide up the job between a few people, dedicate a few hours on a certain day each week to writing, or write a little bit each day, find what will work for you. Consistency is the key to a good brand content strategy.



2. Social Media is Mandatory



You may have been able to laugh off your business’s lack of social media presence so far, but that is coming to an end in 2018. It’s time to start posting, and posting regularly. If you have no idea where to start, spend some time browsing your favorite social media sites and taking note of brands you like and the strategies they follow. Even if you’re only posting a few times a week to start, your customers will appreciate hearing your voice on their favorite sites. What should you post? As with blog content, draw from what you know. Photos of your business, your employees, your customers, and your product are great places to start.



3. No More Lousy Websites



If you haven’t updated your website in a few years, that needs to change in 2018. Your customers demand a smooth, seamless experience that protects their data and makes it easy for them to find what they need. Mobile responsiveness is key – if your website doesn’t look just as engaging and beautiful on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop or laptop, you’re in trouble. Would-be customers would much rather go somewhere else than fool around with your site. Even if your marketing budget is minimal, if your website doesn’t meet basic standards of security and responsiveness, consider hiring a developer to fix these issues.



4. Search Engine Optimization Gets an Upgrade



Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to helping your website appear closer to the top of the search results on Google and other search engines. Search engines use constantly-changing algorithms to ensure that the best, most relevant results appear first for their users. – if they don’t, their users will quickly go somewhere else. The rankings are built on a complicated set of factors, and we could spend an entire blog post on this topic alone. You might consider working with a marketing agency to do a full assessment of your website, but one of the most important factors is something we’ve already touched on – mobile responsiveness. Search engines check to make sure your site renders properly regardless of device, and if it doesn’t, that’s bad news for your SEO ranking.



5. Video Takes Center Stage



Video marketing was another hot emerging trend in 2017, but in 2018 we’ll really see it take off. Before you start shaking in fear, let us be clear that these videos don’t have to be masterpieces. Your phone’s camera should work just fine for your preliminary projects, although you may want to invest in an inexpensive microphone or tripod depending on your setup. Videos are a great way for customers to see your face and learn about your business directly from you. You can also take them on a tour of your store or office, interview customers about what they like most about your business, or offer advice – think of these videos like spoken blogs.



Make the Right Choices for Your Business



As a business owner, you have many choices to make every day. All of them are important for your overall business success, including choosing a credit card processor. You’ll want to look for a company that is in your corner every step of the way and one that is puts education and proactive problem solving first. In short, you need 360 Payments. Give us a call at 408-295-8360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re different from the rest.



PS – While you’re planning for 2018, here’s how to have your best year yet.



PPS – It might be time to reevaluate these key business relationships – there’s no time like the new year!