In 2018, it’s time to set your brand marketing strategy up for success! With so many different marketing channels and vehicles, it can be hard to find the plan that works for you. In this guide, I’ll cover the brand marketing strategies that your competitors will be using so you can stay one step ahead in 2018!

  1. Boost Online Experience with AI Chatbots

Chatbots are intuitive computer programs that work to convert your target audience into buyers by engaging them through conversation on various platforms. Although was once seen as a gimmick, with advances in AI, chatbots are proving to be an effective marketing tool for thousands of brands.Properly intergraded bot software can handle more information requests and customer service questions than you’d believe. Configure the communication robot to answer every question you can think of that’s commonly asked by customers during first phone call conversation, information that can answer email inquiries and customer related question, and most importantly load your bot software with the most commonly asked live chat questions you receive from visitors on a frequent basis.

Chatbots provide their most significant advantage in improving turnaround time in customer service. Automated chatbot software should be configured to reply intelligently to website visitors that are choosing your website and resource content to help further them in the online buying process. The information you can provide them, the longer their “dwell” time will be. Two of the top organic SEO rankings Google is now placing heavy importance on is how long your average website visitors “dwells” or stays on your website before leaving, and your website visitor’s average click-through-rate. CTR simply means, how many website pages did a unique visitor click on, these pages include homepage, resource pages, recent blog posts, FAQ page, About Us page, product category pages and all the way down to the final individual product page.

If your online web visitorworks their way from page to page until landing at their individual product check, do not fumble your online leads at the 5-yard line because your checkout configuration is destroying the website’s user experience. Take the time and if needed, hire the right web design firm to make sure your custom designed checkout page has the lowest bounce rate compared to all other web URL pages. Google is going to reward your website if it’s providing their users with ever-improving personalized customer experiences.

  1. Influencers Can be Your Best Brand Advocates

Influencer marketing has exploded over the last few years with Instagram stars replacing traditional celebrities as the best promotion vehicles you can buy. Attracting online influencers to your brand can be challenging due to competition and the growing demand for Influencer brand endorsements. 2018 will be a particular big year for smaller, industry-specific Influencers, that are referred to as Micro Influencers.

Micro influencers are similar to regular influencers except they are more focused with small followings. They are great if you want to target specific customers in a geographical area or more niche industries. A percentage of their followers might know them personally and they will trust their opinions much more because of their connection.

Increased demand in 2018 means you must lock down your KPIs to ensure you are reaching your desired ROI. Luckily, there are a few online platforms like and geared specifically towards influencer marketing to help startups better manage and track their KPIs.

  1. Promoting at Industry Exhibitions

Industry expos are still a great way to gain exposure for your brand and company! You’ll be able to talk to prospects face-to-face and deliver your winning elevator pitch to prominent players within your industry. One of the best ways to boost your exposure and captivate attendees is by creating a modern trade show marketing campaign for your booth space.

No matter how large your company is, when you promote your brand using modern pre-show marketing strategies and enhance your visibility by upgrading to an LED illuminated backlit display, show attendees will take notice. In fact, by having an engaging exhibit design and interactive booth technology, your booth traffic will increase. Modernizing your trade show marketing goes far in boosting your larger-than-life brand. When selecting your exhibition booth supplier, make sure they’re staff is highly knowledgeable about the latest industry technologies and exhibit booth design trends.

  1. Make Content Creation Priority #1

If you want to engage your audience efficiently, your content marketing strategy must be on point. You want to create content that is both unique and refreshing, while also promoting your brand and the products you offer without coming across as a sales push.

We’ve found that the best content communicates your brand’s message and provides readers with genuinely informative or valuable content. If you can pull it off, you could see a boost in organic traffic and an improvement in search engine rankings thanks to the SEO.

When drafting these blog posts and articles, you want to keep the 80/20 rule in mind. To avoid seeming pushy, we recommend that 80% of your content be about something related to your industry that your audience will care about, and 20% should be about your products including giveaways, online sales, etc.

  1. Effectively Leverage Social Media for Promotion

Social media has grown to become the primary marketing channel for many small companies. It is relatively inexpensive and allows the opportunity to engage with your customers in unique personalized.

Sometimes it can seem like a new social media platform pops up every week but don’t let that keep you from expanding your efforts. Many companies overlook platforms like Snapchat and Instagram as valuable opportunities to engage with customers, however they will become strong marketing tools this year.

We’d highly recommend that you start posting “stories” on these apps to maximize your growth and impact on lead generation. You should also consider purchasing a filter on one of these platforms for users to check in when they visit your store or event. This boosts your exposure on the platforms and you will look more engaged and legitimate to potential customers. Also keep a watchful eye out for prospective influencers as well!

  1. Leverage Big Data

Analytics and big data aren’t just for the techies and well-established large corporations that lose their creative innovation capability years ago but still has the deep pockets to now pay for it! In fact, any brand, all professional small business marketers should be adding more online marketing analytics to learn their customers buying habits through visitor activity monitoring. One affordable tool that’s user-friendly for small businesses wanting to leverage big data is through visual website foot traffic recognition. Heatmap technology has been an effective custom data analyzer for a number for years.

Heatmaps create a digitally marked record of recent website traffic by using colored dots on each web page. High traffic locations on your website will be saturated with pinpointed color dots. In contrast, sections of your website that have a high bounce rate or low “dwelltime”, will have far less color marketing. The amount of rich customer data that can be extracted from online user-engagement is virtually limitless. In simpleterms, big data is invigorating because it can positively impact virtually every aspect of modern business.Here are a few ways that small startups can leverage big data:

  • Research your competition: By simply looking at Google Trends or social media, you can gauge the popularity of different brands, and see what customers are saying about these companies. Take their comments into consideration and adjust your marketing messages accordingly.
  • Dive into Analytics: Using free platforms like Google Analytics, you can learn more about the people that visit your website. It is simple to use, and you will be able to learn more about their interests, age, and other demographic data to tailor your campaigns.

With big data, your team will be better equipped to have a more in-depth understanding of your target market. This includes their behaviors, what they like to shop for online, their demographics, and more!

  1. Create a Video Promotion

Okay, well maybe not a full-fledged Hollywood production, but video marketing is a trend that’s been on the rise over the last few years, and it is expected to explode even further in 2018.

If you can create a creative video campaign that doesn’t come across as a commercial, you can develop videos that engage and attract customers. While YouTube remains the king of online video, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are becoming viable options for videos. Videos on Facebook, for example, receive 135% more organic views than photos and Instagram Stories are taking off at an alarming rate.

As customers trends continue to grow in the favor of small brands and local business, modern technology will only continue to help even the playing field. Smart small brands and locally owned companies that continue to find ways to obtain more insight into how customers want to buy the brands and services they identify with. Big data insights, personalized product offers. These 7 customer focused marketing ideas for small business, are examples of how technology is giving smaller, creative, one-of-a-kind brandsan edge over big brands through the current modern digital space.