The more things change, the more they stay the same. The same is true in 2019. Despite the evolution of the media and marketing industries at a record pace, traditional media are still struggling to find their place. Some media move behind paywalls. Many others are bending. Others mix with affiliate marketing and paid content in order to stay profitable. With today’s murky media landscape, marketing and communications professionals will have to adjust their old strategies and start over with trial and error methods.
Testing various New Wave marketing tactics to see what moves the needle will be key. However, while much of this industry will undoubtedly stay on the move for quite some time, there are some proven strategies that are obviously here to stay. Here are a few that should stay in your marketing arsenal this coming year:
The rise of the micro-influencer
Word of mouth has long been one of the most effective marketing strategies, as people seek product and service recommendations from people they trust. The feeling hasn’t changed, but the feeling is that you have to pay big to play and get a net return. This is where micro-influencers come in. This is a different category of influencers who don’t need the A-List money. And although they have less than a million subscribers – usually in the order of thousands or tens of thousands – their audiences tend to be hyper-engaged.
Some easy ways to find these influencers include starting with those who may have already expressed an interest in your brand. Another option is to research the relevant hashtags and start following them first. Engage them later with ideas on how you might start a mutually beneficial relationship. The key is to find people who are already passionate about the topic, because authenticity is important when it comes to engaging an audience.
Content continues to reign supreme
Content is crucial for the growth of a brand, and with the increase in video engagement, this medium becomes as important as the written forms. In fact, research shows that 85% of people want more branded video content. This desire for content comes from a variety of places, with education and connection reaching the top.
Content, whether written or video, that explains your product features or your business messages gives your customers the opportunity to learn how to get the most out of your product. It also allows you to offer additional expertise on your industry, provide solutions to related issues, or start discussions that engage your audience.
This type of content is the bridge to the other main reason content is essential – it connects your brand and your customer. Keeping in mind that emotional connection boosts brand loyalty for 82% of consumers, this cannot be overlooked. Studies also show that consumers will spend twice as much with brands they feel emotionally connected to and that 81% will promote the brand to family and friends.
Affiliate marketing is evolving
Paid, owned and earned media all start to mix together, especially in the case of affiliate marketing, when brands trick partners into promoting products or services in exchange for a commission. We know that social media influences the buying habits of consumers, so hiring influencers to promote your brand can have a very real impact on your bottom line.
Affiliate marketing isn’t just about working with social influencers; the big publishing houses have entire departments dedicated to affiliate marketing. BuzzFeed has been interested in it since 2017, and many more have followed suit. You’ve probably seen the disclaimers that read, “We may receive a commission for products purchased through the links in this story.” This is an affiliate marketing partnership.
Another way to integrate is to use an affiliate network and dashboard like Commission Junction, which has a large, well-established affiliate network to connect with. From there, you can negotiate deals and offsets. LinkTrust is another popular option. Here you can run a full scale affiliate program for around $ 250 per month which can be faster if you really want to target partners and not blow up a platform en masse.
Best of all, affiliate marketing is easily tracked, so you can see the impact on your bottom line. Of course, as is the case with most marketing programs, setting up tracking and metering is up to you, so be prepared to create pixels and set up scans ahead of time to make sure you see them. results, good or bad.
Organic search should always be a goal
Good search results are also essential to elevate your brand. Performing an annual SEO audit can assess your site’s optimization opportunities, which can lead to greater advancements in organic search. You can find many good (and even free) SEO testing and recommendation tools such as Moz and SEOptimer. Identifying opportunities to optimize your site can lead to better search results, making it easier for your customers and prospects to find you. This, in turn, helps you market to them more directly.
Marketing has always been a demanding profession. With the massive changes taking place in the industry right now, we all need to be prepared to think outside the box and figure out how to make positive impressions for our brands in a rapidly changing world.