We’ve all seen the trend pieces: The top X marketing trends that will shape 2018, social media and content marketing trends to look forward to in 2018, content marketing resolutions for your business… You get the idea.
At the outset of every new year, marketers love to predict what technologies or trends will shape the marketing world for the next 12 months.
This year, rather than adding to the sea of top-10 lists, we decided to do a Q2 update with the two critical trends you should already be implementing in your marketing strategy.
Trend #1 – Interactive Stories
Why invest in them?
Short answer: Stories are sticky, but sometimes, words alone aren’t enough to tell a complex narrative. Interactive stories can help support the sales process, because they do a better job of engaging — and converting — quality leads.
Long answer: The advertising landscape is evolving at an extraordinary pace, as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other technological advances redefine the way we interact with each other and the world around us. While there isn’t a golden rule or magic formula for maximizing your advertising efficacy in an oversaturated market, there is one trend that can help your message stand out.
Interactive digital storytelling takes a mixed media approach to create content that you want people to engage with — combining editorial content, photography, audio, and stunning video to create an immersive experience. It’s an approach that has been used by news outlets, activists, and advertisers alike to encourage audiences to take an active role in their content consumption.
According to one study, interactive content generates twice the conversions of passive content. That’s because it actually does a better job of educating your audience than static content, which is why marketers put its effectiveness at 93 percent and static content’s effectiveness at only 70 percent.
When a consumer interacts with your content, they become active participants in their customer experience. That equates to more time spent on your site, a deeper understanding of the information you’re sharing, and higher-quality leads.
Trend #2 – Episodic Content
Why invest in it?
Short answer: Episodic content is designed to keep your audience coming back for more — and every time they return, your brand becomes more credible and your customers are more likely to make a purchase.
Long answer: In the digital marketing landscape, you can’t expect to make a sale on the first interaction. It takes time and effort to build trust with consumers. Our goal as marketers is to move potential customers through six stages of awareness, from unaware of your product or service to most aware with a high intent of purchasing:
- Unaware – The reader has no idea what your product is or why they might need it.
- Pain Aware – The reader is aware of the pain point your product addresses. Think of the opening scene of an infomercial with someone struggling to perform an everyday task.
- Solution – At this point, the customer is actively looking for a solution to the problem.
- Product – Now, the customer knows that solutions do exist, and they’re wondering what products they should try.
- Most Aware – The customer is aware of the product you sell and how it solves their pain, but they’re not quite ready to purchase yet.
- +High Intent – You give the customer a reason to purchase (e.g., scarcity, special offer, satisfaction guarantee, etc.).
On average, it takes six to eight touchpoints with consumers before they reach that most aware or +high intent stage. Unlike a long-form sales page, where the reader is guided through the six stages in one long sales pitch, episodic marketing guides the reader through the sales funnel over the course of multiple posts that build on each other.
One of the major benefits of this type of marketing is the opportunity to grow your subscriber list. Done correctly, episodic content marketing will encourage readers to follow your entire series — and sign up for your newsletter or RSS feed.
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