Your Digital Marketing Plan for 2018

October 11, 2017   /   by  Diane Callihan

Digital Marketing Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore

If 2017 has taught us anything, it may be the importance of planning ahead. It’s been a year filled with the unexpected – natural disasters, civil unrest, the threat of war. What’s next? Plagues of locusts? Sewer-dwelling clowns?

Whatever it may be, life (and business) is easier to navigate with a plan in place.

So, my marketing friends – it’s time to build your digital marketing plan for 2018. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to last year? Do you know what your priorities for next year should be? Do you know what marketing tactics are making the most impact and getting the most ROI right now?


We’re not trying to scare you, but the digital marketing landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind.

And although I’ve been vocal about not building a strategy based on trends, there are some digital marketing developments that you should consider for the coming year, because 1.) they work and 2.) your competitors have started using them already. These include:

  • PersonalizationPersonalization offers unique customer experiences based on their specific preferences and profiles, and is proven to be much more effective than “one-size-fits-all” marketing. In fact, according to Hubspot, personalized calls-to-action result in a 42% higher conversion rate than calls-to-action that are the same for all visitors. If you’re wondering how to make the most of all that customer data you’ve been collecting, this is it.

  • Prioritizing mobile – Google has initiated mobile-first indexing, which means they now rank your site in the search engines based on your mobile presence. Your mobile site has always been important, but now that more people search on mobile than desktop, it’s imperative to make mobile a top priority. A bad mobile experience can literally kill sales. In fact, according to a Google survey, when people have a negative brand experience on mobile, they are over 60% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future.

  • Video marketing – Video marketing is not a trend - it’s popularity just continues to skyrocket year after year. Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers, and 51.9% of marketers say video provides the best ROI of all marketing tactics. From animated explainer videos, brand videos, product/services videos to video ads on social media, if you haven’t started setting aside a portion of your marketing budget for video yet, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

  • Native advertising – Native advertising blurs the lines between content and advertising. In fact, you’ve probably seen native ads and not realized they were ads. These non-disruptive ads appear to just be part of normal online content, unlike traditional banner ads or pop-ups which many people now block. A recent report from the Mobile Marketing Association showed that mobile native ads performed 10X better than mobile display ads, and that users spent 40% more time interacting with native ads than with traditional ads.

  • Programmatic marketingProgrammatic media buying is on the rise. This is where ads of all kinds (display, social media, mobile, video, etc.) are placed using artificial intelligence and real-time bidding, and specifically targeted to your audience based on a data-driven strategy. Programmatic advertising can increase campaign effectiveness, while lowering customer acquisition costs. According to eMarketer, 85% of mobile digital display ads in the US will be programmatic by 2019.

  • Geotargeting/Geofencing – Geotargeting markets to people instantly, based on their location, serving up targeted mobile content via an app, text, webpage or ad. Geofencing is a subset of this, where you market to people entering, exiting or within a specific perimeter. This tactic is most effective for businesses that have specific locations or stores, and can be a great way to build loyalty and drive sales. Since 80% of Americans now have a smartphone and take it with them everywhere, this is a powerful way to reach them exactly when and where you want.

Safety First

And speaking of planning ahead, be sure to take measures to “disaster proof” your site. Does your site have an SSL certificate? Not only can it make your website more secure from hackers, it can also improve your ranking in search. Is your CMS up to date? Having the latest version and installing patches when required can also prevent problems before they happen. Finally, are your servers fully backed up and redundant? You may want to consider cloud-based hosting, so if the power goes out locally, your site doesn’t go down.

Take this advice into consideration as you build your marketing plan for 2018, so your website is safe and sound and your digital marketing plan is firing on all cylinders. And hey, if you need any help with any of this stuff, let’s talk. We’d be happy to help.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.