One of the great things about business in general, and marketing in particular is that things are always changing – in a good way, of course. There are always new ideas, new technologies, and new twists on existing technologies that make it necessary for marketers to be in almost constant learning mode.

If you want your company to get more visibility, attract new customers, build trust in the community, and delight current buyers into repeat purchases, you need to be implementing inbound marketing into your brand’s marketing practices.

But inbound marketing is not a ‘set it and forget’ type of marketing plan. By the very nature of it, inbound marketing is always changing and adapting to the needs of modern consumers.

As a marketer, you are all about being ahead of the curve and using the newest marketing techniques to acquire leads and magnetize traffic to your website. You know that the buyer research habits are always changing, and if you want your marketing efforts to be successful, you need to change with them.

Inbound Marketing Trends

Here’s a look at a few trends which savvy brands should be keeping an eye on

Marketing Automation

Until recently, marketing automation was for the elite, it was reserved for enterprises with deep pockets & budget and resources needed to implement extensive, expensive programs. However, now there are many small-business-friendly marketing automation solutions available, which lead to increased adoption down market.

Implementing a marketing automation platform seems like a daunting task, and by no means is as simple as flipping a switch. But, once it is integrated into an overall digital marketing tactic, then marketing automation will be a powerful revenue stream. The capability to record leads to close & true ROI is every organization’s dream.

By integrating marketing automation platform, marketers get rich, powerful tools to administer online programs and insights to improve campaigns. Lack of successful implementation companies will more than likely miss out on the full potential of marketing automation.

Pillar page- All the Content revolves around it

A pillar page is a single web page that comprehensively covers a core topic. It is a content which is developed from subtopics. The subtopics are published independently and are linked back to the main pillar page and to each other.

An excellent way to think about pillar pages and topic clusters are like they’re a book; the pillar page is the book itself, and topic clusters resemble chapters.

Search engines understand that there is a relation between the information of different topic clusters and your pillar page and the more high-quality information you are able to provide (and internally link to) on crawl-able pages, the more you will be seen as an expert in the eyes of Google— and hence helps to boost your page rank.

To create a great pillar page, you have to identify your existing content that can be leveraged. Look at topics that are popular with your target audience and find the best keywords that match those topics.

Once you’ve done that, you have to publish, link, and track it all.

Your pillar content is what most of your customers or users are going to spot most of the time. You have to keep sharing it on a regular basis on social media channels, and linking to it as often as you can. Think of it as the central hub of your topic cluster. It’s also your best content.

Chatbots for Customer Support & Self-service

Ask any digital marketing agency and they’ll tell you that artificial intelligence especially chatbots are completely transforming the world. Chatbots have been around for years, but they’ve seen tremendous AI improvements recently.

One of the things that make chatbots so cool is that they can improve with frequent learning algorithms to meet evolving demands. In other words, the more they work and interact with people, the more abilities they acquire and the more they will start sounding like an actual person, another cool thing is that chatbots are not limited to talking to a single person at a time. Because they are computer programs, they can run concurrently with multiple users at once. This means that apart from delivering excellent customer experiences, they are also cheaper to run than paying someone to do the tasks related to customer services.

Chatbots can do a lot; they can incorporate into a website, an application, and even a social media platform to deliver personalized experiences that in turn can lead to positive brand experiences. They also gather information as they engage with users, information which can be used to tailor marketing strategies. In other words, they’re another way for your audience to interact with your brand, turn them into leads, and eventually, long-lasting business relationships.

Guest Blogging Through PR

It’s a no hidden fact that guest blogging works wonders. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to drive inbound marketing traffic to your website. By displaying your thought leadership on other blogs and by including the key components of a good guest blog post, you drive a significant number of new visitors to your company website.

But, the conventional ways of guest blogging are worn-out and underperforming. Most of the digital companies are doing Guest blogging as an SEO practice with the aim to produce more & more backlinks. However, the results are not very productive, since getting the maximum number of backlinks is not the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim is to get quality traffic from those backlinks and drive more sales. Here is how you can do it:

Press Release (PR) is the key to success here! Writing value-driven articles with right SEO implementation and then leveraging PR to get it published on relevant sites that have high authority is the ultimate game stealer. Publishing articles on high authority websites and that too are relevant to your industry, so that the incoming traffic resonating with your target audience assures that your brand is capturing the mind space of your ideal customers and delivering in quality sales-ready traffic & leads.

In the long term, it increases your website authority because of the SEO link juice being passed from the backlink. Google recognizes such backlinks from high authority websites and adds value to the site for which backlink has been given. So here is how it works:

Write an insightful article resonating with your buyer persona
Implement the best SEO practices
Influence PR to get the article published on high authority websites relevant to your industry
So now you know why Guest blogging via PR is the ultimate hack for generating leads and the reason you should make it a part of your list of Inbound Marketing trends 2018 to be followed.

Influencer marketing

Industry Influencers have taken the marketing industry by storm. They can be a valuable means of reaching audiences you never thought which are possible. While you mostly see influencer marketing being used to promote consumer goods, slowly it has also started to impact the B2B landscape. In fact, according to LinkedIn data, expert opinions are among the most effectual types of content for B2B buyers.

However, currently, only 25% of B2B companies are taking the advantage of influencer marketing campaigns. This could play to your benefit; the B2B influencer marketing trend is only going to grow. In addition, the challenges like ad blocking for both B2C and B2B marketers can be overcome by brand messages going through real people, such as influencers.

It is noteworthy that influencers for B2B buyers won’t be the same as influencers for B2C consumers. B2B influencers are mostly industry experts and successful entrepreneurs, instead of social media stars.

Wrapping it up …

Inbound marketing plays an indispensable part in the success of modern-day businesses, especially when a brand mostly relies on their online presence and exposure. Through effective inbound marketing tactics & strategies, a business can grow significantly over a short period of time. But these marketing tactics continuously change. So businesses need to stay on top of their game. Thus frequently updating their strategy to meet the most up-to-date trends, will help them truly benefit from the advantages that the internet can offer.

Author's Bio: 

Ricky Makan is a Senior Digital Marketing Consultant & founder of Absoltz Internet Marketing SEO Agency in Sydney Australia, with over 10 years online experience. He has helped businesses of all sizes increase the return on investment from their online marketing spend.