It doesn’t matter what industry your startup is in. If you’re not using digital marketing, then your company will likely flop.

Radio, television, and newspapers have become nearly obsolete, as more of the youth turn to Netflix, Pandora, and the world wide web. These are today’s sources of entertainment and information, so unless you’re on these platforms, you’re pretty much invisible.

The evolution of digital marketing is always growing, so it’s important to stay abreast of the latest and greatest forms. As a startup, you have to put together a solid online marketing strategy to grow your brand and visibility.

If you’re new to digital marketing for startups, then you’ll find this quick guide helpful. We’re going to focus on how the future of online advertising is going to change and enhance the way startups market their products and services.

So let’s dive in.

Using Personalized Messages and Re-Targeting In the Customer Journey

Understanding the customer journey is important in digital marketing for startups. Why? Because you can create an experience for prospects that improves their chances of converting.

For example, using ad re-targeting and email communications at the right moments can help turn prospects into customers.

The idea is to figure out the various touch points across your earned, owned, and paid media. There are quite a few you should hone in on in your strategy for digital marketing for startups.

Within these touchpoints, you’ll either reach out, act upon, convert and/or engage the user. Let’s take a closer look.

Reach

The first touchpoint you have with your prospects is considered the reach. There are different ways you can reach out to your audience and make first contact, such as by using television, radio, print, display, events, search PPC, SEO, and content marketing.

Of course, the most popular happens to be the latter three. Organic search is how most users today find products and services. So if SEO, PPC, and content marketing aren’t in your plan for digital marketing for startups, then you’re dooming your business before it launches.

Act

At this point, you’re focusing on getting the prospect to act – in other words, to make their first purchase. So after they’ve shown purchase intent in reaching out to your brand via your website, then your calls to action come into play.

These are placed strategically on your social media posts, landing pages, product pages, home page, and in using ad re-targeting.

Convert

Now, there are two outcomes at this stage – converting the prospect into a customer and getting paying customers to come back for repeat business.

Digital marketing methods you can use here include personalization, re-marketing, multi-channel selling, and user-generated content.

For example, you can use personalized messages in email communications. You can also reach out to your customers and prospects using multiple channels, such as email, ads, and social media.

At this point, personalization is key, so the user will feel more compelled to convert. You have to make them feel your product or service is right for them.

Engage

At this stage, you’re engaging with customers with the intent of turning them into a loyal customer. So you’re reaching out to repeat customers, as well as lapsed customers who haven’t come back in a while.

Methods we will continue to see in the future of digital marketing for startups include personalized loyalty programs, re-marketing, as well as re-engaging using email campaigns.

Personalizing the User Journey and Customer Experience

Retail, travel, and finance sectors are widely known for using personalization within their customer journey and experience models. And tech startups can do the same.

The web makes it easy to personalize various forms of communications, but first, you have to begin segmenting customers into groups. For instance, collecting emails from users and then segmenting those based on customer profiles you’ve created.

The best way to create these profiles is to use your analytics tools. Then you can combine this into your content management system and with standalone software as a service personalization option.

You can use the following experience personalization model to help you with this:

  • 1-1 Personalization
  • Segmentation
  • Optimization and A/B testing

Let’s explore these 3 levels a bit more and how it will affect the future of digital marketing for startups.

Optimization

This consists of structured experiments where you optimize content based on your analytics. Then watch to see what works using A/B split testing.

Segmentation

Here, you use specialized content to target specific groups of visitors. The purpose of the content is to increase relevance and conversions.

1-On-1 Personalization

In the future, we’ll see more Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology providing users with individualized experiences. This is much like segmentation and optimization.

This form of digital marketing will pick up the slack of the other two levels thanks to their delayed results and inability to scale. So we expect to see an increase in artificial intelligence instead of using manual rules.

Machine Learning and Marketing Automation Come Together

Most businesses today use email marketing, but only some insert personalization into their campaigns. Then, even smaller groups fail to personalize their full life cycle contact system.

So imagine this: A personalized welcome letter and personalized outreach emails egging them on to purchase. Then emails asking for feedback, whether they need help or showing other products they may have interest in.

With these, you’re making contact with the customer on a personal level throughout their journey with your brand.

Now, the way AI will evolve this is with machine learning, which will help automate targeting like it does for web personalization.

Of course, emails are a bit more complex, since it requires more creativity. Most businesses aren’t prepared to employ AI and machine learning, so that’s something today’s startups should look into.

Enhancing Communications with Social Messaging Apps

We’ve all seen the shift away from customer call centers to social media platforms. Today’s consumers are a different breed. They’re using social media as a way to reach out to brands, whether it’s to extend feedback, reviews, or complaints.

The stats behind social messaging app use is also very telling:

  • Facebook messenger: 61%
  • WhatsApp: 50%
  • Snapchat: 28%

Some brands are taking notice and shifting their methods of communication with customers. For instance, Pizza Hut offers a messenger you can use to book tables. And IKEA is using one for research purposes.

Using Video (and AI) in the Customer Journey

By now, you should know how popular online video content is. After all, people are watching one billion hours of content daily on YouTube alone.

And what’s fueling online video is social media. Not too long ago, experts said YouTube was the second biggest search engine. But today, YouTube surpasses Google in popularity (based on monthly user count).

The opportunity of including video content somewhere in your customer journey is definitely there. And those who take advantage of this may see higher conversions.

For instance, if you want to use video as part of your digital marketing for startups, you can include product videos somewhere in the beginning of the customer journey. Focus on showcasing pain points your product or service can eliminate.

Another option is to include customer testimonial videos as a re-targeting method to urge prospects to complete your call to action.

And let’s not forget about augmented and virtual reality (VR), because it is now a very real reality, especially for marketers. We’re now seeing VR integrated into commercials and ads.

These are great ways to give prospects a first-hand view or experience with your product or service. Expect to see this used more and more as customers purchase VR goggles for home use.

Taking Content Marketing and Customer Engagement to the Next Level

Content marketing continues to be a major focus businesses will have in the future. Video and VR are just two of the forms of content being used to drive customer engagement.

There are various customer-centric techniques that can enhance user engagement, the top being:

  • Customer personas
  • Customer journey mapping
  • A/B testing
  • Path analysis in analytics
  • Website intent surveys

Combining Search Marketing with Content Marketing

Now, this has less to do with keywords and optimization and more to do with the changing face of search engine page results.

Today, we see the SERPs with Knowledge Panels, reviews, related questions, quick answers, and rich snippets. These are all key for brands and local businesses.

Innovative brands will use these techniques to make it to the top 5 spot on the SERPs.

But there are other new features coming about as well, such as Enhanced CPC and Smart Display campaigns. We also see different machine learning capabilities, like with Automated bidding using Target CPA.

In other words, your ads are automatically targeting consumers. Ads are automatically created using preset headlines, logos, descriptions, and images to target specific audiences.

Then this potentially earns you more traffic and business. We’ll have to keep a close eye on how businesses use this and the rate of success it brings.

How AI Is Set to Change Digital Marketing for Startups

If you look closely at all the aforementioned trends, you’ll see AI will play a big role in the future changes in digital marketing.

So it’s important we take a closer look at artificial intelligence to really understand how it will affect your digital marketing for startups.

Some may overlook this because of the limitations AI has. For instance, AI technology can’t write a blog post, column, or press release. However, it does mimic human intelligence in different ways.

For example, it can implement machine learning techniques, image, voice recognition, and semantic search. While AI is growing across sectors in various ways, we’ll focus on how it will personally affect marketers and how they can potentially make use of its benefits.

There are a variety of techniques AI introduces to the market, but we’ll focus on the top ways it will enhance digital marketing for startups.

Attracting Visitors with Inbound Marketing

When it comes to customer outreach, we use content marketing, SEO, and other forms of earned media to bring traffic to our site.

What’s surprising is the advancement AI brings to content generation. For one, it can create human sounding articles by picking elements from data sets and building a legible post. One program, in particular, is called WordSmith.

In 2016, it generated 1.5 billion pieces of content. And it’s expected that this will continue to grow in the coming years.

Of course, this won’t replace professional writers any time soon. Instead, its value lies in reporting regularly on data-focused events. For instance, sports matches, earnings reports, market data, and other data-backed content.

No creativity there. However, it can act as a great component in your inbound marketing strategy. This isn’t just the future of digital marketing for startups – it’s the reality now.

Increasing Conversions with Predictive Analytics

Moving away from the content front, we hone in on something a little more exciting – predictive analytics. It’s what marketers everywhere have waited years for.

With propensity modeling, AI can predict the chances of customers converting, what prices are more likely to convert prospects, and what will likely turn customers into repeat customers.

Predictive analytics allows AI to determine how customers behave and use that data to act upon it in a such a way that makes customers convert. But keep in mind, propensity models are only as great as the data you feed it.

So if your data has errors or is lacking depth, then predictive analytics won’t work so well for your startup.

The way to prepare for this is to track any and everything you can within your digital marketing for startups strategy.

Improving Support with Predictive Customer Service

Even your customer service can improve using predictive analytics. In business, we know it’s cheaper to keep your current customers. So keeping them happy is key to turning them into loyal customers.

This can be especially beneficial if you have a subscription-based startup. For instance, predictive analytics can help identify which customers are likely to unsubscribe.

So right before they do, the AI reaches out to them to give them offers, assistance or prompts to prevent them from leaving.

Imagine what that can do for the bottom line of your digital marketing for startups strategy!

We Help Improve Digital Marketing for Startups

The experts at TopSpot work closely with startups, entrepreneurs, and even seasoned professionals with their digital marketing.

So whether you’re looking for us to build a strategy from scratch or to tweak the one you currently have, we can assist you.

The future of digital marketing for startups is an exciting one, so it’s key to prepare for it now. Get in touch with us today to see how we can prepare your business for the upcoming trends and AI technologies!