Digital marketing is an ever-changing field as new trends emerge – sometimes quite quickly – and established practices are tweaked and revised. Keeping up with what is going on is vital but it can definitely be challenging, or even stressful.
The trick is to develop a good strategy for learning about what’s getting hot, and what’s on the back burner but building momentum, in the digital marketing landscape – this way you can stay on top of the trends throughout 2019 and not risk missing anything that could be crucial for keeping your business or brand up to date and ahead of the competition.
Here are some great ways to get started. They are all easy to organize, so there’s really no excuse for not giving them a go.
Subscribe to the most useful email newsletters
There are several around which trawl the web and collate the best articles on digital marketing into one missive, which is delivered to your email on a regular basis. This basically gives you access to all that is considered interesting, essential, or useful, in one place, and accessible at your own convenience. Of course, you do need to actually open them regularly, and scan the headlines for any articles which could be of use to you! Some good examples of these newsletters are The Daily Carnage and The Mention Memo.
You can also subscribe to newsletters or blog updates put together by specific digital marketers who you already know and respect, or those of other players such as those who monitor and comment on social media and social influencers.
Network in a productive way
This doesn’t have to be something that bores you to death or smacks of fakery – which is often how the term ‘networking’ is perceived. Break it down to a more basic level and see it as communicating, just in a more organized and productive way than you may normally.
There are several ways you can utilize networking strategies to get key information on digital marketing trends throughout the year. It’s about forging genuine relationships with contacts, making the time to communicate, but also about regular attendance at business breakfasts and other events where professionals from various fields meet to create contact and glean insider knowledge.
There are also less formal networking groups, such as those organized via MeetUp. There are groups around the world creating regular meets, as well as special events and talks. Some of these are for general business people; others may be largely digital marketing people who want to share their expertise and knowledge.
Make the most of Google Alerts
If you are not already exploiting this useful tool then now is the perfect opportunity to get on board with it. Basically it works by you adding words or phrases (one by one) that you want to be notified about if they appear in search engine results; and you can choose to get the data as it happens, daily or weekly so you don’t need to be overwhelmed by emails. It can take a while to get the search phrases right, but it’s easy to adjust if you are getting inundated with irrelevant responses. Start with simple but useful words such as ‘2019 digital marketing strategies’ and see what happens.
Join digital marketing groups and forums
Facebook groups can be useful if you treat them with caution, as some are better organized and managed than others. Once accepted you can choose to either lurk or to come right out and ask for information or advice. Forums may seem a little ‘last century’ but those that are thriving are often excellent places to get valuable insight from experienced digital marketing specialists.
You need to think more critically as you go about daily life – keep your eye out for what’s happening on social media, new things that come up should be asked about and checked out – never be afraid to ask. On that note, it’s also good too, as contacts on sites like Facebook to clue you in on up and coming digital marketing strategies – as each of your connections probably has hundreds more that you don’t know the pool for information gathering is huge.
If you are a Twitter user it’s worth searching the site with suitable hashtags to see what people are talking about. Although Twitter has changed considerably and isn’t the current big thing it still has a role to play and is worth ten minutes of your time once or twice a week.
Follow the experts
On social media (including the very useful LinkedIn) make a point of following marketing experts, and their businesses, but also university lecturers teaching in this field.
Subscribe to journals
There are plenty of online resources on a specialist subject which are useful to have on hand, for example, Marketing Week have a digital version free to access. Similar online options include the Smart Insights site, and Entrepreneur (both dot com). Use the onsite search option to look for a specific topic.
Ask your marketing contacts
If you are not directly responsible for digital marketing then you must be working with someone (or an agency) that is. So ask them directly to keep you informed, or perhaps to send a report on a regular basis with new ideas and trends, their use and potential impact explained in terms which relate to your business. Or, if you read or hear about something and need clarification or advice on it you could ask them about that too.
The rapid pace of change can make digital marketing seem like a can of worms, but the more you learn and get familiar with the more natural it all seems, and although not every new trend will be useful, important or relatable to you it is always good to know what is going on, as it affects others and of course also fashions further adaptations and changes down the line.