4 Online Marketing Trends With Big Potential to Drive Sales

Ever-better technology combined with the resourcefulness of internet entrepreneurs is creating new tactics for prospering online.

learn more about Jonathan Long

By Jonathan Long • Jan 1, 2017 Originally published Jan 1, 2017

littlehenrabi | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Online marketing constantly evolves, providing you with new ways to attract your target audience and convert them into sales and revenue.

While there are search engine optimization and email marketing will continue to produce results, new trends can't be ignored. Here are four that you need to pay attention to this coming year -- this is where you are going to find a large percentage of consumer attention.

1. Micro-influencers

Influencer marketing can deliver the highest return when stacked up against other forms of online marketing, which is why I founded a second agency that focuses solely on influencer marketing. Some brands have built multi-million dollar companies using influencer marketing exclusively.

The cost has gone through the roof over the past couple years to secure the services of highly desirable social influencers. And not every brand can afford to pay a Kardashian upwards of six-figures for a social plug. This is one reason that micro-influencers are becoming increasingly popular -- that and they work extremely well.

Finding micro-influencers with smaller followings that align with your brand can deliver amazing results. They are more affordable that the big names and their engagement is genuine. I have been able to analyze a lot of data through my agency and multiple micro-influencers always outperform a single big name post. Instead of trying to hit a home run and striking out, hit singles and doubles. In the end, you will experience much better results.

Related: Micro-influencers Bring Mega ROI for Brands

2. Live video

Some early adapters dabbled with live video streaming last year, but this is the year it's going to become part of everyone's online marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live Video allow you to reach your customer base in a way that's very personal and raw.

There are no fancy video edits -- your audience gets to take a peek inside and see the real you. There are so many ways to use this to generate buzz. Broadcasting from special events, in-store sales, etc. The opportunity is truly endless, especially for personal branding.

It's going to take some testing and tweaking to determine what live approach your audience will best respond to. Start testing now before your competition masters live video -- don't get left in the dark.

Related: The Top 9 Social Media Strategists to Watch In 2017

3. Paid social media

The organic reach brands experienced in the early days of Facebook and Instagram is long gone, and this should be no surprise. These social networks make their money via advertisements -- if you want to reap the benefits of their reach and audience you need to break out the wallet. Pay to play, baby!

I love when business owners complain to me about diminishing organic reaches. Social networks are businesses -- they exist to make money -- piles of it.

I would suggest starting small and learning the ins and outs, before dumping large sums of money into paid social media promotion. Facebook ads, for example, can deliver incredible reach at a very low cost, if you have your campaign properly optimized. It can take time to master Facebook ads -- and there is no better education than jumping in and learning through hands-on experience.

Related: 6 Tools To Turbocharge Your Content Marketing in 2017

4. AI (Artificial Intelligence) chat bots

Investment in artificial intelligence is expected to triple in 2017 according to Forrester research.

Brands are tapping into the potential of machine learning, with Facebook leading the way with the roll-out of news feed ads that open directly into Messenger chats and hybrid products such as Google Allo, a smart messaging app with an integrated AI assistant.

This gives you the ability to go from mass targeting to one-to-one conversations. Imagine being able to start a conversation with a potential customer rather than have them click-through to your website and hope they submit a form or make a purchase? There is so much potential here and it's brand new -- you will gain a huge advantage over your competition if you are an early adapter.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This Co-Founder Was Kicked Out of Retailers for Pitching a 'Taboo' Beauty Product. Now, Her Multi-Million-Dollar Company Sells It for More Than $20 an Ounce.
Have You Ever Obsessed Over 'What If'? According to Scientists, You Don't Actually Know What Would Have Fixed Everything.
Most People Don't Know These 2 Things Are Resume Red Flags. A Career Expert Reveals How to Work Around Them.
Business News

Survey: A Majority of Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Sixty-four percent of U.S. consumers live paycheck to paycheck — even those who earn more than $100,000 a year.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.

Business Solutions

5 Procurement Trends To Keep on Your Radar for 2023

Procurement professionals must adapt to inflation and a shortage of skilled labor in the face of an economic recession. Investing in a workforce paired with retraining and development strategies will put your company on top amid economic uncertainty.

Business News

Massive Fire At Top Egg Farm Leaves Estimated 100,000 Hens Dead. What Does This Mean For Egg Prices?

Hillandale Farms in Bozrah, Connecticut went up in flames on Saturday in an incident that is still under investigation.

Marketing

How Promotional Pricing Devalues Your Brand

Promotional pricing and discount pricing strategies can cost brands millions in lost sales by promoting unprofitable buying behavior. This article will discuss the long-term impact discounts can have on a brand.

Business News

'This Just Can't Be for Real': Fyre Festival Fraudster Billy McFarland is Now Hiring For His New Tech Company -- And He's Already Selling Merch

McFarland was released from house arrest last September and is currently being ordered to pay $26 million in restitution to fraud victims.