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As we near the end of 2017, it’s time to review and evaluate how effective your startup’s marketing strategy was over the last 12 months. It’s also the time of the year when you need to start developing the approach you’ll implement once 2018 arrives.

Plenty of changes have occurred in the realm of marketing this year. Guess what? 2018 won’t be any different. In fact, here are ten different digital marketing trends you can expect to see in the new year.


2017 saw the rise of the use of artificial intelligence in marketing through the advent of chatbots – intuitive computer programs that can convert a brand’s target audience by engaging them in conversation on various platforms.

Already, we are seeing a surge of brands using chatbots to improve the turnaround time and customer service they provide in their social media channels. Companies like Drift are now using chatbots to quicken the response time to address questions and inquiries from prospective leads, while startups like Jumper.ai are now providing other startups and more established businesses the tools and services to create their own chatbots quickly.

More interesting is how chatbots are now replacing gated content and forms to generate leads. That’s because chatbots can respond within five minutes from the time that an inquiry is sent. This is critical because a study shows that the odds of qualifying a new lead decrease 10x after the first five minutes.

For a startup, this can mean the difference between closing a sale or losing a potential customer to a competitor.

As we continue to move toward a post-mobile world in 2018, chatbots will become an essential marketing tool, particularly when it comes to driving leads down through the sales funnel. That said, it’s vital for startups to start implementing chatbots in both their social media channels and websites.

Inbound marketing

Perhaps the most notable trend we’re likely to see in 2018 for inbound marketing is the slow, but steady, demise of using forms as a lead generation tool.

Up until recently, landing pages and forms have been one of the fundamental pillars of inbound marketing. They are the primary tools used by startups and established businesses to generate leads to guide through the sales funnel. However, as Neil Patel puts it, people hate filling out forms to download content that’s supposedly free.

More importantly, people using the internet expect to receive a solution to their concern or question right now. They’re no longer willing to wait 24 to 72 hours for someone to get back with the answer.

While forms may slowly be on the decline, other inbound marketing strategies to generate leads will continue to remain reliable and efficient in 2018. One such tactic is guest blogging. In addition to establishing yourself as an authority in your niche and helping drive traffic to your website, guest blogging on highly-authoritative sites can help increase the number of backlinks to your site with a high domain authority. Google and other search engines still consider these as one of the critical factors that will affect your site’s ranking on their results page.

Another tried-and-true inbound marketing strategy that will continue to make headway in 2018 is long-form blog posts. People are now searching the internet for content that’s of high-quality, high-value and that gives in-depth information about a particular topic.

How long of a blog post are we talking? One study shows that websites that Google lists on its first page are those that have blog posts that average 1,890 words.

On the other hand, HubSpot’s latest report shows that blog posts that receive the highest levels of organic traffic have between 2,250 and 2,500 words.

That said, aiming to consistently publish a 2,000-word in-depth blog post as part of your inbound marketing strategy will help increase your site’s traffic and ranking in the coming year.