Now 2018 is well underway and we’re all (hopefully) back into the rhythms and routines of working life, I wanted to take a moment to look at some of the big predicted marketing trends for the year ahead and how we freelance trainers can use them.

So, what are the marketing ideas and approaches that are creating a buzz right now?

1. Increased personalisation

If personalisation isn’t on your radar yet – or in your marketing plans – it really should be. Today’s buyers want unique customer experiences that are tailored to their specific interests, preferences and behaviours.

It’s proven that if you can personalise your marketing to the recipients, it should increase your open rates, clickthrough rates, conversions and more.

How you could use personalisation:

  • Ensure that your email marketing software is set up to address recipients by their first name.
  • Segment your mailing list so that you can send highly targeted communications.
  • Create several versions of a landing page, so that people are directed to the one that’s most relevant to them.

 

2. Use of messaging apps

According to a study by Ofcom in August 2017, 61% of mobile users regularly use Facebook Messenger and 50% use WhatsApp; a further 28% use Snapchat. As more and more of us adopt the use of messaging apps, there’s a growing demand for businesses to incorporate these channels into their communications.

How you could use messaging apps:

  • Tell your clients that they can contact you by Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
  • Add the appropriate links to your email signature.
  • If you already have a Facebook page for your training business, you have access to Messenger. Facebook offers advice about how to use Messenger for Business here.

 

3. The rise of stories

Snapchat introduced the concept of ‘stories’ back in 2013 to great success. Stories allow users to create a temporary video or slideshow of images that appears to their followers for just 24 hours before disappearing. Similar features were soon rolled out on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Moving forwards, brands will be investing in creating stories that make an impact with their followers.

How you can use ‘stories’:

  • Tell the ‘story’ of a day in your training business by taking photos and uploading them to the ‘story’ feature on your chosen platform.
  • Add a branded hashtag, i.e. one that includes your business name.
  • Add a URL for your website to your story.

4. Live videos vs. pre-recorded

Instagram LiveTools such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live enable businesses to live stream content to their followers. Apparently, people will watch a live stream for three times longer than they would watch pre-recorded content of a similar nature. Live videos also see higher engagement as people respond to the ‘thrill’ of interacting with a celebrity, brand representative or even a friend in real time.

How you could use live streaming:

  • Host a Google Hangout to your training community
  • Stream a Facebook Live video about a piece of legislation that will affect your clients
  • Run a live Q&A session via Facebook Live

5. Influencers and communities

It’s still important to create fresh content but the landscape around content marketing is changing. Facebook recently announced that posts from business pages will no longer appear in the main newsfeed, which will be dedicated to family, friends and paid advertising. Instead, business page posts will go to a special ‘Explore’ newsfeed that people will have to click on intentionally to see the content.

This change, coupled with the sheer amount of content we have to compete against, means that we will have to find new ways to get our content shared. The most popular approaches will be to focus on building communities and connecting with influencers to grow your authority and reputation.

How you can build your connections with influencers or grow your community:

  • If there is someone influential that you would like to connect with, try citing a quote from their website in your next blog article with a link to the source.
  • Give a ‘shout out’ or say thank you to influencers on social media, making sure that you tag them so that they can see what you’re saying.
  • Create a Facebook group and invite your clients/network to join, then prioritise sharing unique, valuable content to this community.

 

Have any of these marketing trends got you excited for the year ahead? How do you think they will affect your training business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section.

Looking to connect with other trainers? Trainer Talk is a fantastic community of friendly, motivational and supportive trainers who understand what it’s like to run a training business. Find out more here.

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