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9 Inbound Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022

As we move further into 2022, we can better assess how the internet marketing field, specifically inbound marketing, will twist and turn throughout the coming year.

Inbound marketing is all about connecting to your target audience passively. This means creating content in all shapes and sizes that your customers find. Here are a few key points about inbound marketing:

  • Inbound marketing strategy often relies heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) to put your content at the top of the search results.
  • Outbound marketing efforts, such as paid ads, email outreach, and cold calling, are all part of a valid marketing strategy. They are different, though, and often cost more money.
  • Inbound marketing relies heavily on customer data, social media marketing, and search engines to place the right content in front of your audience.

The hottest inbound marketing trends involve interactive content, social media platforms, and reimagining the customer experience to become something truly incredible.

Ready to see the hottest marketing trends?

1. Short-Form Content Marketing Efforts Will Become the New Commercials

Short-form video started its rise to the top in 2020 and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down at all in 2022. Video marketing is a huge part of the inbound strategies for many companies in 2022.

There are three main places to focus your inbound marketing efforts for video content:

  • TikTok
  • Instagram Reels
  • YouTube Shorts

TikTok was the first to really dominate this space, but Instagram and YouTube have quickly caught up because of their larger user bases.

To really win in this space, keep these three video marketing statistics in mind:

  1. Landing pages with video content convert 86% more often.
  2. 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.
  3. 69% of people prefer video over text when learning about a product or service.

What about ROI, or Return On Investment? Aren’t videos harder and more expensive to produce?

Yes, they can be. However, video content produces the 2nd highest ROI for B2C brands. Only influencer marketing is higher.

You won’t be surprised to know the next trend goes together with video marketing.

2. Influencer and Social Media Marketing is Still Growing Stronger

Social media marketing through influencers created the highest ROI for B2C brands in 2021 and will continue to do so in 2022.

Inbound marketing using interactive content in a marketing campaign directed at the followers created by someone else is a great strategy.

Let’s have a quick look at three reasons why this works so well:

  • Brand awareness through video content is a strong way to reach your target audience. Since we know 69% of people want to learn about new products using video, it makes sense to pair video marketing with the influencers your target audience already follows and trusts.
  • Marketing campaigns can spend a lot of money identifying and targeting the best audience to generate relevant traffic. Using an influencer makes this easy because they already have organic traffic produced at their expense. Instead of finding the right audience, you only have to find the right influencer.
  • Consumer behavior on social media is different than on a search engine results page. Social media focuses on interactive content through engagement. Likes, shares, comments, and follows are all part of the way people use social media. This makes it an ideal way to test how customers interact with your brand and services.

What size influencer should you choose?

Here are the tiers of influencers and their effectiveness as ranked by fashion, cosmetics, and luxury marketers in Europe and the US:

  • Micro Influencers (10K-100K followers) – 45.8% agreed these were most effective.
  • Macro Influencers (101K-500K) – 33.6% thought these were most effective.
  • Mega Influencers (501K-1.5M) – 9.3% said these were most effective.
  • Celebrity Influencers (1.5M+) – 11.3% reported these were most effective.

As you can see, influencer size doesn’t necessarily translate to influencer effectiveness. So, when you launch an influencer marketing campaign, you should monitor your marketing performance carefully.

Perhaps the best thing to do is run multiple influencer marketing campaigns using influencers with different sizes of audience. Compare the results to see which size of audience produces the best return for your inbound marketing spend.

3. Podcasts and Audio Will Grow in Digital Marketing

Video content is not the only form of interactive content available for marketing leaders. Audio, such as podcasts, talk shows, and even audiobooks, remains a viable way of creating inbound traffic.

Traditional advertising relied heavily on audio. Radio ads were common and they were used to increase brand awareness across towns, cities, and even larger areas.

Podcasts could be a powerful inbound methodology for brands whose focus is on educating consumers, reaching out to a slightly more mature audience, and trying to increase audience engagement.

Here are some podcast statistics that show the relevance of this marketing strategy:

  • 66% of people prefer podcasts over TV.
  • 58% prefer podcasts over social media
  • 96% like podcasts more than newspapers
  • 74% of people listen to podcasts to learn new things

So, if your marketing funnel includes a learning stage where the goal is to engage customers and help them learn more, then podcasts could be a great marketing technology to reach those customers.

4. Social Action Matched to Target Audience Expectations Will Grow

Mr Beast is one of the most recognized faces on YouTube in 2021. How did this young man become so famous and what is he doing now?

More importantly, what does Mr Beast have to do with marketing for serious businesses?

As of the time of writing, his two videos on environmental matters have a combined 102 million views.

Two videos, 102,000,000 views. That’s more than any of the last three Super Bowls.

Clearly, social responsibility and taking action on social issues resonate with millions of people.

So, inbound marketing efforts focused on social action and corporate responsibility are a great way to promote your brand. Paying customers want to know they are not funding a sweatshop in Asia or a plastic dumping operation in the South Pacific. Whatever you are doing to make the world better, use relevant content, like video marketing, to tell the world about it.

How can you jump on this trend?

  • View social action as a team effort that goes beyond your marketing team. Partner with other people, either in your industry or not, to focus on an issue related to your customers.
  • Create content around your priority issue. Show how your products and services solve the problem, but keep your obvious marketing material separate from your social media campaign.
  • Design a sales funnel for the people who are completely new to your brand, product, or services, but care about the issues you are trying to tackle.

Creating a solid marketing plan based on social action will improve customer retention, give you a space for super valuable content, and increase your website visitors because people will be curious about your brand.

5. “Content is King” Will Still Dominate Inbound Marketing Strategy

Creating valuable content has been one of the key inbound marketing trends for the past 25 years and it will remain that way for a long time to come.

Why should content and inbound marketing be so powerful? Here are three reasons why content may always be king:

  • Paid media, email marketing, and funding a sales team are all expensive and their costs rise over time. Inbound marketing through interactive content can be much less expensive, and thus more cost-efficient.
  • Using artificial intelligence to identify valuable search queries and target them for lead generation makes inbound marketing through content creation even more effective.
  • Social media vastly increases both the reach and the engagement with new content. Consumers can interact with their brands and share their favorite products easier than ever before.

Clearly, content will remain king for a long, long time.

What kind of content makes the best inbound marketing?

Here are the types of content used by marketers during the past 12 months:

  • Blog Posts/Short Articles – 93%
  • Email Newsletters – 77%
  • Case Studies -68%
  • Videos (pre-produced) – 68%
  • Virtual Events/Webinars/Online Courses – 67%
  • Infographics/Charts/Photos – 65%
  • Ebooks/Guides – 54%
  • White Papers – 47%
  • In-Person Events – 42%
  • Long-form Text (e.g., articles 3,000+ words) – 32%
  • Videos (livestreaming content) – 29%
  • Research Reports – 28%
  • Podcasts – 26%

These marketing statistics show the variety and amount of content being created. Companies with a genuine commitment to content marketing are investing in high-quality content every single week.

Content is everything

One way to think of inbound marketing is to realize content is everything and everything is content. Your company newsletter could be just as valuable as your influencer marketing if it used correctly. Every blog post is an opportunity for lead generation. Email marketing isn’t just a cold writing exercise. It’s an opportunity to create content that can be an integrated part of your marketing plan.

6. Mobile App Usage Will Drive Inbound Marketing Strategies

People use mobile devices for loads of things. Directions to unknown places, scheduling appointments, setting reminders, and making purchases all happen on phones and tablets every day.

Heavy mobile usage is an opportunity for marketing content, but it’s also a barrier. Many website owners don’t create mobile sites. Instead, they rely on “mobile friendly” sites and hope for the best.

There is a better way to reach customers on mobile devices: build a mobile app.

Here’s why you should build a mobile app as soon as possible:

  • You can use your mobile app to deliver much greater personalization because your app will collect more data about your customers. Applying machine learning to this data may increase the ability to generate leads from customers.
  • Push notifications based on customer data are a much better form of interactive content than an email message. These notifications are a great way of reaching customers without being too intrusive.
  • Apps have many more options than websites, such as being able to work offline, connect to phone functions, and utilize more branding alternatives.

If you don’t already have an app, now is the time to start building one.

7. Sales and Marketing Strategy Will Grow Closer Through Marketing Automation

Marketing is the act of reaching out to customers and sales is the art of closing the deal. One of the more powerful inbound marketing trends is the shift to bring marketing and sales together.

An effective strategy is to bring marketing and sales together to reach customers and close the deal at the same time. Marketing automation brings these two functions together.

How does this work?

  1. Decide what you are doing and which tasks can be automated.
  2. Define your target audience as clearly as possible.
  3. Determine the best automated tool for your goals.
  4. Delegate and distribute work amongst your team members.
  5. Describe your goals and measure your progress.

Artificial intelligence and automation combine to form one of the best inbound marketing trends of 2022. They are a force multiplier for your marketing team.

8. New Jobs Will Match the Latest Marketing Trends

One of the inbound marketing trends that will impact companies is the rise in specialist jobs. Machine learning and the growth in customer numbers and data make the need for specialized marketing teams more acute than ever.

Here are some examples of digital marketing jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago:

  1. Chief Listening Officer – This person monitors the communication with customers across all channels, especially social media. Their reports reveal the effectiveness of the company’s marketing campaign.
  2. SEO Specialist – Having a person dedicated to just SEO is a new change in the job market. Yet the data available and the increasing competition for ranking invaluable Google search results make this an important role.
  3. UX Designer – Customer experience has become one of the hot marketing trends. The idea is to delight customers during every interaction with the company. A dedicated designer makes this more possible.

When you view your company, what is the next hire you could make to unlock progress in your marketing strategies?

9. Local and In-Home Marketing Strategy Will Change and Grow

The COVID pandemic and changes in real estate have an impact on marketing trends as well. In particular, there are two shifts in real estate and the property market that could change your marketing plan.

Localizing for Second Tier Cities Will Become Increasingly Important

People are moving away from urban centers and back towards suburban and rural spaces. 9 of the 10 fastest growing cities in America have populations less than 200,000. The tenth, Irvine, CA, has a population of 273,000.

These second tier cities benefit from less marketing competition in terms of numbers, but more intense marketing competition because of the quality of new competitors.

Brands will have to change their tactics to match the changing demographics of these cities as well as the behavior of the people moving into them.

The Year Everything Became “From Home”

COVID-19 and the global pandemic made 2020 the year everything happened at home. People worked from home, shopped from home, and connected from home.

The lack of footfall harmed the retail industry when it relied on visitors to its premises.

On the other hand, companies who adapted experienced phenomenal growth.

Here are a few keys to marketing in the new “crib economy:”

  • Video marketers are your best friends. Use video as often as possible because of its power to explain and persuade.
  • Reinvest in an effective landing page. Consider using a dedicated landing page for every valuable product and search term.
  • Make voice search a bigger priority. Customers are speaking to their speakers to find products, directions, and information. Be sure your brand is ready to listen and respond.

Quick Recap

The big trends are towards automation, social media, and increasing personalization through the use of data. Now is the time to change your strategies and team makeup to make the most of these changes and build more sales.

Looking for help with your internet marketing? Contact the Raleigh SEO and internet marketing professionals at TheeDigital in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a consultation.