Business is always evolving, and so is the Internet. When you use the Internet for business, it can be hard to stay on top of all of the changes. When I first started writing online 11 years ago, the “rules” were different than they are today.

If you want to stay ahead with the online marketing for your business, it’s vital that you pay attention to developing trends and adjust your strategy to compensate for the differences you see. Here are four online marketing trends you don’t want to miss as you work to position your business:

1. Create a Human Connection

It’s not just about creating content that works well in your marketing campaign. You also need to create a human connection. That human connection is what brings others close to you as a brand. You need to work on providing experiences and emotions that others can connect with. Show the humans behind the brand. Make those connections in a way that feels more “real” to your customers and potential customers. Understanding the human element allows you to interact and engage with your customers, rather than just “talk at” them through brand messaging. It can be difficult to find that line and walk it, but it’s important if you want to come out ahead in today’s world of online marketing.

2. Add Purpose to Your Brand

Today, purpose should be an important part of your online marketing strategy. Does your business show that it is involved with a meaningful purpose? Research indicates that millennials are interested in purpose in their lives. Millennial entrepreneurs want their companies to serve a higher purpose, and many millennials are willing to take pay cuts if they feel like they are doing meaningful work. Find a purpose in what you do, and then communicate that as part of your overall brand marketing. You need to be genuine and have that human connection, but if you can sync those two things, you should find more success.

3. Collaboration

Take your human connection and purpose to the next level by asking your customers what they want. This type of collaboration can be a good way to move your online marketing to the next level and help you audience feel as though they are true stakeholders in your business, and not “just” customers. You have to be careful when walking this line since things can get out of hand when you ask for this sort of collaboration. However, harnessing the power of crowds can go a long way toward advancing your marketing strategy and your business.

4. New Ways to Measure ROI

One of the hardest realities of online marketing today is the fact that it can be hard to measure your return on investment. Sometimes, it’s not always obvious in a dollar-for-dollar context that some of your marketing strategies are working (or not working). As a result, it’s important to think of new ways to measure your ROI. You can think of brand perception, customer engagement, and other items as measures of ROI, even you can’t always directly connect them to a dollar amount.

Marketing has always required creativity, adaptability, and flexibility. As the world speeds up, your online marketing campaigns will need all of these attributes.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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