Online Marketing in North Carolina: Top Trends in 2014

The year 2014 was a banner year for the online marketing industry as a whole, with each major social media platform making significant design and functionality updates to their platforms, Google launching its own digital marketing platform (formerly known as Google Analytics) and growing its own YouTube network, and Apple expanding its reach into online marketing and digital marketing with the re-launch of its own web browser and the introduction of new iOS features.

One of the biggest trends to emerge in digital marketing in 2014 was the growing importance of mobile marketing. Not only did mobile marketing reach record-breaking levels of engagement in 2014, but it also became a critical part of digital marketing’s strategy. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs’ annual marketing survey, 69% of marketers said they spent more time focusing on mobile marketing in 2014, compared to only 22% who said they spent more time on desktop marketing.

Here, we’ll highlight five top trends in the online marketing industry that arose in 2014 and how you can put them to work for your business.

1. Content is King (or Queen)

While social media marketing and digital marketing as a whole saw significant gains in engagement in 2014, content marketing saw the greatest increase in brand engagement with 62% of marketers rating content as the most effective digital marketing activity in 2014.

If your business produces any content (e.g., website content, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, and so on), you’ll want to make sure that that content reaches your intended audience. But how? You’ll want to use the right channels to ensure that your content gets in front of the right people. When it comes to attracting and engaging customers via content marketing, the answer is simple — create great content that serves as an authoritative guide or an explainer on the topic and then utilize the right channels to get the word out.

You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with different styles of content when reaching your target audience. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights into what works for your business. To get the most out of your content marketing efforts, you need to create content that can be shared with the largest audience possible. To achieve this, you need to look to platforms like Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook to see what content performs the best. Additionally, you can use platforms like Hootsuite to find the content that gets the most engagement and then use that as a basis for future content ideas.

2. Video marketing is Taking Over

While we’ve known for a while that people love to learn via video, video marketing as a whole officially emerged as a top trend in 2014. For starters, video itself became more accessible to the average person. Thanks to platforms like YouTube and video hosting sites like Vimeo, it is now much easier to create and share videos with the world. As a result, video became an ideal candidate for content marketing. Additionally, platforms like YouTube introduced new features and functionality that made it even easier to reach audiences via video marketing.

Because of the increased accessibility and popularity of video, video content won the popularity contest in 2014. And you can bet your bottom dollar that customers prefer to learn about a product or service via a video rather than reading text-based content or visiting a website. So if you have a product or service to sell, chances are you’ll want to put a video up there to engage with audiences.

If you’re still hesitant to put videos on your site, don’t be. Video is definitely here to stay whether you like it or not. So it’s time to get on the bandwagon and start using videos to engage with your audience.

3. Personal Branding is Taking Over

Personal branding, or creating a brand identity that is separate from your employer or business, officially became a top trend in 2014. What is personal branding, you ask? It’s when an individual creates a unique identity that is only associated with that one person, company, or organization. Essentially, it’s when you choose to apply the principles of psychology and marketing to shape how you present yourself to the world. Essentially, you’re creating a personal brand identity that is focused on fulfilling your dreams and ambitions.

According to HubSpot Blogs’ annual marketing survey, personal branding was named as the most effective digital marketing tactic for the second year in a row. Additionally, 69% of respondents said they spent more time on personal branding in 2014, compared to only 19% who said they spent more time on traditional marketing strategies.

So how can you put personal branding into practice? The answer is simple: Identify your unique selling points and how you can apply them to influence and persuade people to purchase your product or service. With personal branding, you want to create a brand identity that is only associated with you, your company, or your employer. To get started, simply ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I stand for?
  • Why should people buy my product/service?
  • How can I persuade people to buy my product/service?

Take some time to think of your unique selling points and how you can use them to your advantage. For example, perhaps you’re an expert in sales or marketing and have a lot of valuable knowledge to share. Or, perhaps you’re an authority on a particular topic and can provide people with valuable information that they might not discover any other way.

Once you’ve got a clear picture in mind of who you are, what you stand for, and how you can provide value to people, it’s time to start building your personal brand identity. What do you typically do for fun? What are your interests? Your hobbies? Your passions?

Use these elements to create a persona or profile for yourself that is focused on brand development. Then, start applying this identity to your professional life. For example, if you’ve got a passion for tennis, why not consider applying this to your personal brand. Or, if you’ve got a track record of success in the marketing world, perhaps you could use this to create a brand identity that is focused on marketing. The sky is the limit. Your personal brand can be anything you want it to be as long as you fully embrace the philosophy behind it.

4. Content should Be Relevant, Fresh, And Useful

If you’re creating content for the web, you’ll want to make sure that that content is accessible to everyone. To do this, you need to make sure that your content is properly optimized for the internet. But how do you go about doing this? You can use a service like Google Analytics to track the success of your different content marketing methods. Then, you can use this data to determine the type of content that is most effective for your business.

For example, if you found that your blog posts performed the best, you might want to invest in creating more content of this type. Or, if you discovered that product videos attracted your target audience, you might want to create more videos of this type. Ultimately, you’ll want to experiment with different content types and see which ones perform the best for your company. This is especially important if you’re trying to figure out what content works best for your business. You don’t want to pour all of your efforts into one type of content and then find out that it isn’t effective for attracting potential customers.

5. Customer Centricity Is The key

Focusing on customers and the experience that they have when interacting with your brand is the key to creating effective and satisfying marketing content. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of your products and services and forget about your customers. After all, you’re dealing with computers and numbers rather than people. However, you need to remember that people are the key to your business’ success. So it’s important to put your customers’ needs and concerns first. Why? Your products and services are only as good as your customers’ experience allows them to believe. With this in mind, you might want to reevaluate your product development processes to incorporate this new way of thinking.

For example, if you have a customer service team that provides extremely poor responses to customer inquiries, you might want to reconsider the way you handle customer support. Additionally, it’s important to regularly review and improve the quality of your products, services, and website to ensure that they meet the needs of your customers. Finally, measure the success of your different marketing initiatives and then use these numbers to determine the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. Only then can you begin to improve your methods and get the most from your current level of engagement.