2014 was a busy year for online marketing. The growth of digital marketing and SEO in particular is undeniable. So, while many marketers are using the New Year to reset and reflect on the past year, we’re looking at the future.
What will 2015 bring for online marketing?
Here are eight (8) marketing tactics that will define the year.
Content is King (or Queen)
In 2014, content marketing took over as the “voice of the marketer.” Companies such as HubSpot and MarketersChoice found that consumers increasingly value content over paid ads.
Forbes’ Christina Farr reports that 69% of consumers look at online reviews before making a purchase decision. Similarly, HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound Marketing report found that 65% of respondents said they’d rather read an online review than an ad. In other words, content is becoming more important to consumers than advertising.
The importance of content doesn’t stop at digital marketing either. According to Content Marketing Institute, nearly 90% of consumers prefer to get content from brands rather than competitors. This makes sense: After all, consumers know more about a brand than they do about a competitor. This is the inbound marketing approach — creating content that provides value and draws in, interest, and engagement from people.
1. Create compelling content
You might be familiar with the expression “elevator pitch,” which is simply a short description of your business that you can give to someone in the elevator. The goal is to give the person you are pitching to enough information so that they understand your business and the value you offer, but not so much that they remember you by name when the elevator stops at the next floor.
The same goes for online content. Your elevator pitch for online content should be compelling enough to pull someone into the content, but not so much that they remember you when they’ve read your bio.
The best content creators know exactly what their audience desires, and then they provide that content in the form that their audience wants. For instance, if you’re writing for a business audience, make sure that your copy is concise, easy to understand, and packed with relevant information.
This applies to all content, not just articles. If you’re setting up a blog, make sure that the content you publish is interesting, well-written, and packed with value. Remember: People who visit your blog are most likely already interested in your product or service, so you have an opportunity to really connect with them and bring them back for more.
2. Use videos
In 2014, videos on social media grew in importance as platforms like YouTube and Instagram continue to grow in popularity. According to HubSpot Blogs research, videos will account for 75% of all consumer content by 2020.
Similarly, the 2014 State of Inbound Marketing Report from MarketersChosen found that videos ranked second only to articles as the most popular type of content for marketing professionals.
The advantage of videos is that they can be easily shared on social media, and according to HubSpot Blogs research, consumers value content that they can share. On average, consumers will spend more time on social media sites than a traditional website, so content that they can “like” and share is highly valuable.
The best video marketers know how to use animation, music, and images to grab viewers’ attention and keep it.
3. Measure the success of your online marketing efforts
To truly measure the success of your online marketing efforts, you need to set some baseline metrics before you begin implementing tactics. Some digital marketing experts suggest setting a benchmark for pageviews, followers, and engagement for a given period — say, three months — before and after you begin your digital marketing efforts. This way, you can track the impact that your efforts have on these key performance indicators (KPIs).
You’re also responsible for establishing clear goals and benchmarks for your online marketing efforts. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know if you’re making progress or if your efforts are being wasted.
You should review these benchmarks regularly to ensure that you’re headed in the right direction. Furthermore, you must be realistic in your assessment of the results of your online marketing efforts; don’t expect to see miracles overnight. Your benchmarks should reflect a gradual improvement, rather than an immediate rise in web traffic or social media engagement.
4. Create brand voice and consistency
Consumers have a tough time remembering brands. However, when a brand appears to be one-dimensional or lacks credibility, that brand is more likely to suffer from poor consumer perceptions. This is why developing a brand voice and consistency across all marketing channels is so important.
A brand voice should encapsulate the experiences of your customers when they interact with your brand, as well as the values you stand for. It is a combination of the unique elements that make up your product or service, along with the emotion and approach you want to convey to your customers. A brand ambassador is a trusted, figurehead brand (e.g., John Doe) that represents your brand.
Consumers want to trust brands they know will provide quality products or services. In a nutshell, the more you can do to establish credibility, the more you can grow your business.
5. Use email marketing
Inbound marketers say that email marketing is the most cost-effective way to reach out to your customers. You don’t necessarily need to have a huge list to start with, and you can send email messages frequently to maintain contact with your audience.
The best email marketing campaigns focus on providing value first and foremost, rather than selling. In fact, HubSpot Blogs research shows that value-driven emails are five (5) times more effective than classic marketing emails.
Once you’ve established credibility with your customers, you can use email marketing to promote special deals, new products, and more.
You should segment your email list based on whether your customers are male or female, or whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers. The more you can do to tailor your messages to your audience, the more you can grow your business.
6. Use social media
While traditional media like newspapers and magazines are struggling to find an audience, social media is booming. According to the Internet Statistics Blog, there will be more than three (3) billion active users on social media platforms by next year.
It is important to have a presence on social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Your customers and potential customers are already there, and it’s a great place to connect with people and engage with them.
You should also set up a social media account for your business. The more you can do to engage with potential and existing customers on social media, the more you can grow your business.
7. Optimize for voice search
Did you know that more than half of all web searches are now done using voice searches? According to HubSpot Blogs research, voice searches accounted for 49% of all searches in 2017.
The opportunity for mobile marketers is great because, as the name implies, you can do most of your marketing and selling from mobile devices. What is important is that you integrate your mobile strategy into your overall marketing plan.
However, optimizing for voice search is a lot more than just setting up a mobile-optimized website. You need to take into consideration what you’ll need to do to attract voice searchers to your website. This includes using specific keywords in your copy, adding a FAQ section, and creating a clear call-to-action at the end of your videos.
As a mobile marketer, you need to make sure that your website is set up correctly to take advantage of the mobile experience. That means having a mobile-friendly layout, incorporating responsive design, and testing your site on different devices.
8. Measure and analyze the results of your marketing efforts
To really measure the success of your marketing efforts, you need solid analytical tools. This is where Google Analytics comes in really handy. Did you know that you can use Google Analytics to track the results of your marketing efforts, such as website traffic, lead generation, and social media activity?
You can use the data that Google Analytics provides to track the results of your marketing efforts and pinpoint the content that is performing well and determining the direction of your future efforts. Plus, you’ll have all the analytics you need in one place, so it’s easy to review and understand.