We are already at the digital age where almost everyone can connect to the Internet with ease. And for every site owner out there, taking note of this change would benefit them the most. That means opting their site to give it more impact, turn in more traffic and ultimately gain more profit. And aesthetics alone doesn’t cut it anymore.
The year 2016 is one hectic year in the digital marketing industry. There were a lot of changes, with Google releasing a new algorithm update every now and then and the shifting of marketing priorities to name a few. We have already left it behind, but that does not mean 2017 is going to give us some slack. This year, the competition will become even more fiercer as business owners and marketing experts are finally figuring out how they can properly execute their digital marketing strategies and where they should redouble their efforts.
Below are the things you should be looking out for when you’re planning your digital marketing campaigns for this year.
The phrase “opting for a mobile-friendly website” is something you have probably heard or read on articles back then. Now, mobile isn’t something that is highly recommended; it has became a venture that you should take. You need to put mobile on the forefront of your digital marketing campaign by opting for mobile-optimized content.
Google seems to have caught on to mobile optimization as they have put “mobile usability” as one of their webmaster tools. Statistics have also proven that mobile have also surpassed desktop in terms of number of usage. It also has the fastest growth compared to other digital marketing channels, garnering about 10% of the total budget alotted for digital marketing on various businesses.
If you haven’t opted for a mobile-specific approach, then it’s about time you do so. Pick up responsive web designing for your website, make your content mobile-friendly, and don’t forget to put out some mobile ads for your business as well.
Content has always seen its fair share of importance in digital marketing strategies. Now, we need to emphasize that even more. A research from B2B marketing shows that 93% of the B2B marketers employed content marketing strategies and almost half of them said that the campaigns on that field were successful. To have an effective content marketing strategy, you need to understand two things:
First, content marketing today prefers quality content over numbers. Your viewers don’t visit your website just so they can read your low-quality posts. They visit it for your highly quality content that will provide them with the information they need.
Second, the best thing that a low quality content can provide is an ineffective search engine optimization factor. At worst, it can even bring your online reputation down and damage your SEO.
The social media platform has become an integral part of the digital marketing trend. Their contributions to increasing traffic, brand awareness and sales are clearly visible. For that reason, companies will be reallocating their marketing budgets to social media marketing.
Facebook ads and the new advertising option at Twitter are just some of the examples of utilizing your budget for social media. You can also share your content here, interact and engage with your viewers. For this year, it is vital that you focus on social media the most as it is the one that is making the biggest impact on digital marketing.
Gone are the overly promotional messages that you automatically send out to your followers, whether they are your site followers or the ones on your social media account. What you want your viewers to picture your business is something that engages and interacts with them, not an answering machine. Businesses that are able to make their marketing approach as human as possible will quickly gain the trust of their viewers.
How can you do this? Simple – put your interactions with them first and sales second. Create a relationship between you and your viewers and always be on their good side. The perfect place for you to accomplish all that is on your social media platform, where you can directly connect with them.
Email marketing back then was simply sending out promotional emails to every possible recipient you know of. Now, that kind of notion will only bear negative results on your business. Now, you need to invest more time and effort on email marketing for it to succeed.
The best way of going about this is to provide your recipients with relevant information that they want. You may also want to add more offers, like eBooks and other sort of effective lead magnets. Just like with content marketing, what matters is not the sheer number of mails you are dishing out, but rather the quality of each one that you are giving to your target audience.
Twenty-five percent – that’s the share allotted for digital marketing expenses by various businesses. And according to a statistics research by eMarketer, most of those will be spent on Facebook and other social media ads. These paid advertisements have been a very effective tool in drawing out target audiences and increasing the business’ brand awareness.
This year, that bar will rise even more as brands will try their best to make themselves more visible on social media.
Search engine optimization will always remain as the backbone of your business. It’s what makes you visible on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. With search engine marketing (SEM), you can bolster your visibility even further. This year may have focused around content marketing and social media, but nevertheless, SEO will still be a factor that you should not ignore.
Paired up with SEM, most of the online marketing budget goes to these two. That should be proof enough that these are still the core of your digital marketing campaigns.
SEO makes your website visible for everyone. However, it is Local SEO that will make it more visible for the people who are searching for it within your vicinity. In other words, Local SEO targets your local audience. And one of its main components is Google+.
Google+ is Google’s social media platform. Optimizing it will greatly help your Local SEO marketing campaigns as it will put you on Google’s radar for relevant local search.
The use of online videos as a marketing tool is already a proven fact. And this year, with the rising popularity of social media, using videos would greatly complement your social media marketing efforts. That is because it’s another way of interacting with your viewers. Linking them to Youtube, which is owned by Google, would be also be a great addition to your digital marketing strategies and will add value to your website.
As for engagement, Opsixty.com projects a more robust engagement in the use of video for engagement via Facebook Live.
Search engine optimization and content marketing are two different ideas that Google has perfectly matched up together. When they decided that one of the main factors that can affect page ranking results will be based on the quality of content on the website, that was when these two met and got intertwined. They simply coexist with one another – SEO is useless when traffic redirected to the site has no content to see and quality content is useless if it won’t be seen by anybody because it lacks SEO.
And then social media entered the fray, greatly complementing the relationship of the two. With a great content marketing strategy, one can create high-quality content. Paired with SEO, this will be optimized to have the necessary keywords so that it’ll get indexed by Google for relevant search. And social media will act as a catalyst that will share this content to places, reaching a lot of people faster.
The only constant is change. That phrase defines digital marketing perfectly as it is a constantly evolving subject. And since you are tackling this subject, it is important that you keep a close eye on it so that you can easily adjust your marketing strategies whenever something happens.
“A video is worth 1.8 million words”
-according to Dr. James McQuivey
And we also have the saying that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” However, there is more to video than a picture. While the picture brings still visual, the video can stimulate the eyes and the minds to be more participative in the storytelling. The motion and the emotion that it conveys can engage with the viewers. The success factor in attracting the attention of the viewers brings the notion of videos being a more viable marketing tool.
Videos are more possible to create now that decades ago. The innovative tools that it encourages more enthusiasts to experiment with videos create a stimulus of democratized, cultural phenomenon. The reason of it being a phenomenon is that many people can have more chances and opportunities to be more experimental in expressing things through videos. The first months of YouTube can be regarded as the advent of more possible and more cost-effective video marketing culture.
It would be far easier now for advocates to reach out and compel more people to be more aware on certain advocacies.
For businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises and even individual professionals, the videos to attract clients and customers can possibly gain more views because of the tools and platforms that are readily available online.
Analytics and insights tools are better innovated, providing real-time information of views and demographics data of viewers in online video platforms. Hence, video views can be accurately measured and wouldn’t have to undergo probable statistical process of measuring views compared to television.
Because of the factor to be easily gauged, videos are more feasible to be used as tools for marketing.
On a study by StacksandStacks, it has published that videos have provided more promising results than other content platforms for marketing campaigns. 144% of their customers are more likely to engage in a buying decision compared to text-based content of promoting their products.
A well-planned video marketing campaign has more probability to be more successful in attracting audiences in this age where consumers have low attention span.
Online video advertising cloaked in emotional storytelling is deemed more effective in attracting viewers and driving conversion.
Social media platforms and network launched products and services pertaining to the augmentation of online video formats and by taking advantage of a growing user-base that consume videos more than contextual format.
Google and Apple’s advantage in video marketing is boosted due to the the proliferation of mobile phones. These tech titans along with Facebook and Twitter invested in improving their features by integrating video plug-ins in their applications.
Google has YouTube, while Facebook integrates Facebook video and Facebook live. Twitter, on the other hand, adds video feature aside from the Periscope platform. Marketers take part in the game of online video advertising where they gamble in more strategic ways on the video content to millions and billions of users.
How much should a business invest in video marketing?
Setting a budget is relevant as you for the number of videos to be produced periodically. If there is a plan for more videos to be released each week, each month or in a quarterly basis, then the right amount should be set aside.
Resource management is vital in creating a marketing blueprint which include video marketing.
The most effective videos viewed by millions are able to entertain users and audience.
By setting a goal for your online video you start it by brainstorming creative ideas.
What content should be in the videos?
Who are the users of the video that will benefit from watching it?
A video’s optimal length, however, relies on what you want to accomplish. But short videos are more apt to attract engagement than longer duration videos.
Ideally, develop a script that’s short and fun. By creating an outline of the story to be turned into video format, your video can encapsulate everything that the consumers would find beneficial in augmenting their knowledge or entertaining that they provides the pulse for you to create more videos.
Behavioral patterns of consumers are always shifting. This poses a challenge for companies that are constantly striving to find innovative ways and more measurable means to connect with their audiences.
An innovative solution in video marketing is the interactive video, which allows for better interaction with the audience.
In an unedited video format, the ending should integrate a way to encourage engagement such as asking the viewers to leave comments or suggestions. The comment section, which is enabled in most videos in YouTube allow viewers, audience and, yes, subscribers to ask questions, leave comments and suggestions.
In another format where there is real-time interaction, viewers can be part of the video and would have the ability to receive real-time answers to queries thrown to the video producer.
Utilize the few seconds at the end of your video to add your social media profiles and pages along with an enticing call to action button. You can integrate a clickable annotation on the video to enable your viewers to be taken to the landing page where they can leave their details.
Business website must include call to action button to direct to a landing page where you can persuade visits into leads. of course, we are hoping to turn into paying customers.
With so much competition whether online or offline, growing your small business can be a huge struggle. This is the reason why a lot of startups love growth hacking – because beating a huge competition and converting their users into yours takes a lot of effort.
Exactly what is growth hacking and how does it help increase your small business’s market reach? Let’s take a look at the definition and the advantages that it can provide when it comes to growing your business.
The term growth hacker was first mentioned by Sean Ellis back in 2010 when he started becoming frustrated about finding someone to replace him.
Sean has been helping out internet companies grow their user bases and he would set up systems, processes and mindsets that could still be maintained even if he left. Unfortunately, when he started looking for a replacement, he found out that the strategies that he used were not the ones that the usual marketers were used to.
Traditional marketers had skills that were not exactly what startups needed, especially during the earlier phases. Building and managing a marketing team was not yet necessary and neither was managing outside vendors or creating marketing plans that would help achieve corporate objectives. During these early phases, startups need someone who could help their company grow.
Needless to say, a growth hacker is not one who is better than a marketer. They are not a replacement nor do they have different jobs. As Sean Ellis perfectly defined, a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Every decision made by this person is aimed towards the goal of sustainable growth.
In the traditional sense, the product team and those who would look for new users for the products work separately. However, these two seemingly very different worlds have started colliding: coders are starting to learn how to provide excellent customer experience while the marketing people have to learn the more technical aspects of a product.
A lot of experts regard growth hackers as a cross between a marketer and a coder: someone who would constantly ask themselves how they could get more customers for their products. As an overview, growth hackers constantly drown themselves in A/B tests, landing pages, email deliverability, viral factor and Open Graphs.
The role of a growth hacker is most often employed by startup companies due to the lack of resources. But, it is predicted to infiltrate the marketing department, especially in Fortune 500 companies, in the years to come.
As it is a newly coined word, there have been a lot of myths as to what growth hacking really is. Let us try to debunk these myths one by one.
While we did mention that the role of coders and marketers have been slowly merging over the years, it is not to say that the one job has taken over the other. Knowing how to code is not a requirement but it certainly is a big plus especially since in the startup world, resources are limited.
Growth hackers can have a meeting with the front-end developer and the back-end developer and discuss with them the events in their site that he wants to keep track of: sign-ups, referrals, interactions and so on. He leaves the coding to the expert and, after a few weeks of implementation, he analyzes the data and comes up with a good funnel to increase the signup conversion rate. The front-end developer can tweak and make the signup copy more beautiful on the site to help further increase the rate.
Essentially, the entire team is responsible for hacking their business’s growth but it was the growth hacker, who had no coding background, who fueled it.
Many people would think that the job a growth hacker and a marketer are different when they really are somehow the same.
What makes them different is that a growth hacker is really just focused on growth alone while a traditional marketer may have other roles to fulfill. What traditional marketers need to do is simply focus their efforts toward the growth of their business alone by implementing analytics to help them figure out how their audience behaves. Marketers are actually the strongest candidates when it comes to becoming a growth hacker – they simply have to strengthen their analytical and technical skills.
When you are extremely focused on achieving a certain goal (which is to grow your business), there are many situations where the decisions we make no longer satisfy the best interest of other people.
There has been bad light towards growth hacking due to some unethical practices made by other businesses but here’s the thing: as long as you are building harmless features in your products or services and are getting it to the public through various distribution channels, there is no harm to it. It is simply being smart instead of unethical.
1. Growth hackers love analytics.
Analytics is considered the lifeblood of a growth hacker as it is where most, if not all, of their decisions are based from. How do they use these data to figure out how to grow their business?
2. They are also right-brained.
Although growth hackers love analytics, it must never be forgotten that they are actually right-brained people. What does this mean? These people do not necessarily follow through a guide or an outline full of procedures or they would have been better off as a manager.
Instead, these people think outside of the box and come up with new procedures and ways to achieve their goals, even if these techniques are unheard of or are way beyond the norm. It is their curiosity that pushes them forward and they try out things without fear, even if they are deemed stupid or dumb by the majority.
3. They are obsessive with results.
A successful strategy does not necessarily mean that it would remain that way for a long time. They can leverage existing sites and technologies to propel the business forward but it will have a finite lifetime. In addition, they will have to try five, ten, twenty different things but find out that it is actually the 100th tactic that will work on their business.
Growth hackers also keep in mind that one major breakthrough will help them win the game – that will be close to an impossible feat to pull off. Instead, it is the small successes, the wins during the skirmishes, which will help them kill their competition. After all, slow and steady wins the race.
Still confused about growth hacking? Here are some real life examples in which ethical growth hacking strategies were used to grow a business:
A brilliantly thought-of growth hack is that of Dropbox. How do you get more people to use Dropbox? Sean Ellis decided that the best way to do it would be to give incentives to people if they share the service with friends and followers. Once other people sign up through them, they get extra free storage in exchange.
AirBnB is also considered as the poster child of growth hacking and for good reason. While the idea of having spare bedrooms rented out to strangers was great, convincing people to use their technology instead of what was already available was difficult.
To do this, they made use of the existing technology, Craigslist, to help increase their user base. AirBnB gave users an option to post their listings in Craigslist thus providing inbound links to the user’s listing and AirBnB itself. Craiglist has fixed this vulnerability and AirBnB has since removed that feature but they did get a lot of user to switch to them because of that impressive hack.
The secret to implementing a successful strategy is to figure out where potential users are gathering online and come up with a creative, and ideally automated, way to reach them. The free attraction strategy clearly works so figure out what value you can provide to your customers because they can attract a following both online and offline.
Dodocase, a company that provides those beautiful iPad cases, started out by handing postcards that contain coupon codes to people who were waiting in line for the first edition iPad in the Apple stores at major cities. They simply spent $500 on marketing and provided commissions to the people they hired over Craigslist.
A lot of small businesses and startups online are already learning several growth hacking strategies that they can use to their advantage. It does not necessarily take an extremely technical person or someone with a marketing degree to do it.
Take blogs for example. Aside from their social media followers, one of a blog’s biggest digital assets is their email list. But, how does a blog convince people to give them personal information such as their email addresses? The answer is quite simple: provide them with an incentive to sign up such as an email course, bonus content, a video or access to an exclusive social media group.
By employing such a strategy, blog owners are able to increase their audience exponentially – and they can do so by automating the entire process, too. In addition, the people who have signed up to join their list are guaranteed to be genuinely interested in what the blog has to offer and they will even be more interested should you give them more similar content. Building an email list makes selling products or services in the future much easier.
Growth hacking strategies usually differ from business to business but if you try to learn from the experts, you will soon figure out that these hackers actually follow through a common funnel.
A lot of newbies would think that getting a visitor to visit your site is a measure of success. It is actually just the start of the entire process. You simply cannot rely on a one-time thing; you need to convert them into loyal followers by putting them on the email list, making them a member of the site or having them purchase something.
Turning members into actual users is even harder. You cannot keep them as passive members for long because then it would be a waste of your resources. Figuring out how to make them use your products or services, and a regular one at that, is the next big step.
Keeping your user base loyal is yet another huge undertaking for a growth hacker and they constantly need to come up with new tactics and innovations that will help make these current users remain loyal to the business.
It can take a while to figure out what your audience really wants but as long as you are laser-focused on your business goals, it should not be long to find out a growth hacking strategy that will bring success to your small business.
Marketing for online businesses has gone through a lot of transformation in the recent years.
Many business owners have already realized how important internet marketing is which is why they are no longer hesitant about employing any and every digital marketing strategy that come their way.
Want to know the trends in digital marketing are?
Check out below how your business can stay on top of the game and get ahead of your competition this 2016:
The biggest and perhaps also the most important internet marketing strategy to implement for your business this 2016 surprisingly does not depend on outside forces but in something that you can control – which is a big plus.
Customers are now all about getting the best and most memorable experience with a brand. Getting a small glitch in their overall experience is often enough to discourage them to stay loyal with a company.
User experience for online businesses start with the first point of contact: a website that loads up after a few seconds more will most likely end up losing potential customers. Business owners should also start investing in improving other parts of their website including small details such as navigation, menu and other clickable items.
It is important that online websites provide all the necessary information that both existing and future customers will need. Smooth navigation and easy transaction are also important aspects in a website.
An estimate 2 billion consumers from all over the world is expected to be owners of smart phones by 2016. Online business owners see this as an opportunity to always stay connected with their customers whenever and wherever they are.
In 2016, relationship marketing is no longer about creating short-term engagement with customers. Instead, businesses invest more in order to create longer and more meaningful relationships with existing and future customers.
Creating loyalty among their fan base helps in producing organic advertisements in the form of word-of-mouth promotion and, eventually, more sales.
For huge brands, increasing customer engagement is usually done via social media and mobile apps.
Krispy Kreme, for example, has a Red Light App which allows their customers to find their nearest store and get notifications on their smart phones whenever a fresh batch of donuts become available. This has given the company almost a seven percent increase in sales after the app launched.
For online businesses, the biggest and most important digital asset is the website. Websites are the only ones that you get the most control of; something which Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or even Google have no control of.
When it comes to implementing any digital marketing strategy, it is important for business owners to always keep in mind that anything that they do should be aimed at boosting and improving their digital assets.
This includes taking control of one’s search engine results pages which should only contain important links such as those of your website’s, blog’s and social media profile’s. Doing so will help reduce the possibility of seeing negative reviews that may only be libelous and derogatory in nature.
The biggest problem for digital marketing strategists is that it becomes extremely hard to compete against big companies for top keywords. Imagine how many thousands of brands you will have to compete against the keywords ‘hotel’ and ‘restaurant’, for example.
These days, a successful internet marketing strategy is all about placing your website at the top rank for keyword phrases that are still relevant to your niche. So, instead of using ‘hotel’ in your search engine optimization efforts, the trick is to going for long-tail keyword phrases, turning it to ‘top hotels in Hanoi Vietnam’.
Even top digital marketers such as Jeff Bullas can attest to the effectiveness of this strategy.
In his search engine asset, he ranks both first and second for the keywords ‘social media facts’ – and that is compared to more than 200 million results!
This position alone has helped him bring more than 30,000 visitors to his website every month. Organic search rankings can indeed be very effective when the right strategies are followed.
No matter how awesome you are at producing informational and share-worthy content, it is nearly useless when no one gets to read it.
Another digital asset that you can put to good use for your business this 2016 is social media. Despite not being able to get a hundred percent control over how many people sees your posts, it cannot be denied that social media is still an effective medium in spreading word about your brand and your content.
It does take months and even years to grow a community on social media. However, when you do create a loyal and engaged tribe, you can be sure that you have an awesome crowd to help distribute word about your brand.
Big businesses such as Red Bull and Coca-Cola have now used a publisher mindset in order to build their following, reach and engagement in an organic manner.
Nearly every year, content marketing makes it to the top of the list of digital marketing strategies to implement and 2016 is no exception. Among all digital marketing activities, content marketing has been viewed as one with the greatest commercial impact this year.
As a brand and business owner, content through blogs, website content and social media is extremely important in helping people become informed and educated about your products and services and other topics revolving around the niche.
Coming up with an effective content marketing strategy is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and making sure that your articles, videos and images are something that they can easily relate to.
Content also encompasses all type of online multimedia. It is not just about creating share-worthy articles but also images, videos and infographics.
You have probably only heard of this term today but marketing automation is not something new.
In fact, it has already become a $5.5 billion industry as more and more people start to understand its importance and the convenience it brings to many businesses.
Marketing automation is all about automating a part of the marketing process, if not all of it. This means automating and scheduling emails, social media, content publishing as well as segmenting contacts and so on.
Because a business is able to automate certain processes, it is able to scale itself at a cost-effective manner without having to spend as much money and time on resources compared to if things were done manually.
Many huge businesses have been able to attest to the effectiveness of automating their marketing processes and are able to grow, reach and even exceed most of their business goals with minimal effort.
Here’s the thing. Creating great content for your brand is an awesome endeavor. But, it can also be really costly in terms of time, money and resources.
So, what’s a company to do? Crowd source content, of course!
If you look at the brand Go Pro, for example, they rarely make their own content. In fact, most of their videos were submitted by users who have created great videos through their own efforts without expecting the company to pay them. Many times, recognition from a brand is all fans need to keep creating great content that their favorite companies can use.
In January 2015, the top game franchise in YouTube was surprisingly Minecraft – and this happened even though the company has not spent a single cent on traditional advertising. To give you an even better look at how successful they are at crowdsourcing, about 96.6 percent of the top 20 gaming videos in YouTube were all made by fans and 41 percent of these were on Minecraft.
As long as you keep your customers happy and satisfied through your service or product, you can easily enjoy free content from them even without you asking them to do so.
Social media may be a top internet marketing strategy that you want to focus on this year but it certainly does not mean that it does not expect anything in return.
Competition has become extremely tight these days, even on social media, and platform engineers continue to tweak and modify their algorithm making it hard for business owners to reach even more than two percent of their fan base organically.
However, many digital marketing strategists have also found a huge disadvantage in going for social media advertisements compared to traditional ones. The biggest reason for it is that they are extremely cheap considering how targeted the audience can be.
Because of this, it is obvious that the increase in demand also means an increase in the pricing.
Despite this, it is already pretty clear that paid advertising in social media and perhaps in other forms in the internet will become huge in the coming months.
Companies will have to prepare themselves and expect to shell out some amount of money in order to get their brand names out there.
No one likes seeing those annoying pop-ups and advertisements because they ruin the ‘natural feel’ of navigating a website.
However, in the recent years, the use of ad blockers has become widespread among browsers and operating systems.
Ad blockers are obviously an internet marketer’s biggest nightmare and the only digital marketing strategy to get around it is to embrace native advertising.
As the name suggests, native ads look, read and feel very much like it is a non-promotional content so that it is not banned by ad blockers. In addition, native ads are much friendlier in the eyes of a consumer who does not like it when brands shove their products and services into their faces.
Mobile used to be considered a second screen but it seems that the tide has changed.
With an expected 2 billion smart phone owners this year, it is pretty obvious why mobile is starting to become the screen of choice for most online consumers. It is cheap, convenient and can pretty much do most things that desktop units can.
Business owners, therefore, have to take advantage of this shift in screen and make sure that their websites are responsive or come with a mobile version.
This not only means that a faster loading time is even more advantageous, it also means that your website should:
Let’s all admit it: we are getting lazier and lazier every day. Even the simple act of doing an online search with our hands has become a tiresome chore – thus the popularity of digital assistants.
We cannot get away with it so the only way an online business can ride the wave of a trend and make sure that they do not get left out is to embrace it.
An integral part in your internet marketing strategy is to make sure that your sites are optimized for digital assistants to easily find it.
You certainly do not want Siri, Cortana or Alexa to get left out.
Nothing else is more exciting than seeing technology present in your watches, sunglasses or even your ref magnet. How convenient can things get in the future? According to Hubspot, wearables will get an adoption rate at 28 percent in 2016 – and that is huge.
Earlier this year, Oculus Rift has also made its way into the market and technology giants such as Google and Facebook are already starting to invest their resources on virtual reality.
What does these things all mean to the digital marketer?
This means that you should provide more data for every move that your target audience makes. In the coming months, it will become more and more important how people think when they are on the Internet.