Wrap Up Of This Year’s Digital Marketing Trends

A commonplace adjective that mysteriously captures the essence of digital marketing industry in 2015 is volatile. Marketers have realised that analysing and adapting to a volatile industry demands intuition, intelligence and undoubtedly loads of relevant information – information on what was, what is and what possibly will be.

With dynamism at its crux, 2015 highlighted emerging trends like real-time marketing and responsive web design. Let’s take a peek at the four revolutionary digital marketing trends that made a mark this year.

1. Content Matters

Consider the following research published:

  • Demand Metric asserted that content marketing costs 62% less when compared to traditional marketing while creating approximately three times as many leads as the latter.
  • CEB Leadership Council revealed that businesses giving first priority to emotional marketing content over promotional marketing were twice as successful at selling their products and services.
  • According to Percussion, enterprises which employed content-rich marketing strategies had 6 to 7 times higher conversion rates when compared to their competitors.

In 2015, content was king only if the customer was happy with it, and was willing to share it with his/her network. Today, content marketing is no longer just a strategy, but an art of communicating invaluable information (via social, visual, mobile and SEO content) to eventually win the target market’s trust and loyalty.

2. Personalised Marketing

This year, big data became an accessible solution for all businesses irrespective of their sizes, giving marketers access to behavioural, demographic and transactional information on their customers. The earlier trend has been to treat people merely as data points and the focus of alldata was mainly on actual customers. In 2015, the focus shifted to treating people like people rather than data points. With Facebook analytics like Audience Insights, an enterprise can now get information on potential customers on an individual level..

Digital marketers are now making use of individual data to employ personalised marketing strategies to attract customers.

3. Intuitive Experience

The world of digital marketing won’t be complete without mentioning responsive web design (RWD). Smartphone penetration is no big news. A 2012 study by comScore revealed that four out of five smartphone owners access retail content from their devices. Almost half (46%) of the people reported problems viewing a non-responsive site and 44% felt that navigation on smaller devices were difficult.The importance of a mobile friendly site should not be undermined, and rather than creating a separate mobile site that requires separate design, development and SEO; you would be better off switchingyour website to a responsive web design.

Moreover, with Google recommending RWD because it eradicates the need for more than one URL, marketers have improved their brand visibility with search engines. The icing on the cake? As a marketer, you willno longer need to manage separate yet redundant content for desktop and mobile counterparts of your enterprise website.

4. Real-time Marketing

Real-time marketing entails constant customer engagement based on real-time data on customer behaviour. RTM takes into account a customer’s website interactions, their data changes and even external news and updatesthat are happening at that moment in order to leverage on current consumers’ behaviours. Real-time marketing based on up to date events have also become more effective with all improvements in social media as businesses can now easily gather relevant information on their target audience and quickly convert that information into a marketing message to be shared.

To sum it up

Though these are trends that have made their mark in 2015, they are not the only ones. Additional trends that have shown great promise include digital marketing hubs, multi-channel attribution, advocacy marketing and employee branding. What’s important to note on the key feature that differentiates marketing in 2015 is that it has become a flexible strategy that is focused on current information and immediate feedback to reflect the current tastes and needs of the ever-changing market. Whether your strategy is old school, contemporary or futuristic, one trend remains timeless –mindless imitation is out, integrated, flexible and relevant marketing is in!

Driving Leads Through The Sales Funnel With Inbound Marketing

92.7% of companies that use inbound marketing increase their lead generation. While these statistics may make you want to jump on the inbound marketing bandwagon, there are a few things to consider to get your strategy right, and to drive those conversions through your sales funnel.

A report by HubSpot shows that nearly 78% of internet users conduct product research online before actually going ahead and making a purchase. However, getting potential customers to visit your website is winning only half the battle. You have to make sure that your website creates enough Awareness and Interest to initiate Desire and Action (AIDA).

A carefully curated inbound marketing strategy that will successfully convert customers from the wide-mouthed sales funnel to the narrower end will have to be carried out in phases.

Phase 1 – Top of the Funnel or ToFu:

85% of all website visitors fall in the ToFu category. A brand does not have to be too selective in this phase. The mouth of the funnel calls for as many leads as possible.

  • Use a mixed-media content approach with blogs, vlogs, articles, videos, whitepapers, case studies and infographics to draw as many visitors as possible.
  • Use Search Engine Optimization, meta titles, descriptions and keywords to ensure that your website rankings are high and clients are able to find you through the maelstrom of content available on the web.
  • Use social media to churn out unique content that will build a strong slew of followers and advocates for your brand.

Phase 2 –Middle of the Funnel or MoFu:

The MoFu category represents nearly 10% of all your website traffic. The middle of the funnel requires filtering out the less-interested visitors as you get closer to making your big sale.

  • Use tailored content to sort through your visitors’ likes and dislikes. For example, if a brand is trying to weed out potential customers for its line of healthy dog food, a blog on canine hygiene is going to give you an idea of all the dog owners who exist among your list of leads.
  • Call-To-Action: Use visible and interactive Call-to-Action text or buttons and help visitors take the next step.
  • Make the exchange: Offer valuable pieces of content in exchange for a user’s contact details. For instance, to download a PDF or a case study, the user will be expected to punch in his name and email address.
  • Send mailing lists using the newly-obtained contact information.

Phase 3 – Bottom of the Funnel or BoFu:

Less than 5% of your overall website visitors fall into this category. These represent the segment of visitors who have more or less made their decision and are all set to purchase your product, credit card in hand!

  • Use demos, consultations, free trials, assessments, offers, coupons and freebies to give your customers that gentle nudge they need towards making a purchase.

Every potential customer who looks at your site could become a BoFu visitor. The right mix of inbound marketing strategies at every phase of the sales funnel is key towards ensuring that your customer makes that successful voyage from the mouth of the funnel towards the end, which results in a real and substantial ROI.

Update Your Digital Marketing Playbook With These Trends

The key to a successful business lies in having a strong presence in the virtual world. The dynamic nature of digital marketing can seem a bit daunting, but read on to tap into the current trends in the industry and to use it to your advantage.

Content driven marketing

Over the next year, content marketing is said to be more popular, which means that there is going to be a shift from conventional marketing techniques. The emphasis is likely to be on creating fresh content of superior quality – via user stories, video testimonials, and webinars. It is certainly time to also dive into social. Research from Hubspot says that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.

Add a personal touch

There are several platforms or software apps that allow you to customise your content for your audience. Big data has already begun to revolutionize marketing with over 70% of content having been created over the last two years. Now you will have access to any cusstomer based on what they do over the internet. This is a more targeted approach and will yield better results.

User generated marketing

Your users control the way the conversation about your brand flows, so let them advocate your brand on your behalf. Create moments that can be Instagrammed, Snapchatted, Facebooked or more – letting the users tell their own story. There has been a 78% increase in User Generated Content (UGC) this year – a concept that was practically unheard of last year.

Go mobile

According to Google, this is the year that mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic in 10 countries across the world, which means mobile is the way of the future. Additionally, they have introduced an algorithm with the sole intention of weeding out sites that are not optimized for mobile use. It is anticipated that sites that focus only on desktop optimization will see a decrease in traffic over the next year.

Video ads are the way of the future

Anyone that has spent time on YouTube can testify to the efficacy of video ads. Other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Bing also offer video ad space for advertisers as well. What is more important is Google supports video ads – and since Google owns YouTube, there are countless possibilities.

Keep digital assistants in mind

More people are using services like Apple driven – Siri or Windows driven Crotana than conventional search engines. Build your information in such a way that it is accessible to this new format and you will get an edge in pushing your business. While conventional methods like Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click still hold true – these new trends are the way of the future with over 2 billion smartphones estimated to make its way into the market worldwide in 2016.

Social media is key

Whatever else you may invest in, the power of social media cannot be discounted. By finding ways to make your brand more interactive and being open in your communication, you allow your customers to see the lighter side of your company. This makes your brand more approachable and will go a long way in creating a lasting impression.

Write a Head-Turning Blog With These Six Tips

When was the last time you were able to complete a single task without your attention being whisked away by the pinging of your phone, or a pop-up advertisement that suspiciously advertises exactly what you were searching for on the web the other day?

A hurricane of creativity has blitzed the internet with trolls, memes, witty cartoons, mind-boggling infographics and funny videos of talking Siberian huskies. Faceit, can your blog really compete with a fuzzy singing canine that could put Miley Cyrus to shame?

Yes, it can. You just need to know how.

According to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being now stands at a proud 8 seconds in 2013, from 12 seconds in 2000. This is one second less than that of a goldfish. Which means you have exactly 8 seconds to hook your customers with gripping content!

Here’s how:

  1. Write from the heart– As sappy and clichéd as this sounds, it’s true! Write from the deepest echelons of your heart. People want to know that behind all that corporate speak, companies have souls too. Write about behind-the-scenes moments that audiences aren’t going to find out about through those stringently PR-monitored news nuggets.
  2. Make sure your headline turns headsDavid Ogilvy once famously said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as they read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Write a catchy headline that will make your audience hungry for more.
  3. Hijack ideas like a cuckoo bird– Don’t be afraid to hijack or piggyback on ideas that are already floating about the blogosphere. And if you find a funny meme or comic that describes your brand, share it. Just be sure to give out due credit!
  4. It’s not always about you–Your blog doesn’t always have to be all about you. Find a way to connect the dots between trending topics, current affairs and your brand.
  5. Post regularly and consistently–You need to blog consistently as your regular visitors will expect new and improved content. This will help you build and increase your online community. Include keyword research for search engine optimization.
  6. Substance is great, but don’t forget the style!– It doesn’t matter if your content is tight. If it looks like a boring mess of textbook gibberish, your visitor’s eyes are going to glaze right past it. Break up lumps of text with descriptive headings, bold captions, paragraphs and bullets. Intersperse your content with images, infographics and tweetable quotes to provide relief.

Churning out good content is only half the battle. You need to share it on the right forums to ensure that it gets the eyeballs it deserves. According to the Global Web Index, we now spend 28% of our time online. Include social media plugins on your blogs, and regularly reply to comments to generate conversations. Share your blogs on social media sites, forums and social threads.

Follow these tips to write unique blogs that will have your visitors’ heads turning. In the right direction, of course!

Keep Website Visitors Coming By Balancing SEO & User Experience

Back when Google was just a few years old, the company’s management penned down ten things they knew to be true. The first one on the list? ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow’. And then a few years later, they went ahead and invented Search Engine Optimization. Brands quickly replaced user design (UX) and instead opted for SEO-centric design with web pages stuffed with keywords, indexable content and crawlable link structures.

That said, user-centric design cannot be completely forgotten in a bid to serve the user. For instance, there are some design elements that makes it tough for Google to crawl a website successfully. A good website is one which balances both UX and SEO such that they complement each other perfectly.

Tips to keep in mind to ensure that both UX and SEO co-exist for a marketing win:

  • Stop Keyword Stuffing – Using keywords in your web content is essential to increase your website’s visibility among all search engine results. Do this wisely. Google’s intelligence can easily tell if you are unnecessarily filling your content with keywords that simply aren’t relevant to the web page. So don’t write for search engines. Write for your readers.
  • The onslaught of content that audiences are being exposed to ensures their ever-changing positions in the evolutionary customer lifecycle. Your website content has to be updated at a speed that’s faster than the change your audience is going through. To optimize user experience, ensure that your website is up to date with all the necessary news, trends and updates your brand is experiencing.
  • Forget complicated elements on your website. Your website should be clean, simple and easy to navigate. The average human being’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2008 to 8 seconds in 2013, which is one second lesser than that of a goldfish! So if viewers aren’t able to find what they are looking for in a few seconds, they’re going to switch on to something else. It’s also recommended that an XML sitemap be submitted to search engines. This will help them understand the structure of the website and index web pages, thereby aiding your SEO mechanism. When your websites doles out a stellar user experience, your traffic will increase and your SEO will grow as Google’s algorithm measures overall usability of the website.
  • Make the jump to responsive design – You never know what device your website is going to be viewed on. Between PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets that all vary in screen size, responsive design is your best bet. This feature automatically resizes and reformats your website based on the device the viewer is using.

Today, the equation has changed. It’s no longer about SEO vs. UX. It’s about SEO + UX.

At the end of the day, it boils down to the overall experience a website can offer a user. With Google’s 200+ signals and trademark Page Rank algorithm, it’s going to measure which websites users ‘vote’ as best among all the others in the search engine sphere. And that’s what is going to matter the most!