January 8th, 2016
Posted In: Internet Marketing
With every article written, social media post created, or email sent, businesses have the potential to position themselves in front of their target market as an authority. However, the process of standing out in the crowded marketplace is difficult, to say the least. Any business that wishes to make 2016 the year they break out of their online shell to increase the number of incoming leads, improve engagement with their target market, and build their brand needs to know what Internet Marketing strategies and tools will work best this year.
In this article we present the Top Five predictions for Internet Marketing that will help you market your business, products and services and close successfully (not to mention profitably).
If a potential client visits your site, but doesn’t buy anything, sign up for a lead magnet or subscribe for an email list, does it matter that they visited? If your business is focused on conversion optimization, the answer should be “yes” and “no”.
Answering in the affirmative is correct to some degree because people don’t often buy the first time they are exposed to your brand. According to a Kissmetrics blog post“Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.” So, for all but 4% of your visitors, it’s important for you to make a strong first impression because they will need to be exposed to your brand multiple times before they purchase your products or services.
Answering “no” to the question above is also correct because it’s so important to make sure that 100% of the people that visit your site see clear call-to-action buttons, where applicable. If you have a lead magnet or email newsletter to offer your visitors, but they don’t convert because there isn’t a clear call-to-action, that is a missed opportunity for your business. Shruti Gupta recently wrote, “Remember, an effective call-to-action means getting visitors to willingly provide their contact details.” If you have the leads contact information, you’ll be able to continue building on their first impression and build a relationship so that at some point they will be comfortable purchasing from your business.
Gupta, goes on to suggest that the best ways to optimize conversions in 2016, with calls-to-action, are testing the color and placement of the buttons and to always be creative (in order to stand out from every other call-to-action).
Most businesses don’t have Amazon.com sized marketing budgets, or brand recognition online. Small businesses are faced with the chicken or egg question of whether to focus their time and money building demand for their products and services, or building their brand.
In 2016, we think it’s important for businesses of all sizes to focus on both marketing and branding online. The Tronvig Group defines marketing as “actively promoting a product or service,” and states that branding “should precede and underlie any marketing effort.” They further add that marketing is a “push” tactic, and branding is a “pull” strategy. Given this it’s clear to see that you really can’t have one without the other in an online, or offline, business.
Alex Chrisman, Chief Marketing Officer of Dealstruck, Inc. had something similar to say in a salesforce.com blog post, “While brand-building and demand generation go hand-in-hand, we will continue to see companies embrace the idea that demandgen can build the brand and drive revenue, a shift away from the ‘build the brand and the clients will come’ philosophy.” Again, as long as there is a focus on brining the two together, to aid in growing conversions and ultimately improve sales, your business will benefit.
Ryan Deiss, of Digital Marketer, had this to say about branding “… advertisers will be forced to balance branding with direct response more than ever.” But, Will Critchlow said it best, “Advertising is a half-trillion dollar a year industry struggling to understand its place in a digital world. I don’t want the same old guys to win on our turf The internet is our domain. Let’s go get great at this.”
If you’ve ever found yourself getting absorbed into YouTube videos for an embarrassing amount of time, or Instagram videos as Margot da Cunha talked about in a Search Engine Journal blog post, you know how easy it is to get sucked into video online. Hence, the number 3 entry to our predictions for trends to take advantage of this year.
Video is a dynamic way to market to your audience. You can invest in video ads or devote resources to creating videos that “… help businesses entertain and engage their audience through visuals, colors, sounds and/or music,” as Ms. da Cunha explains. Sujan Patel agrees, he concluded that “Interactive content is often easier to digest, much more engaging, and can typically garner more backlinks than some of the best articles.” This is sound advice worth noting… and implementing.
Marketing automation made our list, and quite a few other 2016 prediction lists this year. Automation made Ms. da Cunha’s list and she had this to say, “Marketing automation is nothing new… Many companies still fall short of implementing a robust marketing automation system that actually works. 2016 is the year when marketers need to dive in, identify gaps in sales and marketing funnels, and form an automation strategy to make their jobs easier and their goals more attainable.” We couldn’t agree more!
Whether your needs are met by Marketo, Oracle’s Eloqua, Hubspot, or another marketing automation service provider, 2016 is the year to really begin to use already existing technology to “… deploy a campaign that helps drive demand and move prospects down through the funnel.” Again, we come back to conversions and demand. It’s so important to always deliver value and build relationships with leads so they will grow to like, trust and want to do business with you in the future. Every time your marketing material reaches the lead you have the potential to build your brand in their eyes. Make the most of those opportunities (and do it as effectively as possible with automation).
With the spread of ad blocking technology, such as Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS 9, and the public’s growing annoyance with ads intruding on their internet experience, it’s becoming more important that companies consider including native advertising in their marketing arsenal. Even Turner Broadcasting sees the benefits of this type of marketing in the tv industry.
For those who aren’t aware “Native advertising is a type of advertising, usually online but feasibly elsewhere, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears.” However, it must be noted that there is growing scrutiny over this form of marketing. Just last month, the FTC released its “Commission Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements” which covers its stance on native advertising.
Don’t get intimidated by the legalese of the statement or the policy: After you read the FTC’s guidelines, you might find attorney Brian Heidelberger’s mini law lesson helpful. Then just give it a try for yourself, you might be surprised by the results.
There’s plenty to do for your business in 2016. We believe, if you focus on these trends in Internet Marketing, your business will be positioned ahead of your competition in your marketplace. You’re more than capable of using the information from articles, such as this post and others, and services readily available online to do this work yourself.
However, if you would like help implementing these, or other marketing strategies, please allow us to help you. Contact us today to set up a strategy session so we can help you maximize your online marketing efforts and results.
January 8th, 2016
Posted In: Internet Marketing