As I think about the trends for Internet Marketing, I’ve compiled a list of my predictions as to where we’re headed as we inch towards 2014.
One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.
By using one or more of these channels, businesses are able to build a positive reputation within their industry. This trend suggests that marketing to the masses through techniques like television ads and radio ads are becoming less effective. Instead, it’s better to concentrate on inbound marketing, by producing valuable, engaging content designed for a specific audience.
Due to the widespread (and quickly growing) use of smartphones and tablets, it’s necessary for companies to create content that’s accessible to mobile users. According to Forbes, “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” Whether it’s creating an alternate mobile version of a website or utilizing responsive web design, it’s important to provide a positive experience to users that are browsing via a mobile device.
Otherwise, it’s easy to lose customers to competitors who have adapted to this trend. As the shift from traditional PCs and laptops to mobile devices continues, businesses that aren’t on board are likely to suffer.
This is a marketing strategy that has really caught on recently. In a nutshell, it works by utilizing browser cookies to track the websites that users visit. Once they leave a certain site, the products or services they viewed will be shown to them again in advertisements across different websites.
It’s fairly obvious as to why this technique can be so effective. With only two percent of web traffic converting on the first visit, ad retargeting works to increase the overall conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they viewed. This keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumer’s mind. There are even psychological studies that have shown that simple exposure to brand names and logos creates familiarity, which builds trust and makes consumers more likely to make a purchase.
Even if there’s no immediate purchase, this can really pay off in the long run. Due to the success that many marketers have had with ad retargeting, there’s a good chance that it will become more mainstream in 2014.
Although social signals still don’t typically carry the same weight as traditional inbound links, it’s pretty undeniable that they play a role in organic search rankings these days. After all, they’re one of the three pillars of SEO. Since the goal of Google and other search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and highest quality content possible, it makes sense why they would factor in the number of social shares that a blog post, article or product page receives.
The more people that are sharing a piece of content, the higher quality it’s likely to be, and therefore its position should increase within the search engine results pages. It’s no coincidence that the top-ranking search results tends to have lots of social shares, while those ranked lower have fewer.
Besides this, social shares can serve as a stamp of approval (i.e., a trust signal) for visitors landing on a page. If they see that it has hundreds or thousands of shares, it’s likely that there’s something of value. That’s a big reason why so many businesses are installing social share plugins and encouraging consumers to share as much as possible.
As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, I believe we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.
The benefits of social media are many, but they include:
It seems that writing 140 characters and taking 3 minute long videos is becoming too tedious for many of us. Micro video to the rescue!
With the emergence of micro video apps like Twitter’s Vine and now Instagram’s video sharing feature, we’re seeing even more movement toward real-time video sharing. And not just any videos; with Instagram allowing 3-15 seconds per video, and Vine allowing precisely 6 seconds, users are even more likely to create and share videos from their smartphones.
It will be interesting to see if and how these bite-sized pieces of content will change the playing field when it comes to video-based social media.
6. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player for B2B Business Growth
Still holding steady as the #1 social networking site for professionals with 238 million users, LinkedIn isn’t just sitting on its heels. With the launch of its Influencers program, LinkedIn is positioning itself as not only another networking site, but as one of the largest sources of content creation for professionals.
As it grows and attracts even more users, the advantages of being “linked in” will become enormous for B2B marketers.
The internet is a big place and is growing every day. You have to be aware of the potential of Internet Marketing and the impact it could have on your business.
I believe that content marketing is still king and the potential of mobile computing is great for your business growth.
Linkedin is becoming a major source of information for B2B and will continue to grow.
With social media behemoth Facebook turning 10 in 2014 (has it really been that long?), they’ll continue to focus efforts on mobile, and on offering advertisers opportunities to better target their ads. And while Twitter continues to be the golden child amongst B2B marketers, I’m curious to see if and how the rise of Google+ will impact its market share.
While most business owners are aware of the necessity of having an Internet Marketing strategy, I believe 2014 will be the year where a majority will finally understand the necessity to commit the necessary time and resources to their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.