The Ever-Changing Face of Marketing: Keeping Up with Marketing Trends

marketing trendMarketing trends come and go, and, now more than ever, it’s important to understand what marketing strategies have a lasting impact on your business. Technology has been a huge influence on how people have marketed their goods and services ever since people have had goods and services to sell. Whether it was the printing press, the radio, television, or the proliferation of trains and cars that made traveling easier, something new has always come along to change how marketing is done. But nothing has ever been as noteworthy or as influential as the internet.  The internet seems to be the hub of any changes or trends in how marketing is done, so it’s important to see the effects that has in the business world, and in your world, today.

What YOU Can Learn From Marketing Trends

Consumers Are Smarter Than Ever

Because of the internet, consumers now have more information at their fingertips than they have ever had before in the history of the world. They can look up information about you, and whether it’s right or wrong, they’ll learn something about you and your products before buying. It’s up to you to make sure the right information is out there for them to find.

Social Media Is EVERYWHERE

Before the internet, stores had to host huge events that were quite costly in order to stir up conversation and social interaction. Today, they simply need to start an active Instagram account or Facebook group or page in order to create a buzz about them. Perhaps the most influential marketing trend out there today is that of social media.  Everyone uses some form of social media today to gather information and learn about your business and offerings. In fact, more than 80 percent of the US population uses social media. It is imperative that businesses know exactly how to use social media in a positive and effective way for their marketing.

Your Audience Is Starving for Content

It’s important to put content in every place your audience likes to be. If they like Facebook, you need to be on Facebook. If they like blog posts, you need to supply them with plenty of blog posts. If they like getting information through email, then you need to accommodate them. It can be difficult to keep up at times, but with help you can work smartly and efficiently by re-purposing content as needed.  Nearly anyone who pays attention to marketing trends today has heard the phrase, “Content is king,” but do you really know how to best use your content?  It’s important that you use it in the right way or it can be a waste of your time.

SEO Is Here to Stay, BUT It’s Changing, Too

Due to the advent of the net, pulling your audience to your information requires knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). This can include on- and off-page optimization of a website and blog, but also of article titles, social media posts and more. It’s all about attracting the right audience to your information, and the best way to optimize is an ever-changing topic.  Make sure you stay on top of the best way to optimize your content.

The Customer of One Is Now Key

Due to the ability to now automate and personalize using technology, business owners can make their customers feel special and unique more than ever before. Personalization is a marketing trend that really makes the difference when customers want to feel appreciated.  Even though customers are smart and likely know a lot of it is automation, they still do appreciate the personal touch, and it shows in their purchasing habits.

Inbound Marketing Has Taken Over

Inbound marketing – attracting customers because you offer them something of value that they are already interested in or seeking out – is a marketing trend that works because it makes sense.  Bringing your customers to you is now how marketing works best, as opposed to outbound marketing, which was how marketing started. It was posters, magazine ads, commercials – all things that interrupted the consumer to give them your message. Inbound marketing is less intrusive and is a much more natural way of customers finding you.

E-commerce Generates over 1.2 Million Dollars Every 30 Seconds

It seems like eCommerce has been around forever. In reality it has been around in a smaller way since the 60s, but it really came into being as it is today in the 90s when the first book was sold on Amazon in 1995. Nothing has ever been the same since, and it just continues to grow. Online shopping is even bringing back grocery delivery!

 

It’s imperative that you keep up with marketing trends in terms of the tools that are used and the ways that strategies are implemented. In many ways, the principles don’t change much. You have to find a way to educate your audience, inform them, engage them, and build relationships with them, so that they trust you enough to spend their money on your products or services.  How you get there is what is constantly changing

How to Perform Your Own Website Audit

website auditIf your website isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it may be time to do a website audit. You can pay someone a lot of money to do it for you, but, armed with the right information, you can also do it yourself. To do this, you’re essentially looking for elements that are working, elements that are not working, or elements that need to be updated.

Every few years the internet changes in a big way. How we do things today is totally different to how we did things just ten years ago. What’s in today will not necessarily be in tomorrow. Therefore, it’s important to keep your website up to date with the modern technology available to you for your industry and niche.

Questions to Ask When Performing Your Website Audit:

How’s Your Branding? – This speaks to your use of color, typography, visuals, and even favicons.  Is your “about us page” updated, and is it telling the story clearly of who you are and what you can do for them? Have you included testimonials, success stories, and more to keep your visitor interested?

How’s Your Design? – The look and feel of your website has a lot to do with the layout.  This includes whether content is organized well, the white space you have on your website, and your calls to action. Do those elements stand out enough? Do you have too much old-school design on your website? How can you modernize it?

Is Your Coding on Point? – Do you have an updated sitemap file? Are you still using frames and old-school coding that doesn’t work today? Are your URLs indicative of what’s on each page? Are you using headers and sub-headers properly?

Is It Usable? – Are you following best practices when it comes to layout? If you’re not sure, you can read Google’s advice to webmasters as well as the W3C consortium to see what they recommend. Right now the menu should go at the top, with certain things expected in the footer and sidebars.  Your website should be as modern in functionality as it is in design.

Do You Have Holes in Your Content? – If you have any old content that is not quality-focused, engaging, and relevant, you will want to work on updating it. Then focus on continuing to be consistent with adding fresh content.

Are Your Keywords Focused? – In the old days you might have put a lot of keywords on a page to attract your audience. Today, keywords are important but they need to be used in titles, headers, and sub-headers. They should only be used sparingly in the content, which should be written first for your audience. Be sure that when you do use keywords, you’re using the right ones for your audience.

What Can You Do to Improve On-Page SEO? – This is all about how your page titles are written. They should represent exactly what’s in the content that you present. Clickbait is not appreciated, even though often even mainstream press uses that trick to get you to click. Focus instead on the URLs for each page, and meta descriptions (which are still very important), as well as meta titles.

Are You Using Social Media Right? – Ensure that it’s easy for your audience to share your content socially. Connect your website to Google and YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and others, depending on what your audience likes to use. Also ensure that you’re engaging with your audience on social media, too.  Any good website audit will include an audit of social media engagement.

Is Your Site Mobile? – Today there is no excuse for not having a mobile site. Your main website should really be mobile first, and then it will also work on regular browsers. This will require you to have a clean design, which is great for everyone.

What’s Out of Date? – If there is anything on your site that is out of date or no longer necessary, get rid of it. This includes things such as keyword-stuffed articles, duplicate content, spun content, a ton of ads, paid links, and anything else that is not current.

By going through this list, you can do a website audit yourself. This will help you keep your site modern, usable and working at its best for your business.

Keywords Aren’t ALL THAT – Rich Content is More

rich contentYou have likely heard that in order to write rich content, you need to write content with a certain number of keywords and do all kinds of keyword research in order to have a website that appears high in the SERPs. Well, some of that is true, but some of it is not. You do need to use keywords, but there is actually a lot more to it than just that.

Rich Content Creators Know These Tips:

Google Is Smarter Now

Google Search and other search engines are smarter than they used to be. Now they not only understand when a search term is used on a website that the site is likely about that, but they also know how to find out why the site is important. So while keywords are still used, you now also need to have a backup such as actual content that speaks to your audience in an intelligent and valuable way about that subject.

Video Is a Huge Traffic Driver

Rich content has to include video as well. With video outside the title and description, there are not really that many keywords. Yet video is a big traffic driver and is weighted very heavily when it comes to sending traffic your way. If you want to increase traffic, you need to add video to your website as often as you add other types of content.

Content Needs To Be Unique and Useful to Your Audience

There is more to it than spinning an article to make it different and appear unique. It truly needs to be original. In order to say you truly have rich content on your site – regardless of whether it’s text, video or images – needs to be interesting to your audience and original. It can’t be created just for search engine optimization; it needs to be created for the reason of entertaining, engaging, informing, or educating your audience.

Your Website Must Be Mobile

If your website is not mobile at the moment you’re reading this, stop reading, check out how it would appear to someone searching for you on a smartphone (because that’s most likely how your audience will be), then go find out how you can make your website mobile. This is actually more important than your content right now, because without it being mobile, search engines will not even list the site in the search engine results. Once that’s finished, start populating with more content that’s original and interesting.

Engagement Is All That

One of the biggest driving forces in getting higher search engine results is the engagement that your content brings. When your audience comments, clicks your links, shares your information and engages with you, that means a lot to the new search engines.

 

Keywords do help you get ranked on Google, identify what it is that you do, and help people find you. But it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not everything. There is more to getting higher search engine results than throwing up some keyword-rich content. The content needs to be relevant, targeted, and interesting to your audience to get real results.

Book Recommendation: The New Rules of Marketing & PR

new rules of marketingThe New Rules of Marketing & PR, 5th edition
Where to buy: www.amazon.com

When it comes to reaching your target audience, there is an art to it. Online marketing is about being visible to people just when they want to hear from you. “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” offers updated information for all sizes of companies to have the impact that they need to increase sales and visibility.

This edition was published in 201 and provides relevant information for online marketing techniques. This includes using Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, press releases, Twitter and more. The best part is that you can accomplish it all without shelling out your entire budget for marketing. For anyone who wants to make a splash in the online marketing world for their company, this is a good place to begin learning about all the ways it can be accomplished.

If you’re skeptical, the author, David Scott includes case studies to support his strategies. Use your content to attract new customers to your business as well as maintaining a relationship with current customers. Get your copy and start applying the principles.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR

What Really Matters? Marketing Metrics Infographic

Data and metrics are everywhere these days, making it easy to compile numbers on nearly any topic, from email marketing and lead generation to social media and digital campaigns. But often these marketing metrics are not actionable and can lead to misinformed business decisions. It is important to keep in mind that in excess, metrics may become cumbersome, overburdening, and may even lead to a false sense of success.

To avoid getting caught in the madness of the data sphere, take a look below to find out which marketing metrics deserve attention and which are safe to let go.

GoodData_infographic1

Source: GoodData

Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make!

social media marketing mistakesGetting your presence on social media is an excellent way to increase your following and make more money. However, there are many common mistakes that people make when engaging in social media marketing. If you are making any of these mistakes, don’t worry; it’s never too late to correct them and make it better.

Social Media Marketing “No-No’s” To Avoid

Not Engaging with Your Followers – When your followers make a comment on something, share or ask a question, don’t wait too long to respond. If you have someone monitoring your social media, have them inform you of ongoing conversations and potential areas of engagement.

Not Filling Out Your Profile Completely – Incomplete profiles make your business look either sloppy, or fake. If you want to be taken seriously, fill out a complete profile with a good profile picture, your company logo/banner and information so that you can be contacted outside of the network.

Not Focusing on Follower Quality – Some people make the mistake of focusing on the quantity of followers rather than the quality. You want to concern yourself with finding followers who are potential customers.

Not Posting Regular, Relevant Updates – If you aren’t active on social media posting things that resonate with your audience, then you’re not going to get any traction. If you plan to be successful with social media marketing it takes perseverance and patience, not one-hit wonders.

Not Choosing Your Channels Wisely – You don’t need to be on every single social media channel. Be on the channels that your audience love and that will work out fine.

Not Automating Some Actions – There are a lot of things, such as scheduled updates, that you can automate on social media. Be sure to use scheduling when possible as long as it doesn’t make you look robotic.

Not Interacting Personally – Every chance you get, it’s important to make spur-of-the-moment updates that are relevant to your business and your goals. This will make you look more real in the eyes of your followers.

Not Personalizing Messages for the Channel – Sending out a mass message, using software, to all of your social media networks that you’ve connected with, is a big mistake. Most of the time, you’ll have leads who are on more than one account. If you do this they’ll quickly feel bored or worse, spammed.

Using social media marketing in your business is a proven technique to get more customers, make more sales, and increase your bottom line, but only if you avoid these mistakes. Take one item at a time and make the improvements needed to get on the right track so that you make your social media marketing profitable for your business.

Looking into the Crystal Ball – Marketing Trends 2015 [Infographic]

So, a new year is upon us and we have decided to look into the crystal ball and predict what some of the big marketing trends for 2015 will be. We will spend some time to explore each of these in more detail in future posts, but for now here is a quick overview of what we think is coming in 2015. We’d love your comments, so feel free to add them below.

infographicstatic

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[Infographic] B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015

MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute partnered again this year to bring you the latest B2B content marketing industry survey. The fifth annual study includes findings from 1,820 North American B2B marketers and presents benchmarks, budgets and trends for the coming year.

According to the study, the secret to content marketing success is to document your content strategy and stick to it. It also uncovered that content marketers are creating more and more content but they still struggle to track ROI, especially when they don’t document their strategy. You can read the full report for all the detailed findings.

Uberflip created an infographic to highlight some of the key elements and help you digest the 40 page report in a glimpse. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

• If you want to be an effective content marketer, you need a documented strategy (not just a verbal one!)
• 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than a year ago.
• Only 21% of content marketers say they’re successful at tracking ROI.
• As far as marketing tactics go, Infographics had the greatest increase in usage from 51% to 62%.
• LinkedIn is the most popular (and most effective) social media channel for B2B marketers.
• In person events are the most effective tactics for B2B marketers.
• More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2015.

B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015