Online marketing works for any business. The question is never will it work for you, but how well you will work it. The tools are what they are, and the results have proven time and time again that online marketing works—but only if you’re diligent about trying best practices, measuring results and then trying new things. “Being online” and maintaining social media channels are vital components to your future success in the digital age. They aren’t just an online phone book and a way to spread word-of-mouth referrals.
You should already understand how important posting and sharing content is, or building engagement, and the need to monitor and manage your reputation on review sites. These are the basics. You need to be aware of current and future trends so that your business won’t be left behind as the tides change. The seven trends below have all been happening for years now, but they are currently reaching new levels and require attention because they’ll change your marketing strategy.
1: Paid Social Media Ads: OK, free time is over. It was fun back when Facebook and Twitter were free advertising, but that was before they became the hottest real estate on the Web. The rules have changed accordingly. In order to get real benefits from your social channels, you’re going to have to budget some marketing dollars there. And by some, I mean more than you were thinking about. It’s not that paid ads on social media are expensive, it’s just that you’re going to need to concentrate more effort there as you move forward.
2: Google AdWords: Until some other search company dethrones Google as the ultimate controller of the Web as we know it, advertising with it is a pretty smart move. Google AdWords is the platform for advertising on the Web using pay-per-click, or PPC. There are other companies that offer PPC advertising, but none have the power of Google. AdWords campaigns have become as necessary as any other piece of your marketing plan. As of the first of the year, businesses were set to spend about $10 billion more on digital marketing than they did last year.
3: Video Content: Considering that more than 300 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every single minute, you would think that video was ubiquitous. You’d be wrong. No matter where you turn, every analyst and guru is saying that 2016 will blow through new records in video production and consumption. It’s time to start adding video advertising, explainer videos or client testimonials to your marketing.
4: Mobile: Three words: mobile responsive website. If you don’t have one, Google’s already punishing you in search results. Mobile browsing surpassed desktop browsing in 2015. It will only continue to grow.
5: Apps: Going hand in hand with the mobile shift, Google is also now indexing participating apps for search results. Not only does that mean considering in-app advertising, it also means that a proprietary app for your business might help boost your overall SEO.
6: The Digital Assistant Factor: While you’re busy readjusting your SEO strategy to fit mobile search and apps, don’t forget the channel that’s bringing more and more of the results to the end users: digital assistants. Siri, is there a good shoe repair shop near here? Hey Google, I need an affordable lawn service. Cortana, what’s the best CRM software? Get where this is going? You’re going to need to figure out how to optimize your content for these virtual assistants.
7: Wearable Tech: Here’s yet another adjustment to your campaigns. If you thought 140 characters was restricting, wait until you have to squeeze an ad onto a smartwatch. Wearable technology has been adopted slowly over the past few years, but with the breakthroughs of FitBit and some others the public is just about ready to dive in. Remember Bluetooth headsets in everyone’s ears? Get ready for smart clothing all ’round. And, it will open up new worlds of possibilities for digital advertising, but only if you’re ready for it.