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A business requires good use of digital marketing techniques to be successful online, and one needs to understand what are the recent trends and what habits may affect your business online in today’s day and age. An experienced online marketing agency will have a working knowledge of digital marketing strategy and channels to use such as local online media, paid ads, SEO, social media, email marketing, and affiliate marketing; which ones to use and the best strategies and tactics for each digital marketing channel depending on your business life cycle.
Developing an online marketing strategy supported by solid planning from web designers and online marketers, and the right implementation, will result in high traffic levels and conversion rates for an online business. There are some bad habits that some people are making and also some important trends which need to be considered when planning digital marketing for the coming year in 2016. Let’s take a look at what these are:
Many people are still undertaking digital marketing activities without taking the required time to learn about your audience online and how to connect with them. To make your digital marketing work you have to have a good online marketing strategy. This will underpin your entire digital marketing campaign. It is not just a case of going through the routines – looking for keywords, publishing posts on social media, but it is in essence about understanding your target audience, from where they are located, what motivates them, to their buying habits online. This goes beyond the standard patter, one needs to research, have a clear understanding of your your potential customers and clients wants, and how to connect with them.
Every online marketing strategy is going to be different and unique to each business. Many people fail to consult with online marketing professionals and work out a strategy before they start working on a new website and setup a few paid ads, and the result is a bit of a disconnected website and directionless marketing campaign with no end goal in sight, that often leads to poor results. Developing well researched and creative digital marketing strategy and plan is fundamental to online success, and should be the first starting point in planning your digital marketing initiatives in 2016.
SEO is important and always will be, the point is the process to carry out SEO successfully has fundamentally changed in the past 3 – 4 years with Google Penguin and Google Hummingbird algorithm updates that have requires an SEO to build more online authority with quality and related sites, rather than just building a large amount of back links. Traditional SEO’s need to re-think their strategy if there’ still focused purely on back links, keyword stuffing and rich anchor text links. Google’s Penguin update in the past years take a direct hit on any web spam, so if your website is associated with any of this, you need to be very careful.
Search engines use semantic methods to rank websites which is the core update behind Hummingbird. This means that search engines don’t look at keywords in isolation, however they look at the relationship behind queries and can handle conversational and more long tail queries to deliver refined results. Search engines like Google have become smarter and rank websites that have good quality content, a good user experience and which are seen as a position of authority in their online space. An SEO therefore, demands quality content to support a successful SEO strategy. An SEO in today’s world need to be good at technical SEO, content marketing and online PR to be successful; having a content strategy and building authority of ones business is essential to driving organic traffic. Whilst this isn’t a paid advertising exercise, one needs to understand it requires planning, producing quality content and outreach with relevant online industry players to be done well.
All websites need to be have a mobile friendly by design. The reason for this, is mobile media has already surpassed desktop media in terms of time spent on the internet according to Smart Insights, and nearly accounts for half of the internet traffic on Google. Google now punishes sites that fail to be usable on mobile devices and will not rank them favorably. To that end, it is a good idea you check your website is mobile responsive, and ensure your online marketing strategy factors in a good responsive web design.
So, ensure your web designer avoids these classic errors when it comes to responsive web design:
Ensure your digital marketing agency checks metrics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and provide you with meaningful reports
Online ads if handled properly will generate great results for your business. Some search engines will only rank your site well if you have an ad campaign in progress. Targeting is becoming much more sophisticated in online adveritising, which means that marketers can do more direct marketing and are more successful. Compare the benefits of Google vs Facebook advertising to find out what is suited for your business. Remarketing advertising is a method that is easy to setup and a very targeted form of advertising to your past website visitors that you should also consider. The latest remaketing techniques allow Paid Per Click marketers to do identity based advertising, meaning they can display targeted ads to their customers by identifying them with their email address tag to their remarketing lists. This is changing the targeting capabilities of display advertising and an important trend you should jump on right now.
To that end ensure your online ad agency has good knowledge of search engine and social media ads, to generate leads to your business. It is not only effective, it is cost effective.
Businesses and individuals that want to be successful online and do not leverage social media are missing out on building their brand, prospects and gaining quality traffic.
The fact is social media allows you to:
To that end ensure your online marketing strategy ensures you are on the right social media networks for your target audience and are sharing quality and related content regularly, that engages visitors and fosters likes, shares, and comments to build your brand online successfully. The rise of Instagram is one of the latest trends with 300+ million users, you should jump on the band wagon as businesses are getting great exposure, and it now offers advertising in specific regions with much more targeting capabilities being released soon. Hashtags have been rising in recent years; this feature essentially helps with SEO and enlarge the exposure of your posts, that you should not miss when doing social media activities. Too often brands are missing this opportunity, with good research on what popular hashtags to use, this can dramatically amplify your posts.
Not only is text important but images are also critical for engagement as they are visual and primarily what people respond to, from their first impression. Recent trends with more people using mobile these days are ensuring that social media posts use high quality images with a small amount of text embedded on the image in the style of your brand, which helps capture the readers attention, drives the biggest engagements, click through rates and actions.
Once you start building a subscriber list to your updates and business and brand information, you can then start using email marketing to build relationships, share your knowledge and build an interest in your business that will foster ongoing sales.
Content planning has to be formulated thoroughly in advance to make sure you are communicating with your customers on the right message. The right message should also be delivered to the right audience group, and if you have a big enough database; database segmentation is needed to do more direct email marketing.
To enhance open rate, subject line A/B testing should not be missed, which can learn about what wordings, icons and elements which are attractive to your readers. It is also a recent trend to do remarketing emails to retarget people who are interested in particular products or services from your website or past emails, by providing them the offers they expressed an interest in, in a following remarketing email. This is one of the most powerful forms of email marketing and driving more sales for businesses. Another thing to consider is customer lifecycle email marketing, which is basically a method of CRM ensuring your customers are getting an email at every touch point where they interact with your brand e.g. recent purchase, thank you email + ask for feedback, which can help with relationship building and maintaining loyal customers.
Finally with the recent trends of HTML5 becoming more widely used, embedding videos in email is now possible and using animiation is becoming more common which will help increase engagement further with rich media enhancement. Good use of email marketing makes all the difference.
Some things to consider when planning your digital marketing activities in 2016. Feel free to let us know your thoughts or anything to add, your comments are welcome!
Author: Jonathan Gillespie
We will analyse your website and let you know of any improvements that could be made.