As many of us know, the internet has completely changed the variety of ways that information can be shared, which has had a huge impact on marketing. Recently, there has been a more drastic shift towards “inbound” tactics, which have replaced the now outdated “outbound” tactics. Businesses are now finding success in providing and publishing original content rather than just simply embedding advertisements with external content. This is due to the additional benefits that such tactics can offer like branding and audience growth. Keeping this in mind, here are some of the emerging online marketing trends you and your business should look out for in 2014.
1. Content Marketing is Powerful as Ever
One of the key methods that companies can use to establish authority and gain trust of consumers is by providing high quality content on a consistent basis. This means providing insight or entertainment and relevant industry information to a target audience. Doing so allows companies to build a reputation with their targeted demographic, eventually developing a loyal following. According to a study done by the Content Marketing Institute, the top content marketing strategies involve social media, videos, and articles on both the business’s website or other websites.
Implementing these channels, and content marketing strategies can help businesses create a positive reputation within the industry. The trend suggests that marketing by the means of TV ads or print ads are becoming continually ineffective. By concentrating on “inbound” tactics, and producing valuable, engaging content for a targeted demographic, a franchise or business can expect so see a larger amount of solid leads from interested consumers.
2. Diversify Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Just a few years ago, businesses had a limited number of social media networks that they could implement into their social media marketing strategies. This included the big three of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These days however, it seems as if there is a new social media site opening up every day. While some never really succeed, others such as Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Instagram are surging in popularity and providing businesses with a lot of new options that can assist them in producing engaging content that helps build audiences.
Thus it has now become common for businesses to expand and experiment with different social media sites with the aim of reaching the maximum amount of consumers. Diversification of the use of social media networks is fruitful because it allows the company to build brand equity by making their brand more recognizable.
3. Contents needs to be Image Focused
Today’s consumers are hit with an increasing number of ads and it becomes more vital to make an ad that leaves a mark on the consumer. To do this, the content must be easy to create and quickly digestible by the consumer. Most social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ place an emphasis on images, and the rapid rise of content sharing sites such as Buzzfeed and Pinterest is a testament to the importance of image-based content.
Infographics can also be a great tool to combine images with some key information that explains a topic and provides statistical information or data from research studies. This is a great way of providing information in a way that is attractive to consumers and can be easily digestible. Look out for infographics to be a increasingly popular method of content creation in 2014.
4. The Importance of Mobile Friendly Content
Smartphones and tablets are now used more than ever, and it is becoming necessary for companies to create content that is accessible to anyone trying to access the content via mobiles. In fact, according to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales will be tablets and smartphones by 2017.
Make your websites and blogs more mobile friendly and provide users a positive experience. Not doing so can make it easier to lose potential clients to competitors who have adapted. Businesses that fail to adapt in making the shift from traditional PC’s and laptops to mobile devices are likely to suffer in 2014.
5. Make Your SEO Strategy More Interlinked
The goal of Google and other search engines is to provide users with relevant and high quality content. It makes sense then that they factor in the number of social shares of a blog post or article.
The more people that share a piece of content, the higher the quality is likely to be and thus the social signals result in increasing the position within the search engine results pages. It is therefore no coincidence that the top search results more often than not have loads of likes and tonnes of social shares, while those ranked lower have much fewer.
Social shares can be seen as an endorsement for any visitors to your page. If they see a ton of shares, it is likely that they will believe that the content has value. This has caused a huge rise in businesses installing social share plugins that encourage visitors to their page to share as much as possible. In 2014, it is likely that the social shares will continue to match or outweigh traditional “inbound” links.
6. Keep it Simple
One of the more recent noticeable trends has been the shift in consumer preference of simplistic marketing messages instead of more detailed messages. Think of some of the largest brands in the past decade like Google or Apple. These corporations obviously value simplicity. A large part of some social networks such as Pinterest or Instagram is the clean and simple aesthetic.
Consumers are barraged by information from all directions, all day, so most modern marketers are going the other way. They are now making efforts to tone down their barrage of campaign messages and not attempting to overwhelm consumers with information, giving them the information that they need in a simple package that is attractive and easily digestible by the consumer.
About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi
A serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.