The online world moves fast, and just as it seems like you've got a handle on the current trends in online marketing, they're no longer current anymore. If your online marketing still involves paid links, keyword obsessions, and text-based Facebook fan page posts, then you need to review these top 10 online marketing trends that will keep you current.
1. Content Marketing -- Content marketing isn't exactly new, but it is getting popular in a completely new way. Content marketing is the process of writing specifically themed, engaging pieces of content (usually blogs) and publishing them through news websites or content aggregators. In the past, people have used this opportunity to use as many links and keywords as possible to strengthen their home website's SEO. However, with all the new Google updates frowning upon things like exact match anchor text and literal keyword optimization, people are ditching SEO and using content marketing strictly for personal brand reputation and industry authority.
2. Mobile Devices -- According to Pew Research Center, 60% of all mobile phone users access the internet on their device (91% of all American adults have a mobile phone), so optimizing websites for all devices is essential for usability. Your website is your company's first impression, and it would be a shame to leave a bad one because a user can't get around your site on their iPhones.
3. Video Monetization -- 187 million people in the US watched 48 billion online content videos in July 2013, and in that time the average American spent more than 22 hours watching online video, according to Comscore. That's why optimizing video descriptions with links and keywords, monetizing online videos, and syndicating them throughout the web is so important to online marketing. Users are increasingly favoring video and multimedia content over static text content. Leveraging everything video has to offer will keep your users engaged.
4. Multimedia Social Media -- Speaking of multimedia, social media channels are now highly favoring multimedia (pictures and videos) when choosing what to display to your fans. Rather than only posting text statuses, find an interesting image to accompany that status.
5. Minimalism -- It's tempting to want to explain absolutely everything about your business on your website, and although this can seem as though you're offering more information to promote clarity, it's actually deterring your readers from engaging with your brand. Many corporate websites are now choosing designs and content that are simple and minimal -- offering only the essential talking points that a customer needs to stay interested.
6. Intertwined SEO and Social Media -- In the past, SEO and Social Media used to exist as autonomous functions, but now they're very much intertwined. When optimizing your website, consider how social media plays into the design and your keywords. Social links/icons should be visible on every page (usually in the header or footer), social feeds are popular to place in widget areas, and content on social media profiles should use optimized language.
7. Attribution Modeling -- Over the last year, analytics programs have gotten quite sophisticated, and businesses are now reacting to analytics based on what gathered data says about user experience and behavior -- not just clicks and traffic alone.
8. More Inbound Marketing -- There are so many new tools and resources available for inbound marketing than ever. Analytics, CPC, and SEO tools are intelligent and valuable. A good portion of every business' marketing budget should go to inbound marketing.
9. Data Visualizations -- Presenting numbers and data has never been more fun. Crafty designers are finding amazing new ways to present numbers that keeps readers interested.
Related: The Rise of Visual Marketing
10. Local Marketing -- As the world is getting bigger, people are increasingly becoming more local. Investing in local advertising in becoming more and more popular in the coming months.
Staying on top of these top 10 online marketing trends is essential to making your small business' marketing efforts current, effective, and profitable. There are many new programs and services out there to help with all of these items, so do some research about what tools are available for your small business' industry.
Stay tuned for part 2, where specific tools and processes will be discussed.