We may be only two months into 2016, but one major digital marketing trend is already clear. This year is all about more.
More digital channels, more complex purchasing decisions, more mobile usage, more fragmented audiences, and more marketing messages getting lost in the chaos.
It’s not all hopeless, however. With the right strategy, savvy small business marketers can cut through the “more” chaos and directly connect with customers.
First, start by assessing your business’s weak spots. Is your E-commerce site lagging behind the competition? Could your online reputation management use a boost?
Is it time to branch out with affiliate networks? Once you’ve identified the bottleneck in your growth funnel, it’s time to take action. Get started with four of the best digital marketing resources for 2016.
Related Article: Small but Mighty: Optimizing a Small Business E-commerce Website
1. Build a Better Mobile E-commerce Site
With more than half of all E-commerce traffic coming via mobile sites rather than computers, 2015 was a tipping point for E-commerce.
While mobile devices are still more likely to be used for research (browsing products, checking reviews) rather than for making the final purchase, don’t ignore mobile.
The final conversion may be happening via a different channel, but the buying process starts with the phone. Mobile is even bigger for local businesses, with 78 percent of local mobile searches resulting in a purchase, according to research by SEL. Is your mobile E-commerce site lagging behind?
Here’s the good news. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. If you use managed WordPress hosting such as HostGator, the WPTouch plugin will make any website mobile-friendly, including E-commerce sites.
If your site’s theme isn’t mobile-friendly, don’t delay: future-proof your site by switching immediately to a new theme.
2. Master Affiliate Networks
In the world of, “more, more, more” marketing, personalized content is key to successfully sending the right message to the right customer at the right moment. Creating custom content is just half the battle: you need to publish it to the right sites, too.
Whether you’re a publisher or a marketer, Clickbooth is a serious powerhouse that makes affiliate marketing a piece of cake.
Clickbooth is picky about whom they accept, so you can be confident in the network’s strength.
3. Make Online Reviews a Priority
In a world of constant competition, online reputation management can be a challenge, especially if you’re a small business owner or solopreneur. That’s not an excuse to ignore it, however.
A Harvard Business Review study found that a single star difference in a Yelp restaurant ranking may impact revenue by as much as 9 percent – yikes!
“By the time potential buyers are reading online reviews, they’re in the final stages of the buying cycle,” said Gail Gardner, CEO of Growmap. “A unified review acquisition strategy is a must for 2016.”
Smaller, lesser-known businesses are more vulnerable to attack. Regularly survey customers to gauge satisfaction, respond immediately to negative feedback, and incentivize reviews with a proactive reputation management strategy.
4. Get Smart About Local SEO
Great local SEO takes a lot more than just sprinkling your company's city or neighborhood location throughout your website content. First, claim your Google My Business listing and optimize for NAP (name, address, place).
Google automatically pulls information for your website and user reviews to create a listing for your company. Since this information is auto-generated, however, it's prone to inaccuracies.
By claiming your listing, you can manually manage store hours (including special holiday hours) and even add product photos.
Next, get smart about publishing optimized local content on and off your website. Keywords and in-bound anchor text are two of the most important on-page local SEO signals.
Use Google's Keyword Planner to research popular geo-location search terms. Go beyond product promos and tell a story about local events. What custom content will mean the most to your community's customers?
From local SEO to affiliate networks, make 2016 the year you up your marketing game by refining your digital marketing strategy. What are your top digital marketing goals for 2016?