Successful Business Leaders Tell All: Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2016 / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Digital marketing insiders from established businesses share their secrets for content marketing and SEO success in 2016.

What would you ask if you could score an exclusive sit-down with a successful startup leader or entrepreneur? As a solopreneur myself, I’m always eager to learn about the marketing secrets that kick-start a company’s rise to success.

From SEO and mobile marketing to influencer outreach and content marketing, keeping pace with the latest digital marketing trends is a serious challenge. Gaining insight from someone who’s been in the marketing trenches before is invaluable.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with four startup leaders. These successful visionaries shared their predictions for digital marketing trends in 2016:

Related Article: A Look Inside: What Will Be the Big Online Marketing Trends for 2016?

What’s Next for Mobile Marketing?

Here’s what Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media, an innovation studio that’s been designing and building mobile responsive websites since 2011 has to say about UX:

“2015 was a tipping point in terms of smartphone usage for everything from mobile search to mobile ecommerce,” said Crestodina. “Now that Google has essentially made mobile-friendliness an SEO requirement, we’re witnessing a major push towards mobile optimization that goes beyond responsive design.”

“Optimizing for user experience (UX) is going to be huge in 2016. In order to stand out in the world of mobile, businesses need to provide their customers with a frictionless, memorable experience. Businesses need to ask, ‘What is essential content and what can be pared down or replaced for a more interactive experience?’ Micro interactions, for example, are an easy way to delight customers and add value to the mobile experience.”

Why Should Content Marketing Be Part of Every B2B Digital Strategy?

Brian Sutter with Wasp Barcode Technologies, a digital inventory tracking company, discusses why content marketing is essential at every stage of the B2B buying cycle:

“With so much hype around content marketing, it’s natural for startups and small businesses to wonder if it’s truly worth the time and effort, or if it’s just a lot of buzz with no substance,” says Sutter. “Content marketing is absolutely worth it, as long as you do it correctly. For small B2B companies, that means understanding how different pieces of content fit in the B2B sales cycle.”

“At Wasp Barcode Technologies, for example, we create a lot of informational content to help businesses better understand the different applications for our products as well as content geared towards best practices for using our products. These pieces fit the sales cycle differently. Information on different applications fits the early stages of the sales cycle when we are defining the buying vision and building awareness; how-to information comes later when we are differentiating ourselves from the competition. I recommend businesses list out each stage of their sales cycle in a chart and match up content pieces specifically for a customer’s needs at that stage. You can’t give customers what they want if you don’t know what they need.”

Related Article: 20 Social & Digital Trends That Will Impact Marketing in 2016

What’s Next for SEO in 2016?

Nadav Dakner, the co-founder and CEO of InboundJunction and an SEO expert, shares his predictions:

“SEO is continually evolving; the current challenge is to find that perfect balance between creating content for humans while also ensuring it's optimized for web crawlers,” says Dakner. "As a rule of thumb, you should always focus on providing added value to people through solving problems and answering questions". Google cares about whether a website page is useful content that answers search queries.

"Optimizing a website page for a specific keyword is only the first step. The magic comes when you deliver immediate useful content, incorporate relevant images and videos to lower your bounce rate and building a strong on-site infrastructure". It's worthwhile to create dedicated feature pages or landing pages in your site designated to rank for specific search terms and improve your sales and CTR. That'll also assist in building backlinks through better relevancy in your anchor texts and destination URLs.

What’s Next for Link Building?

Here’s why Elad Mor, the CEO at MarketAcross, a digital branding agency, says link building is far from dead.

“There’s been a lot of hype over the last year that Google has killed link building,” said Elad. “That’s not the case at all. Just like with keyword optimization, the key is quality, not quantity. Authoritative links are a critical part of Google’s ranking algorithm because they convey trust and credibility. It’s all about placement.”

“Contextual links are the strongest option for linking back to a website. A well-placed mention on an industry blog or high-quality resource page can strengthen the relevancy and authority of your website. Think of links as professional references: the best references are those with a wide network and a strong reputation that will convey credibility and recognition by the online community.”

Related Article: 8 Marketing Trends You Should Know About And How to Use Them

Bottom Line

Understanding impactful marketing trends is essential to building a smarter digital marketing strategy in 2016. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace, it’s natural to feel like you’ve got a case of whiplash trying to keep up. From smarter mobile design and link building to a robust content marketing plan and the integration of videos into website content, focus on how each of these tactics fits into your overall strategy and execute from there.

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