What should be in your 2016 digital marketing strategy?
If your business has an internet presence, you probably realise how important digital marketing can be for your success.
But digital marketing is not a single, standalone activity; it’s a set of complimentary elements which combine to form an overall strategy.
What exactly should go into that strategy is constantly evolving, and is always subject to discussion, so here we’d like to present our take on what the most important things are to include in your digital marketing strategy for 2016.
A survey of marketers by Smart Insights found that 18% of marketers believe that content marketing will have the ‘greatest commercial impact’ out of all digital marketing activities in 2016.
The reason that it has become so important, and will continue to grow in importance for years to come, is not only because the search engines’ algorithms now demand high quality content (see our blog on How to claim poll position in Google), but because consumers have come to expect it.
Today’s web users have an insatiable hunger for information – the internet has slowly crept into every facet of our lives, and is now the first port of call for many people when they need to find a supplier of a product or service, solve a problem or fulfil a need.
However they don’t simply want to ‘find’ something. They want to know more about it, to hear and read what other people say about it or think about it and be convinced they are looking at something that will be of benefit.
They want to be convinced that the person or organisation they may purchase from is an expert authority. And an organisation that writes convincingly and authoritatively around its field of expertise will inevitably be perceived that way.
Your content should reflect these needs and satiate this information hunger. But it should also in doing so increase your brand’s exposure, gain a positive online reputation in the eyes of your potential customers, and climb the search engine rankings.
Great content is also likely to be shared by people, bringing additional traffic to your website and exposing your brand further. This brings us to our next point…
Social sharing buttons
Having exceptional content is not enough to ensure it spreads online and that you’re squeezing every ounce of value out of it. You need to facilitate its spread by making it easy for people to share, and actively encouraging it.
To make it easy for people to share your content, and to plant the idea in their minds, all you need is some social sharing buttons that appear alongside your content. This is a relatively simple task, and such buttons can be embedded into your webpage or blog using websites such as addtoany.com.
It’s not just your webpages and blog posts that should have the ability to share via social networks though. According to an Adweek infographic, ‘emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%’.
By implementing these buttons into all of your email marketing campaigns, you can increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing with little or no extra cost.
For e-commerce businesses, one of the most frustrating things can be to lose potential customers somewhere between them finding your product and actually completing the final transaction. Fortunately, 2016 is looking like it could be the year of the ‘buy button’, with Google having implemented this new feature towards the end of last year.
The buy button will essentially mean that consumers can purchase your products directly from the Google search results, eliminating the possibility that they may become distracted and fail to buy. It’s not just Google though, Pinterest have already got in on the idea, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are also said to have similar features in development. You can find out more about buy buttons and what they mean for your business over on Search Engine Journal.
The same Smart Insights survey mentioned above found that the largest number of respondents believed that ‘marketing automation’ will have the greatest commercial impact in 2016. So what is it?
As your company grows, marketing can start demanding more and more of your time and resources to fulfil its greedy lust for ever-increasing sales leads.
The best kind of marketing arguably requires you to do very little to make an additional sale. That’s the basic idea behind marketing automation, and the concept involves using software to streamline your marketing tasks and maximise your revenue. For example:
- You can automate the nuts and bolts of your email marketing campaigns and analysis their success using software tools like MailChimp. Software solutions like this will enable you to do things like separate your e-mail lists into different categories based on the type of prospects they are, monitor click-through and open rates, and compare the results of previous campaigns.
- You can use software such as Act-on, Pardot or Hubspot to track your customers from initial leads to the end of the sales funnel.
- Many of these tools offer lead scoring tools to help you rank leads and track them through your funnel to see how they turn into sales.
- Marketing Automation software can generate detailed marketing reports within moments that you can use to further develop your marketing strategy.
- With software like Buffer and Hootsuite you can automate many aspects of social media marketing, and generate a constant flow of user engagement with minimal effort.
Though the idea of marketing automation might sound cold and lacking the human touch, it in fact frees up your marketing creativity to focus more on communicating with your customers directly on a personal level, rather than spending hours poring over mechanical marketing tasks.
You can find out more about marketing automation and it’s practical implications in Neil Patel and Rikita Puri’s ‘Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation’ over on Quicksprout.
Mobile marketing and mobile ‘moments’
The importance of making your website and all other digital marketing content mobile-ready has been known for some time, but in 2016 this is set to take on an even greater priority.
In fact, according to Google, more people now search via their mobile devices than their computers in ten countries, including the US and Japan. Google has of course shifted its mobile algorithm in response to favor those websites which are mobile friendly.
This means three things for businesses that want to succeed and reach as many customers as possible in 2016:
- Your website needs to be display properly on mobiles and tablets, and be easy and intuitive to use.
- Your content should be suited to reading on mobile devices – it should only be as long as it needs to be, sentences and paragraphs should be kept short. Text should be broken up with sub-headers, bullet points and images where appropriate.
- You need to take advantage of the mobile ‘micro-moments’ happening all the time. This is a concept currently being championed by Google, who say that: “Mobile has forever changed what we expect of brands. It’s fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.”
The first two should be fairly self-explanatory by this point, and can best be solved by hiring a digital marketing agency such as C4B Media or design professionals to ensure that your site and its content are suitable.
The latter point, the idea of fulfilling the customer’s ‘micro-moments’, requires that you consider what questions people are asking via their mobiles as they arise – e.g. where can we eat? Where can I find a pair of shoes? Where’s the nearest coffee shop? What is the best way to …? – and how you can best answer them with your digital content.
Need some help?
Here at C4B Media we’d like to wish you the very best for 2016, and if you need any help with any aspect of your digital marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01763 877110.