The traditional marketing and advertising techniques we once knew have drastically transformed in the digital age. Smooth-talking, martini-swilling Mad Men have been unceremoniously uprooted from their bar stools to make way for new cool cats in advertising — digital scientists and engineers who are developing new technologies to perfect our digitally driven ads.
While we haven’t completely forgone measures to emotionally connect consumers to a brand, it is no longer our driving force. Today’s strategies are about Big Data and innovation. Through accurate collection and proper analysis, this information enables us to pinpoint our audience demographics and deliver highly targeted ads which directly speak to individual wants and needs. While it may sound a bit hard-nosed, the truth of the matter is this: campaigns today must now be completely immersed in digital strategy or run the high risk of being overlooked.
It is probably unnecessary to say, then, that evolving your brand with the latest online marketing trends is vital to your business. Let’s explore some predictions for what the top digital stratagems will be in 2014.
1. Content Marketing — It’s More Important Than Ever
You may be thinking that content has always been an important part of marketing strategies, and you’d be right if you are. But the ‘what and how’ we are presenting our content is changing and will be more crucial than ever in the next year(s). As inbound marketing strategies are steadily overtaking more antiquated outbound forms, it is important to focus on producing valuable, engaging content designed for specific, target audiences. After all, one of the main ways a brand is able to establish authority and trustworthiness with consumers is by regularly producing valuable content through a variety of different outlets. Some of the most effective channels for B2B companies are: social media, company blog posts/articles, case studies and eNewsletters.
And lest we forget, always make your website accessible from mobile devices. Whether you create an alternate mobile-friendly version or utilise responsive web design, it has to be done. There are seven billion people in this world and six billion of them have smart phones — that’s a pretty big audience that you won’t be reaching.
2. Social Media Marketing Will Require More Diversity
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are still the head honchos of social media, but sites like Pintrest, Google+ and Instagram (to name a few) are surging in popularity, thus providing businesses with a wider array of options to produce unique and engaging content. By branching out and experimenting with multiple networks, businesses will be able to build their audiences across more channels and acquire higher recognition rates, building brand equity.
3. Ad Remarketing Will Grow in Efficiency
To sum up remarketing, it is a strategy that works by utilising browser cookies to track the websites consumers visit. If a viewer leaves your site without converting (only 2% of web traffic convert within the first visit), the product or service will be shown to them again in advertisements across other websites they subsequently visit. It is basically a friendly reminder to the non-converted, keeping the brand front of mind and increasing overall conversion rate.
4. SEO & Social Signals Will Become More Intertwined
Since the aim of Google and search engines like it is to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant content possible, it is no surprise that social shares (likes, shares, tweets, etc) will start playing a bigger factor in SEO. They theory is that the more social shares a blog post or article has, the higher quality it is likely to be. Social shares also serve as a kind of trust signal for visitors to a landing page. If viewers see that a page has a high number or shares, they can only assume that there is something of value there. Many businesses are harnessing this power of social influence by installing social share plugins and encouraging viewers to share content with their social media circles.
5. Websites to Take a Turn Towards Minimalism
In 2014 we will see marketers answer a shift in customer preference by offering content that is quick and easy to digest as opposed to text-laden, in-depth messages. Brands will not only begin to tone down their messages so as not to overwhelm customers, but begin featuring content with well-placed images, infographics, etc to break up content and help emphasise key points.
While it may seem like consumers could not possibly be more connected than they already are, the truth is, we are becoming increasingly more conscious, hip, knowledgeable, by the second and it’s not waning any time in the foreseeable future.
If you are looking to fine-tune your website and want some expert advice, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs:firstname.lastname@example.org