As in traditional marketing, online marketing is evolving and adapting to needs, dreams, habits and technology, constantly changing the rules of the game.
Wise internet marketing practitioners know that the only way to survive and stay on top of the game is to adapt and adjust their strategies based on what the market currently needs and wants for the time being. Having said that, it makes no sense to carry over to the present, and in the future, the strategies you have “perfected” in 2010 simply because the ever-evolving market now has a different set of needs and wants.
Here is what’s up and what’s out for internet marketing in 2016 – five mindset changing things that you should take into consideration if you want your marketing efforts to mean and count for something in terms of success and results.
What’s Out: Single Social Media Efforts
What’s Up: Diversity in Presence over Various Channels
In the early days of Facebook, everyone thought it was the genius way to extend an e-business’s presence beyond the website. Everyone’s on Facebook anyway, so it made perfect sense to bring the business over to this platform as well. At first it was well received, but over time it was clear that businesses were merely copying their website contents over to this social media channel, making things redundant and the only thing missing was to actually be able to buy from the Facebook site itself.
In late 2013 and 2014, the name of the game became diversifying your brand’s presence over various social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook (yes, this is still relevant and effective but only counts for one and not everything), Pinterest, Instagram and more.
But as you will notice, each social media site has its own design and purpose and your business needs to follow that, too. Short announcements and quick links are best on a social media site with a 160-character limit such as Twitter; images are best put on a roll via Instagram; social interaction and a healthy mix of visuals and words work as great content for a platform such as Facebook.
In this way, you still represent the good and important things about your brand but it is still easy to see how different the presentation of content is across differing social media sites, thus justifying the need to stay connected to your brand in a variety of ways.
What’s Out: Too-Wordy, SEO-Based Content
What’s Up: Short and Sweet Text with Generous Images
We live in an image-centric world, and the best way to adapt to that is to have an image-centric mindset or Internet marketing approach. In the past, online businesses raced to the front page of Google search results by peppering their sites with as many keywords as possible. However, Google’s new tools and the collective body of Internet users will only mark those sites as low in content and not meaningful at all. In short, if you still do this then they are on to you and will soon avoid you like the plague.
So, what’s the remedy for this? Basically, you need to translate all that enthusiasm for wordy and SEO-peppered content into a healthy combination of text and visuals. Keep your message short, sweet and straight to the point for easy reading. Remember, people today have less time for leisurely reading and would like to get the freshest and most important news straightaway.
If you are doing a review, however, it’s okay to keep a loose leash on your word count for as long as you remember to put bullet points or summaries that readers can take a glance at if they want to. Invest in high quality pictures that show what readers and potential customers are looking for. If they want to digitally scrutinize every inch of a product, for example, provide multiple product shots that show the front, back, top and bottom parts of the product and not just a lone front-center photo.
What’s Out: Formal, Stuffy Language
What’s Up: Natural Language for Today’s Times
If you scrutinize the kind of language used in articles today and compare it with what was prevalent four years ago, you will notice that today’s more popular articles use natural language as if the author was indeed speaking in a casual conversation with a peer. Multiply that peer by the thousands of readers but retain the casual, natural but altogether intelligent language used and you have content that passes the Penguin 3.0 algorithm for conversational search and has a higher chance of making it to the first page of Google search results.
These days, people are less stuffy and uptight when searching for something. Instead of simply typing in “pay electricity bills over the web”, people are searching using language like “how do I pay for my electricity bills online” – and that’s the kind of tone and language you need to use when coming up with content for your site.
What’s Out: Passive Marketing
What’s Up: Meaningful and Interactive Participation
It’s easy to be helpful and share good articles and content that your readers will learn from, but the line between helpful sharing and bombardment is a very thin line in today’s times. Keep your audience interested and on their toes with more than just everyday sharing of useful and relevant third party or in-house content; give them something they can react to and participate in. Create theme days and encourage your readers to post something related to these theme days for a chance to be featured on your site or social media page.
Boost your marketing efforts by hosting mini giveaways (it can be an actual product or a discount coupon, for example) that will have contestants thinking of creative ways to participate in and looking forward to the submissions of other contestants. Drop a “debate of the day” topic that readers can react to and discuss, and by all means do try to keep the ball rolling by mediating or asking questions that will delve even further into the topic or discussion.
It seems like a lot of work on your part, but the overarching realization that readers will get from these is that the brand is alive and keen on getting to know their readers – which is always something highly appreciable and a mark of a brand that one can trust and patronize.
What’s Out: Going All-Out on a Web Overhaul
What’s Up: Creating a Mobile-Friendly Version of Your Site
When the return of marketing interest rolls in, many web owners have on their agenda the task of further improving the site – making it bigger, richer in content and all the more wow-inducing. This is commendable, of course – but will probably only be appreciated by the majority if we are all tethered to our desktops using fiber optic Internet all day. However, the reality is that more than half of Internet users today browse using their phones and tablets, and sites that have great content but take a long time to load will bear the brunt of impatience and precious data service kilobytes.
Revamp your desktop site by all means, yes, but don’t forget to focus much of your efforts into creating a mobile-friendly version of your site as well. This is a simplification task that takes the most important elements of your site and putting it into an easy-to-load version that looks at ease on small mobile screens, phablets or tablets. It does not mean you should abandon the improvement of your desktop website at all; rather it means also catering to a fast-growing host of users who are turning to their smaller devices for web browsing.
In short, you will want your readers to have something nice and updated to look at when they get home and start browsing on their laptops and desktops, but you also want them to bring you along in their pockets through mobile phones and other devices.
… one needs to expand in some areas and simplify in others in terms of Internet marketing efforts. The scope of expansion includes:
- More social media channels with dedicated and tailor-fit content
- High quality pictures in place of lengthy text
- A more interactive approach to engage readers
What needs to take a simpler but more meaningful approach includes:
- Relevant articles that are straight to the point
- A summary or bullet run-down of salient information to cater to those who are in a hurry to digest information
- Simple but intelligent natural language that reflects how one actually speaks in a natural conversation or discussion with peers
- Creating a mobile version of one’s site for phone- or tablet-based browsers
So there you have it!
Five new strategies that replace old, passé ones in order to be “2016 compliant” in terms of Internet marketing. If you take a look at these strategies, you will notice that there might be a need to retrain or hire content managers who are more active and dynamic in terms of their efforts at Internet marketing.
This is a worthy investment, of course – as the benefits that you gain from this not only translate to actual sales but an increase in readership and a further cemented trust in your brand as a provider of goods and relevant services.