The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward inbound techniques, while many outbound tactics have become antiquated. More businesses are finding success publishing original content rather than embedding advertisements within external content, because of the additional benefits these tactics offer, such as branding and audience growth.
1. Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever
One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business's website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.
By using one or more of these channels, businesses are able to build a positive reputation within their industry. This trend suggests that marketing to the masses through techniques like television ads and radio ads are becoming less effective. Instead, it's better to concentrate on inbound marketing, by producing valuable, engaging content designed for a specific audience.
"Russell's Group has proven that they are an expert service provider for the purchase of key words to drive online traffic to our websites. Year over year our traffic via paid keyword searches has grown. Russell's Group make the most of our budget to drive traffic." ~ Brian Brislin, GE
2. Social Media Marketing Will Require More Diversity
It seems like new social media sites are appearing all the time and have surged in popularity. These sites have provided businesses with a plethora of new options that allow them to produce engaging content in a variety of media forms and build their audiences across more channels than ever before.
Consequently, it has become common for businesses to branch out and experiment with multiple networks with the aim of reaching the maximum amount of consumers. This diversification seems to prove fruitful for many companies because it often builds brand equity by making it easier for consumers to recognize a particular brand.
3. Mobile-Friendly Content Will Be Necessary
Due to the widespread (and quickly growing) use of smartphones and tablets, it's necessary for companies to create content that's accessible to mobile users. According to Forbes, "87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones." Whether it's creating an alternate mobile version of a website or utilizing responsive web design, it's important to provide a positive experience to users that are browsing via a mobile device.
Otherwise, it's easy to lose customers to competitors who have adapted to this trend. As the shift from traditional PCs and laptops to mobile devices continues, businesses that aren't onboard are likely to suffer.
4. Ad Retargeting Will Grow in Effectiveness
This is a marketing strategy that has really caught on recently. In a nutshell, it works by utilizing browser cookies to track the websites that users visit. Once they leave a certain site, the products or services they viewed will be shown to them again in advertisements across different websites.
It's fairly obvious as to why this technique can be so effective. With only two percent of web traffic converting on the first visit, ad retargeting works to increase the overall conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they viewed. This keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumer's mind. There are even psychological studies that have shown that simple exposure to brand names and logos creates familiarity, which builds trust and makes consumers more likely to make a purchase.
Even if there's no immediate purchase, this can really pay off in the long run. Due to the success that many marketers have had with ad retargeting, there's a good chance that it will become more mainstream in 2015.
5. SEO and Social Signals Will Become Even More Intertwined
Although social signals still don't typically carry the same weight as traditional inbound links, it's pretty undeniable that they play a role in organic search rankings these days. After all, they're one of the three pillars of SEO. Since the goal of Google and other search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and highest quality content possible, it makes sense why they would factor in the number of social shares that a blog post, article or product page receives.
The more people that are sharing a piece of content, the higher quality it's likely to be, and therefore its position should increase within the search engine results pages. It's no coincidence that the top-ranking search results tends to have lots of social shares, while those ranked lower have fewer.
Besides this, social shares can serve as a stamp of approval (i.e., a trust signal) for visitors landing on a page. If they see that it has hundreds or thousands of shares, it's likely that there's something of value. That's a big reason why so many businesses are installing social share plugins and encouraging consumers to share as much as possible.