As the new year approaches, it is a vital time to take a step back and evaluate your digital marketing strategy. With increasingly low barriers to entry, more businesses are entering the online market by the day and competition has gotten extremely stiff. To stay ahead, you should be aware of the latest happenings or risk the competitive advantage you might have in your industry.
In 2014, we saw the revival of email marketing, the prevalence of mobile marketing, and the importance of becoming your own content publisher.
Looking forward, we have identified 5 key issues that are absolutely crucial for you (and your business) to succeed with digital marketing in 2015. Keep them in mind as you approach the following year with your digital marketing plans.
1. Digital Marketing Won’t Work Well In Solitude
Digital marketing can be broken down to various channels, such as social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, marketing automation, and more. It is fundamental to understand how each of these function work, but even more important to know how each function interact and enhance one another.
In the past, just using one digital marketing channel such as SEO would be sufficient to get enough traffic and the required return on investment (ROI). However in today’s situation, that is most likely insufficient and inefficient compared to using multiple digital marketing channels.
There is limited value in understanding individual marketing channels by itself, such as just using Google Adwords or Facebook Marketing. The enormous value lies in understanding how these tactics and strategies apply to a process or larger picture. It requires your business to use an optimal mix of tactics in the right way and the right time to reap far more benefits.
Focus on providing one clear and concise message for your users, and know when to use the right marketing channels at the right time to achieve this goal.
2. Being Relevant is Key
Understanding your target market on a broad level is important, but no longer good enough. In 2015, you need to be able to segment your target market into smaller groups and provide each group with the relevant content and experience.
With the overwhelming amount of information that is being produced and distributed to Internet users everyday, we are living in a world of information overload. Mass marketing techniques have become a thing of the past, and certainly would not cut it in today’s competitive market. People tune out to irrelevant information and only focus on things they are interested and could help them solve their problems.
Just a couple of years ago, people would listen to radio when they wanted music, but had limited control over what they could hear. With programs like iTunes and Spotify, people could choose the relevant music they want to hear. Same thing applies for TV and Netflix. Not only does these programs empower people to get relevant information they want, it also recommends them relevant information based on their preferences.
Businesses can provide relevant information to consumers through tools such as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which help you to monitor and analyze data points, and help you keep track of current trends and vital consumer demographics. CRM systems are quite a norm with businesses these days, as such it is essential to invest in such a system, or even upgrading your current system if you want to keep up with the competition over the next year.
Use this readily available technology to your advantage. Start segmenting your lists (or target markets) based on their online behavior or demographics and deliver the relevant message to them. Using techniques such as remarketing allow you to target consumers with a more relevant message. You are almost certainly going to have more engagement and get better results from doing so.
3. Your Brand Credibility Matters More Than Ever
With the fierce online competition, and level of trust being at all-time low over the Internet, your brand credibility will matter more than ever. There are too many brands online these days, and having brand credibility helps you stand out among the rest, and gain the trust of customers.
Often, the first impression of brand credibility is built upon having a good website design and relevant content on your website. In addition to that, having social proof such as reviews and testimonials can help consumers trust you. Getting these things right is essential as it helps builds trust and attract the right audience.
Even in the following year, content marketing is still highly relevant as you need to develop the content before you share it across various digital marketing channels. This is a way you are able to connect with your customers by providing high quality information without the need of direct selling, and help build credibility in the process.
4. Free Traffic Days Are Limited: Paid Amplification Is The Way To Go
The days of free traffic are almost over, and competition will only get harder as more marketers and advertisers crowd the space. With frequent changes to Google and Facebook’s algorithm, it is nearly impossible to get a steady flow of free traffic for a long period of time. (Besides, there has always been a misconception about free traffic. It isn’t exactly ‘free’ when you have to invest a sizable amount of time or money into creating content and getting the right system set up.)
Times have changed, and your digital marketing mindset needs to change too. Instead of thinking ‘free/cheap clicks’, you should be focusing on ‘ROI of clicks’ instead. There is limited room for mediocre content in today’s world of information overload, so if you really want your content to reach its full potential, be willing to invest in some paid amplification.
Paid amplification allows you to push your content to be seen by the intended audience, instead of being left to be discovered by chance or be limited by the size of people in your network. One of the most popular choice of paid amplifications would have to be Facebook ads. Research done by the Facebook team and comScore showed how pages using paid ads were able to reach 5.4X more people. These results demonstrate that using paid amplification of content led to higher shopping activity and buying behavior than the Internet average.
5. Focus On Customer Service & Real Time Engagement
For 2015, there will be greater expectations of a two-way communication than ever. The users of today have a short attention span, and they will expect a fast reaction time. As such, real time engagement becomes an important benchmark for businesses to aim for in order to satisfy the needs of these users.
On a given day, when someone visits Facebook’s News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories to be seen. Facebook and Twitter reach are at all-time low. Your audience is exhausted. There’s way too much noise and too little signal. Today, people online are more concerned about getting their problems solved, rather than paying attention to marketing messages. Use this new understanding and opportunity to provide amazing customer service with real-time engagement instead.
As Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia puts it, “And I’ve learned over the past few years with the wasted effort in broadcasting without reception that if you give someone a direct relationship through one on one assistance, you are marketing better than ever before. Today, that’s your sales vehicle.”
Think about the sales funnel as a whole and invest in speeding up the delivery of your product in every stage, right from the loading speed from your site to delivering better customer support. If you are able to provide a quality experience for your users, imagine how this would improve the relationship between you and your customer.
The world is constantly changing and evolving, with new trends coming up everyday as the online user behavior is always changing. These trends could be viewed as threats (to your comfort zone) if you do not act appropriately, or could be viewed as opportunities that you can utilize in order to stay ahead of your competition.
With these 5 key issues, you can now make take this opportunity to formulate new strategies for your digital marketing efforts in 2015 to keep up with the changes in online user behavior and digital marketing landscape.
If you need help with formulating a recipe to stay ahead of your online competition, feel free to reach out to us.