In the eternally evolving world of the internet and online marketing, there are always innovative new ways of attracting and keeping your customers. We give you Leverage in 2014 with four core online marketing strategies that must be implemented for continued success in generating leads and revenue online this year and beyond.
Content Marketing & Competing with the Content Deluge
Content marketing has proven its purpose. Sites with quality content have had skyrocketing boosts in web traffic and increased conversion rates compared to those that don’t (source). The more people you have on your site on a regular basis, the more likely they are to buy or subscribe to your product or service. According to a study done by the Custom Content Council, over 70% of consumers recognize and appreciate custom content and would prefer to learn about a company through a collection of articles rather than an advertisement. Custom content refers to articles, blogging, etc. that are directed at the needs and interests of the consumer.
The shift to content marketing directly correlates with a shift in the sales process. People and businesses have changed the way they go about making decisions to buy. Continually having more information at their fingertips thanks to mobile devices, they can go about their own research as they please. We haven’t relied on sales people for years now to begin the decision-making process. Sales pitches are quickly becoming old school. People don’t want to be approached until they’re good and ready. That’s why you need content.
Because new online content is being created every second, it’s necessary to compete with a content deluge: Treat each article or post as a campaign without the sales pitch by identifying a need or concern from your target audience in each piece. Use words that your audience is using to research these topics. In other words, do keyword research. Reserve sales pitch style content for product or service information pages.
Establishing your brand or company as a thought leader means that people turn to you for information and advice in your area of expertise. Developing quality content that informs and engages users is the first step towards thought leadership. Along with providing informative content, you must also be available to interact with consumers and visitors to establish your brand’s authority. Writing great content and then ignoring people’s questions and feedback won’t get you past the first step. Sure, all this takes time, but your goal is to convince potential customers to part with valuable resources in order to own your product or service. Why is it worth it to them? What else can you offer?
Industry thought leaders like Whole Foods or Hubspot have not only developed quality content, they’ve shown involvement in their consumer communities by answering questions, divulging research, and provoking debates on topics concerning their industries. To get started developing your company as a thought leader, provide links to high quality content from authoritative websites that you think might be useful to consumers. This may seem counter-intuitive, but backing up what you say or believe makes you a greater authority. You can also provide commentary or insight form other industry leaders on your sight. Focus on quotes from qualified individuals, and strengthen your brand with research that reflects your company’s mission and values.
Mobile web sites, mobile ads, and geo-targeting grow increasingly necessary with each passing year. According to Digby mobile statistics, 68% of men and 58% of women are likely to make purchases thanks to mobile ads. Additionally, 64% of survey respondents who have smartphones have made a mobile purchase after seeing a mobile ad, but 74% haven’t even received mobile ads from their favorite brands. This leaves a lot of room for lucrative mobile advertising.
When you create a mobile campaign, keep in mind that every additional click required by the user results in a loss of half of the audience that was initially engaged. When a customer can get to what they’re looking for in one click, you’ll maintain their engagement. Mobile audiences are about immediacy and timing. This is why geo-targeting is so valuable. Offering a coupon or other incentives to buy your product or share it on social media is more effective when it’s based on the user’s location. Also, including a phone number if relevant in your mobile ad makes it easy for the consumer to get what they’re looking for. All they have to do is click the number on their smartphone screen to immediately get in touch with someone from your company.
Interactive mobile ads were a success in 2013. Big companies like Ford, Jet Blue, Macy’s, and Adidas all created engaging mobile ads that required the user’s participation. Interactive ads included driving a Fiat across the screen with your finger, packing the Ford Focus, and a game from Adidas where the user uses his or her fingers to run on the screen. When it comes to mobile, think of function over form. What can a user do with your ad?
Responsive design, or having a website that adapts to the user’s device, whether it be a tablet, cell phone, or desktop becomes exceedingly more important in 2014. Forbes brings up a great point when they say that you don’t need responsive design if: you don’t depend on your website to get customers, you have no competitors, or you have an alternative mobile strategy. Alternative mobile strategies involve creating a separate website for each device. In other words, your business is most likely going to need to implement responsive design to remain competitive in the near future. The great thing about responsive design is that your website is adaptable to a variety of devices, including smart TVs.