Any marketer worth their salt will agree that digital trends quickly change in the online world. If you’re not reading about your industry every day and staying up to date, then there’s a big chance you’re going to get left behind…
This changing landscape and market means your audience is not only growing with each technological advance, but is also becoming more and more reachable.
Some of these new marketing trends, as you’ll see, have been stirring up for quite some time, but after a few years of initial experimentation by other people and companies, we can now analyze how effective these strategies have become.
By learning about and leveraging new marketing best practices, we hope that you can implement them into your own marketing efforts!
But with the possibility of being abandoned in a world of outdated internet processes, what can you do to keep on top of your internet marketing?
1 – Join the Mobile Party
Because that’s where your customers are! Spend any time outdoors and you’ll notice that everyone and their dog are unable to go even 5 minutes without checking their smartphone.
It’s a sickness, I tell you!
BUT, it’s one that we as business owners, marketers and startups can leverage to our advantage.
There’s just one problem – recent research featured on MarketingLand shows that most businesses do NOT optimize their sites and landing pages for mobile traffic, and as a result could be missing out on $1 trillion in potential sales!
That’s a lot of money to leave on the table (and a lot customers to ignore).
Internal access to our customers landing page metrics backs up the trend, where we see a whopping 45% of visitors coming in through mobile devices.
All of this data tells us that if your site, campaigns, landing pages, and even emails are not mobile ready, you’re already missing out on a nice percentage chunk of traffic. Anywhere you direct traffic should be mobile-optimized.
So then, what should you do to guarantee a good experience for mobile visitors now and in the future?
The easiest route, (IMO) is to use a landing page and marketing campaign platform, like KickoffLabs :), that delivers great-looking, mobile-optimized templates to screens of all sizes – right out of the box!
That’s pretty sweet since not every landing page platform does mobile-optimized themes (KickoffLabs does), so keep an eye out for that…
If you’re more the DIY design type (awesome, you can bring that custom HTML into KickoffLabs), there are a number of different “mobile-responsive CSS frameworks” that make it easy – if you can code – to craft a great mobile experience:
Taking it one step further, you could even create your own mobile app from scratch! And don’t think only developers get to have the fun… I’ve seen dedicated mobile apps for things like local events, restaurants, schools, artists, you name it…
Sound hard to do?
Here are a few platforms that make it easy even for a small business to create a dedicated iOS or Android app:
More of a nerdy type? Take a look at theses tools of the trade:
While the death of the desktop hasn’t hit quite yet (and I don’t think it ever will), 1 thing that’s clear is mobile phones and tablets are here to stay, and delivering a quality experience for visitors of all devices is crucial.
2 – Become a Media Company
The idea of content marketing is nothing new. Offering free advice and tips to your potential client base may seem counter productive, after all, if you’re good at something you should never do it for free.
Truth is, good content marketing not only establishes you as a trustworthy and reliable source, but can help with SEO and search rankings… driving you towards that ever desirable first page of Google.
As you’re working your way through the search engine results with regular updates, you’ll also be increasing your brand visibility, establishing a connection with your audience, and instilling confidence in your brand.
Creating FREE content is essential if you want to stay relevant in the coming decade. You can, and should, have a paid offering (that’s how you’ll flourish in business). But using content to attract and engage leads can very well be the key to your future marketing success.
There are many different formats and ways to create content through:
- blog posts
- dedicated social media posts
- interactive quizzes
Whatever content you decide to create, make sure that it speaks about your customers issues and how they can solve those issues.
“The cost of entry to be relevant in our society today, is content. If you’re not putting out stories, you basically don’t exist.”
I totally agree with Gary on this one, yet I’d like to add that content marketing isn’t only about creating content, it’s also about sharing and promoting your content. You need to be active, promoting to your audience, influencers, communities and forums, and to other bloggers in your industry or niche.
In all honesty, content marketing is a very, VERY broad topic. Too broad for one blog post…
… But, I’ll do you the favor of pointing you in the right direction :)
Here are two of my recommended resources; perfect for whatever stage you’re at in the content marketing game:
A Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing by Shopify
The Advanced Guide To Content Marketing by Quick Sprout
3 – Get Behind the Camera
We’re also seeing new trends arise in the way people consume content and media. A study from OMD UK’s Future of Britain research project suggests that a major reason for this is due to people’s shortening attention span.
OMD research: viewers switch devices regularly while the TV is on (Image credit: Nathan Daniels)
The study goes on to conclude that “…brands need to experiment with new formats that fit with these new consumption patterns”.
There are those people who love reading in-depth articles (like your smart self!)… there’s people who prefer following a brand via the 140 characters of Twitter…
…but there’s another rapidly growing online segment, one that Cisco predicts will constitute 79% of all consumer traffic by 2018.
And it’s easy to realize why – it’s a classic format that people love and appeals to just about all audiences… not to mention how easy it is to consume compared to reading text on a mobile device.
Video is a great medium for engaging people with stories. It has a low barrier to entry and can offer your business many long-term benefits, such as:
- creating content that lives forever, providing another stream of traffic.
- cultivating an audience who may come to know and love you.
- or even gaining an influential “celebrity” status (look at Andrew Warner of Mixergy or plenty of those crazy “Youtubers”).
That said, what can you do to take your first steps into video marketing?
I’d love to say that it’s as simple as hitting recording and reaping the profits. Cha-ching!
But the reality is, just like any other type of marketing campaign, first comes (at least somewhat of) an understanding of who your customers are and how can they benefit from your product or service.
There’s no hard and fast rules for producing video content:
- videos can be professionally recorded or even done from a webcam.
- length can range from less than a minute to over an hour.
- if you’re camera shy, you can narrate over video.
The only thing that I notice viewers complain about is audio quality, so I would try to get that part right. Just make sure your audio (voice, music, effects, etc) is LOUD and CLEAR.
Hmmm, I can already hear you saying “but my company is in a boring industry, there’s NO WAY I can make videos that both entertain and sell!”
I’d disagree. Have a look at how Blendtec used clever video marketing to breathe new life into one of the most dullest and utilitarian items in the household… the blender!
If you’re wondering how creating video content has affected their top line: Blendtec founder, Tom Dickson (the guy in the labcoat) says “it’s opened new avenues that have actually brought in somewhere close to six-figures.”
And guess what, they didn’t start off spending thousands of dollars on video and lighting equipment. All it took was a decent video camera (which any smartphone today has) and a bit of handy editing to put together a great video that captures what their product is best at.
Video marketing isn’t all about going viral either. There are many different ways you can effectively use video to drive awareness, engagement, and sales – through landing page videos, product demos, audience updates, I could go on and on.
Once you have created the video, it’s easy to share across platforms. Post it to your site or alongside a blog post. If you’ve got a useful webinar planned, why not record it and make it available for all future traffic!
If you’re self-producing video content, here are some places for video hosting:
- YouTube (the #2 largest search engine, but in my opinion the worst in terms of analytics and tools)
- Vimeo (great HD hosting, analytics are ok… I see a lot more artsy videos here)
- Wistia (they are AWESOME for video marketing, with a focus on lead generation, like KickoffLabs but for video!)
The explainer video
On a quick sidenote, since we’re talking about video marketing… explainer videos (which is a short video used to quickly explain your company’s product or service) are also very useful for creating awareness and giving your brand a voice.
You could use a paid option. These are some of the top companies in the space that have produced videos for companies like Netflix, CrazyEgg, & Wunderlist. They do some awesome work, just be prepared to spend hundreds, if not thousands of $’s:
If you’re more of a bootstrapped, do-it-yourselfer… check out our post on how to create your own promo video for under $200!
4 – Unlock the Potential of Email
Email is quite possibly the oldest form of digital communication. So to many it may seem like an outdated model – it’s definitely not as flashy as social media or SEO.
However, a recent infographic by email testing and analytics service Litmus, reveals that email marketing averages an ROI of $40 for every $1 spent. Not bad at all!
To further drive it home… Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, Avinash Kaushik, also recently agreed that email still rocks and social, surprisingly, stinks. In the LinkedIn article he goes on to state that “email conversion rates are nearly 40 times (!) that of Facebook and Twitter”.
The numbers don’t lie folks, an email address is worth countless likes or follows. And since it provides higher conversion rates than any other method, in my book, that makes it the clear winner.
While your primary marketing efforts should not be focused on social media. I truly believe that social is more of a long-term play and will “blossom” during the next decade.
So we now know how effective email marketing can be, but to unlock the true potential of email, there’s a new trend on the horizon that can help us offer a better, more lucrative service.
Segmentation… and by that I mean personalization.
Let’s say you’ve got a subscriber list of 10,000. If you’re sending the same generic campaign to everyone on your list, odds you’re not getting the best results.
Separate your list into more manageable groups, a fashion company may split their list into male and female, and perhaps further divide the list by age allowing for specific deals to those it would appeal to.
So not only capturing subscribers, but maintaining different lists is the key to success here.
This allows you to tailor your message to people on the list. Yes, it takes a little more work, but it’s something that can pay off in dividends when it comes to your conversions.
Vero used data from 8,000 email campaigns to conclude that “using personalisation in your email marketing campaigns, even if it’s just using a customer’s name, can increase click through rates by up 50%”!
Here are a few examples of how else you might segment your subscriber list:
- by demographic
- by signup date
- by interests
- by activity
- by goal activity
- any other data or information that is relevant to your business
While you could use 1 form with multiple form fields to collect and segment new subscribers. The smart way to do it would be to create a different landing page for each of your target demographics, all with limited form fields, ideally just an email address…
… Simply create a copy or two of your current KickoffLabs landing page (no landing page yet? create a new one now!), tailor the message to each different segment and link to the page from a different ad campaign. This will help you create highly targeted lists that will surely boost your conversion rates!
Once you’ve capture those emails, you can either use our built-in email marketing or use one of my recommended email marketing platforms that offer a bit more extensive segmentation capabilities:
What if you could do personalization and automate email at the same time? Welcome to the future of business, my friend… These are some great services that offer behavioral, time, and trigger-based emails, in addition to advanced segmentation.
BTW, all this segmentation doesn’t mean that you should be asking for MORE personal information from your customers. Beware long email capture forms!
Luckily, KickoffLabs gives you access to reports like our Magic Contact Data, which takes customer email addresses and fills in missing data such as Twitter names, Facebook profiles, biography, current employer, and even their full names.
Imagine the advanced targeting you could offer your customers, and not to mention potential sales for your business. But don’t take my word for it… Signup for your FREE account and take a test drive today!
5 – Communicate the Right Message
If you spend any time around the marketing blogosphere, you’ve most likely seen people flaunting results of how they’ve achieved a two or even three-digit percentage lift in conversions, just by changing something on their landing page or website.
How did they achieve such a feat? The answer is with A/B testing.
It’s no wonder that more and more of the top websites on the net are picking up on this growing trend. I mean who doesn’t want to boost their conversion rates?
Previously, to setup an A/B test it was quite complex. Nowadays, there’s tools like:
Sometimes something as simple as changing the color of text can increase your conversion rates, however, without A/B testing this could go undiscovered for months leaving you seriously out of pocket.
This is why you should implement a proper A/B testing strategy, that helps you extract actionable data from users behavior.
For both small and large changes, A/B testing is still the most reliable and easily measured methods for bringing about big changes to your landing pages, website & campaigns. It’s also one the fastest ways to see an increase (or decrease!) in conversion rates.
So what’s the most important thing to be testing?
Sure, you should also be testing images, CTA’s, layout, etc… after all a visually pleasing design is what people initially judge your page on, but if you’re using a KickoffLabs theme… you’re already looking good!
I would first focus on nailing the value proposition, since copy is what we use to get people to take action!
You can start A/B testing your KickoffLabs landing pages today! Just sign up for one of the mentioned A/B testing platforms that we directly integrate with.
Trial and error is a huge part of finding the best procedure for pretty much everything in life. Thankfully, A/B testing can drastically cut down on the time needed by allowing you to implement numerous strategies simultaneously and tracking which is most successful.
The Big Takeaways
- Optimizing for a mobile experience will assure you get the most of your traffic.
- Great video content relates to a target audience and experiments with different formats.
- Executed well, there’s really no downside to content marketing. Any and all content you put out can help build your brand.
- Email is a solid platform as ever for driving sales. Personalize it to increase conversion rates.
- A/B testing can give you far greater insight into your customers needs than any other marketing trend.
Which marketing bandwagon will you be jumping on this year or do you have an insider tip for a great trend I might have missed?
If you thought this article was helpful (even if you found that 1 small nugget of wisdom), I’d really appreciate you sharing this.
I’ve made it super simple for you by writing out this awesome tweet:
Thanks for reading and for sharing!
-Izzy Palmerin, Growth and Conversion Rate Optimization at KickoffLabs
P.S. This was already pretty exhaustive, but there’s still a lot more you can learn to improve your business. We have a bi-weekly webinar that you should join us for, every Thursday at 11AM PST. Click here to get more details on our latest live marketing chats!