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As 2019 approaches, there could be a dramatic shift in the digital marketing scene which encompasses SEO, social media, content marketing and more. In a constantly changing high-tech era, companies continue to wrestle for attention online.
With less than two months until the year closes out, it’s critical to consider the advertising landscape and rethink your marketing strategy, because what worked for you then might not work for you now. Let’s discuss five business-critical digital marketing trends, old and new, to shape the coming year.
1. Video Marketing
New opportunities to engage and reach consumers are spawning regularly and video marketing is the fastest growing of them all. The proof is in the pudding. A survey conducted byWyzowl predicted that this year, 81% of businesses would be using video in their marketing strategies, up from 63% in 2017. According to the same study, many of them would agree it raised their ROI.
So, what’s in the forecast for 2019? Internet video traffic will account for a huge fraction of all consumer internet traffic. Ever since video made its way into inbound marketing, it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Live streams, in particular, are on the upswing. The desire for live content is being fuelled by the evolution of many social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. There is a lot of evidence pointing to the conclusion that live videos have a much higher retention rate than those which are pre-recorded.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic around town for a few years but the hype isn’t dwindling anytime soon. AI offers that which humans cannot. One of the most widely-known and implemented forms of AI right now are chatbots
With the help of these simulated human interactions, consumers can find solutions no matter where they are or what device they’re on. While you may have quietly dismissed the concept of AI when it only existed in the scene of your favorite sci-fi blockbuster, it’s here and it’s launching a goldmine of opportunity for entrepreneurs and their respective industries.
3. Voice Search
Hey Google, how does voice search affect SEO strategy? This is a question digital marketers are going to be asking as they scramble to adapt to voice integration in search engines. Digital assistants are evolving to assess the context of what people want and to …Continue Reading
Instagram is one of the most important and most powerful marketing channels of our time. It is great for content marketing and paid advertising and, at the same time, for communication and customer service. It has the capacity to drive great engagement and better-than-average return on investment for a marketer, brand or agency.
Instagram has been growing since it was first launched eight years ago. As we can see from the following graph shared with us by Statista , the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network reached a milestone of 1 billion monthly users in June.
This is an impressive number and, when it comes to marketing, impressive numbers are great. It means that you have access to a huge audience worldwide and, at the same time, due to this channel’s nature, you have access to a dedicated and engaged audience.
As a consequence, we need to constantly stay updated with all of Instagram’s latest developments and, of course, the trends that govern it. This is why, with this article, I am going to shed some light upon the most popular trends that are expected to rule Instagram marketing in 2019.
Also, I questioned some of my peers regarding this issue and, fortunately, I received a series of answers from marketers and professionals regarding their expectations for 2019.
IGTV will be a big player
Announced and launched in June, IGTV is the new video platform dedicated exclusively to mobile users. Unlike YouTube and other videostreaming platforms, IGTV is dedicated to vertical video playback and, therefore, suitable for marketers and content producers that are addressing a mobile only audience.
Why vertical? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile. We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.
Are brands using IGTV already? Chipotle was one of the first companies to create and distribute a video on Instagram.
“If you’re still not on IGTV, it’s time to hop on the train,” said Plannable’s Vlad Callus. “When thinking about the upcoming trends in Instagram marketing I believe IGTV and Instagram Stories are on the top of the list. IGTV will become the new YouTube in three to five years, and if you’re joining now, you will catch the big wave.”
Other big brands are on IGTV, as well. SocialChain is producing and distributing a regular podcast. All of its episodes are also being…Continue Reading
Sigstr Vice President of Marketing Justin Keller, speaks to the future of MarTech regarding building stronger leads, better strategies in the era of GDPR
When the May 25th GDPR enforcement date was announced, leaders from multiple industries panicked, as negative speculations started to take shape. Knowing that GDPR would have an effect on everything from data portability to the right to access and even website design, the field of digital marketing was especially concerned. However, the enforcement date has finally passed and the industry didn’t come to a screeching halt as many speculated.
While digital marketing has survived, it was not without some trials and tribulations. But the tradeoff is a competitive advantage when you consider the big picture and future landscape of the industry.
However, this shift has caused many companies to update cookie policies and be left with a smaller list of leads and less raw-data to manage after sending out a re-opt-in the campaign. So, what does the future look like for digital marketers? Here are the answers to some of those worrisome assumptions regarding GDPR.
Building a “known marketing” strategy is better for revenue and GDPR regulation
A known marketing strategy can be defined in a variety of ways. One component of this type of strategy is having the ability to map all the known relationships throughout a company’s employee-base and not just the CRM or MAP activity of your audience.
With helpful solutions on the market that combine security and marketing, compliance departments can analyze communications instantly and ensure compliance of all regulations. Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of strong communication and the ability to measure these relationships allows marketings to better understand their audience.
“Known marketing” has the ability to understand which leads can turn into customers
GDPR shouldn’t be viewed as detrimental to marketing. Instead, the guidelines can be viewed as a welcome catalyst to shift toward “known marketing.” This entails identifying the targets and contacts that are most important to a brand and are actively engaging with employees and the company overall.
However, many still view GDPR as a database destroying hassle, but again this assumption is far from the truth. In the past, marketers would flood their funnels with volumes of unknown acquired personal records that hardly ever turned into quality leads. With new protections around personal data compliance, the door is open to turn new leads into long-term customers. No one more wasted cycles, or “spray-and-pray” inbound practices.
The expectations that the marketing department will produce valuable leads stills exists
Many were concerned that GDPR would completely eliminate the ability to collect user data, however, it is still ok to collect this data as long as the process is documented and can be managed or deleted. The true challenge is knowing how to make the most of your data since most marketers are trying to identify the personas in their pipeline and develop valuable, appealing content. This is a common theme and through the use of GDPR regulations and known marketing, marketers can gain new insight into these relationships and identify where opportunities lie.
Despite any hassles that ensue, GDPR is a necessary shift to the problematic practices that weren’t doing the industry or marketers any favors. Moving forward, marketers will have the ability to make the most of the data they’re receiving and leverage it properly to create valuable relationships and leads.
Most business industries evolve over time and customer buyer habits change. As a result, how your business adapts to these changes will directly affect how successful you will be in the future.
There are many famous companies in the past that failed to adapt to buying behaviour of customers and as a result, they have been consigned to history. Kodak for example were once probably the most trusted brand in the photography industry. The company failed to adapt to the digital photography revolution, which was one of the fundamental reasons for their downfall.
In this post, I will outline some measures that you can take to help future-proof your business for ongoing success.
1) Adapt Your Products / Services
It is important that you get regular feedback on your products that you sell or the services that you provide. What you offer needs to evolve to match customer needs.
Disruptive businesses can potentially change buyer behaviours. Netflix and on-demand television services have disrupted more industries than just the movie rentals and general television sector. Off-license liquor stores and take-away restaurants have had to…Continue reading…
There are a lot of restaurants out there to choose from, and if yours is relatively new then it can be hard to attract the following you need to make the business successful. It’s very difficult to gain attention in a new market, especially if you don’t have a main road location. Your potential customers are also being over-saturated with advertisements and learning to tune them out, so this option isn’t great. However, inbound marketing for restaurants can work wonders for helping you to build a following.
This technique is much less intrusive than straight out advertising to your target market, and is based on the idea that by interacting with people and making it easy for them to find you they will be attracted to your restaurant. This is can be done through digital marketing, using SEO and social media to attract and engage with potential customers.
As a restaurant your inbound marketing will mainly revolve around SEO (getting your website visible on Google) and social media. These digital strategies can be time consuming, but they should help you to grow your brand and – more importantly – increase your customer base and revenue.
In terms of SEO the first step is to have an attractive and user friendly website. Ironically, focussing on keywords and SEO at the web development stage can actually be counter-productive, because the most important thing for your website is that people like using it and are likely to return.
As a restaurant your site should clearly indicate your location and opening hours, along with any specials. You should also have a page for your menu, and a way to book online. A photo gallery featuring your different dishes can also help encourage people to use your site and come to your restaurant. A blog featuring news about the restaurant and some recipes can also be a big help.
You will then need to start working on your off-page optimization. A good way to build high quality links back to your website is to offer recipes to food bloggers with a short plug about your restaurant (with a link) at the end. You can also try to encourage people to review your food to help spread word of mouth.
A strong social media presence is also a huge boost to your inbound marketing efforts. As a restaurant you will be able to share photos and videos of your food preparation, as well as information about menu changes and specials. The main challenge will be not spreading yourself too thin!
You will probably get the highest ROI (even if the only investment is your time) out of Facebook and Instagram. These platforms will allow you to share visual media easily, and to interact in the comments with potential customers. Facebook also makes it easy for customers to send you messages, and hopefully leave positive reviews.
Instagram is a very high reward environment to involve yourself in. Apart from sharing your own images and videos of your food, you can encourage your customers to get in on the action and promote your restaurant for you (for free). Many brands build a very successful community over this social media platform, and reap the benefits.
There is a risk to having a lot of social media engagement, however. If your food is not as good as you believe it is, or something goes very wrong in the kitchen, the news will spread like wildfire. You will not have control over this process, especially over Instagram, as people will be posting their own pictures and comments.
Even with the risks involved, it is still worth using Facebook and Instagram. After all, if your food is bad enough that the strategy backfires then you will not succeed as a restaurateur no matter what marketing strategies you use. You just need to make sure that your food is well-presented as well as delicious.
Inbound marketing for restaurants can be a fantastic strategy which yields great returns. If done properly you can keep yourself in the front of the mind of your target market, and therefore get a lot of repeat customers as well as getting recommended to their friends. It’s also a lot less likely to annoy a market that is getting increasingly jaded about traditional advertising anyway!
You’ve probably heard that “Content is king.” After all, what would a website be without it? But simply throwing words or quirky quips on a page isn’t a strategy; and content without a purpose doesn’t really contribute to business revenue.
Keep in mind that online content has a job to do, even your blog and social media posts. In self-storage, its function is to build relationships with customers and sell your services. However, there are many forms of content and many things it can accomplish. Is yours positively contributing to your bottom line?
What’s in Your Words?
When creating online content, your word choice impacts your self-storage brand: the personality, relatability and expertise you convey. The right words not only promote and describe your facility features and amenities, they establish and affect your digital presence.
Keywords are all the rage in search marketing, and for good reason. Still determining a good part of search engine rankings, they’re important, but not in the same way they used to be. Before Google made some major algorithm changes, the more abundant a specific keyword, the better. Now, an overuse of keyword mentions can be viewed negatively. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate them altogether, but rather, incorporate keywords naturally. You want to comprehensively cover a topic so your content shows better in the search engine results page (referred to as “semantic search”).
A Walk Down Sales-Funnel Lane
Your online content does more than just capture Web traffic. It must funnel users through your website. Ultimately, your website should be one of your best salespeople. As such, its content should drive users through each stage of the sales cycle to eventually rent or reserve a unit. This means it must not only address facility features, but the benefits of renting at your property.
Your website pages need a strong call to action (CTA). By providing clear, relevant and actionable inbound-linking options on each page, you can drive users through your site like IKEA herds customers through its stores. It’s proven that users are more likely to click when a CTA is present.
Pieces of the Puzzle
A self-storage website should contain at least three types of content: static pages, facility pages and blogs. Once these are satisfied, you can diversify by incorporating more visually appealing, shareable types of content. These more creative pieces help capture audience interest and develop top-of-mind awareness.
Static pages. These are the educational or informative pages that are always on your site. They should answer users’ questions about self-storage in general and your company specifically. They’re typically more “evergreen” in nature, meaning the content doesn’t need to be constantly updated to stay accurate. Be wary of including things like nearby businesses or how many years your company has been in business, as these things will constantly change.
Facility pages. These market-level pages are integral to your website. This is typically where users can reserve or rent units, and where many sales conversions take place. But facility pages aren’t meant to include just a list of available units. Your content should build up the value of each type. In their heads, your customers are doing their own form of a cost-benefit analysis, and the content of these pages should account for that.
Specific markets (cities, states, ZIP codes, etc.) are also commonly part of search terms when users are looking for self-storage near them. By incorporating proper keywords into your facility pages, you can stay optimized for search engines.
Blogs. While the days of RSS feeds are past, blogs are still an important marketing tool. They should provide fresh, relevant and keyword-focused content to stay on top of search engine needs. The key metrics of a top-performing blog are increased entrances and page views, and a low exit rate. This means that not only does a blog need to be optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) to generate traffic, it should be timely and relevant to capture user interest and—with a strong CTA—funnel users through your website.
While it can be hard to measure your blogs’ return on investment, they’re still vital in the overall strength of your sales funnel. After all, could a funnel do its job without the wide mouth at the top?
Visual content. Once the essentials are covered, you can delve into more engaging content. These might include gated, lead-generating content and appealing social media graphics. While it’s important that your brand tone comes through in all forms of content, this is where your personality can really shine. Visual content can help with brand recall and loyalty.
If you are looking for a specific product and want to know more before buying it, what do you do? Most people turn to Google for answers, either looking at product reviews from other customers or the product descriptions themselves to see if it has everything they need. As a retailer, wouldn’t you rather be the first link to a product that people see once they do a search?
81 percent of shoppers will do online research before they buy a product, according to a Shopify article. They are actively searching for solutions, and you want to land in their search results. This method of increasing website traffic and business goals is called search engine optimization (SEO). Through this process of configuring and promoting websites so they have increased visibility in Google and other search engine result pages, independent retailers will have not only more online sales but more in-store foot traffic as well.
“If you look at what’s going on in larger trends, more dollars are being spent online every year,” Chris Rogers, CEO and founder of Colorado SEO Pros, said. “It has a huge impact on the retail industry.” Colorado SEO Pros is a boutique SEO agency providing a suite of inbound marketing services for small and mid-sized organizations. More and more customers, especially millennials, are comfortable purchasing online rather than in store, and it’s a new trend that many retailers have caught on to and are constantly working to better their online shopping experience.
71 percent of consumers will click on a link from the first page of results, according to Shopify. This means that ranking well in search engine results can make the difference between getting traffic to your site and missing out on potential buyers. The goal of SEO is to send signals to search engines that show the value and relevance of a particular website, according to Shopify.
Now that we have the specifics out of the way, Rogers has some tips to help retailers increase their revenue. “Have more information and user experience that’s relevant to the product,” Rogers said. “Give out more accurate information so people have a full understanding of the product from the advertisement and the product from your page.”
You need to give customers a reason to buy your product over one from another store. What they want to see when they click on your link is the product they are looking for, and not have to go through a million other things on your website to get to the product. A picture and a description, along with any other information, can go a long way. Don’t let your customers get sidetracked with something else if they can’t find what they are looking for right away.
“Make sure you have done complete research around that product so that you understand all the ways people are searching for it,” Rogers said. “Include certain things about the brand and then create a strategy to use the keywords on the page in a way that creates a good user experience.”
Google is using an AI voice search algorithm where people can say exactly they are looking for and Google will do the search. This means you’re language needs to be natural, and let certain keywords be your guide. Simple and easy to navigate are two key principles to remember to keep the customer engaged on your site.
However you choose to move forward with implementing SEO basics, the results will likely be worth the effort. One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make, according to Rogers, is waiting until after you have your website built and launched to consider SEO. But have no fear! There is still hope. It is better to implement SEO than not have it, and a company like Colorado SEO Pros can help. So if you’re an indie retailer looking to get your website up and running, definitely consider SEO as a way to promote your store.