Digital marketing trends are changing constantly. Each year brings new marketing strategies that are based on user preference; and these need to be identified and integrated into the strategies for large and small business marketing, otherwise they would be leaving some serious money on the table.
When it comes to online search, Google is way ahead of the competition, being responsible for 94% of total organic traffic and 96% of all smartphone search traffic. This makes getting your business on the first page of Google the single most important factor for your marketing success.
The good news is that whether you are a small home-based business or a large organization, when it comes to Google’s search engine algorithm, only those who use the best techniques that have been approved by Google get to see their website on Google’s prime real estate – the first page.
Here, we are going to take a look at some simple hacks that digital marketers can use to make sure their business websites get ranked higher on the SERPs.
Emails still work
According to recent research, over 77% of people preferred receiving promotional content via email. That’s the reason why marketing emails have been able to consistently generate the highest ROI for the past ten years. Another exciting statistic for all those who are thinking of using emails in their marketing campaigns is that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can generate up to $38 in ROI. Of course, that’s only going to be possible with a well-crafted email with concise copy and engaging message.
One of the most effective marketing tools is the ability to segment their email marketing strategy to match their customer base - for example, marketers constantly use the holiday season to offer incentives to their customers, such as discount codes to a customer who left their website with an item in the shopping cart.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
This marketing strategy has been around for a while, 1898 to be exact. And guess what? It still works. In fact, AIDA works extremely well on almost all marketing channels to grab the reader’s attention, create a sense of want, pull on their heartstrings and provide them with a solution to their problem. This proven formula has been used in the past, is still being used today, and should definitely be used when marketing for small businesses.
Video has grown into a driving force for digital marketing, and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, according to research, videos will account for nearly 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2021. Live and branded videos are two of the most popular trends in video marketing at the moment, and people are continuing to find new and interesting ways to engage their audience with video content.
Videos are great to build a marketing strategy as they are highly engaging and can provide viewers with plenty of information in a short period of time. In addition, live video seems to have just entered the scene, but more and more businesses are using it to make a connection with their audience.
The beauty of using live video is that it’s interactive and allows the audience to be part of the conversation by calling in or leaving a comment that can then be answered during the live session, so this is a great tactic for audience engagement. It’s estimated that by 2021, live video will account for 13% of all video traffic, which makes it an excellent strategy for businesses that are constantly thinking outside of the box.
Contrary to popular belief, creating an explainer, how-to or product description video does not cost you an arm and a leg. All you have to do is invest in a good camera and microphone, or you can even use your smartphone. Rather than spending large amounts of money on expensive editing software tools, you can use apps that are powerful enough to create a professional looking video.
Since the goal of the video is to generate more search traffic for your website, it should be well thought of, contain informational content and address a problem that your ideal customer is facing. Optimizing the video you upload on YouTube with relevant keywords will increase the chances of your video getting more views. And pay extra attention to the video’s title - it should sound unique and engaging. For example, “Learn how to tie a bow tie” does not sound as good as “Learn how to tie the perfect bowtie.” While there may be many videos on a similar subject matter on YouTube, the idea is to make your content stand out from the rest.
Create novel content
The content that you put out will act as currency for your marketing strategies. While creating the usual blogs and articles is good for generating traffic, simply writing content that informs your audience just won’t do. More and more businesses are learning the importance of engaging with their audience. In fact, many successful brands are already using content that engages their audience along with content that educates.
One type of content that is growing in popularity is novel content. This is the content that is put alongside the conventional content of blogs, articles, eBooks and videos. Similar to videos, creating content that engages your audience is also possible via polls, quizzes and contests, where the audience gets to vote or share their opinions on a particular subject. Try to keep this content relevant to your business.
Expiring content, which seems to have been inspired by the Snapchat model, is also gaining popularity amongst the younger crowd. Expiring content remains on your website or social media for a certain amount of time before being removed. This creates a sense of urgency in the readers that can encourage them to take action. To entice your audience while using expiring content, you can include a discount code to your content that’s displayed for a limited amount of time before being removed.
Marketing vs. branding
Those who are investing in online marketing need to understand the difference between marketing and branding. While these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, their meanings are very different. When it comes to the consumer, your brand is not going to be the product or service you provide, but rather the logo, website design, and the message across all platforms that you send to your customers. In other words, branding is how the audience will perceive your business.
On the other hand, digital marketing uses tactics that are designed to reinforce your branding efforts. This means that your marketing efforts should enhance your brand’s message and not have an opposite effect. However, this is where many small businesses fall flat, as they use marketing campaigns that focus more on their product or service instead of building interest and nurturing a community on social media platforms.
Blatantly promoting your product or services on social media will not help you create your community of loyal followers. It may also have a negative impact on your brand’s overall appeal for your audience.
Make good use of LSAs
LSAs, or Local Services Ads, are similar to Google Ads, but are very different when it comes to their effectiveness in promoting your products or services or increasing your sales. Local Services Ads are basically pay-per-lead ads that have now begun popping up at the top of Google search results. Initially released in 2017, LSAs are slowly gaining ground and rolling out to small markets as well.
Currently, Local Service Ads seem to focus more on home service providers, such as electricians, locksmiths, painters, house cleaning and plumbers. If you provide any of these services, it’s time you used LSAs to increase your reach. However, there is little doubt that their use is going to spread to other businesses as well.
Until recently, most search results produced some obvious ads right at the top of Google’s search results page, which people seldom clicked. Unlike Google Ads, you don’t have to pay for clicks, but rather, for leads that are relevant to your business. Here’s how Local Service Ads work:
- You get to set a weekly budget that is based on the average amount of leads you expect to receive.
- Leads can be disputed if you think they are irrelevant or not useful. If successful, the leads are credited back to you later.
- While you might end up spending more than your average weekly budget on LSAs, the model makes it unlikely that you spend more money each month, which is going to be the average budget in a week that’s multiplied by the average amount of weeks in any given month. Setting up your Local Service Ads is also relatively easy and does not come with a steep learning curve.
If you have patience, using LSAs could be useful in generating leads, however, if you are a startup or small business on a shoe-string budget, then testing the waters of LSAs might not be for you.
Be smart with SEO
Some people say that SEO is dead. We beg to differ. In fact, search engine optimization is more important than ever when it comes to getting your website indexed on Google. While SEO trends still continue to change, one area that Google seems to be focusing on is differentiating between search and intent. For instance, using terms such as “web design in Miami” could display web design companies while “web design company in Miami” could start displaying job boards.
This means that to succeed with your SEO strategy, you will have to segment queries that you want to rank for, making competitor analysis a big part of your SEO strategy.
If we’ve learnt anything from the past, when it comes to online marketing, it’s that proven methods of digital marketing stick around, and keeping your marketing strategy simple really does work. Tried and tested methods of digital marketing provide small businesses with a guideline of what strategy should be used where in order to improve your digital marketing results. But, that being said, these formulas are not written in stone, which means you need to keep on tweaking your digital marketing strategy to get the best ROI.