To commemorate the new 2016, I decided to ask 20 online marketing experts about their ultimate tip for the upcoming year. The world of internet marketing changed a lot in 2015, so it is safe to assume that the same will happen in 2016 as well. Without a further a due, here’s what the people I interviewed had to say.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #1: Don’t Just Sell The Product
My online marketing tip is to not just sell the product all the time. Today, marketing needs a more farm-to-table approach where the story of the product or its use is as valuable a part of marketing as the features of the product itself. The goal is to make people feel inspired, smart, and joyful about their decision.
Don’t just place ads that advertise the product, create landing pages that drive people to information guides, surveys, graphs and charts. [Create] content that helps them make purchasing decisions rather than simply pushing them down the sales funnel to the purchase. Offer an opportunity to directly communicate with someone at every touchpoint.
Tell the story of the people behind your product, how it’s made, its origin story, the way the company gives back, etc. All of this helps the person feel that they aren’t just making a purchase, [but that] they are becoming a part of something.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #2: Pick Up The Phone
Pick up the phone. Seriously. Depending on who you’re pitching, especially based on their age, a brief phone call will really set you apart from all the other pitches that they receive. You’ve got to be somewhat careful about who you call, as it does turn some people off, but especially someone within your same industry, it helps make a more real connection that a simple email does.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #3: Create a Blog
Lauren McLaughlin from Exchange Capital said that a regularly update blog on your website will transform it into a well-recognized destination on the Internet:
Create a blog. They say content is king (of the web) and this will continue to be even more relevant entering 2016. By creating and regularly updating a company blog, search engines like Google and Bing will recognize your website as an important and relevant webpage in a world of abandoned and unused domains.
Creating fresh content and material can ultimately cause a higher ranking in search engine results, all while persuading current users to revisit the site, and demonstrating to new users that you know your stuff. Creating a blog is an important, if no necessary, marketing tool to utilize in the new year.
2016 Online Marketing Tip#4: Google AdWords Remarketing
In 2016 every company with an online marketing budget should be running remarketing ads on Google AdWords’ display network. Remarketing ads remarket to people who have visited your website before. So you can target only people who have already shown an interest in your business as they browse other sites on the Internet.
Doing this allows you to stay top of mind and this form of marketing is great for branding. Additionally, Google display ads are generally cheaper than search ads and probably much cheaper than TV ads or billboards. Google AdWords remarketing ads is a great way to cost effectively advertise to people who have already shown an interest in your business.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #5: Stand Out
Ginger Marks, who is the author of the award winning “Weird & Wacky Holiday Marketing Guide” book, said that if you ever want your business to get noticed, you have to be different:
I know that being different is what gets you noticed. Find ways you can market your business with a focus on unusual holidays. Making your marketing fun and exciting rather than the boring everyday sales that you are so used to offering will do wonder for your bottom line.
Also, find JV partners (joint venture) who will help you reach a “wider broader audience”, even when they are offering the same service as you do, to be a highly effective marketing strategy. Two ways this works, when you are cooperating on a joint marketing plan and when you are promoting each other. It’s just easier for us to share the wonders of someone else than to toot our own horn.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #6: Diversification
In 2016, a diversified online content marketing strategy is key. Look beyond text-based content and start investing in video, graphics, polls, charts, and unique images. Younger demographics are especially interested in visual content. Integrate multiple content types into single pieces. Instead of just text, also include infographics, unique photos, videos, charts, etc, [right] into your blog posts.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #7: Segmentation & Personalization
Conor Keenan, who is the Digital Marketing Manager at Christine Waller, said that your marketing efforts should make each customer feel unique and special:
In 2016, we are taking a more client centric focus and ensuring that our advertising and marketing are segmented and personalized to the best of our abilities. We want each client to feel special when working with us. This sill be accomplished, in part, by our personalization efforts.
Conor also added a bit extra to his top tip, which embodies his second tip:
Exceed client expectations. One way we exceed client expectations is by giving a little extra to our clients at the end of an engagement. Be it an extra service or product for free, or even a gift from us. These exceeded expectations usually turn into wonderful reviews.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #8: Generate Media Coverage
Generate media coverage to generate quality inbound links to your website. Companies should seek out media coverage by building relationships with media people in order to generate publicity on their company with quality links back to their website.
Inbound links are valuable in generating Google juice which is high quality search engine optimization. One way to build relationships with the media is following your targeted media people on Twitter and liking or sharing their content.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #9: Analytics
Lingke Wang, who is the Co-Founder of Ovid Corp., said that we have reached a time where your business must have analytics encompassing its marketing efforts and that it’s not hard at all to implement such as system:
In today’s world, all businesses should develop analytics around their marketing. It’s very easy these days to install a pretty comprehensive platform. You can get one up and running in just 2 – 3 days with just one developer and marketer. In the early days of our startup, we were able to monitor dozens of metrics by installing Heap Analytics on our website.
The platform allowed us to get insights into what pages were converting customers, how successful various marketing tactics were, and more. It helped us ascertain where we should spend our marketing dollars and where we should cut back. Without our analytics platform, we would not be the business we are today.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #10: Content Marketing
Spend time promoting published articles. Whether you were mentioned in a piece, wrote a guest post, published a blog, or whatever, take the time to promote the article on discussion boards, social media, comment sections, and other forums for spreading content.
If you spend the time to write something, you should ideally spend close the same amount of time promoting it, especially if it provides value to the reader. If no one reads a published article, was it ever really written?
2016 Online Marketing Tip #11: Follow Your Customers
In 2016, it’s going to be about moving with your customers across platforms. People are checking Instagram and Snapchat at an increasing rate and I don’t see this slowing down in 2016.
If you’re a business, you need to have a presence on the big three: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but also on the emerging platforms like Instagram/Snapchat. As your customer’s attention moves, you have to move too.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #12: Client-Centric Contracts
In 2016, smart online biz owners [will] finally realize they have another tool to build that know like and trust factor with clients who are becoming increasingly disillusioned and fearful of buying. What is it?
A client-centric contract. Clients will rave about you because your agreement is transparent, jargon-free and feels authentic like a good old fashioned handshake deal. Unexpected and something to rave about.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #13: Don’t Be Afraid To Give Away
Don’t be afraid to give a little away. Host a free webinar covering a topic important to your industry. Make yourself available to answer a few questions afterward as well. Promote the event to your existing lists, through social media, and on your website.
Offer all participants a discount if they make a purchase or sign up within 24 hours of the conclusion of the webinar. As a bonus, you can record the video and post it on YouTube and also use the questions and answers from it to use as a blog entry (or multiple entries), or as a FAQ on your website.
All of those can then be share across social media platforms. Many webinar hosting services are extremely affordable so you may consider signing up and making this a regular event.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #14: Mobile Marketing Will Make or Brake a Brand
In 2016, mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic for the first time. As we start 2016, mobile marketing will make or break a brand. Now more than ever, consumers are on-the-go and brands need to get creative to create buzz through mobile sharing and customer loyalty to ensure customers follow a brand on one of many social media outlets.
The rise of mobile advertising, including video on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will shake things up. Brands need to act quickly to keep up with consumers’ mobile usage. Consumers love to share interesting content through texting and social media, so create something worth a screenshot and generate results.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #15: Optimize Online Video For 360 Viewing
One of the newest marketing trends for 2016 will be to optimize online video for 360 viewing. With virtual reality coming to the forefront of consumer electronics and YouTube’s new 360 video platform, marketers will use 360 video to stand out from traditional forms of online video advertising.
BuzzFeed has been the first company to come out with such content and has seen a great increase in viewer engagement due to the unique user experience. The technology to stitch together 360 video has finally reached the perfect state for marketers to take advantage of the medium.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #16: Focus On Mobile Websites, Not Mobile Apps
Ankit Seth, who is the Co-Founder of ActivityDeck, said that in 2016, we might see businesses switch back to good old-fashioned mobile websites instead of apps:
In the past couple of years, a lot of marketing efforts were put into promoting mobile apps. These seemed perfect. All you need to do is to ensure that your app gets installed and post that you can freely send out notifications to your consumers.
However, most big brands are seeing very high uninstall rates for their mobile apps. At the same time, Google is enhancing mobile browsers to do more and more app like things.
In 2016, we might see a shift back to basics with brands turning their focus on mobile website instead of apps. My tip for marketing managers would be to re-focus on their SEO efforts. With mobile websites dominating the market, search engine result page rankings will re-gain paramount importance in marketing.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #17: Invest In Video Retargeting
If someone were to drop off of your website, you can serve a video advertisement to this user when they are watching video content on other sites. This has a great return on investment and legitimizes your brand with the implementation of a rich media advertising campaign.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #18: Leverage The Power Of Email Marketing
Email marketing is hard to beat. 91% of individuals check their email daily. An effective email marketing strategy will help you stand out and actually get the attention you need to reach new customers and generate new opportunities.
It’s an excellent method to engage customers especially when you integrate your email marketing with other methods of marketing. For example, leverage the power of email marketing to build awareness of your LinkedIn article posts, your social media posts and it is an incredible strategy to use when you want to drip content on a regular basis.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #19: Cross-Promote Other Businesses
If there’s one thing that can grow your business faster than anything else, it’s partnering up cross-promote other businesses. Make a list of 10 industries that serve your target client and start connecting. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter make it very easy to connect with people you may have never been able to chat with before.
2016 Online Marketing Tip #20: Choose Quality Over Quantity
Many business owners think of digital marketing as a numbers game – expecting that the more they blog, share, or tweet, the more response they’ll see. Like all things in business, online marketing is a game of strategy.
If you hire a copywriter to post 10 tweets a day, they’ll most likely churn out 10 well-written pieces of text that reach no one. The better move, is to hire a social media strategist who creates strategic posts that engage influencers and foster favorites and retweets.
One carefully executed tweet will see a much larger return than 10 tweets that have no strategic purpose. Asking for a large number of copy or social posts mean burning out your social media person and generating slush. Asking for strategic content means engaging your employee and seeing a much higher return on your investment.
My Ultimate 2016 Online Marketing Tip
We saw what 20 experts had to say about the stage of marketing in 2016, and while they are all insightful, they are still missing the one thing out of which all future marketing (and life) success emerges from. And that is my personal ultimate 2016 online marketing tip for you…
Mindset. Marketers all over the world, some successful, most not, will never realize why they have succeeded/failed. They will think it’s because they employed this strategy and that strategy, when the truth to the fact is their mindset. It is the single greatest asset you will ever have and if you configure it correctly, you will “create gold” out of everything you touch.
It is not the ultimate traffic generation strategy or the ultimate content marketing strategy or the ultimate social media marketing strategy that will get you where you want to be. It is your mindset. I mean, the aforementioned strategies will help as well and they are actually the means that will “realize” the results, but it is the mindset that will point you in the right direction.
It will tell you exactly what you need to do, how you need to do it and when you need to do it. And it will also tell you that the fact of the matter is that sooner or later you will get where you want to be, and that the means to get there will sooner or later spur into your mind. That’s a Nature guarantee.
2015 was extremely exciting for all marketers – more for some, less for others. As we enter the new 2016, more and more exciting things are emerging. Technology is advancing exponentially faster and faster and there’s nothing that can stop it.
I believe that in 2016, the same rule that has always applied to the marketing world (and in general) will dominate once again – adaptation. The marketers that are the most “loose” and “detached” from anything will emerge victorious once again. The question is, how well will you adapt to change? It’s coming.