If you search hard enough, you can spot a new trend in digital marketing nearly every day. Some turn out to be mere distractions, but others become part of the foundation of good digital marketing strategies. Right now, we see the following five areas leading the way in digital marketing in 2016.
1. Data: Take your measurements
Some marketers only skim the surface of the data they have available to them, leaving the majority of it on the table. Just as you wouldn’t waste your company’s financial or human resources, you don’t want to waste your valuable marketing data resources.
We are in an unprecedented time for being able to measure or track nearly everything. You don’t have to rely on best guesses, intuition, or even past performance when it comes to gauging the quality of your marketing initiatives — collect and check the data to find out what does and doesn’t work, then make incremental adjustments and measure again.
Continuous fine-tuning helps ensure you’re doing the right things at the right times, and becoming more efficient over time. If you have to prove ROI in your organization, the collection and analysis of data is key.
Remember, however, that while almost everything we do in the digital space is trackable, your focus should be on only those measurements that provide the greatest insight and value. Be diligent about establishing goals and KPIs that will allow you to continually improve your marketing efforts. Validate your metrics, segment your data, and distill the insights, and your decision-making will continue to improve.
2. Focus: Cancel the noise
Even the most experienced marketer gets overwhelmed with the choices we have in digital marketing today. There are simply too many marketing tools, platforms, and new possibilities arriving daily to chase them all.
In 2016, make a resolution to shut out the noise in digital marketing by prioritizing your marketing channels, then focusing on maximizing a few at a time. This is good for you and your customers: Consumers are at a saturation point, making it more difficult to have much of what your company does or says stand out.
[easy-tweet tweet=”If you’re trying to do everything, you won’t do many things well.” user=”dagmarmarketing” hashtags=”#digitalmarketing”] Stay focused and get the most from the strategies and tactics that you do have the time and resources to master.
3. Mobile: The small screen is bigger than ever
Mobile is long past the point of being a nice-to-have goal. From Google rewarding mobile usability in search results, to the sheer number of searches that are now done on mobile devices, if you’re missing mobile, you’re missing part of your market.
Mobile-friendliness is especially important for:
- Businesses with local customers, who are looking for fast answers on where to find a product service while they’re literally mobile. If they’re looking for your offering on their phones, you want to be sure your company’s information appears high up on those small screens.
- Online retailers, whose customers may be price-shopping while they’re in brick-and-mortar stores. Known as “showrooming,” your potential customers are seeing products in person, then going online then and there to find the best price and purchase on the spot.
You’re likely a mobile user yourself, so think about what you need from a company’s website. Make sure you cover the basics: click-to-call phone numbers, a location map for a local business, an easy-to-use navigation menu, and minimal graphics to maximize page load times.
“Mobile” doesn’t refer only to how websites display on devices, however; it’s also about paid advertising on mobile. This is worth a blog post of its own, but be aware that mobile paid search is becoming more refined, focusing on a number of variables such as the local intent of a mobile search, and when and where searches are being done. Such considerations dovetail with inbound marketing concepts, which aim to connect with audiences in specific phases of their buying journey and naturally draw them in. The use of mobile devices is all about the context in which users encounter your product, service, or message.
4. Segmentation: Divide and conquer
Context is the watchword here as well. Segmenting your visitors and customers in order to reach them at the optimal place and time to engage them depends on understanding the where/what/how/why of the potential engagement itself. While it’s possible to segment audiences into very small sections and subsets based on place, time, role, interest, age and more, you can start by giving these tactics attention:
- Develop personas for your targeted audience. Creating buyer personas lets you craft content and offers that are tailored for those you’re trying to reach. Having a defined example of a real person who may want your product or service is not only smart marketing — it will also save you time when you sit down to write content because you’ll have a good idea of who you’re talking to and what they’re seeking.
- Personalize your marketing. You can use dynamic content to customize your landing pages, emails, and forms to your customers and visitors. Purchase behavior and location are just two criteria on which you can build personalized buyer experiences.
- Be where your audience is. Remember that many searchers (particularly those with narrow or highly specialized interests) go directly to relevant sites rather than starting with search engines. Once you’ve created your personas, use the information you have on their interests to find the websites they’re likely to regularly use. These could be forums, review sites, educational sites, or specific Facebook pages. You can either engage with your audience on these sites (but don’t be spammy — authenticity rules) or use them to find out what their “tribes” are talking about.
As more content is being added to the web every second, relevant keywords are increasingly harder to rank for. Aligning your content and marketing efforts with a specific audience segment in mind is more important and worthwhile than ever.
5. Traditional vs. digital: Mr. Marketer, tear down that wall
Make this the year that you erase the mental wall between online and offline marketing and you’ll get better results from both. No matter what marketing and advertising channels you use, your tactics should all stem from a single strategy for:
- Earning attention from the right audiences instead of focusing on raw totals, such as website visitors
- Syncing your online messages with those of the offline communications that send people to your website — such as TV, outdoor and print — so that they support each other’s effectiveness
- Seizing all of your opportunities to convert consumers into customers by making it easier for them to take the next, deeper step into engaging with you
- Using tracking methods for as many channels as possible for data analysis
- Syncing your marketing and sales teams to help each do its job better
- Always offering something of real value, from your content to your customer service
The most effective digital marketing campaigns are those that leverage your traditional marketing campaigns. Take advantage of digital marketing’s ability to improve the performance of all of your offline marketing channels, using it to continue your buyer’s journey, enhance your visitor’s experience, and make 2016 your best year yet.