If your company has been using only traditional marketing methods to generate new business, you need to read this!
2017 is the year of change and improvements. Marketing strategies have grown beyond word of mouth and Facebook posts. Let us show you how your business can reach new heights using digital marketing strategies.
Why Digital Marketing?
- First and foremost, digital marketing is a tremendously cheaper marketing method than the traditional offline methods – just think about those print runs, radio campaigns and television ads that you couldn’t afford 15 years ago! Digital marketing is much more accessible, even for those with small marketing budgets.
- It’s a great way to increase your online market share
- **According to Hubspot By 2016, more than 50% of money spent in the US will be influenced by online marketing campaigns. ** How long before we can say the same thing here in the UK?
What is a digital strategy?
Having a digital strategy is, in essence, a plan. It allocates time and money to all the relevant platforms and helps you to gain insight into statistical data which will help you to reach your goals. Market your business using multiple platforms like Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, SEO PR, and so much more.
How to begin building a digital strategy
- The first thing you need to do is be clear on your aims and objectives.
- Analyse how your company performed in the previous year.
- Research your target audience and preferred digital media channels
- Create your content
- Allocate paid advertising budgets
- Create a timeline
- Evaluate and improve your strategy
Why you NEED to set aside a budget for an SEO and digital marketing company to help you
- By now, you must understand the importance of digital marketing. One thing that will help you reach that increased ROI is a thorough and well thought out digital marketing strategy.
- It can be a daunting task to do yourself
- You’ll save money in the long run
- Work alongside a professional to gain a fresh perspective
- Utilise their resources and evaluation techniques
As 2016 draws to a close we’ve got time to reflect back on another year in the digital sphere. 2016 has provided some great opportunities to get your brand out there but it has also been challenging at times, as we come to accept the changes that are constantly put in place by the giants of the internet.
The big online marketing changes of 2016
Some of the changes we’ve witnessed this year include:
- The introduction of mobile-first indexing – Google recently announced that it is experimenting with this and that eventually:
“our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
So, if your site is not mobile friendly you will almost certainly eventually disappear from organic search and if you don’t prioritise mobile content you may become less visible.
- The rise and growth of global spam referral visits – skewing analytics reporting and generally getting in the way of genuine traffic. There are several ways to remove this data and filter the traffic, however, experts never quite got to grips with which method was best. Ultimately it seems easier to ignore what you cannot affect and concentrate instead on your own goals, how you plan to reach them and how you’ll measure the effectiveness of a given campaign.
- The boost given to HTTPS pages – at the end of 2015 Google announced that it had changed the indexation system to look for more https pages and the popularity of secure sites has subsequently increased in 2016.
- The removal of ads from the right-hand side of the page in Google search – initial reports seemed to suggest that PLA ads benefited from increased placement and that right-hand ads were never favoured by searchers anyway, but with 10 months gone since the changes were made we haven’t seen any major dramas as a result of this change. Those worried that paid search would become more ‘cut throat’ had a right to be wary, however, CPCs continue to rise anyway and it is more about what you can do with your budget and how targeted you can make your campaign in terms of text, display and video advertising, than it is about the number of ad slots available.
- The introduction of rich cards – building on the successes of rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org markup to display content in an even more engaging way. This is perfect for sites sharing recipes and any other image rich information that you want to stand out in search.
- The continued decline of Facebook organic reach – further to the declining organic reach of the last couple of years, 2016 really saw a nail in the coffin to an organic-only Facebook strategy with publishers’ pages experiencing a 52% decline in organic reach. This means that no matter how many people like your page, a large proportion of them are not going to see the important content you have created, often with them in mind. This is because Facebook needs a way of picking out the posts that keep people coming back. With a new algorithm in June, favouring friends and family in the news feeds, it was a further blow to brands trying to reach and engage their target audience via the social network. All is not lost though, as we are still seeing really good improvements in engagement, reach and referral traffic from our customer’s Facebook pages. Video is also tipped to be a great way to increase engagement so the more video content you can get onto your social pages the more likely you are to retain that audience visibility.
Instagram users have also witnessed a decline in organic reach in 2016 and just last week, Youtube sensation and top account holder PewDiePie announced that he would be shutting down his channel on reaching 50million subscribers as changing algorithms mean fewer people are now seeing his videos.
So, where does that leave us?
Digital Marketing Trends 2017
The New Year will no doubt present its own new challenges but there will also be great opportunities to exploit new technologies and trends. We predict that the following will be key factors to successful digital marketing in 2017:
- Automation – not so much that your activity becomes robotic but just enough so that customers don’t have to wait for an initial response and that content can be drip fed into the public domain even when the offices are closed.
- Continuity – with the very real threat of your social pages being deleted if you stop updating them (Facebook has threatened to do this on a couple of redundant customer accounts this year) and the fact that the consumer can spot a mile off if you are up-to-date and or inactive from the prevalence or lack of blog and social updates, continuity in terms of your marketing strategy has never been more important.
- Integration – many businesses still view marketing channels in isolation but given that the average purchase is usually achieved through a combination of media – including paid search, organic search, social media referral and direct return visit – it is crazy to think of all these channels at your disposal as separate tools. Combine them in the right proportions, at the right time and with the right level of activity and you’ll end up with far better results.
- Going Live – there are few businesses brave enough to live stream at the moment but the marketing possibilities are out there if you stop and think about how this technology can be harnessed to help you reach your target audience. Social media users are demanding to be more ‘in the moment’ and what better way to immerse them in your brand or content than taking them with you? Think live events as a great starting point for live video streaming.
- New reality – from the Virtual Reality gaming headsets that are a popular Christmas list item to the augmented reality of roaming the streets for Pokestops earlier this year, our concepts of what is real has been challenged in 2016 and we predict it will grow and develop further in the coming twelve months.
- Cutting content – we don’t mean necessarily cutting down, but cutting through. There are so many words, images, videos and experiences out there that we are all getting too overwhelmed to bother paying attention. The winners in 2017 will be the brands who can cut through this noise to reach their target audience with specific messages that mean something to them.
What about at SEO it Right?
On a company level, 2016 has been a fantastic year. We started the year dressed up and walking the cold streets to raise money for Sport Relief, celebrated our 6th birthday in April, spent the summer delivering an awesome work experience programme for two local school pupils and an international work placement student and ended the year welcoming a new member to our team – Kostas, who comes to us as a highly-experienced developer,AdWords manager and user experience expert. If you haven’t met Kostas already or received an email from him I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing him well on his SEO it Right journey.
All that leaves me to do is thank everyone, staff, customers and followers for their continued support in 2016. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to an exciting year in 2017!
It’s been an exciting week at SEO it Right as we have welcomed Catrina to the team!
Catrina is 20 years old and is currently in her second year of studying Digital Marketing in Lisbon Portugal. She will be with us for the next 6 weeks to help us with all things digital.
We sat down with Catrina to talk about her first week in the UK as part of the SEO it Right team:
Hi Catrina! How have you enjoyed your first week at SEO it Right?
I really love it! The team are great and have been very welcoming. I was soon set the challenge of designing images for social media. I really like the feel to the team; they want to learn and grow professionally.
Are you enjoying studying marketing in Portugal? What do you like most about your course?
Yes, I’m really enjoying it. When I chose the course, it was much broader than just marketing, but during my studies I have become more and more interested in marketing and I always read as many articles about this topic as possible.
In the future, my wish is to be a designer. As part of my course, I had to create a product and set its concept, packaging and everything else. This helped me to realise that I would love to work on designing packaging and prototypes, as well as websites, logos and animations.
How are you finding it living and working in another country?
It’s my first time away from home, but I have been very lucky with the internship and the team here, as well as my home and host family. It’s very good to be here and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot over these six weeks.
What do you like most about the UK so far? Is there anything you miss most about home?
I haven’t travelled very far yet, but what I like about staying in Walsall is that it is a small town with many parks and open areas.
I do miss my family. This is my first time being away from them and out of my comfort zone. I came to a place where the language is not my mother tongue and I am a long way away from the people I love most. All the rewarding experiences will make being away from home worth it over the next 6 weeks!
Which parts of your experience so far have you most enjoyed?
I have really enjoyed my internship so far. The schedule is really great, the people are amazing and I have daily challenges where I can give my best. Every day is a different day.
I have enjoyed learning what’s involved in a normal day for each member of the team, but especially what Riz does. I loved learning how it is possible to see where people are most likely to click on a website using heatmaps. This helps us to discover where the most interesting content on a website is and helps us to improve websites by looking at the most clicked areas.
What would you like to achieve during your time with SEO it Right?
I would like to further develop my design skills and learn more about what makes a good image for social media. I am looking forward to learning more about how search engine optimisation works and how to define an online strategy for a business.
I’m ready to absorb as much information as possible over these 6 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll finish my time here having gained much more knowledge and ready to work in the digital marketing industry in the future.
What would you like to achieve in your career?
I’d love to study design and apply these skills to digital marketing and start a company that could serve other enterprises with the skills I have developed, creating business strategies and putting them into practice.
For now, I intend to create a website to help me learn more about web design and development and train my competence in it.
It has been fantastic to have Catrina here. During the last week, she has been very eager to learn and has produced some great work and asked many excellent questions.
We will touch base with Catrina again next week!
We’ve nearly reached the half-way mark for 2016 and in this short space of time we’ve seen some massive changes in the online marketing scene.
At the start of the year many of the industry’s leaders shared their predictions for the future across SEO, social media and technology. The trends that cropped up on many a marketers’ lists included:
- The explosion of video and video ads
- The dominance of mobile
- The rising popularity of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana
- The uptake of the dedicated app
- The marketing opportunities of the Internet of Things (IoT) – i.e. wearable technology
Some of these predictions have seen more progress than others so far, and other completely new developments have come to shake up our approaches to online marketing. Here are some of the latest and biggest updates that have come to us as we take on the second part of 2016, and what new trends will be changing the way businesses tackle their online goals.
In February Google removed ads on the right side of desktop search results, closing the gap between desktop and mobile ad displays and working to improve ad relevancy. Now that only 3 or 4 ads are displayed above the fold of a results page, it’s been suggested that CPC (cost-per-click) bids are likely to increase.
However, a few months on and in their blog titled ‘Ads and analytics innovations for a mobile-first world’, Google let us know of its AdWords redesign. Major news. The redesign allows for expanded text ads, giving businesses more ad space to showcase their products and services:
Optimised for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones, this move surely shows the value of serving the on-the-go mobile user of today and beyond – take note if you don’t yet have a mobile-friendly website!
Also, following their AMP project for mobile (reducing website’s loading times on mobile devices), Google have begun to pre-roll video ads in AMP video. They will also be rolling out sticky ads that stay at either the top or bottom of the screen as the user scrolls through content, as well as flying carpet ads, again with a focus on the mobile user’s convenience. It looks like the professionals were right about the prominence of video and mobile, but these developments from Google are putting these trends to effect.
In an effort to level out the playing field between big brands and SMEs, leading email marketing platform MailChimp has released Product Recommendations, which generates personalised items that each subscriber is most likely to buy. For small businesses, this means that a time consuming process can be automated easily, helping them to strengthen customer relations and brand loyalty.
Facebook has been very busy this year, with a few notable changes to their offerings for businesses including:
- January – March: the global rollout of Facebook Live, a livestreaming feature enabling businesses to share video content with customers in real time.
- February: the release of Facebook Reactions to the public. The 6 additional reactions let people express their response to a post beyond just the “like” action.
- April: a roadmap was published for product developments including Messenger chatbots. The bot platform allows businesses to send sponsored messages (including images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action) to people who have messaged them in the past.
- May: the announcement that Facebook will be shutting down its desktop ad exchange (FBX). A key reason behind this is that 82% of its ad revenue is coming from mobile ads. Instead, the major online organisation will be focusing on its Audience Network. This is a retargeting ad scheme that allows businesses to target users on Facebook’s network websites, regardless of whether they’re using Facebook or not.
- June: Facebook is experimenting with a new design for the desktop version, which removes sidebar ads, and more:
Instagram have reported that on average, 70% of people have been missing items in their feed. That’s why after a trial in March, Instagram will officially be rolling out their algorithm based feed from this month. This means that brands will have to look to increase their audiences and create relevant and engaging content with their target market in mind.
Recently Instagram announced that they will be launching their Business Tools feature, to help businesses stand out and gain valuable insights. As such, its Tools will include dedicated Business Profiles, which gives businesses the chance to choose how they’d like to be contacted – call, text or email. Plus, there’ll be an Insights feature providing actionable user information, as well as a Promote tool, where well-performing posts can be turned into ads.
Instagram is a social site that has really grown in popularity and it will be definitely one to watch this year and in future.
It seems that Twitter has announced the end of its sometimes frustrating 140 character limit for Tweets. Twitter will be excluding media attachments and @usernames (in replies) against a tweet’s 140-character limit, although links will still count. Images or other media attachments take up 24 characters in an update, so the exclusion of these will help business create more in-depth, engaging Tweets.
In addition, Twitter is set to follow the likes of Facebook, Google and Instagram, through their latest carousel ad format. The carousel feature lines up an array of up to 20 tweets — text, photos or videos — into a horizontal slideshow. Brands can choose from their own tweets and ads, along with tweets from users with permission given, or those in the Twitter-owned influencer program.
There’s a lot happening in online marketing this year, and these updates only prove the significant role of technology in advancing businesses and their customer relations. If you’d like to improve your online marketing and better succeed online, why not chat to the SEO it Right team? Simply call 0121 308 0219 or use our online contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist.
The way we develop and implement marketing strategies is rapidly changing; marketers and brands alike are all aware of the impending domination of digital driving us to take to social media, online advertising and a more mobile-centric approach to consumer engagement. With online companies such as Google and Facebook massively shaping the way businesses communicate and promote their products and services, we’re all feeling the pressure to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and stay afloat amongst the flood of online competition.
But, ensuring that you’re meeting the needs of your digital market doesn’t have to cost the world or take an army of marketers to achieve. By making a few changes to your marketing campaign, looking to the predicted trends for the online market, you’ll be able to benefit from increased online presence, brand awareness and traffic to your website. Here are some of the ways marketing will change this year and what we expect brands to be doing to fully engage online:
How you can adapt to the latest online marketing trends
What’s new for SEO?
According to Search Engine Land, 70-80% of users ignore paid ads in the search engine results pages (SERPS), and only focus on the organic result. This means that building your organic visibility by focusing on properly optimising your brand’s content should be a key priority – here’s what you can do:
Mobile is a must: It’s predicted that mobile-optimisation will become more important than desktop optimisation. Ensuring that your website is responsive to mobile and tablet devices, will therefore be a strong factor influencing your online visibility and rankings in the SERPS. User experience for mobile users is a must; statistics show that 57% of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load on their device.
Additionally, the future is seemingly geared towards the mobile app; apps are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of wearable technology and the ease of usage. As it’s already been reported that users spend 90% of mobile usage on apps, Google will be indexing apps in a much similar way to how it indexes traditional websites. How can you cater for this growing market?
Social media gains more power: It looks like your social media content will become as or even more valuable than content from your independent website pages. Social content is becoming more readily indexed, which means that your communications must be consistent, relevant and targeted across the social sites your target audience interact with. Last year:
- Instagram is now bigger than Twitter
- Snapchat is growing at a rate of 56% each year
- Tumblr signs up an average of 120,000 users a day
If your marketing strategy isn’t geared towards providing a comprehensive social experience of your brand, you’ll be missing out to competitors.
Social is a discovery engine
Facebook has already overtaken Google for news traffic and will look to officially release its ‘Instant Articles’ feature this year. This will give users the opportunity to view brands’ content – articles and blogs – without having to leave the platform. Combined with the introduction of the ‘Buy’ button for Facebook as well as Twitter, marketers must look to take advantage of the increasing power of social media sites early on.
The video boom
Google is experimenting with in-SERP video advertising, in a bid to compete with Facebook and Bing who have started to offer video options for advertisers. Video will become an extremely important marketing device this year and beyond; in fact, it’s predicted that video will account for 69% of consumer internet traffic by 2017. Did you know that currently 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute? Make sure you benefit this year by tapping into the video boom.
Get into graphics: Along with the increasing visual appeal of online communications through video, shareable graphics will take preference for consumers digesting content. The trend for websites is becoming decidedly minimalistic, with clean, clear and easy to read written content. To grab your audience’s attention, you’ll need to develop or share more images to match the content created, which clearly relates to your brand and your brand message.
How will content marketing be affected?
HubSpot found that in 2015, companies who blog received 97% more links to their website and B2B marketers that use blogs received 67% more leads than those who didn’t.
Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information, so it’s no surprise that for the online future, creating quality blog content built around the consumer will be the priority. This needs to be strategically integrated with all the other marketing channels. As well as sharing blog content through social media, you’ll need to integrate it into email communications, influencer relations, media relations, content sponsorships and social advertising.
Engaging content matters: A central focus for online marketing will be on providing engaging, helpful content. Header and pop-up advertisements will begin to decline on web pages, particularly on mobile devices. This means that the content you provide on a page needs to be of a high quality to engage audiences’ interest and secure further interaction with your brand. The emphasis will be on creating an engaging headline that stirs curiosity and content that entices action. From there, you could include links within the content to a more ad-heavy page. By delivering quality content, you’ll ensure that your audience will click through and that responses to advertisements will be willingly made.
To find out more about creating an engaging online marketing campaign or for help with building your marketing strategy, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 308 0219 to speak to a member of our team.