It’s a new year! Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving. Keeping up with all the changes is a challenge – and it’s best to expect the unexpected. Let’s take a look at some trends to watch in 2016.
1. Mobile: “Beacon me up, Scotty”
Imagine that you’re in the local big-box store shopping for a new lawn mower and suddenly a discount offer for a lawn mower you’re interested in pops up on your phone. You hit the jackpot; right? Well, it’s not science fiction. It’s beacons. Now businesses can deliver the right message to their customers at just the right time and place.
Here’s how mobile beacons work. A store purchases little proximity-based beacons – small mobile devices that are placed strategically throughout the store. Customers are encouraged to download an app to receive special offers at the store. Then, based on where the customer is physically located in the store, these beacons will send out location-based mobile ads, coupons or information to the shopper.
Proximity-based marketing uses a shopper’s behavior and location to determine what they’re interested in and then ads are served up to the customer at just the right moment.
Swirl is a leading proximity-based mobile marketing platform provider. According to Swirl, 73% of shoppers said that beacon triggered content and offers increased their likelihood to purchase during their store visit.
So if you think you can avoid mobile marketing in 2016, forget it. Resistance is futile. (Note: I know I’m mixing up my "Star Trek" genres, but you get the idea.)
2. Social Media Shopping: Users Will Leverage Their Friends and Social Media to Make Purchasing Decisions
Thanks to social media, the buying process will never be the same. More and more people are using their social media friends and family to get shopping advice to help make purchasing decisions.
If you’re like me, you’ll see posts from friends or family on Facebook asking for advice on everything from which chiropractor in town is the best to what kind of mattress to buy. Below are just some shopping discussion examples that go on on social media.
Social media provides businesses an amazing opportunity. If they create customer evangelists, referral marketing has now turned digital! Instead of a one-to-one referral it’s a one-to-many referral – which means more customers and more sales. Additionally, social media platforms -- like Facebook – are exploring ways to make it easier for businesses to sell their products directly from the social media platform.
3. Your Reputation Matters Now More Than Ever
Many businesses don’t even want to think or talk about online reviews. For some it’s a really sore subject because they’ve been burned by negative reviews. In 2016 businesses can no longer continue ignoring their reputation. Why? The whole world is seeing stars – literally. A business’ star reputation is now shown almost everywhere for all to see: in Google local maps listings, AdWord ads, online business directories like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Yellowbook – and they really stand out in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
According to BrightLocal, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That means that customers take these reviews seriously and often make snap decisions about a product or business at a glance just by their star ratings. As Daniel Lemin puts it in his new book Manipurated,
“With the rise of online ratings and reviews, businesses now confront websites that allow virtually anyone to say anything about your business to everyone on the Internet, regardless of truth or fairness. Though the discussion is about you, you’re left feeling shut out of it.”
Now more than ever businesses need to have a reputation marketing plan of action and implement it in 2016.
4. Content Marketing – Still King But Longer
When people ask me what they can do to help rank their site higher on the search engines, one of the first things I tell them is: content. Create really good content. Google’s goal is to show the best results for what searchers are looking for – people are generally trying to solve a problem or find information. If you create content that answers searchers’ questions in an authoritative way, you’ll increase your odds of showing up in the SERPs.
Last year, the recommended standard length of a blog post was approximately 500-600 words. Not so this year. In 2016 longer content (think 1,500 words or more) can help you rank higher than shorter content. So get your pen to paper – or fingers on the keyboard – and determine what people are searching for, what topics are trending in your industry, strategize keywords and synonyms and brainstorm topics with your team.
Next, sit down and plan out when you will write a blog post about which topic and go with it!
2016 is not just a fresh start for us as personally; it’s also a perfect time to take a fresh look at digital marketing trends that may impact the growth of your business.
Sherry Bonelli, Digital Marketer and Presenter/Speaker, has been a digital marketing professional since 1998. After launching her first ecommerce website in the late ’90s, Sherry has been featured on the TODAY Show, ABC News, CBS News and other newspapers and radio outlets. She is currently the owner of early bird digital marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency located in Cedar Rapdis, IA. She can be reached by visiting http://earlybirddigitalmarketing.comor by calling 319.409.3287.