With the new year upon us, and the holidays in our rearview, it’s time to get back to business and think about how to approach your brand’s online marketing for 2015! In this article, we cover 12 of the biggest online marketing trends your business should put on your new year’s resolution list:
1. Content is Still at the Core of Your Online Brand.
Every year we emphasize the role of fresh, relevant content and its importance when building your brand online. Content-driven marketing is here to stay, and Google, as well as other search engines are taking measures to ensure that content is one of, if not, the most important ranking factor on your website.
Tips for your content marketing strategy in 2015:
- Update frequently. At minimum, post 1-2 blogs a month, though posting more is even better.
- Post content that is relevant to your business and helpful to your customers. If you wouldn’t want to read it, it’s probably not something you customers want to read either.
- Humanized content is on rise. This is content that emphasizes real people and real stories over faceless corporate stories.
- Contextual content is gaining importance. Creating contextual content involves using terminology that is contextually related to your keywords, rather than just repeating a handful of keywords throughout your website, like a robot. This creates better content for readers and ultimately search engines want to serve content that their searchers will find useful.
2. The Domination of Mobile Optimization Continues
If your site isn’t mobile yet, suffice to say you’re behind in the online marketing game. If you haven’t hopped on the mobile bandwagon yet, making your site mobile-friendly should be your number one New Years Resolution for 2015. More than half of Canadians own a smartphone, and approximately a quarter own a tablet. Mobile optimization is crucial to providing a positive user-experience to these customers. Whether you use a mobile-dedicated site, or a responsive web design, your business should cater to all screen sizes.
In 2015, expect responsive design to become more standardized. Not only is responsive design recommended by Google, it’s user-friendly, content-friendly, and mobile-friendly. Customers want the full experience of your site, whether they’re on their mobile device or on their desktop. That includes access to your ecommerce store and any content streams. Whether you use responsive web design, or a dedicated site,use a platform that updates your desktop and mobile sites simultaneously to ensure that you minimize your work and always keep your mobile site up-to-date.
3. The More Online Marketing Channels The Merrier
Online marketing is a massive category that includes interrelated fields such as search optimization, content marketing, paid search, display advertising, link building, social media marketing and others. Moving into 2015, we can expect to see businesses allocating more spending amongst all of these channels.
It’s no longer enough to cherry pick one or two online marketing channels to focus your budget on. All aspects of your online marketing are more closely interweaved than ever, and how one channel performs affects others. The performance of your website directly affects the cost per click in paid search. How often your content is shared through social media affects how your website ranks on search engines. The connections are endless. Having your budget spread amongst several channels allows you to make the most of your online marketing as a whole. The symbiotic nature of online marketing is here to stay, so make sure you’re taking advantage.
Due to the increasingly multi-platform nature of online marketing, you can also expect to see moreadvertising that carries from one channel to another seamlessly (i.e. ads that request you participate in activities on twitter, facebook or instagram). Cross-channel advertising encourages customers to transition between your various online channels and keep in touch with your brand.
4. Retargeting is on the Rise
Retargeting is one of those nebulous online marketing terms that a lot of businesses have: a) never heard of, or b) don’t know the definition of. Let’s eliminate the confusion, shall we? Retargeting is banner advertising that is directed solely at people who have visited your website before, or searched for keywords relevant to your site.Though it’s been around for awhile, retargeting is beginning to gain more momentum as we move into the era of hyper-targeting.
With the ability to target online audiences down to a pinpoint, brands are becoming shrewder about how they advertise to customers with high conversion potential. Remarketing allows brands to take advantage of hyper targeting and create personalized ads that are unique to each and every customer. This makes retargeting a strong marketing tool that can no longer be ignored.
5. Create Branded Content That Doesn’t Feel Like Branded Content
Online marketing is no longer about you and your brand. It’s about your customers and what you can offer them. In 2015, expect brands to adopt a softer side. It’s already been proven that emotional brand videos have some of the best share rates (second only to funny ones.) But now that trend is extending into online marketing and social media marketing too. Warm, fuzzy true-life stories and interactive social media updates give your brand a human side that appeals to customers.
The second way brands are connecting with customers is through personalization. Whether it’s altering PPC landing pages based on user searches, addressing your customer by name in email marketing campaigns, or connecting with visitors directly on social media, your customers want to feel like your brand cares about them and their needs. Personalized content gives them a nod and shows you’re not an unfeeling corporate entity that only cares about the bottom line; you’re also thinking about them and what they want from you.
6. Display Big, Bold, Beautiful Visuals Prominently
Graphics, photos and videos are big for 2015. We’ve seen a trend toward content presented in a visual format. Whether you use infographics to tell your story, intersperse photos throughout your website, or create a video blog, you should have your content available in a visual format.By nature, most people are able to digest content more quickly when it incorporates visuals. This means quality visual content is more likely to sink in with your customers and leave a lasting impression.
Infographics and videos are both great to have in your repertoire. They offer a shortcut for mobile users who want content, but don’t have the time to read through a blog on their phone.
One of the biggest web design predictions for 2015 also centres around visuals. Attractive, ultra high quality photos are going to be big for 2015. Get ready for the return of the hero header bar, complete with stunning visuals. Your customers love looking at photos. Making them a centerpiece of your site is a great way to draw the right kind of attention.
7. Keep Site and Navigation Simple With Minimalist Designs
At first glance minimalism might seem to fly in the face of our last point (that visuals are going to be prominent) but we’re of the camp that believes you can have both. Where visuals will be up front and centre, the rest of your site should be simple and focus on being clean, readable and easy to navigate.
In 2015, expect to see simple navigation panels that do away with the previous year’s parallax trend (which has all your content on one endlessly scrolling page.) In addition, font sizes continue to grow, in order to keep up with ever-expanding resolutions available on smartphones. Legibility and user-experience are top priority for website designs in 2015, and crisp minimalist designs offer that in spades.
8. Produce Original Video Content For Your Brand
Video content has proven time and again to be a valuable marketing tool for businesses. In 2014 YouTube was the second most used search engine in the world after Google. Stats continue to show that online videos have a powerful effect on your customers. Check out this article by Digital Sherpa for 25 impressive video marketing stats that sound too good to be true. (They’re all real.) If your brand hasn’t already hopped on the bandwagon and developed original video content, put it at the top of your to-do list for the new year!
9. Adopt an HTTPS Domain For Your Ecommerce Site
Having a secured domain (which is what separates an HTTPS from an HTTP site) is becoming the standard if you own an ecommerce site. With the array of hacking stories in the news over the past year, customers are increasingly being warned to protect themselves and their data.
Internet-users are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and they are learning how to better protect themselves online. Having a secured domain inspires a deeper level of trust. If you’re counting on customers to make transactions online, you want to do everything in your power to ensure they feel secure providing their credit information. Having an HTTPS domain is the first step in the right direction.
10. Use Call Tracking to Gather Valuable Information About Your Marketing
Call tracking is being more widely adopted as a key means of measuring the success of online marketing campaigns. With Google limiting the amount of data that is available to businesses through analytics with (not set) and (not provided) keywords, businesses are looking for additional ways to track the results of their online marketing initiatives.
Call tracking provides unique insight by enabling businesses to record their calls and refine their customer service processes, in addition to gathering data about which online marketing channels are driving phone leads that turn into sales. Spending on online call tracking is on the rise and is expected to grow further in 2015.
11. Use Local Geotargeting to Capture Traffic for Competitive Searches
The importance of having a local search marketing strategy is something we continue to emphasize to clients year after year. With the continued growth of mobile marketing, local search will continue to play a key role in SEO and PPC in 2015. Not only does local search drive urgent leads to your business from people who are in your neighbourhood, it also allows your business to rank for highly competitive keywords that might otherwise be difficult to capture.
12. Rejuvenate Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing has long gotten a bad reputationfor lacking creativity. In 2015, expect that to change. Email marketers are becoming savvier about how they use the medium. Instead of bombarding customers? inboxes with unwanted emails daily, email marketing is shifting to a more content-based, customer-centric format.
Email marketing is focusing more and more on providing customers with valuable tools and resources that enrich their brand experience. It can be as simple as sharing links to blog articles, videos or how-to’s that enrich your customers? lives and how they use your products or services, or providing information about sales or products that are relevant to their interests.
Also expect to see fewer long-copy emails, and more visually-dominated email marketing campaigns. Emails are shifting to focus more on bright colours and simple graphics that capture viewer attention, even on small mobile screens.
So there you have it, some of the most important online marketing trends of 2015! Is your business prepared for what the new year has in store?
Contact us for a free online marketing and website assessment to start off the new year on the right foot! We will evaluate if your online strategy is keeping up with the trends for 2015. If not, we will put together an online marketing plan that will generate results for your business.
Do you agree with our list of predicted marketing trends for 2015? Think we missed an important trend for 2015? Let us know what you think in the comments below. We love hearing your opinions and receiving feedback!