Mid last year, Forbes, rightly so, predicted an inevitable shift towards Content and Inbound Marketing. One year on, this prediction has turned into reality. Content is more in demand than ever and traditional marketing agencies have made the move to online and towards Inbound. Now, an established marketing method, the concept itself has started evolving. Online as a playing field, provides us with endless challenges, not only because it’s an ever evolving and changing space but because trends and hypes emerge and die faster than anywhere else. As someone who uses the medium for business purposes, you need to be aware of any shift, as small as it may seem, in order to be successful and get the most out of what we now call Inbound. With 2014’s marketing shift came a wave of change, from the emergence of location-based content marketing to the rise of marketing automation, here are the top 5 digital marketing trends, you need to know about right now!
1. The power of visual
Well-written, well-researched content is important but you need to please the eye too. Humans are visual creatures. Around 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. We process visual content 60, 000 times faster than text. Just think about this for a second, if, as a marketer, you are looking to attract buyers, this piece of information can really make or break you. Research shows that posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without…..94%!! It’s not surprising then, that platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are as successful as they are. We all long know a picture speaks a thousand words, but now we know it can also make a million bucks. So make sure you enhance your undoubtedly brilliant content with illustrative, high-quality imagery to really max out its potential, you can even go as far as making visuals the dominant factor of your content by creating videos and infographics.
2. Mixing it up – diversity and flexibility are key
While you want to be consistent with your messaging, you need to be able to keep your prospects interested. You can do a range of things as long as you keep it engaging, informative, educational and entertaining. Formats such as video, infographics, slideshows, animations, blog posts, ebooks and excel-based calculators can help increase prospect engagement and make your content stand out – interactive even. By generating content that speaks to multiple senses you can create unique experiences that engage audiences and create more powerful connections with brands.
And that’s not all, mixing it up doesn’t just mean mixing up your content, it also means using the best of the best of outbound to blend with Inbound. Google Ads, for example, when used wisely, can really boost your Inbound efforts and website traffic. And data shows that 58% of marketers were planning on increasing their email spend in 2014, a spend that seems justified when you consider that 88% of marketers believe that email marketing does or will produce ROI.
3. Marketing Automation
In their 2014 State of Marketing report, exacttargeting state that 98% of marketers plan to increase or maintain spend in 2014. Marketing automation, with 61%, rates second within the areas of increased spending. Marketing automation, obviously won’t do the marketing for you, but it can help you streamline, optimise and ease some of the processes, such as social sharing, SEO, SEM, building aligned landing pages, e-mail campaigns and running comprehensive analytics. Some providers such as HubSpot even offer Inbound and product tutorials as well as how-to guides and blogs.
4. Multiplatform Campaigns
You want to be able to reach your prospects wherever they are. This means your campaigns need to be cross-screen, integrated and responsive. You really need to be everywhere in order to be found everywhere. Your campaigns should ideally be viewable and accessible on TV, tablet, mobile, desktop and even interactive screens at points of sale. This way you can attract the more traditional buyer who uses only one device, just as much as the tech-savvy prospect, who searches across multiple screens and devices.
5. Location-based Content Marketing
With smartphones dominating the market and wearables on the rise, GPS-enabled devices are omnipresent. So we are not surprised that 2014 sees marketers making the most of this new, suddenly available heap of data. By exploiting GPS capabilities and combining them with other demographic and prospect information, you can not only get a better understanding of the buyer, you can also reach out to them with relevant messages and deals based on their location. According to Forbes, brick-and-mortar storefronts that fail to adopt location-based content marketing strategies will see sales decline as their competitors cannibalise those sales with location-based flash deals, offers, and coupons, and while this is primarily important for those working in B2C, as a B2B marketer you can adapt this strategy and use it to your advantage, once again flexibility and innovation are key to online success. Let's not forget, we are all looking to attract people.
So that's it, in order to succeed with inbound and content you really need to get on top what online really means to your business and how you can capatalise its shifts, trends and revolutions.
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