Will 2014 be your most profitable business year yet?
Without the magical power of predicting the future, you cannot answer that question. But even without a magic crystal ball, you can tip the scales in your favor in 2014 by leveraging the hottest marketing trends as well as those trends that continue to flourish from years past.
What marketing strategies should you be focusing on in 2014?
Here are 5 ideas!
1. Personalized Content
Personalized content is not a new concept, but it has not been practiced as much as it has been preached.
This year, we should see a rising trend toward more content personalization since internet marketing has been trending this way for the past few years. With the Google changes forcing marketer’s to take a closer look at relevancy and user experience, and more competitors vying for customers, we will see more businesses supercharge their content with personalization strategies.
How do you personalize your content?
First, think about to WHOM and WHEN.
Create user profiles based on data you receive from your customers/audience that answers the questions of “Who are your target markets?” and “When should you hit your targets with content?”
To personalize your content, here are some data points to measure:
- Digital Location – How are visitors finding your website? Where are they coming from? Depending on the website they came from, you may want to deliver different types of content. Use your Analytics!
- Physical Location – Simplified example: Your website sells bathing suits. To boost your sales in the winter, you may want to create content that suggests “vacation wear” and getting away from the cold for your visitors hailing from a colder climate. Hawaiian natives would not respond to the same content for obvious reasons.
- Interests or Behavior – What are your customers’ goals based on how they behaved on your website? Did your visitors get everything they needed from your website or was there more content they wanted to experience?
These are just some of the data points you can use to personalize your content. Start small in the beginning and use a platform like GetSmartContent that will help you organize and track the data. Or simply collect information from your audience and/or direct different audience segments to targeted content on your website. Feature personalized content in many forms such as websites, landing pages, emails, and blog posts.
Here is a helpful, in-depth article on the subject: The Static Website is Dead – Long Live Personalized Content
2. In-depth Content
Google made in-depth content one of the classic buzz words of 2013. In 2013, Google announced it would highlight in-depth articles on its search results pages.
Here is an example of in-depth articles listed on the first page of Google:
I performed a search for the keyword “marketing”.
In-depth articles thoroughly cover a topic and do not leave many unanswered questions for readers. Google AND your audience adores this type of content.
To find out more about how Google identifies in-depth articles, read this article: B2B Content for SEO: What do Google and Your Prospects Really Want?
3. Visual Stimulation
“Visual” marketing strategies continue to top the charts year after year and 2014 should prove no different.
Expect to see the rise of the micro-video, a video consisting of seconds of highly-targeted, shareable content. Not all internet users prefer watching videos (I am one of them), but even people like me who do not have the patience to sit through a 3-4 minute video enjoy these short snippets of visual stimulation.
Instagram just announced the introduction of a new feature that allows businesses to send media (videos and images) directly to its followers. This is BIG news for marketers who leverage Instagram to increase engagement around their brands. Instagram also allows posts on shared media, and conversations to happen naturally, similar to how engagement occurs on Facebook.
Instagram and the Twitter Vine app started the concept of micro-videos. Twitter Vine videos are videos of six seconds or less and Instagram videos allow 3-15 seconds of recording.
Don’t underestimate what you can do with 10-15 seconds of recording time! People love sharing these micro-videos, which can help spread and share the message of your brand.
Burberry launched some “winter holiday” videos this season. One video simply featured a young boy dressed in Burberry clothing blowing heart-shaped snow from his hands.
Another Burberry video featured a Christmas tree being blanketed by falling heart-shaped snow.
Customer intent will become a buzzword in 2014. In the past, keywords were the top data points for website optimization, but this trend will slowly shift away from micro-managing keyword data to focusing more on customer intent.
We can thank Google’s Hummingbird update for catapulting this trend into the heart of internet marketing. The Hummingbird update forced marketers to be less reliant on keywords and become more focused on understanding consumers to a greater degree to realize their true intent.
For more information on Google Hummingbird and how to adjust your marketing to be more customer-conscious, read this article: How to Benefit from the Biggest Google Change to Hit the Web Since 2001
5. 2014 is the Year of the Website… the High-Converting Website, that is.
Conversion optimization will be key in 2014 as the trend towards personalized content and customer intent grows. In 2011 and 2012, we witnessed major shifts in marketing trends as Google Panda and Penguin surfaced. And 2013 was the year of adjustment and learning as a result of these updates, and a general “swallowing” of the fact that businesses can’t rely solely on Google for its “bread and butter.”
In 2014, businesses will invest more resources in conversion optimization and user experience for their websites.
If you want to “keep up with the Joneses,” consider focusing and tweaking the following elements on your website:
- Transparency – Show people who you are! Visitor trust is crucial!
- User Experience – Is it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for? Usability testing will help here.
- Mobile Optimization
- Content – Personalize it (see above).
I just listed five strategies that will help you focus your marketing efforts and increase your ROI in 2014.
Can you think of any others? What strategies are you looking forward to trying in 2014?