In 2014, organisations of all types and sizes must continue to adapt their marketing strategies to remain relevant and in front of their target audiences.
Increasingly, this means recognising the online nature of customer relationships and deploying a strong Digital Marketing strategy.
Having a poor Digital Marketing strategy can mean missing out on potential customers online, which is a significant problem when you consider that the vast majority of people looking for a business begin their search online.
Follow these ten top tips to ensure your Digital Marketing strategy remains relevant and delivers results in 2014:
1. Make Your Homepage Visual
Web users have become increasingly impatient and studies have shown that they decide whether to stay on a site within the first 10 seconds of visiting.
Web users are no longer going to read through paragraph after paragraph of text. This means it is increasingly difficult for businesses to communicate their key messages and unique proposition.
To combat this, many websites are now using a combination of video and images to help them easily and powerfully communicate.
Visual communication is powerful as it allows much more to be communicated, and in a much shorter space of time. This is crucial when communication to impatient web users visiting your website for the first time.
This isn’t surprising when you consider 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Added to this, research by Forrester Research, showed that 1 minute of video is worth a staggering 1 million words (click here for more information).
Having a visual centric homepage allows websites to decrease bounce rates, increase search rankings and boost online conversions.
Examples of websites using visual centric homepage:
2. Make It Mobile Friendly
The last few years have seen significant increases in the number of people accessing websites on smartphones and tablets. This is set to continue in 2014 and businesses can no longer ignore this shift from PCs and laptops to mobile devices..
Mobile visitors are even more important when you consider the fact that 9 out of 10 smartphone searches end in action.
Every business in 2014 will have to have a mobile responsive website to ensure they don’t miss out on sales from increasingly significant mobile visitors.
3. Focus On Content
Traditional marketing, such as TV adverts and magazines ads, is becoming less and less effective as consumers switch off from this type of interruptive communication.
Marketers must now give buyers what they want – information that answers their questions and needs.
The best way to do that in 2014 is through high quality content. Content that engages and satisfies what a buyer is looking for will be listened too and will be much more effective.
As Hubspot say, “By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive.”
Content is also becoming an important SEO factor, with sites that publish high quality content that satisfies a searcher’s intent. Social shares and engagement is also an increasingly important SEO factor, which is most effectively generated through high quality and engaging content.
4. Harness The Power Of Online Video
Video is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to a modern marketer. Online video came to the forefront of many organisations’ marketing in 2013 and this will continue in 2014.
If you are not deploying online video, then chances are, you have fallen behind your competition.
We have already discussed how video can be used on your homepage to communicate and engage much more effectively, but online video can also be shared across a wide number of online platforms that your audience visit, including social media sites.
Using video across a number of platforms allows businesses to have an engaging, easy to consume, and consistent first touch point with potential customers. This allows them to understand your business much more clearly, and are therefore far more likely to convert.
5. Multi Channel
Gone are the days where it is a sensible marketing strategy to rely on a single channel for customer acquisition.
In an online world, businesses need to be where their potential customers are. Often, this will be on a number of different channels, meaning there are a number of touch points a business needs to focus on engaging their audience.
In 2014, marketers must learn to be savvy about where and how they reach their target audience. Start by trying to understand who your target audience is and websites these people spend their time on.
6. Get Social
If you didn’t get ‘social’ in 2013, then 2014 really has to be the year you do.
Social media is where your audience are likely to spend a lot of time and interact with many businesses. If it’s not with your business, then it’s likely it will be with your competition.
Social is also an increasingly important search engine ranking factor, so by not implementing an effective social media strategy, you risk not only missing out on talking to your target audience, but also a decline in your search rankings on Google.
A powerful and cost effective way to enhance your audience and amplify your message on social media is to use social ads, such as Facebook ads. These allow for powerful targeting of your target audience, and when combined with engaging content, can significantly enhance your audience and leads.
7. Add Rich Snippets To Google Search Results
Rich snippets in Google results, as shown above, stand out in search results, meaning users are more likely to click on them. This is an effective tactic to increase click through rates and drive more traffic to your website from Google.
The easiest ways to get a rich snippet into search results is to use video on your website through a professional video hosting service or implement Google authorship.
8. Focus On High Quality Backlinks
Recent changes to Google has made it more important than ever to focus on getting high quality backlinks to your website. Without them, you’re unlikely to rank highly on Google for your keywords.
Hopefully your content marketing efforts should be driving lots of natural links back to your website, but if you do still want to contribute to or get a backlink from a website, make sure it has a high domain authority or is somewhere where your target audience hang out online.
To check a website has a high domain authority, use opensiteexplorer to check the website isn’t considered as spammy by Google.
9. Implement Sign up forms On Your Website
On average, only 2 percent of web visitors convert on their first visit to a website. Or put another way, 98 percent of leads fail to convert from their first visit. In the past, marketers haven’t known who these visitors are, so they become a missed opportunity, potentially gone forever.
Sign up forms help solve this problem. They allow marketers to capture the data of potential leads who visited their site but weren’t ready there and then to purchase.
Marketers can then, through quality content, engage these people at a later date, keeping them top of mind for when they are ready to make a purchase.
10. Ad Retargeting
As we discussed above, only 2 percent of web visitors convert on their first visit to a website. As well as sign up forms on websites, marketers are also increasingly using ad retargeting to remind consumers of products or services they once viewed but did not purchase.
Ad retargeting works by using cookies to track the product or service website visitors view. Once they leave your site, they will be shown the product or services again via ads on other websites they visit.
This is a very effective way of boosting conversion rates by reminding customers of products and services they’ve shown interest in, but for whatever reason didn’t at the time purchase.