Have you nailed down your marketing strategy for 2014 yet? Probably the answer is yes.
But are you putting your money on the right marketing horse?
In the past 12 months, marketing has undergone a huge shift and what worked last year is now a commodity and provides no unique selling position anymore.
But let's take it one step at a time.
Marketing Industry Survey Shows Opportunities for Inbound Marketing
According to the article, overall marketing budgets are increasing in 2014. But it will be spent differently.
Is SEO Dead?
Classic search engine optimization (SEO) methods such as link building (-20.2%), keyword research (-11.03%) and link removal (-10.87%) have seen a significant decrease in demand.
This is not surprising considering that the safest method to rank well is to provide the best value to your clients. And Google openly advocates this consistently.
But does that mean SEO is dead?
No. SEO has become a must-have but will not do for your marketing what it did even 5 years ago:
- Almost 3 out of 4 marketers are using SEO and SEM to increase rankings. There are 10 spots on the first search result page... so do the math. And there is no better spot to hide a dead person than the second page on Google.
- Without great content, SEO's will have a very hard time to get your website ranking.
- Due to recent Google algorithm changes, ranking factors now include more and more social signals, quality of the content, author, other proof of popularity and value.
Content Might Be King, But Content Marketing Is The Queen
Unless you lived under a rock the past year, you have heard the saying: "Content is King!" And many marketers have reported increased budgets - content creation demand increased in 2013 by 71% and it is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2014.
But content creation requires a thought-out content strategy as well as a content management platform.
Many people understand that they need to create content. But they believe they are too small or too busy to need a content strategy.
However, the opposite is true. Every content creator can benefit from a content strategy greatly. In fact, the Content Management Institute documents that if a company has a documented content strategy in place or they have someone overseeing it, are more effective than their peers who do not.
However, every second marketer does not have a documented content marketing strategy.
Creating a content strategy includes defining your company's buyer persona and deciding on what stages they are on their buyers journey. Then keyword research is going to reveal what words or problems to focus on. Ideas will be structured and planned in a blogging calendar and an editorial calendar.
Content Management Platform
While 71% of the marketers surveyed answered they have some form of content management platform in place, this might not actually mean they are using it as such. In 2014, tens of thousands of new WordPress sites are created every day!
Many companies will create great content and then wait for traffic.
But content needs to be marketed. You need to reach out to your audience, influence thought leaders and third party connections to promote, share, link to and comment on your content to make it come to live!
It will not come as a surprise to you that a social media strategy is a must in 2014.
Depending on your buyer personas, you should focus on the watering holes that they hang out at.
- If you are a furniture designer and you market to interior designers, you want to look into Houzz and Pinterest.
- If you market mainstream consumer products, Facebook is the way to go.
- But for a professional service company, LinkedIn, Google+ and SlideShare might be their main focus.
The main goal is to find the best two and really engage there. You can post to other social media outlets, but you should focus on building an audience in two social networks of your choice.
Local & Mobile
Are you a local brick and mortar store and think you do not need SEO? Think again!
One out of four Americans access the internet only on their smartphone or tablet. 75% of Twitter users will access Twitter only through a mobile device.
Due to the high availability of wireless internet, easy to use mobile apps and the inclusion of semantic search, people have now become accustomed to searching on the go for a restaurant, research a product online or compare other shopping options when being out and about. According to Local Vox, 88% of local searchers will follow up with a phone call within the next 24 hours.
This in turn means, local stores have to invest in local search and companies anywhere have to offer a mobile-friendly website.
Compared to other hip and trendy marketing methods out there, email marketing might be a bit of a dinosaur. But the truth is, that it is still one of the most effective marketing tools today. It has a low cost per lead and is excellent for lead nurturing.
Almost every single marketer (98%) plan to increase or maintain their email marketing spending in 2014, according to ExactTarget. Email Marketing was among the top 5 with 58%.
However, it cannot be stressed enough, that the lists need to be segmented by buyer personas and their stage in the buyer's life cycle. Not only will this allow you to target communication and address your leads needs, it will increase open rates and leave you with more happy customers.
Pulling it all together: Inbound Marketing
Now, how do you pull this all together and analyse your marketing efforts across all those channels?
With Inbound Marketing!
2014 is the year for Inbound Marketing and it holds amazing opportunities for those who leverage its powers.
According to the ExactTarget study, Marketing Automation tops the list for where most Marketers plan to increase budgets. The name can be a little misleading. Marketing Automation software does not actually automate the marketing for you, but it will help you execute an Inbound Marketing strategy more effectively.
With the implementation of HubSpot, you can turn strangers into leads, leads into customers and customers into promoters using content marketing, social media, SEO, email marketing and much more - all in one place. Equipped with powerful analytics and reporting tools, measuring your inbound marketing return on investment is not only possible but fun!