The content marketing world is just about saturated. Everyone is using SEO optimized blogs, social media, email marketing, guest posting, PPC advertising, etc., to get traffic to their business sites, and with good reason.
These things still do work, if business owners can spend lots of time posting, keeping abreast of new keywords and keyword phrases, generating engaging content, and studying the analytics to see what is working.
And then there is the whole millennial thing – in order to appeal to this largest online purchasing demographic, businesses have to spend a lot of time nurturing this crowd and establishing relationships built on trust and social responsibility. A startup could legitimately spend hours upon hours on content marketing while other important aspects of the business must be tended as well. This is fine if you don’t need to sleep.
The most important way to get a handle on content marketing strategies is for startups to take a look at new trends. This will at least narrow the focus and, as well, allow a business to get out in front of the competition that may not be incorporating these trends yet.
None of this is to say that you should ignore your current content platforms. Rather, it is to say that you incorporate new market trends as you continue to use these venues for marketing. This way, the hours you spend are likely to get better results. Of course, you continue to maintain your blog, you social media and email tactics, and your advertising, but you do it with these eight current trends in mind.
Google owns YouTube. And it is now seeing the value of in-SERP video advertising. So, as you continue to use your current platforms, incorporate more video and begin to use video in your paid advertising as well. Users are happy to see video replacing text – they can play a more passive role in getting information and getting it faster – both things are valuable to them. They’ll watch your video before they’ll read a competitor’s text.
2016 will be a year in which more and more businesses will develop apps for mobile devices, and even for wearables. While mobile-optimized websites have been the right way to go, apps, especially for e-commerce, will be a big improvement, and mobile users prefer them.
Features such a geolocation will allow business owners to speak more directly with individual customers. And be certain that your app is integrated with cloud technology so that users and potential customers can cross over several devices as they are making purchasing decisions.
SEO and PPC marketing are still very effective in getting a site spread and seen. But, with Siri and Cortana and other digital assistants on the rise, business owners will need to be certain that their information will be easily accessed by these assistants – this method of finding what they want is becoming more and more popular with users. While Google searches are still popular, especially with desktop users, mobile users prefer assistants.
This has already been alluded to, but it is worth repeating, as important as it is. By the end of 2015 mobile traffic had overtaken desktop traffic, according to Google, and it has now released its “Mobilegeddon” algorithm which will phase out sites that are not mobile-optimized. This won’t happen immediately, but it is coming, and businesses that are prepared will be in a better marketing position. And remember millennials are almost totally mobile.
It will be of growing importance that websites are optimized for wearables. The Apple Watch 2 was just launched in April of this year, and other manufacturers will follow suit with smart watches and other wearables throughout 2016 and beyond. This has large implications for local marketing and will continue to mesh online and real-time marketing. Any business pp developed today should keep wearables in mind.
While it is the most widely known VR device, the Oculus Rift, recently launched for general use, will certainly not be the only such device developed and marketed this year. Many of these devices are for gaming, of course, but there is an entire area of opportunity for online marketing, as they are integrated into social media platforms, direct messaging, and video channels.
No one is suggesting that a small business startup get into the world of VR just yet, but it will be worth keeping an eye on this new trend during 2016 and planning accordingly for the future.
Online advertising is just going to get more expensive as the demand for it grows. Right now, online ads are cheap, but look for prices to go up throughout the year. It’s just the law of supply and demand.
Small businesses that have not planned for personalizing their content marketing efforts will be left in the dust soon. Landing page and email segmenting is already strongly in use, but consumers will demand more of it and in different ways. Targeted advertisements, geolocation, and pinpointing individual needs within customer demographics will allow businesses to offer value and benefit that is highly personalized.
A business owner may, for example, present three different offers, each of which will link to a different landing page, and then segment email groups according to those responses. There are plenty of tools that can streamline this process, and this kind of personalization builds relationships and trust.
Of course, these eight trends will not be the only ones to emerge during 2016. New trends in marketing today are usually consumer-driven, so it will take some vigilance to see what is moving most quickly. Preparing for at least a few of these can give a new business a leg up, though, as it plans its marketing strategies and budget.
Benedict Brychta is an MBA student and a passionate blogger from San Jose, CA. He is a big fan of entrepreneurship and he loves to share his opinion on different things happening in the spheres of marketing, self-improvement and healthy lifestyle. You can contact Ben via his Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.