Thursday, 01 January 2015 20:35

Online Marketing: Things to Look Forward to in 2015

Things have been great for online marketing in 2014. While a lot of changes in algorithms and acceptable practices have put us all in limbo, this has pushed us to strive harder – and with a clearer picture of what it takes to successfully market businesses online, at that!

We're looking forward to 2015. Here are a few trends that will be crossing over to the new year.

Social media still rules.
There is no contender for the “next best thing” when it comes to social presence. You should still be in Facebook, Twitter and the like, keeping active in what interests your target market.

It becomes more complicated in 2015 though.

As these companies impose stricter rules in the type of posts shown to its users, it becomes important to invest in social media advertising, as well as professional social media marketing and management.

Posts that are overly promotional have been relegated to bottom rank. The key now is relevance and usefulness. To reach your audience, you need to engage your audience in the social media. Hard sell is a major turn off in social media, and you waste your post as these only get seen by very few people.

For 2015, improve your online marketing by investing in your social media presence. Focus on your posts and don't concern yourself with selling through the platform. Your goal is lead your audience to your website through engaging social media content. Use your website to sell.

Content is still king.
Content is more important now, more than ever. Since the playing field is bigger, with the different social media platforms sending traffic and referrals equally to business websites as search engines, quality content and user engagement are important.

This means content that are not just optimised for search engines. With stricter search results algorithms, you won't rank anyway. You need to create content that is useful, informative and shareable.

There is hard data that supports this. Almost 90% of online marketers use content marketing as part of their online marketing strategies. Almost 50% of them claim success in building their brands through content. There is a lot to gain when you invest in quality content, and when you leverage them to build your brand and direct traffic to your website.

Power Up Your Mobile Site
Having a mobile version is not just about having a responsive website. More and more, you can expect your mobile site to perform at par with your desktop version, given the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, as well as the ready availability of Wi-Fi.

Likewise, this has become a requisite in ranking in search engines. In fact, Google has confirmed that mobile usability factors into its search results. When you want to optimise your website so it ranks on top of search engine results, it also has to look and work best using mobile devices.

This brings in a 2015 when you definitely need to have a mobile website and content that is directed to your mobile audience. Likewise, if you can, invest in mobile ads.

Thin line between online marketing, search engine optimisation, content marketing and social media marketing.
As we progress, the line between the different online marketing categories – search engine optimisation, content marketing and social media marketing – becomes blurred. After all, the content you produce need to be optimised for the search engines, and written with your target audience (who also happens to be in the social media) in mind. You get traffic onto your website through content that ranks in the search engines and engages in the social media. It is almost impossible to draw the line between these as what you do for one category affects the other.

Thus, keep this in mind when planning your online marketing in 2015. Your approach need to be holistic, and considers all aspects of online marketing.

You have to be “human” too.
The digital world has become a social playground where companies, big and small, engage with their clients (also big and small). With Twitter, Facebook and the like, practically anyone can get in touch with a corporate entity and they would need to respond, else be viewed as lacking customer focus.

There is a curious dynamic to this new relationship, in which corporations must now engage on a more humanistic level. Long gone are the days when companies are unreachable and, in some ways, unaccountable for faulty products or careless customer support.

One bad move can become a social media nightmare, which can then lead to a dip in revenues, albeit temporary.

People relate more with humans, and companies are finding this out (sometimes, the hard way). For 2015, humanising your online engagement is a requirement. You need to begin to nurture brand loyalty and provide more responsive customer support through the many social media venues.

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