Constant changes in algorithms, consumer behavior, and social media in general make it difficult to keep abreast of developments in digital marketing and strategies that still work. Entrepreneur helps us understand which digital marketing tactics are no longer relevant and should be discarded:
1. Having a desktop-only accessible website
Google, with its well-meaning approach to making the user experience flow as smoothly as possible, has made it clear that mobile-friendly websites will be more visible and rank better in search results. This coincides with the modern user’s on-the-go lifestyle, which includes accessing the web via mobile devices.
Bear in mind that websites must be fluid not only to the user, but for the business owner’s convenience as well. You are running the risk of having inconsistent information from site to site when you have a mobile website built on a separate platform, and inconsistencies lessen consumer trust. You’ll be doing extra work and time handling social media and directory updates and uploading new information to additional sites. So ditch the traditional desktop-designed website and work on getting it mobile today to keep customers coming in.
Google has a “Mobile-Friendly Test Tool” where all you need to do is enter your URL and it will tell you if and why your website isn’t performing effectively on a smartphone or tablet. One tip is to avoid small fonts and links put too closely together - make your website easy to navigate on a small screen.
2. Not updating your website
Apart from mobile accessibility, Google also closely watches how often users click and convert on your website. Despite speculation that Facebook channels would outdo websites, research confirms that consumers still return to a company’s website for more information on the product or service, the corporation, and contact details. To place higher in search engines, your website must be enticing, easy to navigate, and constantly updated with quality content. Experiment using A/B testing to help your site achieve better user engagement, sales or other conversions.
Your site’s bounce rate is interpreted by Google as a signal that your content is irrelevant to the search query. One of the rules of digital marketing success is to make sure your website addresses your customers’ needs with timely and relevant content.
3. The spammy link
Up until business owners and unethical search agencies created backlinks from fake websites with poor-quality content and irrelevant information, Google determined a website’s authority by the number of websites linking to it. The search engine giant has since been penalizing websites without authentic backlinks coming from reputable and relevant websites and rewards quality content that earns backlinks naturally. In addition to signals from other sites, editors from Google check a website’s content for its relevancy to certain search queries. To avoid dropping in the rankings, it really helps to have meaningful and helpful content, products, and backlinks.
4. Ignoring criticism
Having a social media presence includes one-on-one conversations with customers. Social media is already up there with email and telephone as the main platforms for customer support. Companies should learn that the best way to deal with criticism is not by ignoring it, but by addressing the issue and working to rectify it. According to a study conducted by Edison Research, consumers contacting a company through social media expect a response within 30-60 minutes and round-the-clock support from the social-customer service team. Make the most of negative feedback posted on your page and take it as an opportunity to educate your customers and show them your commitment to customer service.
5. Single display and Facebook ads
The era of single display ads that show up on one page in the same place every time is coming to an end. Only few website visitors convert on the first visit, and sales professionals know that it takes 7-9 contacts to close the sale. A sales opportunity in the form of following up on initial contacts is made possible through re-targeting. With re-targeting, you’re able to target one customer at a time as your ad follows them around the web after they land on your website, engaging them even after they’ve left your page. Re-targeting done right helps move the prospect further down the sales funnel.
Social media marketing today is nothing like its early days when all a brand had to do to be heard around the world was send out a single tweet, engage with its existing audience, and its content would just about share itself. Today, consumers are savvier and more discerning when it comes to what they pay attention to. Overwhelm your audience with content, and you’re sure to lose their attention and the possibility of converting customers.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that brands need a content strategy to succeed in marketing. But with marketing trends shifting rapidly, how do you come up with a content marketing plan that works? Forbes listed 7 steps needed to develop a solid content marketing strategy:
1. Document your strategy.
Documentation is the only thing that is consistent amidst game-changing trends. According to an annual research by the Content Marketing Institute, those who document their content marketing strategies are more likely to consider themselves effective, feeling less challenged, and able to justify spending more of their budget on it.
Focus on a core outline and actionable steps when documenting. You could start by outlining your target social media channels, content you want to produce, and your objectives. And then support your efforts by having regular meetings with your team to re-evaluate your strategy and make necessary adjustments.
2. Develop an audience persona.
Build personas for your audience to effectively execute your content marketing strategy. When identifying your core audience, go beyond demographics and develop a persona that covers their pain points and how they react to different types of content.
3. Match your best ideas to the best channels.
No matter how great you think your content is, it will likely be ignored when posted on the wrong channel. The best thing to do is come up with ideas that match your brand’s voice, determine which platform the topic works better on, and, having pulled out the best quotes and statistics, cross-promote on another channel. However, take note that finding success with your content on the right channels can still be a hit or miss. Study trending topics on various channels and pay attention to the most clicked-on headlines and buzzwords. Find out the type of content that earns the most engagement and incorporate similar posts and tap into the power of relevant influencers on those channels to share it.
4. Think fast.
Remember Google’s Mobilegeddon? Mobile-friendly websites now rank better in search results. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile before publishing content linked to it. Because mobile is now the leader in search and ultimately the future of marketing, it’s important to start tracking engagement and shares in detail now. Learn about how users are finding your content and what they’re doing with it - if they’re sharing it, clicking on it, or uploading it elsewhere.
5. Incorporate the user experience.
Having a solid user experience strengthens your content efforts and eventually leads to sales. After creating top-quality material, make sure that users can easily engage with your content, whether they’re accessing it on a desktop or on a mobile device. On every mobile device you have available, test if all your call-to-action buttons are working and if the forms can be easily filled out. Ensure easy navigation throughout your site, check the speed at which your pages load and how quickly icons respond to a click, and find out where on your website users are spending most of their time.
6. Embrace social media as a channel.
Limiting your efforts to only social media can tank your marketing efforts altogether. Instead, embrace social media as just one of many channels that fully support your content marketing campaign. Make all of your content work together consistently and offer the same quality, optimization, and personalization regardless of the channel.
7. Go offline.
Don’t be so caught up in social media that you forget to take into account what your customers are doing offline. For further engagement and brand awareness, identify what type of content works offline and how it complements what you’re doing online, and take advantage of the opportunity to cross-promote and power your marketing with user-generated content.
We've come a long way since simply using Facebook to share personal photos and status updates. Social media has become such an integral part of marketing that there isn't a business that doesn't have a page on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
This year brings more opportunities to explore the ways in which businesses can use social media marketing for expansion and success. If you haven’t already planned for this year, or are still looking for ideas to add to your existing strategy, B2C offers a useful and practical social media planner for 2016:
January: Review and Customer Feedback
Start 2016 by pleasing your customers. No matter what the outcome was for your business by the end of 2015, January is the best time to ask for customer reviews and feedback from the sales you have made. You’ll have plenty of time to work on any negative feedback you receive, while using positive reviews to help strengthen promotions of your product or service. Note: Some businesses have a second social media account solely for customer service.
February: Love your Business
With Valentine’s Day being this month, why don’t you publish memorable and inspiring posts about your business, your people, and your product or service? This is ultimately telling your fans why you love your business. However, you don’t want to sound like you’re making a sales pitch, so be sure to release only a few of these posts.
March: Free Gifts
Advertise a free product or service trial by running a Facebook or Instagram contest and tying it into the Easter theme. This will help attract new interest and revive old customers.
April: New Beginnings
Catch up on your customer service and make sure you have responded to all kinds of feedback. This isn’t to say that you should ignore consumer reviews for the rest of the year, it simply means that a few posts letting your customers know that you have heard them and are working to improve your product or service could help your business be viewed in a good light and therefore encourage growth.
Everyone is amped up on the summer vibe, so get out in the sunshine and create a short video for your business. Videos have been making an impact on social media because they are visually appealing, and we don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Think of June as a feel-good month. Share relatable posts from other businesses and connect with other relevant companies by commenting on their pages, leaving a message, or simply liking their page.
July: Scheduled Posts
Are you caught up with all your posts? Make sure you have scheduled them accordingly and are free of any backlog. Don’t forget to experiment with posts at different times of day, especially if you’re targeting a global audience.
August: New Platforms
Don’t be complacent about having just one or two social media profiles. Find out where your target audience hangs out on social media. Don’t be afraid to explore other platforms and study how you can make them work for your brand.
In the process of developing a new product? Thinking of adding a new service? Have a new manager on board? Keep your audience up-to-date with what’s happening in your company to exhibit transparency and to stimulate engagement with fans.
October: Creative Images
It’s Halloween! This holiday is so heavily celebrated that it wouldn’t be half bad to have a month-long celebration on social media. It’s also time to get creative and dress your logo up in a Halloween costume and put some spooky decor in your cover photo. Have another contest and give away cool treats!
Thanksgiving is another reason to create a holiday marketing campaign and get everyone involved and engaging on your page.
December: Christmas Marketing Campaigns
Having already run a few holiday campaigns over the past months, December is your last chance for the year to create the most captivating marketing campaigns that would create more leads, sales, and brand awareness.