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Top 10 Online Marketing Tips for 2016

Few industries evolve and change as much as that of Online Marketing – what worked even a few months ago can soon become outdated as the market place that is the Internet, continues to shape the way global commerce is operated.

Whilst we don’t have a crystal ball, we do have the benefit of hindsight, and in our opinion, these are the trends you should be watching and adopting during 2016 if you want to be at the top of your digital game!

1. User Generated Content

You’ve spent a day painstakingly researching your new blog post, then you’ve spent another half a day sourcing some relevant images – you finally publish it, confident you’ve ticked the box that reads “Content is King” – and then not a lot happens. What’s missing here?

The answer is user generated content! By allowing users to generate content based on your own content (and by this – think blog comments, Facebook sharing and commenting, retweeting etc) you’re doing several things without realising it.

You’re amplifying the reach of your content – if someone reposts your blog post on Facebook and leaves their own comment – you’ve suddenly reached a whole new audience.

If a browser just leaves a comment on your blog – your blog post has increased in size and hopefully quality – our big traffic generating friend Google – loves that!!

The key to this particular channel being as successful as possible is to have a clear strategy in place. Work to a plan and constantly evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and pretty quickly you’ll have a good idea about what content type spurs the most user engagement.

2. Don’t rely on Free Social Reach!

The major social platforms are all introducing better and more advanced paid advertising solutions, which should be applauded! However, what this also means is that they are policing blatant promotional material a lot more closely! If you have been used to promoting your business or service on the sly via Facebook, don’t count on that continuing! Do however look at Facebook Ads as a way to garner more traffic, which brings us nicely onto….

3. Social Media Advertising

As already mentioned, the major social networks have invested serious money into their ad serving capabilities, and why wouldn’t they when Google alone had $55 billion spent by advertisers on its Adwords platform.

In the past, social advertising was hit and miss, and quite often did not offer enough to lure social networkers away from checking up on old classmates and looking at images of cute cats and dogs.

Facebook is now leading the way offering interactive capabilities and video streaming for ads. The more creative you can be, the more your brand will be recognised and the more of those all-important clicks you can get through to your site. At this moment in time, depending on the industry you are in, the clicks are still relatively cheap compared to Adwords, so it could well be worth diverting some of your paid traffic marketing budget into social.

4. Native Advertising

If you haven’t heard this term before, you will certainly have seen it in action, even if you didn’t realise it. Native advertising is basically advertising relevant content on a web page – a lot of newspaper sites use this now, whereby you’ll see related stories – the stories are actually a form of advert that’s relevant to what you just read.

The jury is still out as to how much value this channel can deliver – plummeting CPM’s are making it less attractive for media sites, and low conversion rates means it’s not the golden goose for advertisers either – but the feeling is there’s a lot of advancement to be made in this area. If this was a penny share, some clever person would be putting their mortgage on it!

5. Go Responsive

Mobile based traffic (if we include tablets as mobile devices) surpasses traditional laptop and desktop traffic now. Brands who do not embrace mobile technology and optimisation are quite frankly chucking their future success away.

Ensure your site is responsive, mobile friendly and is useable on every device!

6. Content Marketing

Here’s a term we’ve all heard, and yet few can actually articulate what it really is and what it delivers. Whilst the scope for that is possibly outside this guide, the point is, creating great content and then distributing it to promote your brand is essential.

As with the other channels we mention – strategy is so important here. Plan a content strategy and always gauge the results. Only through close monitoring of results can you make sure that your strategy evolves into something that gives you the cutting edge in your market place.

My last point here is give as much thought to the distribution of your content as you do to the creation! There’s no point having the best infographic ever seen – only for it to never be seen.

7. The new SEO is don’t do SEO

What? Don’t do SEO? Am I crazy? Possibly, but hear me out on this one. SEO, as the industry it was 3 years ago, is unrecognisable now. Penguins and Pandas have made sure of that – and to be fair to Google, there is a real emphasis on what it has always wanted to deliver – give the best possible search result for any given search term.

So whilst we’re saying don’t do SEO, what we are saying is DO produce great content, DO mark it up in a search engine friendly way so they can understand the page better, DO write for your users, DO amplify your content to get it in front of more people…and guess what my friends, you are doing SEO!

8. Advanced Analytics

I know I know, we’re all so busy, who has the time to login into analytics more than once a week to have a look at a few graphs and that scary bounce rate??

If you want your business to be the best it can be – you need to make the time! Advancement in analytics data and software means that your analytics can do much more than tell you how many visits come to your site and where they come from – if used properly they will help you mould your future business and online strategy.

Just check and digital recruitment agency at the moment – the number of brands seeking analysts is increasing massively. Don’t be late to the game, and get into your numbers and what they mean! It will also help you shape you’re…

9.  A/B Testing Strategy

We’ve all heard of A/B testing but only a tiny number of brands pro-actively run an A/B testing strategy. Include it in your 2016 “must do” list. The whole point of doing A/B testing is you will learn and improve your website from a usability perspective and from a revenue perspective.

If I came to your office tomorrow and told you to change 5 things and it would double your conversion rate, would you do it? Of course you would! So get into A/B testing and see where you can take that conversion rate this year!!!

10. Wearable Technology

Remember Google Glasses? Vaguely? Me too – well they’ll be back this year and the rumour is they will be vastly improved. But when we talk wearable tech, think also of smart watches as well. Then think how your brand / product could innovatively marketed on these products.

Wearable tech is finally becoming mass market and affordable – don’t miss the boat and be an early adopter!

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