If you are struggling to succeed at online marketing, here is a list of ten points for you to think about in 2016. You may already be applying some of these strategies and principles successfully. Others, such as your SEO strategies, need to be revised constantly. Some strategies you may need to discard altogether. Everyone is looking for the key to online success and it is those who constantly revise, update and keep learning that have the most opportunity for ongoing success.
Staggering opportunities still exist
Consider the fact that you have the possibility of reaching a global market, technology can amplify your efforts, you can measure your results, find out what works and doesn’t work and use social media to promote your services and products. When you work for a salary, you are paid a set amount no matter how hard you work. Establishing an online income is an opportunity to change this. You have the opportunity to change the way you live and many people all over the world are grabbing this opportunity. If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can create an online income. It’s as simple as that. There is plenty of proof that people are making a successful living with online marketing and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be one of them. However, exactly like any other form of business, there is always the possibility of failure or success. Earning a living online can help to transform your life but it doesn’t come as easily as some people suggest. The attitude that you will achieve success overnight is unrealistic and damaging for most people. The ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’ saying needs to be applied to online marketing too. In a world where instant gratification is expected, this concept is often hard to grasp.
Strong foundations and consistency always matter
One of the keys to success in just about every area of our lives, from losing weight to learning a language, is consistency. My brother-in-law is of French descent but he does not speak French and decided he wanted to learn. Did he just think he would just wake up and start speaking French one morning without any effort? Did he drink some secret potion that turned him into a French expert overnight? No. He started by learning just a few words a day. Five words a day meant that he picked up 35 new words a week. Soon he was able to formulate sentences. He watched French TV so as to hear how other French people pronounced the words. He practiced speaking whenever he had the opportunity and kept a French dictionary close at hand. In a year he has made great progress. He has the desire and the discipline, and adds daily to his ever-expanding vocabulary. The whole process has become easier as he becomes more fluent and what began as a discipline has turned into a habit.The same effect can be seen when establishing and achieving success in an online business. Overnight success is not a reality for most people. Move forward, take small steps at a time in the right direction and eventually you will be able to see the results. All the little actions add up, create momentum and propel you towards success. All the little puzzle pieces have to be put into place before you can see the big picture. Never forget that building strong foundations for an online business takes time and will be worth the effort.
Successful user experience can’t be ignored
It’s essential that your website performance is fully optimized to create a pleasant experience for users. Users are impatient and if your website is slow to load or difficult to navigate, they do not hang around. Try out gtmetrix.com for an analysis of website performance. Always remember that you are writing for your audience and not for a search engine. Some people become so preoccupied with the latest SEO techniques and appeasing the search engines that they tend to forget about the people that really matter – their users. As Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger says “the search engine spider follows people”. Creative content creation and knowing your audience are still marketing 101 in 2016. Online audiences have become much more discerning over the years. Today, if you want to create a loyal online audience, the information you present must be easy to access and logically organised. You have to provide value to gain their trust. People want to hear about the benefits of services or products and how these can enhance their lives. They want to hear answers to their problems. Of course we all want to achieve financial success but this will only happen by giving your audience what they want. Users also want to engage with another person rather than some faceless, generic brand and personalized marketing is popular.
Synergy and support networks make a difference
A shift in attitude seems to be taking place. People are beginning to realize that the best way to achieve personal success is to co-operate with others and believe for their success too. This is good news for those of us who do not thrive in an atmosphere of intense competition where everyone is trying to get to the top by trampling upon others. This survival of the fittest mentality where people don’t mind who they harm in their path to the top is being challenged by a number of entrepreneurs. Ryan Eliason of Social Entrepreneur Empowerment believes that personal success and helping others are not mutually exclusive. He coaches social entrepreneurs and believes that when they come together to set their intentions collectively, the seeds of global transformation are sown. It is wise to have mentors or form relationships with people who have trodden the route you are taking before you. They will give you sound advice, show you what to avoid and you can reach out to them if you need help. If you are surrounded by people who are dragging you down instead of building you up, you have less chance of success. Why can’t we create an online environment where we all bring out the best in one another for the common good? Perhaps this is idealistic thinking but more people are starting to think this way and I believe it will gain momentum.
Social influencers have reach and relevance
Many of those looking at marketing trends for 2016 speak about the importance of leveraging the popularity and social reach of people with influence. Such influencers help businesses to position their services or products directly in front of their target market. For example, Nike has Tiger Woods to assist them to target a specific audience. Social influencers are those who have reach, relevance and resonance. If you have a niche website or small business, the same principle still applies in that you will look at who has this type of influence within your niche. If you build relationships with these influencers, you gain the benefit of access to the audience they have successfully attracted. Here is an article on how to go about finding influencers.
Stay current with SEO Strategies
It is important to continually update your SEO strategies if you want Google to rank your content. The fact remains that you still need organic search to bring you traffic, despite the power of social marketing. What worked for you in getting organic traffic the past may not work for you any more. Keyword strategy has changed dramatically since the early days and keywords are no longer valuable in exactly the same way as they were before. Google algorithms are focused more on semantics – in other words they utilize artificial intelligence and can ‘think’ more like humans now. Instead of looking at keywords individually, an entire query is taken into consideration. You have to constantly be aware of new developments or you will still be employing outdated strategies like keyword stuffing, link farming or other manipulate SEO that hurt rather than help. Implementing long-tailed keywords, for example, may not attract quite as much traffic if you are looking at numbers, but you will attract an audience who are far closer to the point-of-purchase. Here is an actionable guide to SEO in 2016 prepared by an SEO specialist team.
Social Media Marketing Matters
All the social media networks are transforming rapidly and many of them are becoming more all-inclusive. This article poses the interesting question ‘Is Facebook going to become the new Google? I think this is enough motivation to make sure you stay abreast of developments in the social media world. Stronger search capabilities and all-inclusive experiences will most likely become the norm on most social platforms in 2016. Growing and investing in a social network following is a long term game that cannot be avoided. It is important to try and establish a social media marketing strategy that works for you. Try experimenting with the different networks but don’t chase after every new social media distraction as it comes along or you will seriously lose your sanity. It is possible to establish a simple social media strategy. Remember too, that traffic, sharing and likes are all very well but your efforts have to be carefully coordinated and your strategy developed to contribute to your financial success.
Sharing video is powerful
Most marketers are aware of the power of video content today and this will grow in 2016. For those who are intimidated about making videos, remember that many people film perfectly acceptable content with their smart phones. Screencast-o-matic offers you an opportunity to freely create and share screen recordings. You can always upgrade and gravitate to more expensive tools as you become more proficient. There are some fairly mind blowing statistics for those who think they do not have to worry too much about video:
– Video search results have a 41% higher click-through than plain text results. (aimClear study)
– Posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts (www.moz.com)
– 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others (www.invodo.com)
– 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video (www.brafton.com)
– Video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results. (Forrester)
Smart phones and mobile apps are consistently improving
In 2015, Facebook was once again the top smartphone app. With an average of over 126 million unique users a month, growth was 8% this year. 2015 was an important year for mobile. Google released their Mobilegeddon algorithm update, phasing out sites not optimized for mobile. They made the announcement that mobile traffic had overtaken desktop traffic in 10 countries. Soon apps will be able to do exactly what websites do, except in more accessible, convenient ways. Are we looking at apps eventually replacing websites as medium? Not quite yet but this is perhaps a future possibility. Looking into the latest apps and keeping up with developments is beneficial, considering their popularity.
Still around: email
The rise of social media and multiple messaging apps have lead to much speculation about the future of email. However, it is still very much the default business communication tool and that will not change quickly. Email gives you a direct line of communication with your potential customers. Add to that the fact that it is very cost effective and you can understand why marketers still find it so useful. Subscribers to an email list need to know that what you are offering is valuable. If you give them good content that they are specifically looking for, you strengthen your relationship with them to the point where they are willing to trust you and buy products you are promoting.
The pace of change can be intimidating, particularly for those who are just starting to try and make a living online. The more futuristic elements such as the rise of digital assistants like Siri are going to lead to a new kind of optimization altogether. Oculus Rift and other virtual reality devices will introduce a completely new way to advertise online. Imagine putting on your virtual reality headset to attend a marketing webinar. Wearable technology is another option being tested by marketers who want to stand out from the crowd.
However, these are cutting edge technologies with great possibilities for the future. For now, it is important not to lose sight of the good old marketing methods that are still successful. A memorable brand, creative content, knowing and understanding your target audience are still vitally important to your online marketing success in 2016.