If you’re a trend watcher in your industry, you’ll notice that the environment is changing for 2015 when it comes to online marketing. Gone are the impersonal days of the past where you could be anonymous and still rake in six figures. Today, your customers want to know you, like you, and trust you.
The main trends you want to pay attention to are these:
1. Penguin 3.0 – This update to Penguin by Google is supposed to fight better against spam. This is good news for you as a marketer since many good business owners were being punished under the old version of Penguin. The good news is that if you were hit by a downturn in traffic after the last release and made changes, you’ll probably gain favor back with Google now that the new release has come out. This update will impact other languages more than English. But, the update itself gives those affected in the past a fresh chance, as long as they updated their sites soon after the last update.
2. Social Media Marketing Becomes More Thoughtful – Many brands get involved with social media just because someone told them they should; then they do a really bad job of their social media campaigns, seeing little to no effect from their efforts. A good example of this is Copyblogger.com, which recently left Facebook. They left Facebook because even though they had many followers they insisted that most of them were fake, even though they had never run any Facebook promotions. This tells other brands that it’s okay to bail on social media when it’s not producing, or to start over when they figure out they are not using social media effectively.
3. LinkedIn Will Become More Important – Part of the reason is that it focuses so much on accurate profiles and professional proof. It is becoming more difficult to be anonymous on LinkedIn and still get any real traction. With the advent of the ability for brands to publish posts on LinkedIn, you’ll see more content on the social media network, especially because LinkedIn is helping brands promote easier and allows everyone who is connected with you to see your content.
4. Brands Will Create More Content – Content is still king and probably always will be. Because of that, and because search marketing and email marketing still reign, brands will produce even more original content than in the past. The article marketing sites are over, as is reusing content on other sites. Original content is where it’s at and brands will take notice and produce more.
5. Visual Content Will Become Even More Important – If you’re not turning your data into infographics yet, and you’re not producing informative video yet, then you will be doing it in 2015 if you want stay ahead of your market. The technology has advanced to the point where barriers to entry are small, and customers are demanding more interaction.
6. Brands Will Conduct More In-Person Events – Gone are the days where a marketer could sit behind their computer screen and not go out and been seen by their public. Sorry, but serious marketers need to get busy getting up close and personal with their audience by hosting and going to in person events.
7. Metrics Play an Even Bigger Role – Business owners are learning that it’s important to study metrics to know where to go from here. They know that they need to know whether or not the content they’re producing is creating engagement on a consistent basis, whether their efforts are producing sales and whether or not their audience is answering their calls to action. You can’t know that without an understanding of the numbers.
8. Brand Awareness Gets New Attention – Doing tasks such as guest blogging, viral video making, in-person appearances, sponsoring others and so forth will become more important, as making people more aware of your brand takes on new precedent. Business owners will spend more money to make their brand known, through native advertising and other means.
9. Brand Engagement Becomes More Important – That Facebook page you leave idle, that Twitter page you barely tweet on, that Pinterest account that hasn’t had a board made in months… it’s all old news and needs to be updated. If you want brand engagement, you’ll have to fight for it on a regular basis to prove that you’re in it for the long term.
10. You’ll Pay for Reach on Facebook – The way Facebook and other social media is going, if you don’t pay for promoted posts, and then parlay the attention you get into more engagement, you’re going to lose out on the good that Facebook and other social media has to offer.
In 2015, the biggest change in how you market to your audience will be the amount of marketing you do. You’re going to have to do it more than ever before to stand out from the crowd, and more and more creatively than you thought you could be. You may even consider hiring other experts to help you improve in 2015.