With every emerging business and changing customer trend, the world of inbound marketing changes tremendously, rendering many once-successful strategies obsolete. An increasing number of businesses are finding online success publishing original content and utilising various distribution channels to promote it. Although it used to be a relatively good way to gain exposure, embedding advertisements within external content is no longer a viable strategy, partly because consumers are interested in quality and value, which cannot be offered through ads.
Outlined below are the top inbound marketing trends of 2015.
1. Content Marketing Will Become More Important Than Ever
After Google has rolled out the Penguin update in 2012 and Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013, content marketing has gradually become more popular. At this time, as much as 90 per cent of business-to-community marketers leverage content marketing, and 72 per cent of them are producing more content than they were one year ago. Due to Google putting more emphasis on quality content that delivers value to readers, we can expect content marketing to become increasingly popular over the next couple of years. Great content doesn’t only show search engines commitment to offering value to your readership, but it also promotes brand awareness and builds your business a positive reputation as well. The more focused companies will be on content marketing, the better they will ultimately rank in search engines.
2. Mobile Optimisation Will Continue to Rise
With the dawn of mobile and wearable devices like Apple’s iWatch, mobile optimisation is rising, forcing marketers to incorporate various strategies into their marketing efforts in order to make their website appealing to mobile users as well. As more people use tablets and smartphones to search for information, brands need to make their websites more mobile friendly, and also optimise their content for shorter attention spans. Google prefers mobile-friendly websites due to their compatibility with a variety of devices – and as of April 2015, mobile friendliness has become an important factor in their ranking algorithm. What’s more, spending more on mobile ads can also help brands gain more exposure, so this trend is expected to become increasingly popular by the end of 2016.
3. Visual Storytelling Will Go Wild
With thousands of businesses emergency every year, brands will need to find unique ways to stand out from the crowd and increase brand awareness. Visual storytelling will be employed to communicate a brand’s philosophy, set of values and aesthetics, offering businesses a surefire way to engage and nurture engaged audiences. Visual stories crafted for marketing purposes can spark moments and inspire emotions, helping businesses convey their brand message more efficiently. Visual storytelling will become increasingly popular, and every company that wants to stand out in the sea of businesses needs to approach this trend smartly in order to achieve success.
4. Inbound Marketing Will Be More About Personalised Customer Experiences
According to Brent Leary, principal at CRM Essentials, even in this digital world, as much as 90 per cent of transactions are closed in a physical location (reference: http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/podcast/New-digital-marketing-trends-for-2015-emerge-with-full-force). The goal of many companies is to combine digital information with on-site experience. For example, many retailers provide big screens in-store that allows customers to mix and match clothes based on their body type. Some hotels enable customers to open the hotel door with their phone, which has a dramatic impact on customer experience. At the same time, inbound marketing will be expected to emphasise personal experiences even further. Brands will start sending more messages based on who they are, based on their social media history, search history and transaction history, and create personalised messages that hit them at the right time. The more personalised user experience is, the more efficient your digital marketing method will be.
5. Local SEO Will Become the Norm for Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
The practice of local search engine optimisation has gained a lot of popularity over the past year, specifically since Google has started showing a preference towards local businesses. In theory, companies based in a location that corresponds to that of a user are more relevant to his search queries. For example, a London-based user who searches for “antique shop” will see specifically a list of antique shops based in London, instead of any random antique shop across the United Kingdom. By optimising their websites for local searches, brands stand a better chance at reaching out to their target audience and scoring more sales. As the competition grows, businesses need to reduce their scope and reach out to a smaller audience in order to get any customers and sell their products. Local SEO helps them outshine companies that operate in a wider area – say, London and the surrounding areas – than that of the users searching for information, so they can get more exposure. The more competition will be, the more important local SEO will become.
6. Content Marketing and Social Media Will Depend on Each Other
Many companies focus their efforts of content creation, with little or no emphasis on promotion or distribution. While your content may be very good, highly researched and valuable, there’s one very important thing it must be: popular. To achieve popularity, your audience needs to know about it – and to know about it, they need to see it first. That’s essentially the role of social media: by distributing and promoting your content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks your audience uses, you can increase awareness and get them to know more about you. This is critical to your success. Since Google is putting so much emphasis on good content, showing off your assets (blog posts, infographics, etc) can go a long way towards helping you outshine competitors.
With inbound marketing trends changing so tremendously, brands need to rethink their strategy in order to achieve success. Consistent research and analysis of customer behaviours are perhaps the most important variables of the equation. It’s difficult to say for sure what works for your company and what doesn’t, so it’s important that you take the time and research the trends in your particular niche in order to succeed. Getting the help of a reliable digital marketing agency in your area can help you identify those strategies that promise the best results, but if this isn’t the most appealing option for you, it’s enough to pay close attention to what customers want to understand what you should do.
Laurence Porter has been working in SEO since 2006 and is passionate about onsite SEO, Content marketing and social media. His main aim is to bring all of these different elements together to offer his clients a well-rounded, far reaching digital marketing strategy with the best possible ROI and brand exposure.
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