We’re more than halfway through 2015. (It snuck up on us, too!) Right now, many marketers (you?) may already start looking towards the future by brainstorming ideas to execute in 2016.
A word of advice: Wait! There’s still 4+ months remaining in 2015, so don’t waste it. It’s time for you to turn up the heat!
We’ve seen some big changes and trends in the marketing space since the beginning of the year: mobile took off, social media restrictions were lifted, and SEO…well SEO stayed pretty confusing (but it doesn’t have to be…check out this advice here.) Most of these changes probably had you rethinking your marketing efforts. With this in mind, let’s analyze how we can leverage the first half of 2015 in order to close the year out strong.
The New and The Different
Just as every year builds on top of the last (especially in marketing), 2015 has been no exception. Back in 2014, cross-channel strategy became all the rage for marketers to reach more customers and leads in engaging and relevant ways. LinkedIn engagement funneled in to email nurture campaigns, Twitter posts drove blog traffic, and the web of digital marketing grew larger than ever. Prepare for that trend to continue in the months to come. Why? Because it’s simple, it’s smart, and it works!
In addition, we’ve also seen some big changes made to the platforms most marketing teams use on a daily basis. Here’s how you can take advantage of these changes to propel your marketing strategy over the next few months:
1. Google and Mobile
Google changed its algorithm to rank results higher based on whether or not a website has a mobile-friendly format.
First of all, you should already have a mobile-friendly website. This means that the best place to start with your mobile marketing is responsive design. If you don’t, now you have no excuse! Secondly, your website should be mobile-optimized, not just mobile-friendly. Customers are constantly on the go, and their mobile devices are their lifelines. Having a seamless experience for users is a necessity to keep your customer base happy and will ultimately lead to fewer headaches in the long-run. But don’t skimp on functionality. Evaluate how your call-to-action (CTA) is affected in a mobile atmosphere. It does nothing for your business to have a mobile site or app that no one can or wants to use.
2. Facebook and Digital Ads
Marketers asked for it, and they got it. Facebook changed its video ad pricing after many complaints. Now, companies will only get charged if a viewer watches their ad for more than 10 seconds instead of paying for the ad as soon as it appears in front of a user.
As a marketer, this change is a great opportunity to save money and streamline the conversion process of video ads. If you can design an ad with a strong CTA right off the bat, then you won’t need those 10 seconds that Facebook now offers. Rethinking the placement and strength of your offer could now mean saving big bucks without sacrificing conversions.
This change will have big implications for CTAs in video ads. All video ads should include a CTA at some point so viewers can easily take advantage of your offer. The tricky part is placing the CTA where it will get the most attention and conversions. To ensure a higher chance of viewers converting from a video ad, make sure it has something attention-grabbing at the very beginning to draw the audience in (or make them keep thinking of you after they skip over it).
3. Twitter and Engagement
Finally! The big news out of Twitter is that it’s eliminating the character limit on Direct Messages (DM.) Your public tweets will still have to obey the law of the land with the 140-character limit, but you can let the words roll on for DMs. This could allow marketers to really focus your messaging around engaging leads.
And it’s personal. Don’t forget the importance of a human voice in a tech-driven world. We’ve all received those DMs saying “Hey [Name], thanks for following me!” And we all know that there’s nothing personal about that. Don’t go for the quick and easy “thank you”. Instead, try complimenting your new connection by praising their interesting posts or fun profile image. Taking time to show leads that you’re actually paying attention to them, and that they’re not just another drop in your bucket, will go a long way for your lead generation.
But if you’re utilizing DMs to engage with leads and/or direct them to your landing page, keep in mind the power of a character limit. While you’ll have a little more freedom to spell out words instead of using acronyms or spelling “you” like “u”, what has always been powerful about Twitter is the succinct posts. They force people to get to the point and be extra creative. Your DMs need to reflect this understanding by being engaging but concise.
4. Wearables and Content
The release of the Apple Watch brought popularity to a conversation that has been brewing for a long time. Smart watches have been around for a while, but with a titan like Apple joining in, things are-a-changin’. And they’re going to change fast. If you thought the world was always-on and connected before, how about now? Wearable devices will usher in an era of more location-based targeting and marketing. Imagine a customer approaching their favorite lunchtime spot…and BAM!, a meal coupon pops up on their wrist—instant gratification in a world that demands it, and an entirely new world of marketing opportunities.
The experience must be user-focused in its design, with easy calls-to-action. Will your CTA be easily understood? Or will it get ignored because it’s not relevant? Consider these things and decide if you can be effective or if you’ll just be invasive. If it’s easy for someone to delete your email on a desktop without opening it, consumers will only become pickier with what they choose to consume on their wearables.
So what does this mean for you? With 33% of people surveyed saying they do not or hardly ever use the wearable device they purchased a year ago, it’s evident that the content going to those devices need to change. When deciding if you should take advantage of wearable technology and the “Internet of Things”, consider if your content even belongs on those devices.
2015 was, and still is, the year of the marketer
We’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times. But it’s still true. Now, more than ever before, marketing owns more of the customer journey. Content strategies now require that marketers engage with the public about their product(s) and create relevant, original content about their field and topics, boosting awareness and offering value to their audience. In turn it’s becoming a marketer’s responsibility to identify, nurture, and qualify these leads. As marketing has transitioned to owning more than just the top layer of the sales funnel, more is expected from them, but there are also more opportunities to engage customers.
In marketing it’s no longer enough to ask for additional money in the budget to build awareness and create catchy taglines. There’s more to it now. You need to be able to prove the value you add by evaluating your ROI for each piece of your strategy.
For the remainder of 2015, it’s important to be aware of the fact that the internet is swarming with loads of content, so you have to make sure that yours stands out. Create content relevant to your audience, and make sure it’s engaging. Even marketing campaign flops can be sources of great inspiration. Learn from the past 7+ months and create content about your successes and failures. The allure of next year may be appealing, but the best way to ensure a solid 2016 is to finish out 2015 strong. What changes have you seen in 2015 and how have you incorporated them into your marketing? Please share your story in the comments below.