By now, most companies realize that having an inbound marketing strategy is vital. However, for any business still on the sidelines, the news emerging from 2015 demonstrates why the vast majority of today's most successful enterprises have a budget that's predominantly devoted to digital marketing.
Every year marketing professionals learn about new approaches for reaching customers. 2015 was no different. However, while "new" is always interesting, it's important to note that some well-established approaches grew in popularity in 2015 by becoming even more relevant to today's audience. In fact, this past year built on the growth of years prior by showcasing how customers continue to gravitate to certain online platforms over others. So, what digital marketing lessons were learned from 2015?
Inbound marketing is the best way to reach a global audience.
1. Inbound Marketing is the Dominant Platform
Simply put, inbound marketing trumps outbound marketing. A trend that started well over a decade ago has become an unstoppable force. It doesn't matter what market you service or what industry or market niche you operate in; business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-government (B2G), and even nonprofit enterprises, are all in agreement about the importance of inbound marketing. In fact, according to HubSpot's Annual Inbound Marketing Report, inbound marketing is the preferred strategy for 75% of marketers and the number one marketing approach for over 84% of small businesses.
2. Mobilegeddon Erupted and Changed Digital Marketing Forever
Mobile is king. Google's mobile-friendly algorithm change forever altered what it means to be mobile-capable and what it takes to reach a mobile customer. The mobile experience has to extend beyond just having a mobile-friendly website; both your website and email marketing campaigns must have responsive designs, the kinds that are easily read and easily navigable. Online searches through smartphones have long surpassed those done on desktops, home computers and laptops. This means being mobile-friendly is an absolute must in today's digital age.
3. Video-Advertising Is Now Indexed by Google
One of the issues digital marketing professionals have often struggled with is how to optimize video within their company's overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. After all, search engines can't index the spoken word and including a written description of the video only gets you so far. However, Google is now indexing videos and video-advertising which means incorporating high-impact keywords in video titles, and leveraging those videos through social media, is critical moving forward.
4. Apps Are Increasing in Importance
Apps are everywhere and they're not just games. They're a marketing outreach tool that can generate leads, increase customer loyalty and build brand awareness. Customers rely upon them when using their smartphones. That puts your company right at your customer's fingertips. The biggest app-related news of 2015 was Google's announcement that they saw the need to index apps. It's but another tool in your SEO toolbox and one that has to be leveraged in 2016.
Leveraging marketing analytics is critical to marketing success.
5. Marketing ROI Has Never Been More Important
That same aforementioned HubSpot report showed that companies are placing greater emphasis on defining, measuring and improving marketing return on investment (ROI). How important is ROI? Well, the report showed that 67% of marketing teams that showed improved ROI year-over-year, also saw an increase in their marketing budgets. Second, over 50% of marketers who checked their metrics, conversion rates, and their website's analytics, at least three times a week, saw a drastic improvement in returns. Finally, companies actively pursuing inbound over outbound campaigns saw a threefold increase in inbound ROI over outbound ROI. The message is fairly clear: Analytics matter and delving deeper into those analytics is what makes the biggest difference overall.
Start 2016 off on the right foot. Leverage what you've learned from 2015 and use it to improve your marketing strategies going forward. Take full advantage of apps, video-advertising and mobile-friendly advertising.
If you're needing to take a look at or upgrade your marketing strategies so you can hit the ground running in 2015, contact us.