Competition in online marketing is increasing.
It’s no longer enough to throw together some blog posts, make some basic SEO design tweaks, and set up some automated emails. Good marketing takes time, effort, and a clear strategy.
There are two components to succeeding with online marketing: perfecting your general workflow and making use of key specific techniques.
In this post, we will discuss a few core points of emphasis and then describe what you can do to refine your overall approach.
It should not come as a surprise that you need to be thinking about mobile.
Mobile has been one of the most important areas of growth in online marketing for years. As newer and more powerful devices have come out, a few things have become clear.
For example, despite more on board computing power, most smartphones are still constrained by their data and wireless connections.
You still need to design your mobile sites parsimoniously.
Clean, clear, and simple designs must be your goal. It’s not just about SEO or compliance with Google’s standards anymore – it’s about getting engagement and keeping the attention of site visitors.
That includes content marketing as well.
It might not be easy to figure out how to get your posts, which are hundreds of words long, to display well across many different mobile devices and browsers.
That doesn’t make it any less necessary. You have probably already seen how much larger a share of traffic mobile takes up.
At this point, mobile should be the starting point for design, not an afterthought. Not only will you get a large proportion of your visitors that way, but you will also have faster engagement and higher conversion levels.
Mobile users interact more quickly, but also leave faster if you can’t secure their attention. Don’t build a desktop site and then cut it down to be mobile-friendly: think about mobile users from the beginning.
Mobile is the future. Your content, your design, and your strategies should place mobile at the forefront.
1. Selling Physical Products
Thanks to the recent wave of data breaches and increasing distrust with social media, it’s time to rethink both customer data use and your own use of social media. First of all, as far as data goes, transparency is key. Be active and forthcoming about every possible use of data your customers will experience.
Remember that they might not fully read terms of service or other agreements.
Your standard should be informed consent.
Customers have a right to be upset if they suddenly find out their data was used in a way they didn’t expect or exposed to a party that they did not know about.
It’s not their responsibility to parse out your potentially complex policies – it’s your responsibility to make it all clear to them.
For your own protection, develop a crisis plan in case of a data breach. No matter how small-scale you are, you may still be a target for a hack. It is far better if you can prepare a crisis response plan before anything happens.
In all likelihood you will never need it, but consider it insurance.
Moreover, you can also educate potential users about your plan and your level of preparedness. This can help convince them that you are doing everything you can to protect their data.
In terms of social media, authenticity and organic content is key. Don’t try stunts for attention or create a persona.
Customers need to be able to trust their brands. For example, consider lingerie.
For many years, the standard in modeling and advertisement has been to emphasize perfection and ideal beauty using touch ups, Photoshop, carefully staged images and video, and an incredibly narrow range of body types.
Recently, however, some brands have started tapping into the power of authenticity by using realistically-proportioned models, reducing or eliminating Photoshop, and embracing a diverse range of customers.
Not only has that broadened their appeal, it’s also given those brands better brand recognition and trust. The process may even have cost less than a traditional fashion shoot.
That’s just one example. Find ways to communicate the genuine and appealing aspects of the brand without using alteration, idealization, or narrow norms.
You’ll find that the more you can acknowledge the customer as they are, rather than how you think they want to be, the faster you can build a rapport.
Social media is a good platform for this because of its immediacy.
There’s a real sense of personal connection. You’ll need to work hard to preserve that empathy and it’s easy to lose. Take some time to communicate directly with visitors when you can. Integration of social media with your external site is crucial.
The more you engage in content marketing, the more important it is that you use social media to spread your content as much as you can:
- Share new content.
- Highlight relevant older content.
- Solicit requests for future posts and topics.
- Network and reach out for collaborators or guests.
- Take full advantage of the environment.
Online marketing is changing. Whether it’s algorithm updates or changes in the share of visitors coming from various platforms or trends in content creation, there’s a lot of factors that determine success or failure.
It’s important to develop a flexible workflow so that you can adapt to anything that might come up.
For example, it is best to avoid becoming too reliant on any particular technique or structure. At any time, a change in search could reduce its impact, or a change in keyword competition might affect the process.
With content marketing, it can be easy to fall into a routine.
Unfortunately, that means any new changes to the environment could come as a surprise. In fact, they may only be apparent after the fact when you notice their results, such as a drop in traffic or lower engagement.
One important way to make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest developments is testing and observation of your analytics.
Don’t just examine your performance for each campaign or piece of content. See if there are any notable trends and changes, any variation in sources or reach.
While being careful not to read too much into the data, search for anything that might indicate a fundamental shift in who is accessing your content and what they do with it. Of course, online marketing is full of metrics and performance indicators of all kinds.
But understanding the story behind the numbers is another step beyond reading the output from a console.
Do not underestimate the value of interacting with peers, either. They might have encountered a wrinkle that you haven’t faced yet, or you might have some information for a problem that has been bugging them.
The forces that affect online marketing, content marketing, and search are still murky.
Having more eyes and ears involved will make it possible to spot changes more quickly or exchange key information.
The earliest news about things like algorithm changes generally comes from bloggers and SEO organizations, who then open it up to gather as much additional data as they can.
Without explicit guidance from search authorities and other entities, the alternative is to piece together these events based on their impact.
This is why it pays off to stay in touch. Even if you don’t keep up with anyone in particular, follow the most important blogs for your area of focus and that should provide you with plenty of useful information.
You may not need to make changes very often, but you will be glad to know when it becomes necessary.
Online marketing and content marketing are still effective means of generating beneficial outcomes. However, it is now necessary to be more alert and careful when it comes to both strategic and tactical decisions.
Not only is there more competition in this space than there ever has been in the past, but it is getting more difficult to establish how and when the search environment changes.
In the long run, many of the trends already in effect will continue to reshape how online marketing works. Both the number and the proportion of mobile users and visitors will increase.
At the same time, those devices are changing- screen sizes and shapes, touch technology, display quality, resolution, and processing power are evolving.
Data access varies from person to person as well. Additionally, rising customer interest in authenticity and relatable content should inform your workflow.
The best thing that you can do is be flexible. You can expect that there will be other changes that will change how you need to craft your content.
The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to adapt to these changes. Keep in mind the risk of coming to rely too closely on any given approach.
There is still great opportunity in online marketing. But it takes more thought and care to turn those opportunities into success stories.
Don’t be caught off guard by the next new trend or the next surprising announcement from Google or the next difference to how Facebook determines reach.Stay flexible.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published April 6th 2018
This Post Has 10 Comments
Your content was so inspiring that I just had to come down here and comment.
I like the way you have tackled the idea of connecting with the customers and readers just as they are as opposed to what you think they are and think they want.
It has helped me change my perspective about my content creation strategy, and I will now follow your advice and see how well it converts for me, which I am very positive it will. Thanks again. 🙂
Glad to hear the information helped you out.
Thanks for the comment Dave!
I became very absorbed in your post. It contains a lot of food for thought and good points.
One thing that you mention that was affirming for me is the use of a clean and simple design that is mobile friendly. I’m glad that I have a blog that fits that description. I’ve checked it out on mobile and it looks very clear and easy to use. That’s a relief. 🙂
You also talk about the use of data and being up front about how it is collected and used. I’ve seen a lot of talk about that lately and especially the EU cookie law.
I don’t use social media for marketing much yet, but I need to develop it more. I do agree that it needs to be authentic communication. You’re right about that, for sure!
And finally, I really like your remarks about staying flexible. Wow, the online world changes so fast and so often, it would be destructive to stay set in our ways or rigid about how we do things. You are so right.
I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Good to know you got a lot out of the article.
Thanks for the kind words Stella!
I like it when you say websites should be designed from a mobile’s perspective first. I can supplement it by saying that our content strategy should also give due importance to voice search and how people tend to use different search terms on a voice search. Hence, I agree that optimising our content from the mobile angle is the key. Thanks for the word of caution on how we use our customers’ data. It’s a very sensitive area and something I think we have been ignoring for long. I also like the flexibility idea. I love this wonderful post. Being a newbie, I can relate to all that you have said there.
I am happy you got something out of the article. Data privacy has come out (finally) as something coming to the forefront of people’s minds. Personally, it has always been something I pay attention to and actively protect.
Thanks for the comment Sukumar!
I’m still in the early stages of building my website, so I found this page at just the right time. You have given me so much to think about, including checking to make sure that the theme I chose for my site comes through on a cellphone and tablet.
Do you have any tips for getting more engagement on social media? That is my weak spot right now, unfortunately.
The secret to social networking sites is to participate. Engage, comment and post. Unfortunately, it can be a time consuming and sometimes distracting task. Pick a couple of platforms and avoid trying to maintain accounts on all of them or you won’t have enough time to build out your site.
Thanks for the comment Theresa!
Wonderful website! I just started online marketing and this post has given me a lot of very good and very helpful pointers. In fact, the mobile visuals aspect of your post was most tantalizing. I struggled for a little while trying to make my site mobile friendly, but knowing that the mobile ‘market’ was a very important one to have streamline visuals. Organization is also very important in online marketing, as it can become very confusing if you don’t start out systematically.
Great content, thank you for all the wonderful info!
Good to hear the article helped you out.
Thanks for the comment!