Top 5 Online Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016
This is the first post in an on-going series aimed at business owners who want to take control of their Internet marketing activities, as well as those looking to start an online business and work from home. Regardless of whether you are a brick and mortar storefront, or an Internet only business, growing your brand and sales is probably your #1 goal. Since 2006, I’ve helped businesses of all shapes and sizes take advantage of the Internet to drive sales and income. When I say we’ve helped all sorts of businesses, I mean it. Way West Media has been involved in social media campaigns for green product launches from Ford and Nissan, and have done corporate video production for local tattoo shops, financial service firms, and retail shops. On the SEO side, we’ve helped companies in a variety of niche industries grow their traffic and ultimately sales. I believe that working for yourself and owning your own business isn’t just the American dream, it is truly the only way (I know this sounds cliche) to build the life you want to live. We’re here to share the tips and tricks we’ve learned throughout the years, and help you grow your business!
Internet Marketing Strategies
I will be covering a wide variety of subjects, but generally speaking, we’ll be talking about how to grow your business/brand online through:
SEO– For the novice, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing both on-page and off-page (website) factors, to gain increased traffic from major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. SEO involves optimizing a website’s content and structure to appear more favorable to the search engines. Simply put, we are giving the search engines what they want to see. Proper title tags and descriptions, quality content/copywriting, internal links and optimized images are just some of the on-page factors to consider. Off-page factors include incoming links, local citations, and social media reach. SEO is generally broken down into two categories, white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat SEO uses universally accepted techniques that focus on converting human visitors and DO NOT violate a search engine’s terms of service. Black hat SEO, on the other hand, uses unethical techniques to artificially and temporarily drive traffic. Black hat seo tactics should ALWAYS be avoided and use of them can result in having your site banned from search engine results. SEO services typically start at about $250/mo (with a 3-month contract) for smaller sites with limited keywords and content.
Video Marketing– With over 1 billion active users, YouTube has become the 2nd largest search engine in the world. The power of video cannot be denied and it is becoming a more important part of the sales process by the day. 46% of users take some sort of action after watching an online video and Forrester Research reports that it is 50x’s easier to achieve a page 1 ranking on Google with a video. That stat alone should get you excited about using video to build your business. If you don’t have the ability or expertise to produce your own videos, video production services can start as low as a few hundred dollars for a simple YouTube video. Of course, if you have the budget, you can go all out like Dollar Beard Club did, and achieve viral gold:
Social Media Marketing– No matter what industry you are in, you need to connect with your customers and get your information/product in front of their faces. As of 2016, over 75% of Internet users engage in social media. Instagram, one of the fastest growing social networks in 2015, has over 77 million active users alone. In today’s business environment, you cannot afford to NOT invest in your social media presence. Don’t think your company/brand is a good fit for the younger YouTube generation? Business professionals of all ages can take advantage of LinkedIn, a social network of over 400 million (estimated 39 million of which are college students and recent graduates). My point is, there is a social media network for EVERY brand, product, or business out there. Start with the traditional networks, learn to update on a regular basis, and start growing a targeted audience of followers that will gobble up your content and share it!
Blogging– Probably the most important factor in the current Internet marketing world besides video. Everyone loves unique content (search engines especially), and publishing your own blog allows you to become an authority/expert on a variety of subjects and topics. When done properly, blogging will allow you to build a wide variety of unique content on your site, and when linked appropriately, serve to channel authority back to other parts of the site (homepage, purchase pages, ect). Now just imagine… you create a unique video on a particular subject, optimize and upload it to YouTube, write a related article on your blog, embed said video from YouTube, publish it to your site, and finally share it on social media. Now imagine people start sharing your content and publishing links to your articles/videos across the Internet. Are you starting to see how powerful this all is when it works together?
Advertising– Internet advertising has gotten a lot of bad press over the years. For many, advertising online means PPC (pay-per-click) advertising with Google Adwords. Diving into a Google Adwords campaign can be a costly mistake if you don’t know what you are doing. You can quickly spend $1k in a day targeting irrelevant keywords, with little to no business to even show from it. Instead, I favor a vertical advertising model where very specific users can be targeted, thus limiting wasted ad impressions and money. For example, if you were a high end Hollywood camera rental house, you wouldn’t want to advertise your $1800/day camera packages to hobby photographers on a generic photo website. You also wouldn’t want to waste your money on a PPC campaign targeting the generic term “camera rental.” Instead, look for industry/niche blogs where you know your customers are looking. Many niche websites and blogs offer relatively cheap ad space when compared to the number of impressions offered. I’ve seen prime ad space on niche sites go for as little as $50/mo, offering the potential for massive return on your investment depending on what you are selling. Pumping money into ad campaigns is the last thing I’d recommend, but it can be a helpful part of a balanced Internet marketing strategy.