It’s that time of year when we all take stock and clear out the old to make way for the new. One of the nearly impossible tasks to stay ahead of is organizing photos. Like me, you probably have hundreds of photos and can’t begin to know for sure what you’ve got. I’ve had a draft post simmering about the new rules of online marketing for 2016 and, crazy as it sounds, I found a photo that inspired me to finish it.
It was one of those random photos you take at conferences, just something you thought would be worthwhile to save. If you’re a content strategist and marketer like me, you’re hyper-aware of content opportunities and you never know what will surface. Benign images or quotes often become the catalyst for a more interesting focus in your writing.
It’s time to take stock of your position in the digital marketing landscape.
I continue to be concerned about businesses’ reluctance to adapt to Google’s requirements and customers’ needs, especially when it comes to digital presence. There’s a lot of conversation about it online and off, postulating how some industries or business models won’t survive in the next 5-10 years.
I’ve been writing about ways to navigate social media, content marketing and SEO for years and sometimes it seems like the needle has barely moved. Everything else is moving at such a fast pace and, judging by what I hear from a lot of businesses, sitting on the sidelines seems to be the common go-to strategy. One person told me, “Car sales are at an all-time high. What do I need with online marketing?”
“In the business world, the rear view mirror is always cleaner than the windshield.”
– Warren Buffett
Just a few short years ago, nearly every business was struggling to figure out what to do in the Great Recession. Using my illustration above (and this can be said for many industries), car sales are at an all-time high, which means the end of growth is near. With all the outside pressures on the dealership business model, it would be prudent to forecast for the coming downturn.
The 7 Newest New Rules of Online Marketing (for 2016)
Getting and keeping customers is proving to be more and more difficult. Many seem to be ignoring a basic fact: people like to buy from businesses they know, like and trust. That isn’t just some cliche.
Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers that don’t.
These Newest New Rules of Online Marketing will help you understand what it takes to win customers in 2016 and beyond.
1. Assume nothing.
- Consumers. They’re getting a 5-star experience with online sellers like Amazon. How are you delivering that same experience…or better?
- Competitors. What are your competitors doing better than you? Nothing short of fearless assessment and measured improvement will do.
- Google. What exactly are you serving up to search engines? Search strategies today compared to even just a year ago are drastically different. Google is wickedly adept at recognizing quality content to serve its users. Do you know the ranking factors that Google employs?
Assumption is the mother of all screw ups.
Resolve to build stronger relationships with current and new customers. The amount of time and effort spent is directly proportionate to the results achieved.
We live in a world where no one wants to see ads from brands they don’t know. Why? Zero trust.
Ad blocking is up 48% in the U.S. and growing. However, your ads are welcome in cases where you’ve invested in customer relationships and built a strong following.
Profit isn’t a purpose, it’s a result.
A brand that can put themselves in their customers’ shoes, and deliver the information needed to make the right choice, secures a customer for life.
With so much content on the web and very little trust, it’s overwhelming for consumers to research even the most common products. That’s why we’ve all turned to our social networks and online ratings sites for answers.
The days are gone when you could walk into a store and get a trustworthy recommendation. A business today must leverage its assets to be a teacher not a seller.
- Differentiate yourself from the “sales sharks”
- Don’t be all about making the deal
- Pass on valuable information
- Use social media to teach, not sell
- Be a publisher (all good sales people are content marketers too!)
- Develop a your network through giving and getting referrals
- Leverage paid social to drive leads
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale
Everyone loves to know about good, solid information. People who consistently deliver that solid info are considered thought leaders.
Spend 30 minutes per day consuming content that’s helpful to your business and helpful to your customers. Schedule posts (via Hootsuite, Post Planner, Buffer or others) on social media sites to broaden your thought leadership.
Create a community online that mirrors your offline community.
I’m always delighted to find a brand on social media that listens to their customers. Brand loyalty is born when someone is there monitoring, responding and advocating for me should I have an issue or want to give feedback.
Listening –> Advocacy –> Loyalty
A step further from advocacy is to authentically care. Every time I fly JetBlue, they see my check-in at the airport and tweet me a nice message. They make me feel special and I feel like they care.
When they announced that they would abandon their “First Bag Free” policy, it wasn’t the best news but because of their efforts to make me feel special, it softened the blow.
Evidence that you care can only come from authentic action. Being able to document that well in the form of blog posts and social media content is a must-have strategy in 2016.