Five Internet marketing trends to watch

'Tis the season for annual predictions. As always, we’re keeping an eye on Internet marketing trends. We’ve come across a few that we think will definitely have an impact. Let us know what you think… have any to add?

1. The shift to mobile will speed up

According to Forbes, “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” That forecast shows that your customers will be (if they aren't already) accessing your site with a mobile device. Responsive design is more than just condensing the screen. It involves putting your customer first and making sure your website works well in their hands.

Questions to ask:
  • Can your audience easily navigate and get to your content? 
  • Have you considered displaying different types of information up front to people who are accessing you from a smartphone vs laptop?
Read our previous article: Five Reasons Your Business Needs a Mobile Website

2. Content marketing

Photography by garryknight, CC BY NC 2.0
What makes content juicy? Eliminate the fluff - focus on what matters.
Creating relevant, valuable content is becoming more and more important. When people take the time to pull up your site or search for your services, they want information. Engage your audience with solid content and they’ll spread the word and keep coming back. Once again, content marketing is more about the customer experience. Sharing information that you know your customers want in a format that they prefer is key.

Don’t forget the marketing in the phrase “content marketing.” Yes, your website should be founded on strong, engaging and relevant content but if you don’t tell people it exists it doesn’t matter. Staying on trend, content marketing isn't just about advertising – it’s about making the most of social media and email marketing to spread the news.

Questions to ask:
  • Are you currently blogging about your industry or service?
  • How often are you updating your content to make sure it is both current and relevant? Is it time for a content management tool?
Read more about content marketing.
Don’t miss this strong article about content marketing trends by Forbes.

3. The importance of images

Photography by familymwr, CC BY NC 2.0
Images can make you stop scanning and pay more attention. They can reinforce a message or be one of their own.
It is worth noting that some of the most popular websites right now have images as their focus: think Buzzfeed, Pinterest or Instagram. Images help you communicate your message in a powerful fashion. Infographics and other ways of incorporating large visuals in your written content will be a big trend to watch in the next year or so. You’re going to see more and more websites that incorporate one long page with a balanced mix of images and content to communicate quickly and easily.

Questions to ask:
  • Where can images (photos or illustrations) make an impact on your site?
  • Would video help you share your story in a more powerful fashion?

4. It’s all about the sharing

Photography by Jason A. Howie, CC BY NC 2.0
Internet marketing doesn't end at your website. Integrating social media is key.
You knew social media would have to appear on this list. As social media continues to integrate its way into our everyday lives, its impact on websites continues to grow. In fact, some experts think that search engines will soon start factoring in how often pages are shared or liked or followed into their search algorithms. That means that if your content is strong enough (see points two and three above) to be shared on social media, your website will rank higher in search results.

Questions to ask:
  • What social media channels are you using to stay on top of industry trends? Do you also have a presence on those channels?
  • Who is responsible for your social media strategy and content?
Here's a great article on integrating social media into your search engine optimization strategy.

5. It’s all about the customer

If there’s one thing these trends have in common it’s customer engagement. People are becoming savvier about websites and Internet marketing all the time. Gone are the days where a simple search advertisement will make a notable increase in traffic. You need to integrate your efforts, reach out to your audience in meaningful ways and make sure that what your readers find on your site is strong enough to hold their attention.

Your website is literally at people’s fingertips and they expect solid, relevant content to follow. Tools such as analytics help you measure your effectiveness. The key is to make sure you’re not just looking at those reports, rather that you are taking action with them. Know your customer and continue to develop what they want today and tomorrow.

Barb

About the author | Barb Ruess

Barb was a project manager and content editor at TBH Creative from 2006-2017. She used her skills to manage development projects, organize websites, and create and edit content. She blogged about content writing, search engine optimization, and offer tips for a successful website project.

View more posts by Barb

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