January 20, 2016
There is a lot of content out there on the Web. According to aci.info, Google receives more than four million search queries per minute from the 2.4 billion strong global Internet population. It’s unbelievable but every minute:
- Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content. (Source: Facebook.com)
- Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times. (Source: Internetlivestats.com)
- E-mail users send over 200 million messages. (Source: Mashable.com)
- Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos. (Source: Quora.com)
- YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content. (Source: Jeffbullas.com)
Just creating content and distributing it is no longer enough. People look for content that is interactive, to which they can relate. Marketers need to create content that catches the eye — something that is fresh and out of the box, something that retains the target audience and puts them in front of new customers.
An article published in Hubspot states that 54 percent of B2B marketers and 50 percent of B2C marketers believe that producing engaging content is the biggest challenge. They also need to adapt themselves to the changing technologies and attitudes of the people.
It’s time they look for the latest trends in the industry and include it in their strategies for the year 2016, and not simply jump on the marketing bandwagon. Trends will tell you where the market is going so that you prepare accordingly.
To help you find the right direction, we have jotted down seven inbound marketing trends that are a must while you strategize for 2016.
1. Using the User-Generated Content — User-generated content is snowballing to become one of the most trusted and powerful tools for marketers. According to an article published in The Guardian, 70 percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. It’s natural for humans to be attracted to a product or service that others talk about.
So, why not let people talk about your brand? All you need to do is to create space for your customers to talk, be it on your social media platforms or your website. And when you’re doing that, don’t forget to interact with them. For instance, Starbucks launched a White Cup Contest in April 2014. This was one of the user UGC campaign that actually worked. Customers were asked to doodle on their Starbucks cups and submit pictures as entries. Starbucks received nearly 4,000 entries in just a three-week span and the contest also earned them publicity.
2. Interactive Storytelling to Hit the Market — As discussed above, you need to be different and must stand out from the crowd. But how will you do that when everyone is churning out so much content every day? It’s simple. You convey the message of your business or brand not in a conventional manner but in a way that surprises everyone – interactive storytelling.
People like hearing stories. And when they are in a visual format, it’s like the cherry on the cake. Interactive storytelling is the perfect way of grabbing the attention of your target audience and nurturing leads. For instance, check out the video content from T-Brand Studio. The content was published by the NY Times and became a huge hit. A lot of marketers have already started using this technique of visual storytelling.
But be advised — organization is the key to making such content a major hit. You’ll need to ensure that your content is laid out in a way that stands out from the crowd. Vital elements of your brand should pop-up. For instance, your contact details and logo design should be clearly visible. For another, important information must not be buried under the fold.
3. Episodic Content will take Centrestage — Episodic content is an easy way of holding your customers’ attention. Presenting your content in episodes through videos or any other medium generates curiosity and anticipation about your brand. People actually wait for the next episode to be released. People start empathizing with the characters in the story.
Be careful, in picking up the sections of the content while organizing them and also the time-frame to gain maximum response and evoke the right kind of suspense. See an example of Kate Spade’s “Missadventures” that increases engagement and offers umpteen opportunities to effectively put forth the business message.
4. Less Guest Blogging for SEO – The start of 2016 will mark the end of guest blogging only to gain links. Matt Cutts, who leads Google’s Web spam team, recently said “so stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.” There are many good reasons for guest blogging such as to widen your reach, branding etc. You must not do guest blogging only for link building — there are a lot of marketers who end up adding links of spam sites.
Make sure you write original content with high-quality inbound links. Keeping your backlinks clean and having authentic content will definitely turn out to be better for you in terms of SEO optimization.
5. Hyper-Segmentation Will Grow Stronger – Micro-targeting and hyper-segmentation is the process of using the data present online to target a niche audience. Consumers offer a lot of information about themselves while visiting your sites or through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Marketers can relay their messages or conceptualize their advertisement for a very specific group of people after using that data.
In 2015, smart marketers used this data to target their audience. An article published in Hub.bannerflow.com explains that targeted advertisement campaigns are twice as effective as non-targeted ones. This year too, we predict that there will be an increase in the number of marketers using the data for target advertising, which is obviously more effective.
6. Internet of Things, the Next Mega Trend – The ‘Internet of Things’ trend ruled last year and this year too it will prove to be a game-changer for everyone. In simple words, IoT refers to everyday devices that makes it possible to automatically exchange information over a network. With technology changing so fast, the IoT has almost merged the physical with the online world.
There are smart connecting devices from digital watches to industry equipment that provide an opportunity of real-time engagement. An article published in i-scoop.eu states that 51 percent of the world’s top global marketers expect that IoT will revolutionize the marketing landscape by 2020.
7. The Return of E-mail Marketing – Did you hear someone talking about the death of e-mail marketing? Some of them even talked about how the days of e-mail marketing are over. However, e-mail marketing is very much here and is here to stay. According to an article in Mckinsey.com, e-mail marketing is three times more effective that social media and instant messaging. We predict that marketers will continue to explore the potential of email marketing to address targeted audience for the growth of the business. Don’t take our word for it: check out the following stats that will convince you to use this trend.
- Ninety-one percent consumers check their e-mail every day. (Source: Hubspot.com)
- Companies using e-mail generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads and at 33 percent lower cost. (Source: Pardot.com)
- For every dollare spent on e-mail marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25. (Source: Capterra.com)
- Fifty-nine percent of B2B marketers say e-mail is effective channel for generating revenue. (Source: Scratch Magazine)
You can personalize your e-mails according to your target audience or use customer reviews to make your e-mails more trustworthy. Just make sure that your customers open your mails and bring your business.
Wrapping It Up!
We hope that our inbound marketing trends prediction for this year help you achieve new heights. Trends keep changing, but these are the most essential ones. Having elements that keep your audience engaged is a must! There is always a scope of improvisation. But don’t forget to include all of these trends in your marketing strategy 2016 for better results.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments, if you enjoyed this post share it on twitter, and never hesitate to hit us up with any questions, critiques, or feedback.
Gaurav Kumar is a blogger, digital marketer and a SEO expert at Designhill.com, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing platforms. Over the years, he has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience. You can engage with him on Twitter here @digitalmid