It’s coming to the end of a fantastic year in the business realm, and now we’re looking into our crystal bauble to see which marketing trends will drive more conversions and conversations in 2016.
- Inbound Marketing
It’s a no-brainer, really; first up on the list is Inbound Marketing. Providing helpful content is a great, non-invasive way to attract visitors to your site. Instead of pushing your product or services onto anyone and everyone, why not let customers find you? It’s a trend we’ll need to help more people understand the importance of this year.
Marketers need to get much better at truly communicating what Inbound is, what its impact can be on an organization and on each individual (especially in Sales), as well as what can also happen if the organization refuses to embrace Inbound and the digital consumer of today.
– Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, 16 on ’16 Inbound Marketing Predictions
- Defying ad blockers
No advertising that does not respect the user experience, be it in terms of content, in terms of design and creative, or in terms of device functionality is going to work. It’s bad advertising.
Ad blockers have been around for years on desktop, but now mobile software will allow for ads to be banished into the shadows. Watch out for companies who continue to create ‘inboundy’ ads that seamlessly blend with, rather than interrupt, the browsing experience.
- 3D technology This Slideshare states that 3D technology is poised to move from novelty to mainstream, allowing marketers to look for ways to bring their products to virtual life. It’ll start mostly in the gaming industry, but as the technology moves forward it’ll be more accessible to others.
- Social Media actually being ‘social’ instead of just ‘media’
Use social media to talk to your followers and engage with them, rather than just as a platform to post about your offers.
Live-streaming apps and tools help people become closer to seeing the human side of your business. And regardless of whether you choose to embrace live-streaming (which we’ll also see a lot more of next year) if you’re not prepared to really talk WITH (not ‘at’) your audience this year, you’re going to have a bad time trying to convert them.
- Video and live-streaming Video will explode while live streaming moves to the forefront of marketing, erupting with forward-thinking new campaigns that show customers they’re the single most important thing.
- Interactive content Next year, free training programmes, workshops, assessments, and evaluations are just some of the ways you could help your prospects gain more knowledge, not just about best practices, but also about their own businesses.
“Prospects are more empowered than ever before. They identify their own problems, they learn about solutions by browsing and searching, they learn what peers have done in similar situations, and they can even start to narrow down products and services that might help…
… Companies like SnapApp, Ion Interactive, and Ceros are taking it to the next level by arming enterprise level Marketers with the ability to build interactive content including things like quizzes, assessments, calculators and knowledge tests.
I expect to see these types of services become very popular this year as sales teams struggle to reach and engage busy, empowered prospects.”
– Pete Caputa of HubSpot, 16 on ’16 Inbound Marketing Predictions
- Smarketing revelations
Sales and marketing have teamed up through Inbound to deliver a better strategy, and now it’s catching fire.
In 2016, it’s all going to be about how your teams communicate to each other in order to interact with your customers and close a sale. By combining great content creation and real-time communication, you’ll find your marketing and sales efforts stronger and more effective.
- Next-level personalisation
Adwords are targeting via email, SEO has grasped the people-over-businesses mantra, and there’s a steady march toward specific targeting in social platforms.
These have all created more opportunities to deliver helpful content that’s suited to individual buyer personas, gaining your business more engagement and better quality leads.
- More social SEO 74% of people say they use Twitter for news every day (with nearly 40% replying on it for breaking news). Because of this, social media is having a much bigger impact on SEO.
“In this past year, Google and other search engines have made several updates in their effort to improve results by incorporating a more “human” element to searches. Keeping in mind, Google’s recent integration of Tweets into search results, In 2016 I see social will become an even bigger part of SEO.
Marketers will begin to create content that uses attractive, clickable, and valuable titles and finally put aside the keyword research and optimization we are so used to.
Inbound has always been about connecting with your audience and understanding what they are looking for, but in upcoming years I think, we, as Marketers, will be able to utilize social and search tools to gather not just keywords, but more insightful data on how people browse, share, and link to content.”
– Erica Dube of IMPACT, 16 on ’16 Inbound Marketing Predictions
There’s no decline in sight whatsoever for the importance of quality content, but storytelling will play a key role in drawing customers in and keeping them engaged, particularly visually.
“We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.”
– George Dyson
Finally! The tin man’s getting a heart; business is becoming more human, and as a result, we’re seeing a significant rise in customer engagement.