The world of inbound marketing is constantly changing and evolving, and this year was no different. Every marketer knows that you need to be able to adapt and grow with the industry if you want to stay ahead of the game. When it comes to inbound marketing, what worked today isn’t necessarily going to work tomorrow – but that’s just how it goes and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps things fun, fresh and exciting (if not a little bit stressful). So as 2017 draws to a close, we thought we’d revisit some of the things we learned about inbound marketing this year.
SEO is Always Changing, but Content Remains King
The rules of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are always changing. Truth be told, we already knew this. However, with all the Google algorithm updates (there have been 9 in 2017 alone), one thing has always remained the same: content is king. You’ve probably heard this phrase thrown around a lot in the world of marketing and that’s because it’s one hundred per cent true. Informative, relevant and entertaining content will always be favoured in the eyes of search engines. So if you want to stay on top of the seemingly impossible SEO game, you need to start focusing on creating killer content. But where do you start? SEO has recently shifted to a topic cluster model where a single ‘pillar’ page acts as the primary hub of content for a key topic. You then link your content pages back to that pillar page that is related to the same topic. Need some more info? You can read more about simple SEO strategies and topic clusters here.
The Modern Buyer is in Charge
No longer do salespeople hold all the power. These days, the buyer is in charge. The modern buyer has taken advantage of the massive volume of information and advice out there that they can access with the click of a button. We are currently living in an era of information and buyers have greater access to information than ever before. They are using this to their advantage and using this wealth of information to inform their buying decisions and processes. Studies show that buyers make an average of 12 searches before making first contact with a business. They will read up on content, watch videos, read reviews, listen to podcasts and more in order to help inform their buying decision. The thing is, this all happens behind the scene before businesses have the slightest idea that this buyer exists! If you want to learn more about the modern buyer, check out our guide here.
Staying on Top of Social Media is Hard, But Not Impossible!
You’re probably thinking: “Of course staying on top of social media is hard, we already knew that!” I know you already know that keeping up to date with the forever changing landscape of social media is challenging … but did you know it’s not impossible? When trying to wrap your head around social media and its constant changes, the most important thing to remember is that in the marketing industry, you need to be ready to move with your buyers. Technology is constantly advancing and evolving, and this means the way you communicate with your buyers will evolve too. So what are some simple ways to stay on top of social media? Start by following the social media experts. They are always the first to know of any changes or algorithm updates so if there is an important change, it will definitely be written about on social media blogs. Find out other simple ways to keep up with the changes in social media here.
Mobile Marketing Has Arrived and It’s Here to Stay
From the day the first iPhone entered the world, smart devices have become ingrained in the way humans live. What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night? Apart from brush your teeth, you probably check your smartphone. The fact is, increased mobile usage has unlocked a huge array of opportunities for marketers on a scale that has never been seen. Did you know in 2014 the number of mobile phones exceeded the number of people in the world? The point I’m getting at is that mobile marketing is here, it’s staying, and if you’re not currently harnessing its powers, now’s the time to start. If you’re not sure what mobile marketing is, put simply, it’s the method of marketing your business online so that it is optimised for mobile devices. This means potential buyers can easily view and interact with your business online when they are using any kind of smart device. Keen to find out more about mobile marketing? Check out this article.
Marketing Automation is Only Going to Get Bigger
Marketing automation is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially, it is a software that automates everyday marketing actions. Most marketers will spend a large proportion of their day doing repetitive tasks like emails, social media and other website actions. The best part about marketing automation? It does it all for you! Marketing automation helps you manage tasks and carry them out in a more efficient manner, helping marketers streamline lead gen campaigns, segmentation, marketing ROI measurement and more. Marketing automation has a range of benefits. Not only does it optimise your time but more importantly, it improves the relevancy of your marketing message to prospective clients, ultimately improving their experience with your brand. Read more about marketing automation and how to do it successfully here.
Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Team is More Important Than Ever
Due to the evolution of the modern buyer, there is currently a huge disconnect between the ways consumers are researching and buying, and the way small businesses are marketing and selling. Research shows that up to 80% of modern buyers will head online and carry out their own research way before they are ready to speak to a salesperson. What does this mean? It means that marketing plays a more important role than ever in the sales process. That’s why if you want to be able to effectively sell to the modern buyer, it is important you start aligning your sales and marketing team. In fact, a strong alignment between sales and marketing teams receive an average of 20% growth in annual revenue. It can be hard to know where to begin when aligning your sales and marketing team, which is why I wrote this simple guide to help you get started.