16 Digital Marketing Essentials for 2016

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Here we are, officially in 2016. The year ahead is packed with potential, but to make the most of the opportunities that are out there, you need to have the right digital marketing tools available to you.

It’s a great time to do an inventory to gain clarity of which of these essentials you already have in place. If the answer is yes, take the time to ensure you’re making the most of these tools to boost your business. If you’re missing any elements, take action now to put them in place before too much time goes by!

    1. Privacy Policy on Website

      In the wake of numerous massive, damaging data breaches at major retailers and financial institutions, customers are more aware of and concerned about who has access to identifying information about them than ever before. Your website needs a clear, comprehensive privacy policy that articulates exactly what type of information you’re collecting from your visitors, along with information about how you plan to use and protect the data.

    2. Lead Gen / Capture Ads

      Facebook is the first social media network to launch Lead Gen ads, but make no mistake, other platforms will be following suit shortly. The design’s brilliant: by using a native signup flow to automatically fill in contact forms, Lead Gen ads make it super simple for interested people to sign up for things like newsletters, price estimates, follow-up calls and business information.

    3. Social Marketing through Mobile

      Mobile-only apps, such as Instagram and Snapchat, are steadily winning the battle for users’ attention. Instagram is consistently ranked as the most important social media network by young users – 49% of their massive user base is under the age of 34. Snapchat skews slightly younger, with 71% of their users being of similar age. If you haven’t already explored these platforms to determine their relevance to your marketing mix, now is the time to do so; if you’re already there, commit to making this a year full of authentic, meaningful engagement.

    4. Marketing Tracking

      By 2016, you absolutely need an objective way to tell the reach, impact, and effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. There are multiple tools available depending on the platform you’re considering, such as Google Analytics for your website, or Insights for Facebook. Having these in place and reviewing the reports regularly is step one; step two is adding additional layers of oversight, such as Call Tracking, to ensure every aspect of your sales funnel is robust and functioning properly.

    5. Dynamic Advertising

      These data-driven ads, sometimes known as remarketing advertising, are generated based upon a customer’s previous online behaviors and preferences. As a result, they’re highly personalized and effective. Most dynamic advertising is keyed to visitor recency and previous ad engagement, but looking forward, other factors, including the shopper’s location and even the weather where they are will be impactful considerations.

    6. Marketing Dashboard

      Businesses are engaging with their customers on multiple platforms simultaneously, including their website and social media. A marketing dashboard provides a single, convenient way to track how well your marketing efforts are working out. Compare channel results side by side, including both organic content and any advertising campaigns. The marketing dashboard helps you identify trends and non-performing campaigns rapidly, so you can be strategic with your marketing budget.

    7. Video Marketing

      If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 1.8 million. 90% of shoppers state that they find videos useful in deciding whether or not to make a purchase, so don’t hold back from creating footage highlighting your merchandise. But that’s not all – humor, how to, and behind the scenes videos belong in every business’ marketing mix. Key trends for 2016: short, colorful, and real – don’t sweat having Hollywood level production values as long as things look good.

    8. Social Advertising

      28% of the time people spend online is spent on social media sites. This works out to an average of just under two hours a day for most people, although some groups of people spend exponentially more time than that. It’s essential to take advantage of the advertising opportunities inherent in these platforms, including Lead Gen ads, display ads, and more!

    9. Social Selling

      Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms are engaged in an ongoing battle to keep users on their sites as long as humanly possible. Facebook’s “Buy” button and Pinterest’s Buyable Pins both developed to allow users to shop without leaving the platform – a great opportunity for retailers, who can increase overall sales by making good use of this new retail outlet.

    10. Paid Content Marketing

      Also known as native advertising, paid content marketing puts your brand’s articles, videos, or other content on prominent, high traffic destination websites. The primary value of paid content marketing is to gain exposure to a large number of customers you may not otherwise encounter. For this reason, it’s vital to use paid content marketing strategically. Know what you want to achieve with your paid content before you commit!

    11. Original Quality Content

      There’s more content online than ever before, but the vast majority of it is either low-quality or repeats information customers can find elsewhere. Unique, entertaining, and informative content will continue to draw eyeballs in 2016 – and don’t forget that imagery, iconography and graphics are all content too. Don’t be lazy on social media. While it’s fine to share other people’s memes and infographics occasionally, there’s much more value to be found in creating your own.

    12. Micro Moments

      Micro Moments occur whenever a customer wants an immediate answer to a question, make a purchase, or find out a specific bit of information. Searches are increasingly made via voice search on a mobile device, and the expectations that the results will be instant and accurate are very high. For that reason, it’s essential to think through the type of questions customers will want answers to about your company and format the content on your website and social media so those answers are instantly accessible.

    13. Gamification

      Gamification is a marketing technique used to appeal to the 700 million people who play online games. Integrating fun elements into routine transactions, such as earning badges by interacting with a brand on social media, can help your company demonstrate its personality, display core values, and strengthen the relationship you have with your customer base. The best gamification elements from the company owner’s perspective are those that allow customers to engage in playful activities and conduct business at the same time.

    14. Beacons

      Beacon technology sends welcome messages, saving coupons and other information directly to customers’ smartphones using Bluetooth technology when they’re in or near your business. Beacons have proven to increase foot traffic, drive sales, and establish or strengthen the customer relationship by encouraging shoppers to opt in to text message or email campaigns.

    15. Mobile First

      Mobile First design flips the established website dynamic on its head, designing sites with the understanding that the majority of users will engage with them via a smartphone or tablet. Characterized by more elegant and intuitive user interfaces, Mobile First sites leverage the mobile device to gather data via sensors and lightweight user inputs, facilitate frequent brief visits, and offer extremely personalized content. Sites that deliver a smoother mobile experience are prioritized over those that don’t.

    16. Interactivity

      Customers expect authentic responsiveness from the brands they do business with. This impacts every communication channel you have: email, chat, text messaging and social media. Educate and empower your team to get away from cut and paste scripted responses: these do nothing to further the conversation and can alienate your customer. Keeping it real is key, whether you’re answering an email or replying to a social media comment.

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16 Digital Marketing Essentials for 2016
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16 Digital Marketing Essentials for 2016
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Make the most of your digital marketing strategy in 2016 by incorporating these 16 essential tools & techniques.
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