2014 Digital Marketing Plan

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Every year around this time, clients ask me to help them plan their digital marketing for next year.  Lots of very smart people have already made predictions about how technology will change in 2014, and in this post, I’ve piggy backed on their predictions and added my own tack away comments to help businesses create their 2014 internet marketing or digital marketing budgets.

The following list amalgamates the most frequently made predictions about digital marketing in 2014

1. Continued Mobile Growth

Every business television program has recently highlighted the huge increase in retail mobile sales this season, and most marketing experts have suggested that mobile users will continue to grow, with mobile generated shopping conversions increasing around 10% year over year.   Users will search on their mobile device first, with mobile experiences surpassing desktop and tablets.   Retailers are starting to use location-based marketing that uses GPS technology to send geographically tailored coupons and other content straight to the potential customer’s mobile device. They also market using social apps like Foursquare that provide vital consumer data.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away – Budget for a mobile/responsive site.  With the latest Google update, some of our clients who already have a responsive site saw a 30% traffic pop in Analytics. Increase your paid advertising budget on mobile devices and if possible when running ads, target the to GPS location. Make sure your site is easy for mobile users to buy – consider a shortened or one-page checkout.  Add click to call buttons instead of chat.

2. Build the Brand on Many Social Media Sites AND Doing Link Building

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are already known to be great places to promote brands and earn the loyalty of followers.  Now Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram are also generating paying customers for brands. Just being active on social media is not enough though.  You still need to have a solid link acquisition strategy in place.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Budget for increased work on social media sites to establish a significant presence and connect with potential customers.  Put money in the budget to try ads on various social networks.  Social signals are now important for search rankings and building reputation, so make sure your marketing department has time to share and connect every day.  Budget to create good content (not quantities of content) that answers questions posed by your audience.  Content can be written, graphic or video, and you can experiment as to what type of content is most likely to be shared socially by your audience.  The same content themes can be used to garner links, but budget the time to work on link building too.  Oh, and one more thought on Social Reviews.  Budget for online reputation management and acquisition of reviews. Set up alerts so that you can monitor your online reputation and respond quickly to anything negative, as well as staying informed about everything your competitors are doing online.

3. Content Curating

Companies are doing more and more content curation; compiling vast amounts of content found on the web about an idea, and organizing it so that it is meaningful and quickly digested. Flipboard and Pulse are two of the many content discovery apps that help users looking for content to create customized feeds.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: As stated before, make sure your budget allows for creation of great content.  Use social media to discover exactly what your followers want so that you can increase content relevancy.   One way to increase content relevancy is to find really interesting people to interview.

4. More Video Marketing

Videos are ten times more effective than text content, and are much more likely to be shared. People watch videos on YouTube, Facebook, Vine and Twitter, and they watch them more and more on mobile devices.  Videos are very effective advertising tactics.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Budget to continue making videos on short interesting topics. Videos do not have to be professionally made to garner large numbers of views, but they have to have content that people want to share.  Share your videos socially and transcribe them for best results.  It is worthwhile to take the time to optimize your videos on YouTube as well.

5. Remarketing or Ad Re-targeting

Remarketing allows companies to “follow” people who clicked on ads but did not purchase and show them another ad on the same product or service. First time visitors result in only 2 percent of conversions. Retargeting ads with further discounts or more information is becoming more and more popular as its worth is assessed.  Remarketing helps marketers display their products or services on websites they may potentially visit, and the cost for remarketing is typically much lower than PPC.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Try remarketing on Adwords – it is really cheap compared to regular adwords, and since you “piggy back ” off of someone else’s ads when the visitor does not convert, you have a good chance of conversion.

6. Google +

Watch out for Google+ because Google IS going to make it successful.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: spend more time on G+ – do 15 min a day to get more followers. Our tests have shown increases in rankings just from being active on G+ and growing followers.

7. Markup for Search that Answers Questions

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update tries to answer questions without going to a website, and it favors websites that have content that does answer questions.  To do this, Google needs descriptive tags on all page elements.  Ensuring that every web page has proper semantic markup is important.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: your site still needs to be technically correct, so spend the time reviewing Web Master Tools – structured data markup, search friendly URLs, Indexed pages, crawl stats and errors, duplicate titles and meta, and more to make sure the site is working well.

8. Tap into Emerging Markets

We need to tap into the economic opportunities presented by the emerging six countries – Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Korea and Indonesia – which will account for more than half of global GDP growth by 2015.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Budget for translation to Spanish (there is an untapped Spanish speaking market in the US) and budget for country domains.  Make sure to follow Webmaster Guidelines  for multilingual and multi country sites.   Also, you may want to make sure your chat and customer service can handle multiple languages.  You can also capitalize by making some global social partners.

9. Use Improved Analytics Data to Make Better Decisions

Business decision-making will be based on analyzing big data, and access to this data will extend to mobile devices.  Google Analytics has made so many improvements and changes in 2013 that it is difficult to keep up with them, but with the advent of their Universal data, we should be able to make more informed decisions.

2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Budget time for a review of what works to bring visitors to the site, what they spend time looking at on the site, and what is and is not working in Google Analytics.  Email still works well and is a very inexpensive marketing medium.  Scrutinize Analytics to see how email address lists are growing. You may want to budget for more social media campaigns and better content that can be used to grow the email list subscription.

10. Cloud

Cloud computing makes the device less important than the services accessed on the device. Mobile phones will become a popular way to pay and virtual currencies like Yandex Money and Bitcoin will be more widely used.
2014 Internet Marketing Budget Take Away: Invest in better hosting for security and speed. Consider moving more services off of devices and host them on the cloud.

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