7 Principles of Online Marketing Guaranteed to Improve Your Results and Reputation

“Principles of Online Marketing.”  I realise it may be a surprise to see the words ‘principles’ and ‘marketing’ in the same sentence.

But the principles of online marketing do exist, and they apply equally to all users of digital marketing, from big agencies to small business owners. With particular relevance on social media.

We all live within the guidelines of principles. Therefore you may instinctively understand the principles of online marketing I am about to show you. However, I often see people ignoring them — which has inspired me to write this blog post.  Because, it’s important to acknowledge that going against them means you’ll struggle to get results and, in the worst-case scenario, risk ruining your reputation.

 

# 1   BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Fifty years ago, the focus of marketers was to interrupt as many people as possible by pushing their advertising at people while relaxing at home. They believed that consumers would be more susceptible to advertising messages when in the relaxed state of watching tv, listening to the radio or reading their newspapers. They filled letterboxes with direct mail and hoped that when consumers needed a product or service, theirs would be the first to spring to mind. And all sorts of outrageous claims were made in their mission to persuade you to buy. None of which were related to building relationships, and some were downright disturbing.

 

1950s Ad negating the Principles of Online Marketing, man blowing smoke in a womans face
Ad negating the principles of online marketing - man hitting woman over his knees

It’s unbelievable to consider that advertising executives thought this type of marketing would sell their products!

We may have moved forward in the way we ‘do’ marketing but there are still many business owners who insist on marketing the old way.  They introduce themselves, then push their product or service at you. And it’s particularly rampant on LinkedIn.

 

HOW TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

  • Focus on making connections and building relationships with people.
  • Allow your prospects to get to know you and to understand what you stand for.
  • Show your audience that you understand the problems they are having and that you can help them.
  • And above all, be social while using social media. Don’t sell to someone you’ve only just been introduced to—people find that annoying. Get to know your new connection, ask them questions about what they do. Start developing a relationship.

#2  BE CONSISTENT WITH PUBLISHING

Publishing content randomly is detrimental to your business and to the growth of your audience. Your audience expects to see regular content from you and when they don’t, they move on to someone else, and most likely that’s your competition.

On social media, your reach status drops when there are long periods between publishing, and over time, the algorithm ceases to display any new posts in your audiences’ newsfeeds. Which means that you’ve lost all that you had previously achieved.

Why risk all that you have achieved?

Consistency is one of the hardest things to maintain as a small business but is it crucial to getting results.

  • Consistency is what builds momentum. So, whatever content you create – such as blog posts, videos, podcasts or social media posts it’s key that you develop a publishing schedule. Having one will help you to focus your content as well as ensure that you’re posting regularly.
  • For social media, use a scheduling app such as plannthat, later or  meetedgar to schedule your posts. Or, for Facebook and Instagram, you can schedule posts using the Facebook Business Suite.
  • Keep going. It takes dedication, focus and time to get known and to build an audience, but with consistency and good content, you will reap the rewards. As the saying goes, “marketing is a marathon, not a sprint”.
Principles of Online Marketing #3 Consistency of Branding

The 12 Brand Archetypes

#3  BE CONSISTENT WITH BRANDING

Constantly changing the look and feel of your brand and publishing content that doesn’t align with your message, weakens your brand and creates confusion in your audiences’ minds, about what you do. It also makes it more challenging to maintain publishing momentum because you will often struggle to develop content ideas.

 

  • Ensure that wherever your content appears online, it reflects your brand strategy. Having brand consistency helps people recognise, relate to, and remember you. It helps focus your content and, over time, works to establish trust and authority in your business.

#4 BE KIND

Social media is a tool for growing your reputation. One bad mistake can ruin all you’ve worked to achieve. Not only will poor behaviour like gossiping, trolling or badmouthing ruin the recipient’s day, but other people will see your comment and react negatively. Your reputation will suffer, and people will stop following you. 

  • If you’re ever tempted to make a negative comment think about how that will land. Always respond with respect and kindness because every comment reflects on your business. “You attract more bees with honey”.
  • Develop a social media policy that clearly outlines the dos and don’ts of social media use across all your channels. This will help your team use social media on your behalf, in a way that best represents your brand, while keeping behaviour in check.

 

#5  GIVE VALUE

People go online to look for answers to their problem or to satisfy a need. First, they research their problem, to understand it. Then they look for solution options that best suit their business and circumstances.

Not having content that answers their questions, or helps and guides them towards a purchase decision, on your website or on social media, they will look for it somewhere else.

 QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Always lead with value that is the  #1 rule for content marketing, particularly when selling services.

  • The more you give value, the faster you will connect with and grow your audience. Because only then will your audience see you as someone who cares and understands their problem. They will see you as an option to helping them solve it and will love you for it — going on to become avid fans.
  • Write blog posts that answer their questions. Anticipate what they need to know.
  • Put links to your YouTube videos and podcasts on your website. Then break the content down into bite-sized pieces for social media. This ensures that people find you across all your channels.

#6 ALWAYS BE IMPROVING – AND LEARNING

There’s a lot to know and understand about marketing, and just when you think you understand it you realise how much more there is to know. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to marketing, and blindly following someone else’s marketing tactics doesn’t mean that they will work for you. No two brands are the same, and every audience is different.

  • If you are interested in marketing (a necessity for all businesses), there are a myriad of courses you can do as well as books and blog posts to read. However, knowledge takes time and sometimes years to master.
  • The best approach to take is to figure out what’s best for your brand and audience, focus on one thing at a time, then do it — and monitor your results.
  • The best way to always be improving your content and tweaking your ad campaigns.
  • Learn how to read your website data using Google Analytics and your social media analytics. Then monitor your results and see what is or isn’t working so that you can improve.

#7 HAVE FUN

It’s as simple as this. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, the time will come when you do it half-heartedly and stop entirely.

You’ve come a long way to get your business where it is now. So why take the risk?

  • Choose the content format that you enjoy creating the most. Like writing? Start a Blog. Love talking? Invite people to your podcast? Like being on Video – get your iPhone out.
  • When it comes to social media, choose the platform you most enjoy using. But what if you prefer using Instagram and not LinkedIn, and the bulk of your audience is on LinkedIn? In this case, you can choose to outsource your LinkedIn content strategy or pass it on to an employee who enjoys it.

If you are consistently being helpful, positive and present online you will attract a growing audience who likes you and understands what you do. You will leave a positive digital footprint and be seen as someone to trust.

Why A Business Blog Is the Best Bang for Your Marketing Buck

Let’s Cut to the Chase.

Content Fuels the Internet.

Over the past two years of the pandemic, without face-to-face selling, networking and live events, the business world has seen a massive rise in the popularity of content marketing.

This means that if you sell services and want to say ahead of your competition, then you need to create content and lots of it.

I can imagine that your eyes may be glazing over right now because you lack the time (or inclination) to create lots of content. And that’s fair enough. As a small business owner, you are extremely busy. But even so, I’d like you to keep this in mind…

If you’re not showing up online consistently, you may as well be invisible.

Creating all that content doesn’t have to cause you headaches and anxiety. Instead, you can avoid all that by creating smart content — one comprehensive piece of content that you can break down into pieces to use over the internet (including social media).

And the most accessible, relatively easy and least expensive way of doing that is to start a blog.

Business Blogging is so scalable and affordable that it’s the third most common content marketing strategy for businesses.

(SEM Rush)

Chart showing all the Benefits of having a business blog

All the ways a business blog can benefit your business.

 However, if you’re unsure of how to start one, write one or use one for marketing purposes, fear not. In this series of blog posts, I’ll teach you all you need to know to have you up and blogging while enjoying the process and the results.

So, let’s start at the beginning:

What is a business blog?

A business blog is a collection of articles written to benefit your ideal prospect.

Each article is known as a blog post, and the act of writing a blog is called blogging.

Your blog lives on your website. It’s included in your website’s theme. However, if your website doesn’t have a blog page, it simply may not have been uploaded to your site.

(The term ‘blog’ is derivative of the original (1999) term web-log).

 

What is a business blog used for?

A blog is an online marketing channel, like social media, email marketing or podcasting, that helps support business growth.

Business blogging is an inbound marketing tactic used to get your business more online visibility by driving traffic to your website.

The concept behind blogging is to write blog posts that interest your target audience so that when they search online for answers to their questions, your blog post will show up in search engine results, and they’ll click on the link to your post to land on your website.

39% of internet users read 1-3 blog posts a week

11% read at least 1 post daily, &

10% read 4-6 posts per week

(Hubspot 2021 survey)

Websites don’t rank in search engines; pages do

How Google Indexes Content

A business needs to publish content consistently to increase its online visibility.

Every time you publish a new blog post, Google takes notice. It sends web crawlers to index your content for inclusion in search results. The more consistently you publish, the more the search engines will visit your website, giving your content a more significant opportunity to appear in search results. Stop publishing regularly, and the web crawlers stop visiting.

A business blog covers content that supports the business’s core services and products. The content is tailored to a targeted audience and structured to move the reader along their journey to becoming a client step by step. This happens when the business uses valuable, educational and engaging content.

Business Blogging Content Ideas

How do I get a blog?

A blog is generally included in your website’s theme. If you don’t have one installed, you will need to upload it to your website. If, for some reason, your theme doesn’t have a blog page, or you dislike the template that comes with your theme, you can have one designed for you. (This can be an expensive exercise). Alternatively, you may need to update your website’s theme.

 

How do I add a blog page to my website?

Adding a blog page to your site is not difficult to do. However, how do this depends on the type of website you have and whether or not you’re comfortable using the back-end.

So, if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, please get someone who knows what they’re doing to do it for you or guide you through the process.

Because it’s important not to risk messing up your website if you’re not confident managing it.

However, if you do decide to DIY, there’s plenty of support online for all websites:

Instructions for a Wix Website

Instructions for a Squarespace website

Instructions for WordPress website.

 There are many benefits for a business when marketing with a blog. Here’s a list of the biggest ones:

Benefits of Business Blogging

A blog gives your business a platform. It’s an effective way to educate and share insights into your industry, business, products, and services and show how you help your clients. In addition, a blog strengthens your reputation and authority and builds relationships with your readers over time.

When you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll have an extensive collection of articles, giving your readers a library of free resources that they’ll return to again and again. This comprehensive array of content will showcase your expertise and demonstrate to your readers that you understand their problems and that you care, that you have ideas to share and help make their lives easier.

That said, there are many other benefits to business blogging. Raise your hand if you want these benefits for your business

1.  Creating Brand Awareness & Attracting Prospects

Did you know that a blog is one of the first places people look when researching a business online? As a window into your business, it acts as a shortcut for potential clients to get a gut feel for how you think and what it may be like to work with you.

Therefore, a business blog can be a powerful tool that attracts the type of prospects who are more likely to be a good fit for your business because they’re interested in what you do and open to you teaching them something new.

2.  More (Free) Website Traffic

A blog helps boost SEO

Google loves looking for fresh content to deliver in its search results. So, every time you write a blog post, it’s one more web page indexed by search engines. This means it’s a greater opportunity for you to show up in Google and drive traffic to your website. The more blogs on your website, the more indexed pages and a greater chance for people to find your products and services.

3.  Get more leads (by growing your email list)

A blog boosts lead generation, helping to convert traffic into leads

Regular, fresh content of value to your audience that keeps them educated, engaged and entertained, compels them to stay on your website for longer. This increases the chances they’ll see your call-to-action on your post and download your free offer or signup for your newsletter—which gets them onto your email list.

A regular blog also gives people a reason to return to your site, which helps boost your page ranking on search engines.

On average, companies who blog produce 67% more leads per month.

4.  Better relationships with your client prospects

Having a blog strengthens your business relationships

The blogging platform enables you to express your business personality through your writing and communication style. More informal than a business website, a blog helps you interact with your audience more personally, increasing transparency and accessibility. By reading your posts and evaluating your service, prospects and partners get to know you and connect with you as a person, eventually deciding whether you’re the right fit.

5Grow demand and interest in your services and products

Writing blog posts as case studies or telling stories about past client successes will showcase what you can do for your readers, what they can expect and what it’s like to work with you. These types of blog posts can differentiate you from your competition (without giving anything away) and entice people who need your service to choose you over them.

6.  Stay ahead of your competition

A blog keeps you up-to-date and on top of your competition.

Researching your blog posts keeps you on top of new ideas, statistics and concepts, which may lead to inspiration for future products. A blog also allows you to illustrate why prospects should buy from you and not from the competition.

(It’s also highly likely that many of your competitors don’t have a blog or aren’t blogging to attract leads, which gives you another massive advantage).

 

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

Zig Ziglar

7.  Build trust with your audience and customers

A business blog enhances your authority and credibility, highlights your business values, establishes trust and increases your online presence, all of which work to build customer loyalty.

8.  Continue to attract readers, long after being published

A good blog is evergreen which means it will continue to attract readers and potential leads months, even years after publication. As long as the content stays relevant, it will drive readership. The post type that fits best in the evergreen category includes Industry tips, “how-to” learnings, explanations, guides, education, and advice.

And to help older blogs stay relevant and therefore evergreen, older blogs can be updated and republished.

9.  And that’s not all…

A business blog is content fuel for your social media marketing

Choosing a blog as your primary content format is one of the easiest ways to develop organic content for your social media. Because it’s easy to repurpose. Here are some ways to spread the word:

  • Email your latest blog post to prospects on your email list
  • Put a link to your post on your social media channels
  • Write a condensed version for your LinkedIn newsletter and add a link to the original post (for further reading)
  • Add a link to your post on your outgoing emails
  • Create different versions of your content by splitting up the post into chunks and creating bite-sized pieces of content specifically for social media. Content ideas include 30-second videos, lives, stories, quotes, statistics, quizzes, an image gallery or infographic etc. (If you don’t have time to do this, simply pass your blog to your VA or social media marketer to repurpose for your socials.)
  • Turn the blog topic into a podcast by taking a slightly different perspective or interviewing another expert or success story.

And once you’ve built up a library of resources through consistent blogging, you’ll have an endless supply of content to use and reuse for social media. You’ll never be stuck for content ideas again!

 

The business blog is a powerhouse of a marketing tool.

If you’re thinking that a business blog could be just the thing to market your business and you want to know more, then stay tune for the next blog in the series. Where I’ll teach you how to start one and what takes to create a great one. Until then,

Vicki

Marketing Trends 2022: 14 Essential Trends You Need to Stay on Top of

Marketing Trends 2022

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate how we do business. Because we’ve been unable to meet clients in person, many of us have embraced the online environment to digitise our products and services. This has had the effect of accelerating the adoption of digital technologies by 3-7 years, with the greatest leap into this arena by the professional services.

Marketing trends come and go and keeping up with them isn’t always easy. As a small business, time is at a premium, so the secret is to choose a couple of manageable trends,  and select the ones that suit you, your business and your customers and incorporate them into your marketing plan.

I’ve researched my favourite marketing authorities on what they consider to be the Top Marketing Trends of 2022. And what follows are their predictions.

Trend #1 Authentic Marketing

If there’s a marketing buzzword for 2022, that word is authenticity.

As we continue to be bombarded with media stimuli, the 2022 consumer is more marketing savvy than ever and quickly developing an acute radar for social responsibility and spotting BS.

Pile of Manure outside Newscorp protesting as consumers demand authenticity
(Protest group Extinction Rebellion,

dumped piles of manure outside NewCorp

in Sydney & Brisbane on 4 Sept 2020)

Fed up with the struggle and hype of the past two years, today’s consumer is on a search for realness and transparency. This movement is being driven by the millennial generation looking for genuine, human experiences that enrich their lives and align with their values. Therefore, to survive the future, businesses need to offer a customer service that makes real connections with their customers based on empathy, honesty and trust.

 

What Authentic Marketing Looks Like

Your audience wants the achievable without the hype and false promises.

Authentic marketing is about delivering on this while being genuine and real. It starts with how you express your brand values and your purpose while remaining consistently true to who you are as a brand.

One of the main drivers of authentic marketing is to come from a service mindset—one that places your customers at the centre of everything you do. This means providing premium expertise and advice on topics that interest your audience and add value to their lives while being open and human.

Here are some suggestions:

 

  • tell personal stories that relate to your business. Speak from your heart
  • share interesting articles
  • post photos showing the real, human side of your business, those everyday moments
  • introduce your team. Show your faces
  • tackle issues head-on and be open about successes and failures
  • stop focusing on being perfect —less than perfect content is humanising

If part of your marketing strategy for 2022 is to build a community, then authentic marketing should lead your way.

Quote Less Perfection More Authenticity

Trend #2  Content Marketing Trends 2022

Content Marketing Rises In Popularity

The Covid pandemic has brought Content Marketing back into the spotlight. Here are some incredible stats:

  • Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that more than two-thirds of marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets in 2022. With 1 in 5 increasing by double digits.
  • UK Market Research Company Technavio, predicts a US$417.85 Bn growth in content marketing during the next 4 years.
  • The top three positions being recruited by large businesses in 2022 are in the areas of content marketing. With content creator leading the pack.

Content marketing continues to drive the demand to appear at the top of search rankings. Achieving the coveted position requires an alignment with Google Guidelines, the main one being that quality content is the number-one ranking factor. So, if you’re spending your marketing $ in favour of ads and haven’t invested in content marketing, then 2022 is your time to start.

 

  • The top 4 content marketing strategies businesses are investing in for 2022 are Video, Blogging, Case Studies and Infographics.
  • Blogging is one of most effective and widely popular inbound marketing strategies. This is because it attracts prospects as well as search engines. As one of the best content formats for SEO optimisation, 2021 saw business blogging increase in popularity, and it will continue to be popular in 2022 and beyond.

According to research from DataBox, 68% of marketers find blogging more effective than they did two years ago.

blogging-trends-2022

How to Incorporate 2022 Trends into your Business Blog

  • Integrate your written content with video and imagery to build engagement.
  • Experiment with adding interactive elements such as quiz’s, assessments, surveys and polls to encourage customers to interact with your content rather than passively consume it.
  • Maintain your focus on keeping your ideal client in mind and what it takes to win their business while displaying empathy and building trust in everything you create.

You don’t want to lag behind your competition in search results!

 

Here’s a hot tip:

Pablo Gomez, head of media at data insights company Kantar, predicts that in the field of content marketing, “Sole subscription offerings will become scarce, and premium content bundles will be key to luring viewers in a crowded marketplace.”

Marketing Trend #3  Story Telling

January 2022 kicks off with National Story Telling Week, so it’s safe to say that stories will continue to be as popular as ever. With the official day recognised as March 20, stories in all their shapes and formats will continue to be told around the world.

Storytelling ties in with authentic marketing because it’s part of the human experience. A good story reflects who we are and where we came from. They allow us to believe, dream, share and inspire others. There are many stories to tell in 2022, for example how you started your business, how your products are made and stories of how your product or service can potentially impact lives.

 

Story Telling Marketing Trend 2022

Trend #4  Conversational Marketing

Due to the rise of chat boxes and messaging, users are seeking instant personal connections with brands 24/7. As these tools grow in popularity, they are becoming increasingly central for a positive customer experience. Giving prospects the ability to find an immediate answer to their query, these digital products talk to your clients, one-to-one, in real-time, doing the heavy lifting to qualify leads.

Chatboxes can be the ideal solution for businesses that receive a high volume of online enquiries and are most effective in service-heavy industries like retail, travel, telecom and banking.

Small businesses who don’t see a need for a chatbox can implement this trend by turning to free instant messaging tools on social media platforms: Messenger on Facebook, Instagram Direct, Twitter Direct Message and LinkedIn Messages, as well as tools such as What’s App that offer a direct line from the consumer to the business without the hassle of logging into and downloading emails.

 

Marketing Trend #5 Personalisation

The days of generic marketing are over. These days consumers like and expect personalisation.

Recent data shows that 2 out of 3 consumers remain loyal to a brand due to personalised communications.  

Using personalisation means

  • developing services, products and marketing messages that address the needs and interests of your customers
  • interacting with your customers in a way that’s personal and human, making them feel special and unique rather than one of the masses
  • writing empathetic openings in blog posts that your readers can relate to, inspiring them to think, to feel and be understood
  • using first names on emails and communications
  • offering services, tailor made for individual customers

Trend #6 Niche Communities Boom

Niche communities are a trend you can’t ignore, particularly on social media. The Covid pandemic saw group numbers grow as people looked to connect with like-minded others online. With a growing disillusionment for the standard social network offerings, these vertical social networks will continue to grow and perform well in 2022, due to them offering a more connected, supported experience.

Niche Community Example Organic Farming

Tap into this trend by starting a group on your favourite social platform and offering niche-specific content that fosters conversation and engagement among members. Or participate in this trend by joining a group that connects with your demographic, interests and passions and one where you can offer advice and support to those who ask for it.

Strong online business groups on Facebook include Brisbane Small Business Marketing, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Business Chicks, and for writers, The Content Marketing Lounge.

Trend #7  Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022

The idea around influencer marketing is to hire a well-known person in your niche to endorse your product so that you can leverage their audience. It’s been around for a while but has, in the past, been a tad contentious and inauthentic. With certain celebrities being outed as being paid huge $ to endorse products they obviously don’t use and piggybacking on causes for altruistic reasons. Case in point, the furore after the Jenner sisters, exploited dead musicians Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur to launch a line of T-shirts, superimposing images of themselves over the musicians. (The t-shirts were pulled from the marketplace after legal threats).

On social media, where it’s relatively easy for users with a large follower count to achieve fame and become an influencer, the platforms have become saturated with influencers. As a result, this influx has caused users to become jaded and immune to their influence, with statistics showing a slight drop in celebrity influencer marketing effectiveness.

In the spirit of more authentic marketing, businesses can overcome this issue by working with influencers who have smaller but highly engaged audiences and work in a niche area compatible with the business.

 

Influencer marketing will continue to be an important fixture; with the publication of the 2022 collabstr influencer marketing report predicting that influencer marketing will go from being something reserved for big brands with big budgets to a marketing channel used by brands of all sizes. The report states that revenue in this space will grow to US$15 billion by the end of 2022.

 

Marketing Trends 2022 Top Countries use of Influencer Marketing
With Instagram currently leading the way – 48% of influencer marketing budgets are being spent on this platform. (TikTok came a close second – 46%, but as more countries ban the platform, this figure may change significantly in 2022)

Collabstr states that such growth is due to the rise of short-form video, particularly on TikTok, which has since spread to other major social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snap Chat. And the significant impact on social media advertising due to Apple’s iOS 14 changes as more businesses create video to promote their products using native advertising. (See Trend #8)

Social Media Marketing:

Social Media Content Trends for 2022

Trend #8  Short-form video

On Instagram

There looks to be a move away from ephemeral content (content lasting less than 24 hours before disappearing, such as reels and stories) towards more permanent content. This is despite the claim from Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) that Instagram Reels and stories provide the entertaining content users are asking for.

In a recent Hubspot survey of global marketers, 25% of respondents called ephemeral content the least effective trend they invested in.

We’re constantly being told by the people behind the platforms that the average attention span is dropping. However, this is more than likely due to the quality of content. (I have no hesitation watching a long-form video or reading a long post if it interests me).

Ephemeral content

Instagram Reels
Source

Success in the ephemeral space needs something special to make it stand out from others in your industry. So, to get this type of content working for you, take this advice from Mosseri,  ‘get to the point upfront and ensure that your videos are creative, innovative and entertaining.’

 

On Facebook

According to Social Media Examiner, there is definitely a place on Facebook for videos that are short, highly informative, entertaining and easy to consume.  For the past couple of years, Facebook has been predicting that video will surpass all other content on the platform, and it now accounts for almost half of all time spent on the platform, but the sudden growth of TikTok has unexpectedly risen to dominate this space.

I doubt this will harm Facebook because Tik Tok’s domination may not last. As of 9 June 2021, the United States have joined India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in banning the platform. Other countries are investigating the platform, including the UK and Australia.  (Our PM, Scott Morrison, has issued a warning.)

 

Trend #9  Long-Form Video Trends

Longer videos, a feature of YouTube, will continue to dominate the long-form video market as users search the platform for answers to their problems and how to do something.

In content marketing, long-form blog posts and articles lead the way as marketers, burning out from creating an endless stream of content, put an emphasis on evergreen content – content that doesn’t date and may only need updating now and again. Evergreen content tends to be well over 2,000 words and take the form of content such as expert guides, tutorials, Ted Talks, YouTube videos, courses, interviews, case studies.

Even videos and reals are getting longer, although the change is subtle.  A trend for 60 second Instagram reels, Facebook stories and short videos, rather than the traditional 30 second videos, were seen across the board.

 

Trend #10  Advertising Trends for 2022

Native Video  

As more and more consumers block ads on their desktops and mobiles, businesses are looking for ways to leverage advertising that works.

Marketing trends for 2022 will see advertising, particularly ads in the story format, become more popular than ever as Facebook’s organic reach plummets to almost zero.

We will also see a resurgence in Native advertising— it’s currently one of the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising. Native advertising is paid advertising that blends into the user experience of a digital platform. It matches the look, feel and function of the media format, unlike traditional advertising, which interrupts the user experience. It may take the form of a sponsored article, suggested post or ‘recommended for you’ content.

 

Marketing Trend 2022 Native Video Advertising

Trend #11 SEO & Search

We can’t discuss marketing without mentioning SEO and Search. Although these aren’t new trends, in 2022 they’re more important than ever.

Search Engine Journal recently published their 2022 trends blog which focussed on content marketing. Content marketing is important for SEO because SEO is married to content and search engines.

The E.A.T. mantra will continue to weigh heavily on the minds of SEO marketers through 2022, along with a focus on consumer intent.

E.A.T.– Google’s search quality evaluations for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness is based on

  1. the creator of the main content,
  2. the main content itself, and
  3. the website it’s housed on.

There are over 200 ranking factors that remain elusive to SEO experts. Search Engine Journal give it a good crack in this guide.

 

Voice Search

The rise in voice search is growing fast. December 21 statistics in the US show that 71% of people use voice to conduct search queries and predict that ¾ of all US households will own at least one smart speaker.

Similar statistics are likely to be seen in Australia, as we are known as early adopters of technology. So, voice search is definitely something to look into as part of your 2022 marketing strategy.

  • When people search with voice (instead of typing) they tend to use complete sentences so, it’s important to use them in your content.
  • Use question words – who, what, where, when, how, why as these are strongly associated with voice search queries.
  • The use of Rich Answers in your content will aid your success. Rich Answers are snippets of content that answer a direct question, for example

Marketing Trend #12 Branded Audio Content Takes Off

Podcasts

There are over 2,000,0000 podcasts available in thousands of niches. That number will continue to grow in 2022 as more businesses follow this trend. Australia is one of the most popular audiences for podcasts, equal to the United States. So, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, 2022 could be the perfect time.

Audio Rooms

The popularity of voice has seen the introduction of live audio rooms such as Clubhouse. These rooms act as a kind of live podcast with an audience who can add to the conversation. Despite some misgivings from marketers at its inception 12 months ago, Clubhouse has grown to 4.6 million monthly users, however most of this initial growth was due to its uniqueness. The trend has caught on with Instagram Rooms, Facebook Messenger Rooms and Twitter Spaces following after the success of Clubhouse.

Media Platform Mashable suggest approaching these rooms with caution because the chat rooms are not high-level protected. This means that Facebook can track and access content and that some rooms are ripe for abuse. Such abuse happens when uninvited people crash a video chat and spam it with unsavoury content. This is known as zoombombing because it originally started on Zoom.

 

The Rise of Machine Learning

Trend # 13  AI to Write Content

The second most significant trend in content marketing is AI. A quick definition of this concept is software powered by artificial intelligence trained to generate original, creative content based around SEO.

It’s available. In journalism, AI is used to write news stories and is referred to as automated journalism. As far back as May 2020, Microsoft replaced dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website to write straightforward, simple news stories. Like this example from Deadspin:

Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.

Twenty-seven Colonials came to the plate, and the Virginia pitcher vanquished them all, pitching a perfect game. He struck out 10 batters while recording his momentous feat. Roberts got Ryan Thomas to ground out for the final out of the game.

Can you tell a machine wrote it?

Some content marketers are warming to AI, but word on the street is that it’s not quite ‘there’ yet (but it’s getting there). The question is will it replace human writers? The word is out that AI is great for helping writers speed up the creation process but it won’t replace the originality, passion and empathy of humans.

Marketing Trends 2022 WallE machine learning

However, AI helps with content creation in other ways:

 

  • For example, it will help identify keyword intent, conduct topic research and allow audience-specific content creation, thereby improving your content’s online ranking.
  • AI will help content creators offer personalised content to their audience. AI tracks user behaviour, preferences and interactions with content resulting in a boost in engagement and conversions.
  • Finding interesting topics for your blog will be easier with AI as it will predict audience reactions and sentiment towards a specific topic.
  • It will help with Grammar – the Grammarly App uses AI in its bag of tricks. It currently helps businesses create well-written content and use consistent branding, word usage, tone of voice and intent.
  • AI is currently used in email marketing – Mail Chimp use AI to help with product recommendations for shoppers and forecasting tools that predict users most likely to buy)
And last, but certainly not least in our list of Marketing Trends 2022 is

Trend #14 Experiential Marketing

If there is to be a second buzzword for 2022, it’s Experiential Marketing. Traditionally the domain of retail brands, these social campaigns (known as engagement marketing) give consumers a participatory, hands-on experience to deeply engage with a brand.

With social distancing becoming less of an issue, consumers are looking forward to getting back to a normal, face-to-face retail experience. And in 2022 we’ll see this experience heightened. Many brands will focus on creating meaningful connections between the brand and its customer. We’ll see branded pop-up shops and customised mobile vehicles (vans, buses, mobile tours and trailers) offering samples, demos, retreats, events, challenges, AR and AI experiences.

Experiential marketing relies heavily on originality and creativity to capture attention and motivate people to experiment with products.

Some recent examples of experiential marketing include

Marketing Trends 2022 Experiential Marketing

McCormick’s Must Switch campaign

Restauranteur Tom Colicchio hosted a pop-up at his restaurant Craft NYC last March to debut his specially designed French’s-inspired sandwich. At the event, instead of payment, people were asked to swap their mayo jars or pledge to switch to healthier condiments, and in turn, they received a delicious sandwich. (Any unopened condiments will be donated to a local food bank.)

Experiential Marketing Trend Hersheys Red Halloween Door

The Hershey’s Door

Halloween saw Hershey’s bring a door to select neighbourhoods in the US for trick or treating in October 2020. It delivered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups via remote control and Bluetooth. In a post on Instagram, they asked fans to weigh in on the door’s next locations, receiving over 15,000 comments.

Dolce and Gabanna's Pop up Store
Dolce and Gabbana’s travelling coffee and clothes Pop-Up Shop in the Hamptons, USA

The pop-up store was housed in a customised Airstream made to look like a Sicilian cart, a nod to the Italian fashion brand’s design DNA. The pop-up ran for a month in summer 2021, ensuring consumers could visit it without encountering large crowds. Customers could also make appointments via email or text message, with the Airstream travelling to their homes.

Conclusion

2022 marketing trends are an integrated mix of the old— the fundamentals) and the new —technology and the latest (the rise of audio rooms), all of which are about creating an experience, that supports a business’s innate desire to connect with their customers on a deeper level than ever before — and vice versa.

This is nothing new, but it’s strong focus is being driven by the consumer’s demand for more authenticity and personalisation.

What does this mean for small businesses? 

  • Stick to the fundamentals.
  • Authenticity will be the buzzword for 2022 as consumers continue to be educated and entertained by brands in ways that surpass the competition in their chase for the marketing dollar.
  • Continue to create valuable content that’s focused on your customer’s needs and publish consistently. And, if you’re not already doing so, start incorporating video into your content, particularly on social media.
  • Incorporate SEO fundamentals into your website content to keep the Google algorithm happy.
  • Advertisers will need to find more creative and less intrusive ways to reach their target audience online, as more people use ad blockers in response to advertising fatigue.
  • Revisit your customer personas to get laser-focused on their wants and desires, including what they expect from you and how they prefer to interact with your business.

Here’s to 2022. May it be prosperous year for your business!

What is Inbound Marketing?

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the strategy of attracting customers to your business by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to their needs and interests.

Inbound grows your business by building relationships with your customers and empowering them to reach their desired goals at any stage in their journey with your business. 

Marketing Hourglass

How is Inbound Marketing Used?

Inbound marketing uses content to help potential customers find your business even when they are not ready to make a purchase. Developing a relationship early in their search for answers can lead to a preference for your business as they get to know, like and trust you— which can lead to a long-term relationship with you.

As a form of attraction or pull marketing Inbound focuses on visibility and engagement and doesn’t make people feel like they’re being sold to.  It works particularly well for businesses that sell high-value services and typically have a longer buying process than those that sell inexpensive products. Online strategies include blogs, SEO, social media and more.

Inbound marketing is the opposite of push marketing which focuses on taking (or pushing) your products to your customers. Push marketing relies on the more traditional ways of marketing/advertising, such as direct selling via advertising, direct mail and trade shows.

 

Why Inbound?

Because it puts your customers into the driver’s seat, connecting your business with people genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer. It can do wonders for your business via brand awareness, loyalty, engagement and growth. In addition, Inbound is a powerful way to build trust, reputation and authority.

Quote consumer trust

What You Need to Know about Marketing Strategy vs Tactics

What You Need to Know about Marketing Strategy vs Tactics

Marketing Strategy vs Tactics vs Plan

Marketing can be confusing enough. But nothing often confuses new business owners more than the terms marketing strategy, marketing plan and marketing tactics.  Heck, even some marketers get confused. So, it’s no wonder that these terms are often intermingled and thought of as one thing. But there is a difference. The question is, what’s the difference and do you need all three?

What do you think of when you hear the words marketing strategy?

Do images of Facebook Ads, Instagram Reels and Email Newsletters spring to mind?

You may be surprised to know that these are not marketing strategy and that many people confuse marketing strategy, marketing plan and marketing tactics, thinking they’re the same thing. But they’re not. They’re different things.

Marketing-strategy
marketing-plan
marketing-tactics

What is a Marketing Strategy?

A Marketing Strategy is a process that a business takes to identify specific marketing goals. It acts as a blueprint for how the business can reach those goals.

For example, as a new business, your main objective will undoubtedly be to get clients. To achieve that objective, you need to get members of your target audience to know you, like you and trust you enough to become a client and refer you to others.

Therefore, so that your business can position itself in the marketplace and gain a competitive advantage, your strategy may incorporate elements of strategic business planning as well as branding. For example, it may include identifying ideal clients, creating mission, vision and value statements, brand messaging and a website review.

A Marketing Strategy does not list actions to be followed on a day-to-day basis. Instead, it’s in the Marketing Plan that these actions are detailed.

What is a Marketing Plan?

The marketing plan is an extension of the marketing strategy. The plan often includes specific campaigns and outlines the timeframes and methods your business will use to meet the campaign’s objectives. It is these methods that are known as tactics.

Individual marketing campaigns are focused on achieving a specific goal, such as creating brand awareness, building trust, or launching a new product.

 

What are Marketing Tactics?

Marketing tactics are the methods used to achieve the objectives outlined in the marketing plan.

Examples of online tactics may include running ads, using social media platforms, publishing blog posts and case studies, hosting webinars and podcasts, and creating an email or videos series. Offline tactics may consist of running events, participating in tradeshows, networking, PR and sponsorships.

For example, your strategy uncovers a need for your business to build trust. Your marketing plan recommends publishing case studies. The content you create to promote your case studies are social media posts, landing pages and webinars. It’s the case study that’s the tactic.

Do you Need All Three?

Yes.

There’s no point in doing a strategy unless you execute on it. And to do that, you need a tactical plan – they’re symbiotic.

Often marketers refer to all three terms under the umbrella term of Marketing Strategy or Marketing Plan. They do this because it keeps things simple.

(I refer to all three terms as a marketing strategy)

Marketing Strategy, Plan and Tactics explained

How often does a business need to do a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy has a longer lifespan than a marketing plan because it contains the core elements of a business brand as well as the big picture goals.

However, you should revisit your strategy at least once a year to review your goals and marketing activities or to ensure you are still on track.

As the Marketing Plan usually covers short-term objectives, it should be revisited once your objectives have been achieved. Or your goals for the year change.

Top 5 Benefits of a marketing strategy

Marketing is critical to a business because it tells the world who you are and what you can do. It also helps your business define its purpose.

A marketing strategy affects how your business operates by putting the focus on the customer and how your products and services can help them.

A marketing strategy helps a business to

1.  Identify and understand your ideal target markettso you can understand their needs, values and motivations and how your product/service meets these needs. Then you will know how to address their problems in a way that creates value. Which makes your marketing easier.

2.  Save time and money spent on advertising and marketing that isn’t working and helps support your return on investment

3.  Identify competitors. Knowing who your competitors are means that you can keep your eye on them and what they’re offering. It allows you to look for gaps in their offering and things that they do or don’t do well. This can guide you to improve your business offering by improving on or including products or services to gain a competitive advantage.

4.  Differentiate from your competitors so you can develop your Unique Selling Proposition, which positions your business in the marketplace.

5.  Provide clarity and focus while giving your business goals direction and a greater chance of achieving them.

A wise woodsman once said that if he had only five minutes to cut down a tree, he would spend the first three sharpening the axe.

Planning is the Driver of Success

We start a business for various reasons. We want to make a difference, to enjoy the freedom of being our own boss and for our business to succeed and make a profit. But to do that we need customers who like what we do and buy our stuff. And we all know that marketing is the way to achieve that.

Running a business is not easy, and many businesses fail. But planning has proven again and again to be the driver of success. So, no matter what you call it— a marketing strategy or marketing plan, it’s a powerful tool for guiding your marketing, a driver for business success and should be a part of yours.

 

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