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Brand | Thursday, 02nd July 2015

10 Inbound Marketing Trends That Will Make This Year One To Look Back On

Written by Julia Farrugia

Great marketing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, work, and effort. In fact, while every marketing agency is constantly working to find the next big thing there are only a few trends that really stick.

We’re taking a look at the inbound marketing trends which made a hit and will definitely be here to stay – at least for now anyway.

1. Responsiveness

Apart from the general shift to responsive sites because more people now browse the internet on their smart phone, the Mobilegeddon ensured that responsiveness was here to stay. The mobilegeddon was basically Google’s way of penalising websites which were not responsive by affecting their search engine ranking.

The concept is simple – Google favours websites with a positive user experience – websites which a person will enjoy using. A non responsive website is nothing but a pain – it’s slow, you’ve got to zoom in just to click on links, and it’s not at all easy on the eyes. So Google decided that those who don’t have a responsive site will fall in their search engine ranking – and rightly so. After all Google is becoming more and more consumer based – working for the people that use the internet, not the other way around.

2. Content is still king

Content marketing is definitely here to stay, however there are still those who haven’t quite understood the concept yet. While many companies now have a blog some still aren’t using it effectively. They use their blog section as an announcement platform instead of as a means of engaging with audiences about things that would interest them but aren’t necessarily directly related to the product the company sells.

However while there are these cases scattered around the web, many people have started to see the value in content. So much so, that some websites went to another extreme and started producing click bait content – “This girl started writing a blog post, but you’ll never guess what happens at the end!” (spoiler alert – she finishes writing the post).

The aim behind this click bait content is to draw people to the website, increasing traffic and ‘engagement’ and therefore climbing up the search engine rankings – which is of course appealing to advertisers.

Luckily for us everyone is fed up of click bait – especially Facebook. Almost a year ago they announced that they will be working on reducing the distribution of click bait on a person’s newsfeed – stopping certain posts from showing. This provides a cleaner newsfeed which links people actually care about.

So think back to your newsfeed last year, have you seen an improvement?

Three cheers to informative and interesting content!

inbound marketing trends

3. Video

Instagram, Vines, Snapchat, and even Facebook – video has exploded all over again. What’s different this time is that while some people enjoy vlogs, the majority of people aren’t interested in anything longer than a minute. In fact 6-15 seconds are all you need to create engagement. The challenge is creating interesting, actionable, shareable content with just 15 seconds or less.

However with a bit of imagination it’s not that difficult – after all teens around the world have managed to create masterpieces in just 6 seconds.

What’s great about video is that it’s engaging and highly shareable. It’s the perfect way to show the behind the scenes of your company, or even to show your fun side. It’s also great to use as a teaser for an upcoming event or to create some hype about an ongoing event. The applications for video are endless – so go out and explore your options.

4. Analysis

We love analysis, it sounds a bit crazy but we really do.

It gives you insight into the long term effects for the work you’re doing. In a world that is so instant you sometimes get caught up in the flurry and forget to look at the bigger picture. By stopping to analyse what you’ve been doing you get to ‘zoom in’ on particular events and instances which produced great results and learn from them. Similarly you can spot which instances did poorly and evaluate how and why – learning from your mistakes and improving your work for the future.

5. Personalisation

Another growing trend – people like to feel special and unique, and can you blame them? In such a consumer based society people may at times feel as though they are just a number, especially in large marketing campaigns which target thousands of people. Personalisation helps to create a stronger connection with people and builds more a more loyal fan base.

This can be done in a variety of ways – be it by including personalisation in your e-mail marketing campaign, signing off with a first name in messages and social media comments, or even showing who the people in your business are. At the end of the day the concept of personalisation is to show that your company isn’t made of robots, and that you do not see your clients as robots either. The shift to personalisation comes with a shift towards a more fun, sociable, and friendly way of working.

If it worked for Google, it can work for you.

6. Contextual Marketing

What’s that you say? There is actually some dispute on this. Some see it as marketing which is similar to retargeting while others see it as marketing based on your behaviour.

Basically contextual marketing is  what happens when ads are served by context. Whereas some ads are served randomly (say an ad about contact lenses on a page about bananas), other ads are linked to the context of the article. This creates a highly specific form of marketing. If you’re on a page about healthy recipes then you’ll be served adverts related to healthy recipes and fitness plans. This isn’t random – it’s a way of ensuring that the right ads are served to the right people, and needless to say, it’s highly effective.

7. Thought Leadership

This one is something many marketing agencies work hard at. Thought leadership is relatively easy to understand – it involves establishing yourself as a leader in the market by providing valuable content that people can rely on. While the concept is simple, executing it requires additional effort. It involves proper strategy planning, network building, and a constant presence and constant contact with consumers.

Luckily if you do manage to become a thought leader in your field then you may be relatively certain that customers will remain loyal to you – as long as you keep giving them what they came for.

inbound marketing trends

8. Retargeting

Have you ever felt that certain ads seem to follow you around?  Well that’s because they do.

The world of digital advertising is becoming more and more specific- ads will follow you around, change based on what websites you’ve visited, and constantly be a presence in your life. For example, you may have searched for ‘running shoes’ on Amazon, only to enter Facebook and see ads based on your Amazon searches… maybe socks, or running shorts.

You can’t quite shake these ads off – which might be their downside because with time these ads may either be seen as a nuisance, or the consumer might develop ad blindness and no longer even look at the ad – it’s almost like it was never there to begin with.

This is why when executing marketing campaigns you can’t simply focus on spamming consumers with adverts – you have to think about making the adverts appealing, interesting, and engaging. Otherwise your calls to action will fall on deaf ears.

9. Social Signals

Social signals are a big deal. They can give your SEO the boost it’s been lacking. How?

Basically – if people start retweeting, or sharing your blog post it’s a sign that this content is interesting to people. Since Google is such a nice guy, it will always want to provide the most interesting, and informative search results to users. So if your post has been receiving a lot of attention and love Google will be sure to push this up its search engine ranks so as to serve the most relevant content to people.

So ensure you’ve got a very good social sharing plan. Take time to curate your content and adapt it for different social networks – it could be the game changer you need.

KissMetrics break it down nicely

10.Human

We couldn’t avoid this one.

When we sat down with our thinking caps planted firmly on our heads we wanted to come up with a new marketing campaign…. we spent many hours sitting at a table with blank sheets of paper and empty cups of coffee wrecking our brains, trying to find something new.

After searching the web we realised there was suddenly something new gaining momentum. Initially it was whispered in blog posts, it was a tentative idea – but as time passed the idea grew. Digital marketing was moving into the human realm.

Being an agency which is above all else human, we instantly fell in love with this trend. It was a trend we could get behind and a trend that was  part of our genetic make up.

Similarly, marketers around the internet are working hard in order to become more human, more credible, more tangible. Why? Because it’s fundamental.

Social media isn’t named that way for no reason, however with so many companies using it to advertise and sell the social aspect was almost lost along the way. This ever growing trend puts a stop to that.

So welcome – we’re glad to have you with us as we explore the world of human to human marketing.

 

Over to you – what trends have you been keeping an eye on and what tactics do you implement in your day to day marketing? Whether it’s a beauty blog, a company, or you’re just a fan of digital marketing we’d like to hear what you’ve got to say. Let us know right here

  • Love this. I think most of these trends are interconnected; for example, great content is great because it’s human and personal, thus engaging readers. Then again, good content is useless without good social marketing! 😀

Julia Farrugia

a little more about

Julia Farrugia,

Online strategist by day, environmental activist by night, Julia is the youngest member in the team. When she’s not curating, editing, or writing content she’s scheduling and planning. Her highlighters are her friends and she’s constantly taping to-do lists to the wall.