by Alain Parcan
As we celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Website, now’s as good time as any to reflect on how much Website Marketing trends have changed – not just in the last quarter century, but in the last year alone.
Market Hardware’s team of Web Marketing experts put their heads together to come up with a comprehensive list of the six Web trends you need to know about in 2016:
- Responsive Website Design (because mobile WILL rule the Web in 2016)
The mobile trend has shown no sign of stopping and should continue into 2016. So if you’re ready to upgrade your site, then Responsive Website design is a must-have in order to impress anyone who is scanning Websites from their phones or tablets. Studies show that if a visitor lands on a site that is difficult to navigate and requires zooming in/out, they’ll simply exit out and move on to a new site.
Moreover, Google has firmly hitched their wagon to the mobile trend. Since April 2015, mobile-readiness has been considered a ranking factor when it comes to identifying what companies show up highest in search results. In other words, Google wants user-friendly sites to rank highest in search results.
Keep in mind, it’s not as simple as “flipping a switch” on your current site to make it Responsive. There are some short-term solutions (building a separate mobile site), but if you’re looking for a Responsive Website, you’ll need to start from scratch with a new site.
- Proper Email Newsletter Marketing as a Retention Tool
As more businesses invest in digital marketing as a customer acquisition tool, acquisition costs are likely to skyrocket as the marketplace becomes more crowded. Therefore, allocating a portion of your marketing budget toward retaining existing customers is more important than ever. Recent estimates suggest the cost to acquire a new customer could be 5 times as much of the cost to retain an existing customer – so investing in customer acquisition will go a long way toward improving your bottom line.
As for the most effective way to retain clients using the Web, email newsletter marketing is becoming increasingly popular. The RIGHT way to run an email newsletter marketing campaign is by sending out educational content that your customers will appreciate. The top businesses utilize a 90/10 rule, where 90% of their email newsletter content is purely informational, and only 10% is self-promotional.
- Co-op Advertising Programs (is it time to have a manufacturer pay for your marketing?)
Heading into 2016, more suppliers now recognize the value of digital advertising, and we anticipate that over the next year, these suppliers will fully embrace digital advertising as an approved channel for co-op marketing. They believe that digital advertising is an effective marketing channel that can help their dealers move more products. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially the businesses that end up being reimbursed for large portions of their marketing.
Curious whether one of your suppliers or manufacturers provides co-op advertising reimbursements? Get in touch with one of their marketing/brand managers and explain your marketing expenses. Just be wary of suppliers that insist on a highly specific marketing strategy/company that may not be a perfect fit for your business.
- Digital Advertising as a polarizing topic
The digital advertising market is packed with thousands of freelance Website designers, full-service Web Marketing firms, and a ton of people who claim to be Web Marketing experts but aren’t. With so many options, there are bound to be hundreds of great companies that stand out, as well as thousands of fly-by-night Web firms that are out to make a quick buck from an unsuspecting and overly trusting client. For that reason, 2016 should continue to polarize consumers’ opinions about digital advertising as a whole. Those who are fortunate enough to find a provider they can really trust will reap the rewards, while unsuspecting victims may swear off digital advertising forever.
- Online video as a marketing tool – that might also support your SEO efforts
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking index, video makes up 64 percent of all Internet traffic, and its forecast to grow to 80 percent of all traffic by 2019. Web users today prefer to watch videos rather than read content, so service businesses have begun to react accordingly.
As for how video relates to SEO, Google and the other search engines are surely aware of the fact that Web users like watching videos, and they’re beginning to take that into account when ranking Websites by relevancy (not to mention, Google owns YouTube so there’s a clear correlation there). Videos as a marketing tool will definitely continue to increase in popularity in 2016, and its impact on your Website’s search rankings are likely to follow suit.
- Call Rating/Lead Scoring (now is the time to become smarter marketers)
In an effort to become smarter marketers, a small percentage of remodeling companies began using call recording software over the last few years, and there appears to be a significant uptick on the way. It’s an important tool for marketers who want to make sure they’re getting the most value out of their employees’ inbound calls, measure employee performance, and more. There is an increasing amount of companies that are providing these services – and at an affordable price. They’ll record your calls, report how many you received and from where, and even rate the calls for you. It used to be a strategy that only the top 1 or 2 percent of remodeling companies employed, but in 2016, that number is sure to increase significantly.
Stay tuned for part 2…
Now that we’ve covered the Web Marketing strategies we expect to trend up in 2016, stay tuned for part 2 of this series, which will detail the strategies that we expect to decrease in usefulness and popularity in 2016!
About the author: Alain Parcan is the Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc. Market Hardware helps small businesses compete on the web and offers special discounts for NARI members. You can Reach Alain’s team at 888-381-6925.