The digital marketing industry has been growing for over two decades now and is expected to continue growing well into the future.

According to Statista, the U.S. spent $59.82 billion on digital advertising in 2015 and spending is expected to reach $113.18 billion in 2020!

This  article was written to educate you and your colleagues about:

  • Industry demographics
  • Trending platforms and marketing channels
  • Impactful digital strategies and tactics

 

Conversion Rate Optimization

In 2016 about 22% of businesses were satisfied with their conversion rates (Econsultancy, 2016).

However, for every $92 spent on acquiring leads, only $1 was spent on converting them (Econsultancy, 2016).

 

What This Means For Your Business

Even though conversion rate optimization has been around for the past decade it’s still an under-utilized strategy for many brands. 

 

Action Step

There are dozens of resources online about conversion rates and how to improve them…but some quick advice?

It’s about user experience.

Conversions rates tend to be low when businesses don’t take the time to understand their customer psychology; what they want, how they want to buy, how they want to be spoken to, how they can be reached, etc.

For example, including a call to action button instead of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%  (Campaign Monitor, 2016).

It’s also good practice to run tests on what kinds of sales pages and tactics convert the most customers and compare your numbers to past campaigns.

Click here to read Referral SaaSquatch’s article on how to increase conversion rates!

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Content Marketing

72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic (Ascend2, 2015).

When it comes to driving revenue, 41% of marketers surveyed say that webinars are an effective tactic (DemandWave, 2016).

In 2016, 67% more leads will be generated by companies with an active blog (Sprout Social, 2015).

93% of organizations use social media content as their main content marketing tactic (Content Marketing Institute, 2015).

 

What This Means For Your Business

There’s a consensus in the content marketing world that high-quality content is the best content because it builds trust with the audience and builds authority.

If your customers trust and look to your brand as an expert, traffic, referrals, SEO, visibility, sales, and much more will improve.

If you want to improve your blog you have to really care about the content that you are producing.

 

Action Step

Use tools like Buzzsumo and Co-Schedule to up your content marketing game.

Buzzsumo is a database that informs you of the hottest topics being talked about in your industry. Using Buzzsumo will help you publish relevant and useful content that your audience is searching for.

Coschedule is a content marketing planner that helps you stay organized so that you can be consistent with your content marketing efforts.

Example: HubSpot is a great example of a software company that has a strong content marketing strategy.

Their blog provides their audience with useful, well-written and visual content, plus they post every few days to keep their readers engaged.

 

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Rich Content

Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content (Mass Planner, 2015).

4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it (Animoto, 2015).  

65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated (CMO Council, 2015).

59% of Instagram users are on the platform daily, including 35% who visit several times a day (Pew Research Center, 2015).

21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month (Pew Research Center, 2016).

48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year (HubSpot, 2016).

 

What This Means For Your Business

Consumers are overwhelmed with content displayed in all shapes and sizes and delivered in several different forms.

That’s why images, infographics, and videos really stand out in 2017.

They are a great way to capture your audience’s attentions and make a statement.

Furthermore, images, infographics, and videos are easily clickable and shareable and they can easily go viral.

 

Action Step

If you haven’t already done so, your first step in 2017 should be to add visual content to your website!

Instead of writing to your audience, create a quick explainer video that describes your product or service.

Marketing guru, Neil Patel created the ultimate guide to creating a killer explainer video.

Example: Dollar Shave Club, used video storytelling to grow rapidly when they launched the following entertaining video as an introduction to their service.  

Another action step, if you have the resources, would be to think about planning a YouTube channel for your brand.

Youtube is a great way to get really personal with your customers. Plus, it’s just plain entertaining!

THINX, the women’s underwear company and online retailer, launched a YouTube channel that features a variety of social influencers reviewing their product.

Email Marketing

You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet (Campaign Monitor, 2016).

Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and can generate 6x more revenue (Experian).

 

What This Means For Your Business

When a lead submits their email or signs up to your newsletter, they are inviting your brand into their life.

It’s a sure sign that they want to find out more about your product/service, business news, discounts, promotions, and more.

If you take advantage of this invitation and send strategic, valuable and consistent, emails, you will develop better customer relationships and increase your brand’s reputation.

 

Action Step

Open rate is highest when companies send 2 emails per month (Database Marketing Institute).

About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Campaign Monitor).

These statistics give a good idea of what you can do to take full advantage of your email marketing:

  • Don’t abuse your subscribers inbox: Send no more or less than 2 emails per month
  • Design your emails to be mobile-friendly: This way subscribers can make purchases right from their phone

 

Planning a referral program? Learn about our software and expertise

 

Social Media Marketing

93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media- because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements (#Socialnomics 2014).

57% of consumers say they’d be somewhat or very influenced to think more highly of a business after seeing positive comments or praise online, and 16% say they only share positive reviews on social media (Direct Marketing).

For 2016, Instagram is the top social channel marketers plan to invest more advertising in (72%), followed by Facebook (61%), Pinterest (41%), Snapchat (36%) and Amazon (34%) (MediaPost).

66% of organizations say that LinkedIn is an effective social media platform (Content Marketing Institute, 2015).

90% of young adults—ages 18 to 29—use social media (compared to just 35% of those over age 65).

1/3 of millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses.

 

What This Means For Your Business

You must be active on social media!

You don’t have to use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (although it’s definitely not a bad idea), but you should use at least one of the social media platforms to reach your audience.

If your target audience is millennials, then using social media is a no-brainer.

Linkedin is highly effective for B2B marketing platform that more and more companies are utilizing to position themselves as a thought-leader and influencer in their industry.

 

Action Step

Allocate some of your budget towards reaching out to influencers on social media platforms.

Social Influencers are 2017s version of celebrity endorsements; consumers are listening and ready to purchase any product their favorite Youtube or Instagram star recommends.

Another good action step, is to take the time to answer comment sections. Doing so shows that you care about your customers, increasing customer engagement and brand equity.

 

Example: Sharpie utilized social media to turn their everyday product, a sharpie, into a commonly used verb!

Sharpie is a master at Twitter but also makes good use of their blog and Instagram.

Sharpie uses social media to increase customer engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction by displaying the art that customers make using Sharpies. They also display contest, promotions, and case studies to inspire their audience to get creative and get involved!

This is Sharpies current Twitter display picture – Sharpie Extreme featuring extreme rock climbers!

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Mobile Marketing

80% of internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights).

Tablet devices account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites at 8.58% (Smart Insights).

The percentage of companies optimizing email for mobile devices increased by 22% in 2014 (Adestra).

63% of local businesses surveyed said they plan to invest in a mobile-friendly website in 2016  (ReachLocal, 2016).

Messaging apps are trending as they offer innovative and engaging ways to reach targeted audiences.

 

What This Means For Your Business

Consumers are constantly using their phone to compare products, to search companies, and to use their social media.  

If your businesses digital efforts are not mobile-friendly then forget any chance you had of consumers browsing your website, purchasing a product, or even looking at your Instagram via their phone!

Furthermore, if you have the resources, it’s a great idea to think of a mobile application that is specific for your business and is fun for your audience to use!

 

Action Step:

Format your website so that it translates well to mobile devices:

  • Set your image width to 100% so that they are automatically re-sized on mobile devices.
  • Use word-wrap on your text
  • Use extra spaces cautiously

Checkout SaaSquatch’s ultimate guide to mobile marketing.

 

Example: Chipotle recently created a successful digital campaign that involves a videogame called ‘Cado Crusher where users have a chance to win free chips and guacamole.

The rules of the game involve players having to smash the guacamole ingredients that Chipotle actually uses in their recipe, while excluding the ingredients that they don’t.

The game is mobile friendly and coupons are delivered via SMS text.

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Wrapping Up

As digital marketing continues to become a priority for enterprises and small businesses we’ll see the industry continue to evolve at a faster pace. Digital marketing teams will need to build core strengths with media buying platforms, branded content production, and social commerce campaigns or they’ll quickly get left behind in today’s digital age.

 

Planning a referral program? Learn about our software and expertise

 

Brandon GainsBrandon Gains is the VP of Marketing at Referral SaaSquatch. He leads customer growth initiatives at the company by incorporating a targeted mix of digital marketing campaigns. Brandon also contributes articles to publications like SocialMediaToday, CustomerThink and Business2Community. You can connect with him via email brandon at referralsaasquatch.com or on LinkedIn