Posts in "Email Marketing"

Internet Marketing Forecast for 2016

Although the fundamentals of an optimized website with quality content will always be important, internet marketing methods change frequently. That’s why if you’re a small or medium business owner it is important to turn to the experts who are on top of the latest trends. Using outdated techniques will not only bring poor results and waste your time, but in some cases may even harm you online presence.

There are a number of changes and trends to take note of for 2016. Here’s some of what we forecast:

Targeting Mobile Traffic

Internet Marketing Forecast 2016

The last few years have been huge for apps and the mobile web. People just aren’t sitting at their desktops anymore, in fact Google received more mobile traffic last year than any other source. And this trend is only going to increase in 2016.

What this means for your website is that it absolutely must be mobile friendly, or as Google likes to call it “responsive.” Failure to do this is not only going to turn users away (because the site doesn’t look good on their device), but Google will also drop you down the rankings in favour of sites that are mobile-friendly.

In terms of marketing it is therefore also wise to ensure any paid ads are targeting mobile users. The larger platforms like Facebook ads or Google AdWords do this as standard.

Mobile Commerce

If you sell products directly from your website then you may already be aware of the increasing number of people who buy products using their mobile devices. A mobile friendly store is one thing, but in 2016 more business owners are going to make the jump to a full blown app solution. With all of the leading online retailers offering user-friendly apps, it’s an experience consumers are beginning to expect.

Targeting Wearable Traffic

While mobile traffic will dominate this year, traffic from people using wearable devices like smart watches will begin to emerge more strongly as well. Some of the same standards of mobile-friendliness apply to wearables (responsive web designs cater to all screen sizes), but we predict wearables will start to demand some of their own unique optimization requirements.

We also expect that similar to mobile ads, there will be wearable specific advertising options to market your business in the near future.

Video as a Marketing Method

Last year YouTube continued its place as one of the most visited sites on the web and the premiere destination for video content, and there’s no sign of that changing. Using video as medium for marketing will continue to grow in 2016, as both direct marketing (commercials or ads on existing videos) but also as a content platform for brands and businesses. If you site doesn’t feature video content then now’s the time to start.

Data suggests that users are often more engaged by video than text, and visitors will stay longer on pages that have video content. From product information, to FAQs, reviews and more – video should be a part of your overall web presence.

Social Searching

We all know how important social media is for marketing your business and brand, but it’s rare that we consider a Tweet or Facebook post to be a long term traffic generator. Even if it goes viral the buzz tends to die down in a few days. It’s more of any ongoing process. This may all be poised to change in 2016 with the refining of “social searching.”

This term can mean different things, but in general it’s referring to the ability to search social media effectively. Facebook for example is currently working on a revamp of its own search engine that will allow users to find historic posts more easily.

The major search engines are also constantly revising how they should show social media posts in the search results. Could 2016 be the year we begin optimizing social media posts to appear prominently in social searches?

Social Media Diversification

As with everything else on the web social media is always evolving. While a Twitter and Facebook account might have been suffice in previous years, 2016 is the year where marketing on social media really diversifies. This means considering looking further afield to the likes of Snapchat which is now ranked the third biggest social network.

There is also a trend towards live streaming apps like Periscope and Blab, which offer a brand new avenue for marketing in real time.

Content is still King

No matter what happens in 2016, quality content is still going to be the primary factor in attracting customers to your website. This is still what search engines will pick up, it’s still what you will be linking to, and it’s still what people want to read. Providing users with the information or products they desire (preferably both) is what will still set you apart from the competition.

Email is still Queen

While everyone seems to be outwardly focussed on social media email marketing is as strong as ever, and it remains one of the best returns on investment if done right. Like web pages your email campaigns must be optimized to appear correctly on all devices, as around half of all emails are opened on mobiles.

Interactive Content

While content is still king, some of the ways that content is being delivered are changing. There is a sure move towards interactivity and visuals to compliment the SEO optimized written content. Slideshows, Informative infographics, videos that prompt users to click and make decisions, webinars where you address your audience, Twitter Q&As, and other delivery methods are giving internet marketing a new lease of life and engaging users like never before.

Internet Marketing 101 for Business Owners

With the rise of internet connectivity, social media and smart devices, internet marketing is now one of the primary elements of a successful business marketing strategy. Whether you’re targeting a global audience or simply people within your local community, using the web is an efficient and cost effective platform to do so.

Of course in 2016 most business owners will be aware of this, but applying it to your day to day operation is not as straight forward as it might seem.

So you have a website, but how do you get people to visit it? You’ve been posting away on Twitter, but how do you keep your followers engaged? You have a budget to pay for online advertising, but how do you get the ads up and running?

If you’ve asked some of these questions and others, then you may want to keep reading. Internet marketing can be broken up in to 5 key elements, which combined with the help of a professional internet marketing company, will ensure you’ll reach the audience you desire.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you want your website to show up in search engines like Google when people search for terms related to your business, then you’re going to have to speak its language. SEO is a combination of different webpage tweaks and principals that help Google interpret the content and rank it against all of the other websites with similar content. Traffic sent by search engines is known as “organic” and is one of the most valuable sources of traffic you can get. Why? Because if done correctly it means the user is actively seeking the information or product that you provide. This means an increase in sales!

To be ranked well in search engines you need high quality and informative content, coded with all of the appropriate tags, as well as backlinks from other sites so Google knows that others also value the content.

This is very much the lifeblood of most websites. If you aren’t getting hits from Google, the website is essentially useless at generating customers.

A professional internet marketing company can help you apply the basic principals and formulate a long term strategy for bringing in consistent organic search traffic.

Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

PPC is short for Pay Per Click, which is a commercial form of advertising that runs alongside the organic search results. While SEO can take time to bring success (though when it does it is usually recurring), PPC can bring instant success because there is no crawling and ranking of your pages. Your ad is live almost right away, regardless of whether Google’s algorithm thinks it is a great page or not at the time.

Shopping Online

You are charged for every click that the ad generates, and ads are based on the search terms you bid on. So if you’re selling phone cases you may choose the search term “buy smart phone case” and whenever somebody searches this term and they click your ad beside the regular results you will pay a fee. This is determined by your own budget, though if many other marketers are paying for the same term, the cost will be higher. You’ll need to ensure that your ad is genuine and engaging, so that you can make a profit.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization can relate to PPC or any form of internet marketing in general. The conversion rate is the percentage of people that click on your link or ad that actually buy a product or complete the desired action you want them to (sign up to your site, use your service, redeem a coupon etc).

Optimization is the process of getting this rate as close to 100% as possible. With ads you pay directly for like PPC it is clear why you would want high conversion rate. What’s great about platforms like Google AdWords is that you can easily track ads that are the most successful so you can refine the process. For example you may notice a high conversion rate for “buy smart phone cases” but not “buy cell phone covers” so you may choose to drop it altogether or change the wording of the ad.

This can be a very experimental process, however monitoring the data will allow you to learn what’s working over time. Internet marketers from an expert team will have the experience to keep things running smoothly.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing was one of the first forms of internet marketing and is still one that brings results today. However because it has been heavily abused over the years by spammers and scammers, you should never just buy a list of email addresses or find them yourself by Googling. In most cases paid for lists are out of date or even fake, and most email clients will now recognize unsolicited spam and send it directly to the spam folder.

Email marketing should be a secondary process where you can follow up with an existing customer. If they sign up to buy something encourage them “opt in” with their email address. Or you can promote a “newsletter” through your site as well.

Following this route allows you to build a list of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, which in turn makes email blasts with offers and other information that much more worthwhile and successful.

There are many professional tools available to manage email lists and newsletter/marketing content.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

When internet users are not actively searching for information on search engines or checking emails, they’re probably on social media chatting with friends or following pages and people related to their interests. While they might not be in “buy mode”, this is still a prime place to remind them of your existence and build brand awareness. Think of it as a more efficient form of the roadside billboard or shop window notice, with the ability for the information to be shared to thousands of people in minutes.

From a straight shooting product launch announcement, to a quirky take on something in the news, to handling customer feedback – social media allows you to stay connected with your audience, building trust over time.

There’s no one single method for approaching social media and each platform is different, so it’s important to learn the ins and outs of each one.

Email Marketing Myths in Sri Lanka

If you want to reach potential customers or build business relationships with important people, one option is to use email marketing. However unless this is done in an ethical and targeted manner, the results may be completely ineffectual.

In Sri Lanka sending out unsolicited emails in bulk has traditionally been a common marketing method. The marketer would gather a list of addresses, or worse purchase a whole database, and then blast out poorly worded proposals and offers.

While this method is still used today, there are a number of reasons why it’s inefficient and smart businesses have moved on to other strategies.

It Can be a Scam

You should never blindly trust somebody claiming to have a database of email addresses, including company CEOs and interested customers. These lists are often outdated and the recipients have moved on or even closed their email accounts. In some cases the list may be totally made up, or the addresses just gathered at random. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Do not waste your marketing budget on lists of thousands of email addresses you’ve never checked yourself.

Untargeted

Unless you build your own list of email addresses, how do you know any of the recipients are Email Marketingremotely interested in your services or products? The fact that these are sold to many different people, over and over again, suggests they are completely random and not based on any specific demographics. One of the key principals of marketing is targeting your audience, why send something to somebody who is unlikely to respond?

Little Interest

In recent years various tests have been done on these kinds of email lists and it’s been proven that they simply don’t work. Tracking the incoming hits reveals that a blast of hundreds of thousands of these email addresses, results in less than 0.01% responses. We’re talking only a few dozen hits! It’s simply not worth it.

It’s Spam

Part of the lack of interest will be down to the poor quality of the lists, but there’s also the fact that email providers are now smart enough to recognize spam and will send your message straight to the spam folder. The recipient may therefore never even know you sent them an email in the first place. Even if it does get through they may simply send it to the spam folder themselves. Ask yourself, how many unsolicited emails do you actually respond to? If the answer is “not many” or “none,” why would this method work for you? If anything it will give your brand a negative image.

How to Do Proper Email Marketing in Sri Lanka

If you want to forge relationships with other business owners in Sri Lanka, you have to do it in a professional manner. Seek out the person directly and send one single email, or send them a regular letter, or give them a phone call.

If you want to market your products or services to potential customers, email marketing needs to be targeted and “opt in.” This would involve using your website or social media presence to prompt people to sign up to your “newsletter” or something similar. This means they are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, and because they opted in, your emails will generally not go to their spam folder.

A professional internet marketing company will be able to implement effective email marketing as part of their wider strategy, which may also include social media management, search engine optimization, and advertising campaigns. They will have the expertise and required tools to bring real results!