Guest Post: Inbound Trends
As the holiday season and 2012 have both drawn to a close, many small businesses and big brands are already looking forward to the new year. If you’re not among them, then I strongly suggest that you get with the program. Things are changing rapidly in the digital space, and those who are not able to adapt are bound to get left behind.
Will 2013 be the year your business takes that huge step forward? It could very well be if you take note of these five surefire inbound marketing trends.
1. Visual Content Steps Out
The importance of visual content increased tenfold in 2012. This had a lot to do with the impressive rise of platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Look for this trend to continue through 2013 and then some. With all the major players leading the charge by supplying the right features, jumping on this smoking hot bandwagon is easier than ever.
Giving your inbound marketing strategy a visual touch may seem intimidating at first, but there is nothing to fear. Have a website for your company? Make sure it features an attractive logo and design, complemented by photos of your team where applicable. Run a blog? Include relevant images in every post you publish. Have a Facebook presence? Regularly share videos from your YouTube channel. Distribute visual content whenever the opportunity is presented.
2. Search Gets Social
Combined with the dramatic changes made by Google, all the talk of social signals and influence could make 2013 a pretty interesting year for search engine marketers. There is still a lot that is unclear about the relationship between search engines and social networks, but these tips have been identified as tactics marketers can use to make the most of this pairing:
Create inbound links in social channels
Regularly post valuable and original content
Integrate social accounts
Create an active presence on Google+
With Google being the dominant leader of the search market, that last one might be something you really want to look into.
3. Gamification Grows
Gamification will definitely prove to be one of the more interesting trends to watch. The concept of incorporating game-inspired elements into marketing strategies has been revealed as a unique and effective way to boost engagement. For instance, you could leverage social media by rewarding your fans based on comments, shares, and other interactions. On a more advanced level, you can incorporate similar concepts into apps or even your website. The possibilities are endless.
4. The Mobile Experience Gets Responsive
Responsive design is a hot topic in web design circles. But its impact is felt from the development team to the marketing department. Tablets and smartphones have a lot to do with the buzz behind responsive design. This approach is all about creating an optimal experience whether the user is browsing a site from a laptop, smartphone, or tablet computer. In addition to the user experience aspect, responsive design makes your website much easier to update as it essentially eliminates the need for a mobile-only domain. There are also potential SEO benefits to consider.
5. Email Keeps It Strong
It seems like we have been hearing about how email has been on life support for the last couple of years. Well, the cheap and convenient communication medium didn’t bite the big one in 2012, and it surely won’t kick the bucket in 2013. We have seen a lot of new developments in the communication arena, but to be honest, email still hasn’t even reached its peak. Why? Because just like the savvy digital marketer should, it has evolved as new technology has been introduced.
Email marketing has a lot to offer, but brands must take a different approach to the technique. Instead of blasting out mass, impersonal messages, you need to target your efforts, get super relevant, and create personalized experiences in the inbox. With these ingredients in the pot, email can be one of the most effective components of your inbound marketing strategy.
We are living through some very interesting times in the digital marketing realm. Many new trends are being ushered in, and they're slowly phasing out others in the process. When it comes to resources, businesses have more conveniently accessible options than ever. With the advent of the new year, you can count on these inbound marketing trends making their mark as we get deeper into 2013.