Google wants to kill the URLs

Take a moment to imagine the World Wide Web without URLs. It practically seems impossible, right? The basic Internet user as we know them today relies on URLs. It’s often how we tell a non-credible source from a credible source and how we specifically find brands and items we have an interest in. And businesses face yet another issue. Many of them have built their business on indexing and ranking web pages so that users can find them when completing a web search with certain keywords. What would really become of those businesses if URLs were no more?

It leaves us to question, why would Google, one of the most well-renowned search engines out there, consider offing URLs? And what would the World Wide Web universe look without it?

Why Google Wants To Kill URL

Although a world wide web without internet addresses seems a little chaotic, it’s being considered for one major reason: safety.

We’ve all come across a URL that looks a little questionable and hesitated on clicking the link. Most of us have even clicked on what appeared to be a legitimate link that led us to a phishing site. These spoof sites are specifically set-up to steal your passwords and other confidential information that you wouldn’t want anyone else to have. For instance, ‘G00gle’ and ‘Google’ look pretty similar at first glance; most victims wouldn’t notice that they’ve clicked the former until it’s too late.

If Google eliminates URLs and creates another way for sites to be identified, then the hope is that web identity will be more understandable for everyone. It should also cut down on the confusion between legitimate sites and phishing sites.

Web Identity and URLs: Already Less Relevant

Truth is, many of us are already used to not associating web identity with URLs, which makes us vulnerable.

One reason that web identity and URLs are less relevant is URL shorteners, which have become a big deal largely because of social media. For instance, the social media platform, Twitter, only allows users to use so many characters. A long URL would significantly take away how much one can enter into a post.

While short URLs are easy to remember and simple to share, they allow hackers to almost effortlessly mask illegitimate sites. Therefore, while it’s a convenient option, it also compromises our safety on the web.

Tools of Defense

Recently, the Chrome Team has been focusing on how to detect URLs that seem to deviate in some way from standard practice. One way they do this is by using, TrickURI, which helps developers check that their software is displaying URLs accurately. This software gives developers something to test against and helps them become familiar with how URLs look in different situations. This is important, as they don’t want to flag legitimate domains as phishing sites and vice versa.

In addition, it’s in the works for Chrome to start alerting its users when a URL looks illegitimate. Google users are already benefiting from the Safe Browsing platform, which alerts users if the system notices malicious behavior on a website. However, the system currently lacks the ability to flag sketchy URLs.

At one point, Google also operated its own URL shortening program as a way to decrease hackers. However, they later replaced it with Firebase Dynamic Links. This service uses dynamic links to send users anywhere within an Android, iOS, or web app, which makes it easier (and safer) to share specific content.

What Would No URLs Look Like?

Right now, it’s difficult for any of us to imagine what a World Wide Web without URLs really looks like. It’s even challenging for Google to fathom. However, what Google hopes to do in the near future is:

  • Figure out how to get users to focus on important parts of URLs
    • Parts relevant to their safety and security
  • Refine how Chrome presents URLs
    • Filter out what makes URLs challenging to read
  • Get Browsers to expand shortened URLs
    • To allow users to determine URL legitimacy

There’s still a lot of work to be done and an unclear vision of what no URLs looks like, but Google is adamant about keeping the Internet safe. In just one year, cyber attacks cost the world $600,000,000,000; which is astronomical. Safety is a growing concern as our society becomes more dependent upon the Internet.

 

content marketing strategy

Early in my digital marketing career, I read something that had a lasting impact on my approach to marketing — an essay published on the Microsoft website by Bill Gates called “Content is King.” Bill Gates is a true visionary. What amazes me is that content marketing has taken many different forms over the last decade or so, but it is still king. Content marketing is a cost-effective way to bring in a steady stream of new leads and keep your customers coming back for more. That essay continues to inspire me to reinvent my content marketing efforts and conquer them like a champ.

One thing that I always make a priority is keeping track of my goals. When I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for, I revisit my original marketing goals so I can reground myself and rework my plan step by step.

Knowing Your Market

Do you know who your company’s audience is? If not, you have some homework to do. Send out a survey, create reader personas, ask for feedback and monitor your content to learn more about who needs your products or services. Use analytical tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights or review the demographics of your current customers. It doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as you do something to find your target audience, so don’t get bogged down with semantics.

I like to think that I know my company’s audience pretty well, but I’ve also learned that audiences can change over time. Even seasoned marketers need to spend some time conducting market research from time to time to keep their marketing efforts sharp.

There’s another reason I like to reassess who my target audience is. Our current clients are already hooked, but I like to continually challenge myself to expand our customer base. In addition, new products and services call for new analysis of the target market.

Establishing Your Goals And Objectives

Two very important steps follow identifying your target market. First, you need to be clear about what they need. Second, you need to learn how to quench their thirst for information. To sum up, relevant content is a valuable commodity.

Once you’ve acquainted yourself with who your customers are and what they need, you’re ready to establish your marketing goals and objectives. Do you want to spark the interest of your current audience? Do you want to build a new audience? Expand your current audience? Promote a new good or service? Increase brand awareness?

It’s important to establish goals and objectives so you know how to move forward. It’s also essential to define successful marketing campaigns. Have you thought about how you’ll know when you have achieved your goals? Think this through before you put your marketing plans in motion. Will you measure it by increased revenue, lower marketing costs, targeted customers or some combination of benchmarks?

Creating The Content Of Champions

Unless you are at the starting gate of your marketing plan, chances are good that you have some existing content to work with. Take a hard look at the work you’ve already done and decide whether you can reuse any of it. Can you update past articles to make them more relevant? Can you add to existing content so that it better enhances your brand or becomes more engaging? Can you beef it up by embedding links to products or services?

Putting The Plan In Motion

With the basic framework in place, it’s time to build on the cornerstone of your efforts. Determine your main formats and advertising channels and develop an overall marketing strategy.

I’ve found that even when my marketing strategy is complete, it helps to leave a little room for experimentation. I like to experiment with a variety of advertising opportunities like sponsored content, social media advertising, infographics and videos. Your marketing plan might include podcasts, e-books, workshops or webinars. Whichever formats and outlets you use, don’t forget to investigate your competition’s marketing efforts to make sure that you’re differentiating yourself.

There are a few different ways that you can manage your content marketing and publication schedule. I like to use a master calendar of what I’m publishing and on which outlet. You can control all the posting and publishing yourself or use an app on which you can load your ads and articles and schedule them to appear at specific times and dates. If you’re working with a marketing team, develop a plan for who will be responsible for creating, posting and publishing content.

Final Tips For Content Marketing Strategy Success

Keep a pulse on how well your marketing plans are connecting to your goals. If you’re not getting the results you want, review your marketing strategy to make sure that you’re following it exactly as planned. You might find that it only takes a few tweaks to get things moving in a better direction. And don’t fret if you’ve made a mistake or two. Learn from them and make better changes moving forward.

artificial-intelligence-help-marketers

Each of us has a comfort level with things that we know and understand. That’s why artificial intelligence scares us so much. It’s new and unfamiliar. Knowing that someone out in cyberspace learned something about the items we need and the services that we buy makes our palms sweat and our hearts race with fear and trepidation. The very thought of big brother watching our every move makes us uncomfortable. The unknown is a scary place and we feel threatened by it.

A Scary Concept, But We’re Learning To Like It

AI was still a fairly new concept in 2017. Guess what? While it still scares most of our customers a little, they’re also starting to see how AI can make their lives easier. As I was thinking over my marketing plans for 2018, I found myself mentally toying with how I could incorporate AI into my company’s marketing strategy. It forced me to think about how I’ve developed my own comfort level with AI.

When I have a question, Siri gives me an answer at the sound of my voice. Siri is pretty smart. And Siri can be a little snarky and sarcastic at times, too, which makes me believe for a scant moment that Siri is a little more human than I thought.

And what about those self-parking cars? The very idea of it scared me in the beginning. Why? Because I like to be in control. But enough auto manufacturers are now producing self-parking cars with good results that I’m starting to get more comfortable with it. Why not take a little stress off and let my car park itself?

Have you seen videos of people wearing virtual reality headsets? They’re fully engrossed in the virtual reality experience. To an outside onlooker it’s a comical sight, but at the same time it gives us a greater comfort level with AI.

Giving AI A Fresh Look In 2018

The un-virtual reality is that we’re on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about how AI can assist digital marketers in making stronger connections with customers. We have to help our customers have a greater comfort level with AI before we can make it work to our advantage.

When I’m browsing on social media, ads of items that I’ve purchased or considered purchasing sometimes appear on the page. Is it a coincidence that Facebook never shows me black blouses? Not really. I never search for black blouses and Facebook is tracking that, so they know which products I’d be interested in buying.

It freaked me out a little in the beginning. Then I thought, “What’s so bad about seeing blue blouses in ads? I love blouses in every shade of blue, and it saves me the time of scrolling past all the black blouses.” I’m starting to like those ads because I’ve suddenly realized the value that they bring me.

AI On The Backend Of Marketing

As digital marketers, AI not only gives our customers a better experience, but also tells us about their buying behavior, likes and dislikes and helps us predict their future buying behavior. Now that’s information we can use. Data gleaned from AI will help narrowly define our target markets. Past digital marketing experience tells me that the more narrowly you can define your target market, the greater return on investment you can expect to see.

AI As An Enhancement To SEO And Website Traffic

Just because I’m becoming a believer in AI (or at least less of a skeptic), doesn’t mean that I’m ready to abandon my digital marketing plans for SEO and increasing website traffic. What it does mean is that I plan to be more open-minded about testing AI strategies in 2018 and evaluating the results.

2018 is the year to challenge yourself to be increasingly innovative in your marketing strategy. Look for ways to align content marketing plans with AI tools such as chatbots, augmented reality, image optimization and social media outreach. For example, my customers may enjoy chatting online with a simulated customer service representative. Prospects may respond faster to augmented reality techniques where customers can get acquainted with our professional in-home caregivers before they schedule our service.

Images will take center stage in 2018. Already, the internet shares billions of photos and images per day. As part of your 2018 digital marketing strategy, use AI to mine data and combine it with images to create customized content campaigns for each and every customer. This will allow you to deliver faster response times and increased revenue.

In 2017, AI took us partially out of our comfort zones by showing us that it’s not totally artificial. It’s possible to incorporate just enough personalization and humor in AI to make it believable. Progressive companies that took the plunge and got their feet wet with AI in 2017 reaped the rewards for any perceived risks. 2018 will give us plenty of new opportunities to experiment with big data, the Internet of Things and machine learning as they relate to digital marketing. It will take us and our customers some additional time to develop a stronger comfort level, but the new year is ahead of us and we have 12 months to work on it.

b2c marketing strategy

As new marketing channels continue to emerge, technology provides us with an endless array of marketing strategies. In my work as a digital manager, my competition in the senior in-home health market is strong. While it’s great to have so many options at our disposal, I’ve found that the best way to approach B2C marketing is to select a few approaches that really work and dedicate the majority of your time and energy to fine-tuning them.

Tier One: Make your clients your ambassadors.

Providing care to seniors in their homes is a personal service, one that requires a respectful and trusting relationship between our service professionals and our clients. We serve many clients who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They’re looking for assurance that the senior care service they choose will be attentive and safe.

Referrals and testimonials from other clients are meaningful to new clients who may be skeptical about receiving quality care. That’s why the first tier of a solid marketing strategy is to turn current clients into ambassadors of your brand. Our tier-one strategy includes emailing coupons out to current clients and asking them to refer friends and other family members to our company.

Testimonials from current clients speak volumes in a business-to-consumer marketing strategy. A personal testimonial like this one does more to motivate consumers to contact us than anything we could write ourselves:

“I want to thank you and the whole team for doing such a great job for my mom. She loved her home health aides. Your service was really top notch and I appreciate how much easier you’ve made things for her in the last couple of months.”

Tier Two: Inform them with regular content marketing.

As people become older and are less able to do the things they once could, the prospect of losing their independence is frightening. A large part of our business-to-consumer approach is using information about senior care to help potential clients have a greater level of comfort with the notion of receiving help at home.

Well-written articles answer all the probing questions that keep your customers awake in the middle of the night. A question that weighs heavily on our clients’ minds is how to pay for in-home care. We try to relieve that burden by using content marketing to inform potential clients about ways to pay for care that they might not have considered.

This content strategy positions companies as trusted experts, while at the same time priming consumers for client conversions.

Tier Three: Focus on the social media channels that your clients are most likely to use.

Tier three of our B2C marketing strategy is the most active because it brings all the other strategies together. Potential clients want information that is fast and easily understandable. We’ve found that our target market spends a lot of time on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so that’s where we focus. By using articles, videos and infographics, your consumers can get the information they need quickly and on the social media channels they use every day.

Our clients are interested in tips like how to set up trusts for senior-aged parents and how to make improvements to their homes to keep them safe. Social media channels give us the opportunity for our clients to get acquainted with the friendly faces of our staff. We recently added photos to our Facebook page of our employees taking supplies to senior citizens affected by Hurricane Irma. Content marketing articles shared on social media informed seniors on how to prepare ahead of time to stay safe during the hurricane.

Photographs on social media give you the chance to make deeper connections with the greater community. We recently advertised that we created a drop-off site in West Delray Beach to accept donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, baby items and pet supplies for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. These types of events enhance our branding because they show clients that caring for people is more than just our name — we embed it within our corporate culture.

Wrapping Up The Three-Tier B2C Marketing Strategy

Take the time to research which social media channels your clients spend time on. You don’t need to use them all. Through the most effective marketing channels, provide answers to their questions and give them tips they can use today. Make your clients ambassadors of your brand so that your business-to-consumer strategy will turn into consumer-to-consumer referrals.

marketing baby boomers

Generational marketing is a key issue in the field of senior in-home care because our target market is the senior population and their adult children caregivers or guardians. The baby boomer generation, which encompasses people between the ages of 53 and 71, fits both generations.

As the digital senior manager for a 24-hour senior home health corporation, I’ve discovered some key factors about how to market to baby boomers that have helped me attract the attention of our target market. Baby boomers are abundant, affluent and more tech-savvy than you might think. They’ve worked hard all their lives for all they have. They’re healthier and more active than their parents were at the same age, and they’re all about themselves.

1. Baby Boomers Are A Big Audience

Baby boomers make up one of the largest sectors of consumers, so every marketer should be paying attention to effective marketing strategies for baby boomers. Generational studies show that about 70 million people fall into the category of baby boomers. The baby boomer generation is the largest segment of consumers, comprising about 40% of the market share.

2. Baby Boomers Are An Affluent Generation

Employers who seek hard-working candidates will still find them among the baby boomer generation. Baby boomers hold a strong reputation for being diligent, hard workers who have saved and spent wisely.

Studies show that the baby boomer generation controls about 70% of all disposable income in the U.S. The baby boomers are also nicely situated to gain even more wealth. As their parents pass on, studies predict that baby boomers will inherit about $13 trillion to enjoy during their retirement or pass on to their own children.

3. Baby Boomers Are More Tech-Savvy Than You Think

Baby boomers remember the introduction of the first black-and-white and color televisions. It’s important for marketers targeting this generation to remember that baby boomers have grown up with technology over recent decades. They’re more accustomed to technology than you might think, and they use it in different ways than millennials.

During my years of marketing to baby boomers, I’ve learned that the baby boomer generation spends as much time online as they do watching television. It might surprise you to learn that 96% of baby boomers use search engines, 95% use email, and 92% shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores and shopping malls.

About 60% of baby boomers spend time reading blogs and online articles as a source of information and intrigue, and about 70% enjoy watching videos about products and services. If you’re looking to market via social media platforms, you’ll find an active audience of baby boomers on Facebook, where they’re happy to post news and photos of their grandchildren and latest vacations.

4. Baby Boomers Are The “Me Generation”

Baby boomers are considered the “me generation” for their self-centered, individualistic attitudes. In marketing to people looking for in-home senior healthcare, I know that seniors want to enjoy their independence as much as possible. In-home senior care lets them have as much freedom as possible while maintaining their dignity. Adult child caregivers and guardians want to be able to care for their parents and still be able to work, enjoy their own families and have some well-earned fun. In-home senior care allows them to take care of their responsibilities and take care of themselves, too.

5. Baby Boomers Are Healthy And Active

A large majority of baby boomers are in the pre-retirement stage of life. They are still working full- or part-time and looking forward to life as empty-nesters. They are working hard to pay off mortgages and other debts and maximize their returns on investments. It’s prudent to pay attention to these baby boomers’ characteristics in marketing. They’re looking for senior care that is reliable, trustworthy and offers a reasonable cost.

Baby boomers have been more health-conscious than their own parents. Medical technology makes it possible for them to live healthier and longer. Unlike their parents, who desired to relax during retirement, the baby boomer generation wants to get out and do all the things they’ve always dreamed of doing. Many seniors can remain active with some help from an in-home caregiver.

Many people are starting to think of the age of 50 as the new 40. Baby boomers aren’t yet thinking of themselves as an aging population. Terms like aging and elderly are a big turnoff, although they don’t mind the terms “seniors” and “senior citizens” as much.

While baby boomers are healthier and more active than their parents, their eyesight is starting to deteriorate. When marketing to this population, I stay mindful of the size and color of fonts. If my target audience can’t easily read our ads and blogs, they’re likely to click on a competitor’s ad quickly.

Because of the size of the baby boomer population, nearly every industry has an audience in this marketing sector. When marketing to baby boomers, it’s important to understand who they are, where they come from, and where they hope to be in the future when getting their attention for your business.

Developing A Marketing Plan

During my tenure as a marketer in the senior in-home healthcare field, I’ve learned that aging adults want to live in the comfort of their own homes for as long as they can, and their adult children would be happy to be their caregivers if they weren’t so overwhelmed by their duties.

Where did I learn all this? From our clients.

In my role as the digital senior manager for a 24-hour senior home-care company, I’ve taken feedback from clients and used it to develop our marketing plan.

Use client feedback to develop a marketing plan.

Your salespeople interact with clients and prospects every day, so you can leverage their knowledge base to access client feedback. I have a weekly call with our sales team when they share insights about our clients. We talk about challenges and look for solutions. You should keep your sales team engaged and updated about what you are doing so they know what to ask and can address client challenges. We engage our sales team with a monthly newsletter and internal contests.

Also, you can develop a marketing plan based on buyer personas. We have multiple buyer personas: the adult child, the referral source (social worker), and the senior who oversees their own home-care plans.

Here’s an example of the information we’ve used to create a buyer persona for adult children caregivers: We heard the concerns of family caregivers when they told us that the requirements of taking care of seniors are more demanding than they could have imagined. I’ve seen the adult children try to do it all – provide quality care to their aging parents while managing their own family and affairs at home. Adult children of aging seniors are exhausted and burned out, placing their own health at risk. Not knowing what to do, they get their own families started on the day, spend the rest of the day caring for their parents, and return home in the early evening to tend to their own families. Before long, chronic stress and fatigue set in and they’re ready to throw up their hands and seek out alternative means of care.

Keep an eye on trends and practice active listening. 

As a senior in-home care marketer, I keep my eye on trends in senior care. No matter your industry, attend webinars and read publications. There are many resources available to stay on top of trends that will impact your marketing efforts and your ability to help your customers.

Another key to learning about the types of products and services your target audience needs is practicing active listening skills. For example, I listen to family caregivers and steer them toward the funding sources that they have available to them. Most people are familiar with some of the more common resources like Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits, but those programs don’t help everyone or cover all services.

Learning more about a family’s circumstances tells me whether they have a life insurance policy with accelerated benefits or a long-term care insurance policy that allows flexibility of funds to be used for in-home senior care, and I can use this information to better advise them on their options.

Feature success stories and educational content.

Listening to our clients as well as the families and showing them how they can arrange for in-home senior caregiving helped us to develop a marketing platform that quickly directs senior caregivers to the services they need most. And with the launch of our new website, we can share our successes with prospective clients.

To optimize your website for conversions, you can create a success stories page to feature successful testimonials from your clients. This is a great way to convert website visitors into customers.

Educational content that answers frequently-asked questions is another way to appeal to potential customers. We are working on a price page to educate people about the cost of home care. This page will show referential price depending on the state. You can also build an online content library (with blog posts, articles and infographics) where users can navigate and find answers to their questions. After all, you are there to help!

The clients that I’ve worked with have taught me a lot, from how collective sibling agreements work when caring for aging parents to the unexpected demands of senior care. And by learning from them, I can constantly improve our marketing efforts to show how our services can be of assistance. That’s why you should always be listening to and leveraging feedback from your customers.

email marketing generate leads

As the general public became familiar with electronic communications, mass postal-mail marketing campaigns gave way to email marketing campaigns. If you have been working in marketing prior to the social media boom, you surely remember when emails were the top marketing platform.

Over time, the popularity of email marketing campaigns resulted in personal email inboxes that were overflowing with the latest and greatest offers. Email campaigns grew and people grew tired of them. Laws that allowed customers to unsubscribe breathed new life into email marketing campaigns as customers could easily pick and choose the companies they were interested in.

Email marketing has long been a tried-and-true method for generating leads. This approach continues to enjoy a strong track record in spite of the rise of social media platforms. Email marketing is still an efficient way to generate leads at a reasonable cost.

One thing that hasn’t changed with email marketing is that you need to be strategic about how you word every part of marketing emails. One of the best things about email subscriptions of today is that you can count on your prospects having some level of interest in your product or service that encouraged them to sign up for your subscription list to begin with.

Write email campaigns that get results.

One of the first lessons that I learned about email marketing campaigns is to give sincere thought to how a customer perceives every component of the email, starting with the subject line. Media headlines grab your attention and get you to listen longer or read further. A meaningful subject line for an email offers the same punch. Subject lines should be relevant, interesting and genuine.

Journalism students quickly learn how the inverted pyramid style of writing gives readers the most important information first. The rest of the paragraph or article supports the initial information or offers additional details. Your email marketing customers will respond to the same style of writing. They want the big news first because they’re often reading your email while they’re commuting or at work. If they want the details, they’ll read the email again just before they buy.

Keep your emails simple and minimal. Just as a crisp, pressed business suit sends a professional message, a clean, uncluttered email tells consumers that you are professional. If you can’t create a professional-looking email, look for professional-looking templates where you can fill in the blanks.

Be cognizant of your purpose. Each of your emails should have a clear goal such as educating your customer, asking for referrals or getting them to follow your company’s social media platforms.

Engage your email readers with content that is short and to the point. Wordiness and fluff have no place in email marketing campaigns. Reveal your purpose up front and talk about how your purpose relates to the customer to get a connection started. Choose large fonts in an easy-to-read style. Your readers may be people who constantly read while they’re on the go or they may have poor eyesight. You’ll want them to be able to read and scan the email quickly.

Move the wording in your email toward your call-to-action section quickly and make the action that you want them to take ultra-clear. Try to think about the ways emails in your inbox grab your attention and those that cause you to hit delete.

Create customized emails for cold leads from all sources.

The main sources from which I get our leads are our blogs, organic traffic, pay-per-click ads and salespeople. No matter where you source your leads, use several email chains that are customized according to what those leads are looking for. Next, categorize them and get them in the right automated email chain. This places them in your sales funnel to warm them up and get them ready for sales.

Generate leads from blogs.

Our prospects love our informative blog articles. Use your blog as an opportunity to send them related articles. This primes the prospect for a call to action asking them if they want you to call them.

Move warm email leads to hot leads and make the sale.

It’s important to give your warm leads as much attention as your cold leads. When our emails move from the cold list to the warm list, I have a specific email that I send to nurture the relationship and make it a little warmer. I also include a thoughtful testimonial to help gain credibility.

After sending the warm email, follow up with a second email asking if they’re still looking for your services. Include a sale offer or coupon to move the lead closer to a sale.

Test and analyze email marketing campaign results.

There’s still a lot of power in A/B split testing. Testing emails reduces bounce rates, tells you more about your customers, increases conversions and is cost effective.

In analyzing my email marketing campaigns, I look for open rates at 30% or higher to know if they were successful. I don’t expect as much from click-through rates, where I like to see around the 5% range.

When a new approach to marketing takes marketers by storm, some marketers make the mistake of moving into new strategies full force, leaving methods that have worked well in the past smoldering in the dust. The best marketing campaigns use several marketing forms simultaneously. The key to maximizing results with every effort is to know your purpose, target the right customers and learn from your results.

Digital Marketing Strategy For 2018

As I look at my digital marketing calendar for the year ahead, I’m equally enthusiastic and challenged by how I’ll need to fine tune my company’s digital marketing platform in 2018. My past and current marketing efforts have helped me further brand recognition, increase online leads and establish my company as an authoritative resource in the home-care industry. Next year, I want to push our marketing efforts even further.

In 2017, my main focus was on content marketing, SEO, PPC and PPL. Based on data collected over the last 12 months, I’ve decided that I need to shift my focus to organic search. Planning my content marketing strategy in advance and having great writers and graphic designers on hand makes a big difference.

In 2018, marketers should focus on anticipating user questions, needs and emotions in order to engage with them. To that end, I’m planning to focus my efforts on researching relevant topics that can answer user questions. Becoming a reputable source where people go to learn more before making the decision to purchase helps you build trusted relationships with customers, and happy customers become evangelists of your brand. Using data will help marketers develop great content, not only based on keywords but also on developing topics. A good marketer knows that this is the key to a long-term client/company relationship.

As a marketer, my audience has trained me well. I can tell what information they want and how they want to receive it just by watching and monitoring their behavior. The key to captivating your target market in 2018 is creating content that is not only engaging but also smart, timely and personalized.

Striking The Right Tone On Your Website

What would your website homepage say to a visitor if it didn’t have any words? Marketers need to choose their colors and images intentionally so that they deliver the right message that speaks for the brand. Today’s consumers have a sharp eye for overused stock photos. They’re more likely to be drawn in by photos, images and videos that blend in naturally with the webpage design. I intentionally chose photographs of active seniors socializing with caregivers and family members to enhance our website, which we designed in warm, pastel colors. The total effect feels personal and homey — just like our brand.

Having a website that balances user experience with SEO is a game changer. Simple language and the right call to action encourages customer interactivity. Big blocks of content, on the other hand, will overwhelm your visitors. A quick fix is to break down content with images, bullet points, icons and other graphic elements. Make sure that your website is intuitive and easy for users to navigate. Visitors to your website who can’t find information quickly won’t be back.

Make sure your content is relevant. Every section of your website should add value and have a purpose. For example, I added testimonials from our valued clients because our clients are looking for first-person assurance of a positive experience. When in doubt, leave it out.

Marketing In A Micro Moment

Technology has made it easier for marketers to learn the behavior of their customers. Making the most of micro-moments and smart technology will place you well ahead of the marketing pack in 2018.

Apps can tell us the geographical location of potential customers, the types of products they usually buy and the times of day that they tend to be on the internet. This is exactly the type of information that marketers need to pay attention to in the coming year.

One of the challenges of 2018 is how marketers can tap into this information to get their messaging in front of clients exactly when and where they need it. Why would someone shop around to the competitors when the perfect product or service popped up on their cell phone just as they were about to search for it? These are called micro-moments. Micro-moments attract shoppers who are ready to buy on impulse.

Here are a few tips for designing micro-moment ads:

• Give the shopper the main idea at a glance.

• Add a clear call to action.

• Make the call to action accessible in one touch.

• Optimize content for mobile apps.

Have you been delaying getting an online chat application for your website? Customers in 2018 expect to be able to chat with a knowledgeable professional right away. An online chat box is a valuable addition to your digital marketing efforts, if you haven’t implemented one yet.

Smart content also means differentiating content for prospects and current customers and personalizing the experience for each. Greeting someone by name when they revisit your site makes it a more personal experience. At my company, that personal experience ties directly into the mood of our brand.

Focusing On Content Development

Creative groups, either in-house or remote, are the digital marketing thought leaders of 2018. Creatives who specialize in writing, graphics or design know how to create meaningful content to attract prospects from all types of industries. Good writers know that the right words combined with the most appropriate images can tell the story of your brand in that micro-moment that ultimately captivates a prospect. Experienced writers and designers create the tone and voice that helps your prospects connect with your brand on a personal level.

The Wrap-Up On Digital Marketing Trends

As you finalize your marketing plans for the new year, the best advice I can give you is to think like your customer. Your customers are searching for your products and services while they’re waiting in line for their morning coffee. They’re commuting on planes, trains and ride-sharing services. Their downtime is your prime time. Challenge yourself to create a marketing plan that makes interacting with your business as easy as buying a cup of coffee.

How Digital Marketing Help your business

2 hours and 51 minutes. That is the amount of time that adults, 18 and up, spend on their mobile phone each day. This equates to almost 90 hours per month that each adult spends seeking entertainment, shopping, connecting with peers, and staying up-to-date on the latest news. It is more important now than ever before, for brands to understand how digital marketing can help their business. Deciding whether to implement a digital marketing strategy or not could be the difference between a company that fails and one that flourishes.

This article will cover:

  • What is digital marketing?
  • Why are businesses avoiding digital marketing?
  • Why is digital marketing important for businesses
  • Social media and digital marketing
  • The digital marketing numbers don’t lie
  • Digital marketing is more than social media
  • In Conclusion

What Is Digital Marketing?

According to HubSpot, digital marketing is simply a term used to describe a business online marketing efforts. Digital marketing is a form of Internet marketing that includes methods like:

  • Email marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing – SEO and pay-per-click advertising
  • Online Banner Advertising
  • Mobile App Markets – Apple and Google Play

Just like traditional marketing, it is all about connecting customers to a brand at the right place and at the right time. Sending traffic to your website via these tools can help turn a prospect to a customer:

  • Blogs posts and articles
  • Infographics
  • Interactive tools like Playbuzz
  • Social media channels
  • Logos and fonts that make up your brand
  • EBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Reviews

Why Are Businesses Avoiding Digital Marketing?

Many businesses have chosen not to go the digital marketing route due to these three reasons:

  • They don’t understand it,
  • They don’t think their customers have gone digital and,
  • They’re up to their neck with customers

The truth is, while digital marketing may be complicated for a business owner who is not familiar with it, there are a ton of professionals out there who can assist. Secondly, the customer demographic is changing and today there are actually more millennials than baby boomers. Lastly, a business should always have a strategy in place to obtain new customers, even when they’re at capacity.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important For Businesses?

Digital marketing has the capacity to grow small and medium-sized businesses in a significant way. The evolution of technology has created a field of opportunity that at one point was only reserved for large corporations.

Today, small and medium-sized businesses actually stand a chance and can grow in a number of ways. The reasons why digital marketing is so important for businesses are:

Better Return On Investment

A small business may find it difficult to afford traditional media methods like television ads, but digital marketing is a much more feasible avenue. If a business’s website has a consistent flow of traffic and those visitors convert into sales, they’ll be successful. In fact, their success (and failures) can be more easily measured.

Digital marketing allows you to track and monitor your results, which is helpful when you’re deciding the method that works best for you. A company can determine their Return on Investment much more easily.

The Internet Will Be Everywhere

Researches have projected that there will be more than 20 billion interconnected devices by 2020. Businesses who are on board with digital marketing will have access to their target market in a way that’s never been seen before. Being prepared for ‘The Internet of Things“, or Internet connections via everything from cars to photo frames, can put even a small business in high places.

Digital Marketing Generates More Revenue Than Traditional Methods

According to Google, companies that utilize digital marketing methods have 2.8 times better revenue growth expectancy than those that follow traditional techniques. Small and medium-sized companies can expand their business to a global scale when revenue is plentiful. Matter of fact, they have 3.3 times better chances of expanding with digital marketing.

Gain Trust From Customers With Digital Marketing

Customers who interact with brands on social media trust them more because they meet them on a personal level. If you’re looking for food, you can head to Yelp or Google and read what previous customers are saying about a particular restaurant.

When looking for things to do, you can make a post on Facebook, and FRIENDS can tag their favorite hangout spots. Referrals from people we know hold more weight; so if your business hasn’t done so yet, park yourself in a digital space. Social proof and testimonials from real customers can give you exponential leverage.

Businesses Build Brand Reputation

The amazing thing about digital marketing is it can increase customer loyalty. When a business goes above and beyond for their customers, they’ll have no reservation in telling everyone about their experience. This also means if a business sucks at providing quality services, those customers will tell everyone about their experience.

Businesses that do it right can expect their customers to become brand ambassadors and reap the benefits of providing good service.

Social Media and Digital Marketing

Now that you have an idea of why digital marketing is important to businesses, it’s imperative to grasp one of the most important components of it. Social media is a component of digital marketing that falls under the Internet Marketing branch. Social media platforms include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • And many, many more!

For a company to thrive in these platforms, they must understand the type of customers that frequent them and how to share the content. What a brand post on LinkedIn should be different than what is shared on Instagram, as that platform caters to users in a different way.

The Digital Marketing Numbers Don’t Lie

Businesses that use social media marketing methods successfully have the potential to grow exponentially. One way of being successful is by knowing the content your target audience wants and how to reach them on certain platforms. Some companies fare better on Pinterest, while others thrive on Facebook. Either way, people should be able to leave one platform and recognize your brand on another one.

The Most Popular Social Media Platform

At the end of 2016, Facebook had a whopping 1.86 billion monthly users and the number is growing! As their number of users grows, so do their advertising products.

Marketers may find it difficult to shy away from this social media beast given how big they are. Their Ads can be targeted based on specific information like:

  • Age
  • Education levels
  • Life events – marriage, new home, new car
  • Job title
  • Devices used
  • And much more!

Facebook also offers a variety of different Ad types, such as:

  • Link Click Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Boosted Page Posts
  • Local Awareness Ads
  • Offer Claims
  • And much more!

With the right process, a small and medium sized business can find prosperity on Facebook.

What Other Social Media Platforms Are There?

While Facebook is a giant, we can’t forget about these other very powerful platforms.

YouTube

The video platform, YouTube, uploaded their first video in April 2005, and has been growing ever since. Over 1.3 billion people use YouTube and almost 5 billion videos are watched on this platform everyday. A small or medium-sized business can use YouTube as a way to showcase quality content. Think about it – a six year old made $11,000,000 from YouTube in 2017, so it’s definitely a platform you don’t want to avoid.

Instagram

If a business is looking to grow on a global scale, then Instagram may be the perfect platform. 80% of their users reside outside of the United States. With the right Ad (thanks to their parent company, Facebook), a company can significantly increase their revenue.

Users frequent Instagram for the visuals, especially after the implementation of Instagram stories, so it’s a great way to show behind the scenes experiences at your company.

Twitter

Founded in 2006, Twitter has grown to be quite the micro-blogging platform. Users are only allowed 280 characters per tweet, so the content must be packed with a punch. According to Omnicore, as of January 2018, Twitter has:

  • 330 million monthly active users
  • 500 million tweets sent per day
  • 100 million daily active users

Users frequent Twitter for quick answers, tracking the news, and sharing their thoughts.

Digital Marketing Is More Than Social Media

While social media is a huge part of digital marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC), and email marketing should not be forgotten.

SEO Content Marketing

Digital marketers know that SEO and content marketing are usually spoken about separately, but the two actually complement one another quite well. SEO is the technique of getting traffic from the organic search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Content marketing, on the other hand, is the process of creating and sharing useful content to attract ones target audience. The goal with content marketing is to drive a customer to take an action, such as purchasing a good or service.

As recently mentioned, marketing is all about being at the right place at the right time, and SEO content marketing can assist a business in achieving that. If a customer is searching for “potatoes written with a Sharpie in cursive typography” and your content includes SEO keywords that align with that, then the listing will be seen right when the individual is looking for the information. This is pure gold!

While SEO is great when used correctly, it is not something that’ll happen overnight. The road to success with SEO can be a long one, but definitely worth it.  No one is going to complain about free and organic leads, right? Absolutely not! However, some companies may go another route to make sure they are still found on search engines, but it comes at a cost.

Pay-Per-Click

When advertisers pay a fee for every time their ad is clicked, this is known as pay-per-click. It’s a way of buying visits to your website instead of letting them come organically. For example, if someone is looking for “potatoes written with a Sharpie in cursive typography” and the right keywords are used, an Ad may show up in one of the ad placement areas. Matter of fact, the Ad might show up in the first top spot, making it one of the first things an individual sees in the search results.

Like SEO, keywords matter when using pay-per-click methods. The research process of finding the right keywords, setting up the right campaign, and being relevant, is extremely time-consuming. However, the benefits of getting it right could result in a $5.00 bid to your website becoming a $500 sale. With Google Adwords, if users find that your keywords and ads are relevant, Google will charge you less for the click.

Email Marketing

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is far from going extinct. Businesses with the right strategy will be able to move subscribers from interest to purchase with a good sales funnel. There are three different types of email marketing:

  • Transactional – Providing customers service solutions
  • Relational – Nurturing a relationship with your subscribers
  • Promotional – Specifically for lead generation

In Conclusion

Digital marketing has the potential to help your business in a great way. With the ability to connect with customers expanding and with constantly changing technology, digital marketing cannot be something businesses can ignore. It’s not just about what you tell the customer, it’s about what a customer tells a potential customer. Understanding how digital marketing can help your business will keep you on the playing field.

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The use of (or lack there of) digital marketing for small and medium-sized businesses can be the difference between who sinks or swims. Read on to learn why digital marketing is important for your business!

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Did you know digital marketing has the power to level the playing field between large corporations and small businesses? Learn why it’s important to jump onboard the digital marketing wagon and how making the switch can grow your business exponentially.

 

Pinterest helps in Business Growth. Most industries today have customers that use Social Media. That’s why many companies use Social Media for customer service. In addition, Social Media platforms are excellent for interaction and getting your customers interested in your products and services. Now let’s highlight the best ways in which you can improve your customer service with Social Media.