You’re wrapping up 2013 (what a year!) and looking ahead to 2014. The economy is improving and the outlook for business is positive, so it’s going to be a good time to maximize the return on your inbound marketing activities.
We predict that in the coming 12 months content marketing will become 10 times more competitive. What does this mean for you, and how can you get ahead of the masses? Here are four ways businesses can do so:
Using unique material in content
Remember when having a blog made you cool? And then when business blogging became a great marketing tool and a way to get Google to pay attention to your website? Words-plus-photo blogs will become the bare minimum in 2014, and you’ll need to use every possible method to improve your content marketing.
To include this in your inbound marketingstrategy, you’ll need material to work with. Start taking notes of great experiences in your business. These could be a great dinner with your staff, an open house or a holiday party for clients—and find ways to digitally invite your online community to participate through your website and social media outlets.
We are already seeing followers interacting more with these types of content than promotional material.
Personalization—not just content—will be king.
Personalizing your content for readers will make their online experience that much more realistic. Identify your target audience’s wants and needs and how you relate to those needs. What makes your business a distinctive community resource? Highlight your company’s branding promise at every opportunity, so each time your clients interact with you they are reminded about it. This will make you seem closer and more relevant to them, and build a rapport that is key to winning new business.
Personalization of your landing pages and email marketing is going to be a vitally important aspect of your inbound marketingto make your reader feel individual and special.
Treating leads like good friends will define the new success in sales.
Does your website greet returning visitors by name? Excellent. Does it know which pages they’ve already looked at so that fresh, new, relevant content is promoted? Wonderful. Does your sales staff know all these details before picking up the phone to make an introduction? If not, this must change in 2014. There’s nothing worse than a website seeming friendlier than your sales staff.
Take a look at your sales scripts and find out each sales representative’s discovery-and-research process. By making sure they have clear, concise information about a prospect’s website activity, they can personalize their introduction and information sharing.
Social media’s tactics for product selling will become “other worldly.”
Having a social media profile isn’t going to be enough. You’ll need to integrate your products and services with social media to make the most of the opportunities offered for increased business. Have you seen the new egg cartons that can tell your smart phone if you need to buy more eggs at the grocery store?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2014 we’re likely to see more social media interaction with sales, such as Starbucks new option to purchase gift cards and deliver them via Facebook. The cards are downloadable and the credit can be added to a smartphone and used to pay for beverages directly from the phone instore. Sure, this might not directly affect your type of business, but we predict that it won’t be long before social media may be a medium for placing remodeling order preferences or changes to a meal plan.
We live in exciting times. The online world is changing the way we do things at the speed of light. Don’t get left behind – make your inbound marketing plan more exciting in 2014!