MOBILE WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE CENTER STAGE
This is the first section from our new eBook: “6 Digital Marketing Trends that will Matter.” A link to download the full eBook is at the bottom of this article. And for more information on how to implement mobile strategies visit us here on our website
According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report, the typical US consumer spends more than 3 hours per day on their mobile devices. Each year will be the year to maximize share of mobile search and establish robust strategies around mobile. Searches from mobile devices that include the word “best” have grown by 80% in the past two years.
The chart below shows the percentage of searches carried out on a mobile device across different industries and shows interesting variance by industry.
For most verticals, mobile share has surpassed 50%. With mobile replacing the desktop as the primary search platform, search engines worry that slower connections will create poor user experiences. Google has already tested mobile-first indexing for many verticals and plans to start rolling it across all industries this year. Mobile first indexing means that sites with outstanding mobile experiences are likely to be ranked higher than those that provide a poor mobile experience.
MOBILE-FIRST USER EXPERIENCE
The term “mobile first” has been around nearly as long as the smartphone itself. What does the term mean though? For a long time, “responsive” websites were considered mobile-first designs – and many still cling to that belief. Mobile First, however, is a completely different approach to designing user experiences that will take center-stage in 2018.
The key concept behind mobile first is to design your website for mobile intent, not desktop user intent. Users learned to use mobile devices with apps, which means they want a rich, app-like experience – even more so when they are processing transactions on mobile devices. Make it easy for them with calls to action that are clearly visible – whether these are prices or buying products and services. The site technology can be adaptive or responsive, but the UI (User Interface) must provide a true, “app-like” mobile experience.
- Click to Call
- Top Reasons to Stay
- Prominent Book Now button
- Rooms with Images and Rates
YOUR MOBILE SITE SPEED IS KEY
Using a mobile device implies urgency, and if you can’t compete, you’ll lose. According to Google, more than 53% of mobile users will leave a website if the site does not download in 3 seconds. In 2018, it will be even more critical to ensure that your mobile website is FAST or your conversion will suffer significantly.
OPTIMIZE YOUR MOBILE SITE FOR USER EXPERIENCE
Providing an optimized mobile site experience means following best practices for Mobile SEO – from proper tags to content and keywords, ensuring an amazing user experience. Make sure your mobile site does not block valuable, crawlable resources like images, CSS files and content.
PROMOTE YOUR MOBILE SITE – MOBILE ONLY PAID CAMPAIGNS
With the increased mobile usage, mobile-only campaigns will be a great means of acquiring new customers and for converting loyal existing clients. Allocate budget for mobile only campaigns, leverage responsive ads and optimize your ads by device type. It is critical to ensure that your optimization strategy is tailored to the mobile device and does not just follow exactly what you are doing on desktop and tablet.
AMP SITES BECOME CRITICAL
Deploy AMP pages to give users lighting fast load times and to secure top of the funnel traffic – people who are just “browsing” and looking during the awareness stage. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will also become increasingly more popular because of mobile first indexing.
PWA /PUSH NOTIFICATION FOR BETTER ENGAGEMENT
Progressive web apps (PWA) will be a key addition to your mobile arsenal in 2018. PWA allows you to re-engage with customers through push notifications. As you think about your omnichannel strategy to market any event or special, leverage the power of push notifications on your PWA-enabled website to re-engage visitors.
According to the report published on consumer trends, smart phone users are significantly more likely to purchase from a business which has mobile sites with content that is customized to their location.
Mobile searches are (by definition) based on context, and that includes location. This gives businesses a huge opportunity to market locally. For instance, 50% of local mobile searches lead to store visits, so having accurate information on location and hours of operation are critical. People on the go need fast answers, and optimizing your site for local nearby searches on mobile generates relevance and increased chances of discovery.
A mobile-first strategy considers the rise of voice searches by facilitating a search experience through personalized answers. Well-crafted mobile strategy is must have for 2018 and will really help business gain significant share.
ALIGN CONTENT MARKETING WITH YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY
In case you missed Part 1 of this series click here. And if you’d like to learn more about how Milestone handle’s content creation, visit our website here.
In 2017, digital marketing saw a shift in content strategy toward a more personalized and intent-based approach to user experience. For an online business to win market share in 2018, each phase of the customer journey will require a well-planned and integrated content strategy – from consumer planning and “discovery” stages to booking and post-purchase. Your business goals, strategies, social channels, and all digital assets should be aligned with a content strategy built around search trends and engaging customers in meaningful, personal, and dynamic ways:
ALIGN CONTENT WITH USER SENTIMENT
Leverage customer sentiment about your business and your competitors to create engaging, user-focused content. Monitor review sites like Trip Advisor to identify the online conversation and see what customers love about you, their concerns, and what they like about your competition.
Leverage this sentiment data in your content strategies through personalized content based on online chatter, what customers are emotionally invested in, and by providing solutions to questions you gleaned from your online reviews. Review sites like Trip Advisor often bucket reviews based on user sentiments. This can be an easy way to start building /enhancing your content strategy.
ALIGN DIGITAL ASSETS WITH CONTENT
Create digital assets that fit the needs of customers. FAQs, event calendars, destination guides, blogs and videos help create informational content and help in improving ranking, engagement, and boost the relevancy of your website.
BUILD CONVERSATIONAL CONTENT TO GET TO “POSITION 0”
With the continued rise of voice search and with mobile-first indexing in place, Google will increasingly rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to pull information from websites right into the SERPs in the form of featured answers. Search engines now prioritize content based on a searcher’s intent rather than a string of keywords. So, optimizing your sites for semantic search means creating content based on the intent of the user’s query.
FEATURED SNIPPET WILL BE ALL ABOUT CREATING USER CENTRIC CONTENT
Since 70% of all queries are informational, we know that customers are searching for useful, personalized, and immediate information. Therefore, you must tailor your content to fit this user mindset and behavior, and provide answers to questions your customers tend to ask. Informational and topical content leads to featured snippets and provides the best SERP results for what, why, and how queries. Ensure that your content has relevant schemas to allow search engines to understand the context of the content on the page and leverage it as the best answer for user queries.
ADD DYNAMIC, SHORT LIVED, CROWDSOURCED CONTENT TO YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY
Social media is no longer a text business. With around 3.2 billion photos being shared every single day on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the new medium is visual and engaging content.
In 2018, live and dynamic content will be key – especially on social channels. Engagement is higher on social feeds and lounges, video, Instagram stories, and Snap Chats. A growing number of brands and businesses are using social media to tell a more authentic story and to connect with Millennial consumers on a more personal level to build trust. A study by Yopto found that 77% of people are more convinced by user-generated photos of a product rather than professional photos.
Crowdsource your own content by asking loyal customers for pictures of them using your product. The key is to let your customers do the posting. People love the attention, and you save on professional photography, so it’s a win-win for all.
PERSONALIZE AND LOCALIZE YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY
Location-based personalization and customization of content will continue as a must-have strategy in 2018 to ensure your message is highly relevant to your audience. Use well-defined customer re-engagement strategies like the use of CRM data or location targeting to personalize the website experience and email marketing will be key. In 2018 it will also be important to leverage new techniques for personalized content delivery, like notifications, by converting your website to Progressive Web App (PWA) technology.
DATA-DRIVEN CONTENT MARKETING
Now that you have created a user-centric content strategy based on intent, informational and voice search, and personalization, It is critical to clearly define performance KPIs and measure impact. There are several KPIs to help measure the effectiveness of content marketing, including traffic from new versus returning visitors, click-through, reach and views, time spent on site and bounce rate. Outline and define your site goals and KPIs for performance, engagement and measure the impact of your content marketing.
Digital content should be about quality, not quantity. In 2018, plan out your content calendar based on your target audience, business goals, and the latest trends in user search behavior. Personalized content, rich information makes your content more authentic and compelling, as well as provide the search engines with meaningful and relevant content for higher positioning.
In case you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of this series click here and here. This blog post is a summarized version of the content you will find in the eBook. Download the eBook now to read the full chapter.
USER EXPERIENCE BECOMES EVEN MORE IMPORTANT
In 2018, user experience will be key for your site design and development initiatives. Site speed, readability, and site architecture will be critical to ensuring smooth user experiences and navigation. Having a good user experience for your website ultimately improves user satisfaction and ROI.
ADA MOVES BEYOND YOUR PHYSICAL PROPERTY
ADA conformity for 2018 is a must-have, not just to avoid legal issues, but to provide access to the 20% of Americans who have a disability. Put ADA on the checklist of items that are “must haves” and ensure that the CMS you deploy will provide some forms of checks to warn you about non-ADA conforming content that your team may be about to publish to your site.
VOICE SEARCH AND POSITION ZERO
Voice recognition is not new, but 2018 should be a breakout year for the technology with greater accuracy and greater language support. According to the latest stats, one in five mobile search queries come from voice search. Google’s rater’s guide provides clear guidelines on voice search that are focused on four critical elements – length of the content, user satisfaction, grammatical correctness, and elocution. When consumers “ask” questions, systems like Google will leverage their vast repository of website data to arrive at answers for consumers. Google’s algorithms are designed to identify the “best” answer for any given question and return it to what is known as “position 0.” 70% of returned voice searches utilize information from Position 0.
To do well in Voice search and secure zero positioning, you must adapt your content – that means having relevant Schema mark ups around content that are most likely to be valuable to a mobile user.
CONTENT MARKETING AND LINK BUILDING
Content will always be king however your link-building and content marketing strategies need to be aligned. The importance of quality citation and trusted links will continue to be strong. Deploy a strategy to build robust citation and links through relationships with vendors or local businesses in your area, sponsorships for charity events, or even getting brand mentions from the top influencers in the vertical.
Create an annual content calendar and identify all major events, conferences etc. in your local area. Work with either your agency or your in-house marketing team to design outreach campaigns with businesses, bloggers, or influencers on your chosen topics. Build relationships, write content about topics or events that are worth sharing on other blogs, social channels or for sharing with news websites to get a link back to the website.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE LOCAL SEARCH
Your customer wants to connect with the business through a single click. Ensure all the amenities, services about your business is updated on most critical search engine, directories, and Google knowledge panel. 2018 gives you a great opportunity to increase engagement on Knowledge panel through FAQs, posts etc. 50% of local mobile searches lead to store visits, so having accurate information about your business – including hour of operation and holiday hours – are critical. Ensure you are answering common consumer questions like parking, services, menus, recipes, amenities, hours of operations, holiday hours and more. Leverage API connections to ensure items like these are updated across all search and location-discovery engines in near-real time.
BOOST YOUR VISUAL CONTENT
Consumers are increasingly using short videos and channels like Instagram and Pinterest to consume content. The opportunity is there for businesses in 2018 to leverage short (60s or less) videos featuring guest experiences, unique selling propositions, consumer sentiment and local destination information. For maximum coverage, optimize and tag your images with relevant schemas and follows best practice for image optimization.
USE SOCIAL CHANNEL TO IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL RELEVANCY
In 2017, social channels such as Facebook made great strides towards improving user engagement related to local business queries. Some of the biggest changes include new initiatives like mini profile pics that appear below a business listing whenever a user “tags” or “checks into” that business. Facebook also launched Facebook messenger where consumers can directly message a business right from the Facebook page. This change directly impacts conversion from Facebook by increasing user trust. Other updates included Facebook guides & the launch of a new Facebook local app to help travelers looking for top things to and local establishments.
LEVERAGE AUTOMATION, AI, & MACHINE LEARNING TO HELP CONSUMERS
In 2018, inbound marketing will expand to handle messaging from multiple channels seamlessly including internal and external messaging (from Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.), website chat, and social channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
When building a conversational engine or chat bot, start with the most popular or frequently asked questions, or conversational topics that customers regularly ask. Follow the 80/20 rule: cover at least 80% of conversations by providing answers to the top 20% of questions asked. Create a system that can seamlessly engage live agents when the conversational bot cannot answer. Leverage the human interactions to capture these “non-supported” questions and train the engine by feeding answers to questions that were not answered automatically.
To learn about the other 5 keys, download our eBook below:
Paid Media – Driven by data and personalization
For the first three parts of this series click here for: Mobile, Content, User Experience This blog post covers one of six chapters you will find in our eBook. Download the eBook now for the full experience.
OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER CENTRIC PAID DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES
Any successful paid media campaigns starts with your business goals. Depending on your business need, you will then map your digital media strategy, leveraging customer data to grow loyalty and business, using audience targeting and applying personalization strategies, continuous testing and fine-tuning based on results and performance of your campaigns. You can learn more about our omnichannel approach by visiting the digital media advertising section of our website
SEGMENT YOUR AUDIENCE BASED ON DATA AND CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR
With your paid media campaigns and channels aligned with your business goals, the next step is to leverage the wealth of data and intelligence available – both from your own CRM data as well as from available advertising platforms – to create campaigns that are highly targeted based on customer behaviors and target demographics.
TARGET SIMILAR AUDIENCES
Leverage your knowledge of your customer base to create targeted campaigns that focus on “like” consumers and provide offers to drive a booking to your website.
As a business, you need to ensure that all your marketing efforts and strategies are aligned with business goals and objectives. The same goes with Paid Media strategies – they should be part of a holistic Omni-Channel marketing strategy and align with your business goals and objectives. Your digital media strategy should consist of a well-thought out plan to gain efficiencies in several areas:
TREAT NEW CUSTOMERS AND BRAND LOYALISTS DIFFERENTLY
If your primary goal is to gain and retain significant share of customers who are loyal to your brand, then your marketing strategies and tactics will be slightly different than if you are focused on just acquiring new customers.
Like any business, before focusing on new customers, it is critical to create an action plan focused on retaining brand-loyal customers. In 2018 you will need to own 100% of share of impressions for your branded terms, as close to a 100% rank share by allocating and maximizing budget for branded campaigns through consistent omnichannel personalized campaigns across devices. Deploy your marketing channel strategy based on CRM data, retargeting customers who have visited your site and might not converted etc.
GAIN NEW VISITORS
Once you have gained a significant share of current customers, you can deploy strategies like in-market campaign, business focused and destination-specific “things to do” and FAQ campaigns across multiple online channels to attract new visitors.
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