Finally! A Cheat-Sheet Creating the Best Social Media Campaigns EVER!

 

Businesses are always looking for the latest tricks to creating engaging posts on social media.

Fine, but you still need to answer these questions if you want your social strategy to take off:

  • What should I post?
  • How often should I post?
  • How long should my posts be?
  • Should I use graphics with my posts?
  • Are link posts better than images?

Facebook, Vine, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr… with so many social media websites available to businesses, staying abreast of the latest tips is practically impossible.

That’s why the folks created this amazing infographic — to show you how to organize the best social media campaigns on the web.

heat-Sheet for Creating the Best Social Media Campaigns EVER!

Most of the time you have to read articles from many sources to find the best advice about different social media platforms. But this infographic has fantastic tips about all the social networks you need to know!

Here are some takeaways I found most interesting:

LinkedIn

People actually post there?

Kidding, of course! LinkedIn can be a useful site, it’s just not very social — and I didn’t know LinkedIn has insights!

Blog Posts

The layout recommendations are spot-on.

But I disagree that blogs should be 500-800 words. More than 1,000 words usually works best for SEO.

YouTube

Add a URL to every description — even before the text.

Facebook

Images rule! Just make sure photos are the right size.

Twitter

Wow! Bitly links get retweeted the most?

Pinterest

Lots of great stuff here about faces & the color of your Pinterest images.

Google+

Tagging people & brands is a wonderful way to get engagement on Google+ — just make sure tags are relevan

Instagram

Hashtags are HUGE on Instagram… but don’t abuse them.

Vine

Unique style & branding is key to succeeding on Vine.

Tumblr

I’d never heard of “Tumblr Speak”.

best-social-media-campaigns

Conclusion

There’s lots of questionable advice at the end of this infographic about the best times to post on social media.

Source : www.postplanner.com/best-social-media-campaigns-cheat-sheet/

 

10 Free Tools For Optimizing Website

Websites or web pages need to be optimised for more attractions and visibility. Search engines is a primary source to increase the traffic. For a SEO, friendly website, search engine webmasters need to follow certain guidelines. Certain tools are available online which can be used for optimizing websites and checking the visitors and search engines.

Here are the 10 tools which could help you optimize website:

  1. Google trends
    Performs keywords research using its trending searches, comparing trends by search terms, forecast, regional trends etc.
  2. Google Adwords Keyword Planners
    A free AdWords tool, keyword planner aids to get keyword ideas, search volume and traffice forecast for selecting better and relevant keywords.
  3. txt Tester
    It is a tool to test Robot.txt file. It helps to check the Robot.txt file in search console. It is the accurate way of test this files.
  4. HTML/ XHTML Validator
    W3C validator checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML/ XHTML. It allows you to test various files in HTML/XHTML codes.
  5. CSS Validator
    Style Sheets are the basic validator for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML/XHTML documents with style sheets. Easy way to test!
  6. Structured Data Testing Tool
    This tool checks with Google that it can parse the data correctly and display in search results or not. Keeping a check on the display of structured data markup is important.
  7. Mobile Friendly Tool
    This tool helps to check the mobile adaptivity. It tests the website’s mobile friendly status.
  8. Page Speed Tool
    Page speed tool tests the insights of the websites in terms of the speed to load all the webpages. The loading of all the web pages needs to be fast in all the devices.
  9. Search Console
    Google Search Console is a free service provide to all the website holders to track their online presence on google search results. This lets you check your overall ranking on Google.
  10. Google Analytics
    Google Analytics helps you analyse visitor traffic and the flaws in the website due to which the traffic engagement is more or less.

The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing

So you have heard about Affiliate Marketing before and wondered how (and how much probably) can you earn from it, all from the comforts of your home? It looks shiny from the outside but trust me, it is as easy as slicing a cake neatly.

affiliate marketing in india like a pro

In this article, I am going to tell you what is Affiliate Marketing and how it works, what are the existing programs that you can benefit from and how to go about it like a pro. I will also take you through my personal affiliate accounts and show you my real earnings in order to give you some inspiration to get you started (not boasting here).

Let’s begin by understanding What is Affiliate Marketing all about and how it actually works.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a commission based revenue system where a third party (an affiliate) brings leads/sales to a product owner/company website.

It is a process of earning commission by promoting other people’s / company’s products.

In simpler terms –

  • You find a product you like,
  • You promote it to your audience and,
  • For every sale that is made because of you within your audience, you earn a profit commission from the product owner.

According to Wikipedia,

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.

Lets understand these four core players better:

Merchant

The one who owns the product / the creator of the product. The product can be anything ranging from SaaS applications to physical products (like shoes), it can also be a digital product (like ebooks). So basically, a merchant is someone who is selling a product online. In order to increase his sales online, a merchant is most likely open to get affiliates on his website.

Publisher/Affiliate

The one who takes up the product links from the merchant and promotes it within his own audience to send traffic to the merchant’s property (website). He uses different Digital Marketing campaigns and tactics to sell more of the merchant’s product and earns commission for doing the same.

Network

A platform or a place where both Merchants and Affiliates co exist, Merchants sign up to list their products in the affiliate program, and Affiliates sign up to find the products they like and enroll in the affiliate program. This network (platform) also settles the payments between merchants and the affiliates in a structured manner.

Customer

The one who makes the purchase on the merchant’s property (website) and completes a sale. This is the end customer who doesn’t know the relationship between an affiliate and merchant in most of the cases (though it is recommended for affiliates to disclose that they are promoting).

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Let’s say you have a website. You are driving traffic from various sources like Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Organic Traffic because of branding, and there could be many other sources like social media marketing, community engagement, etc.

affiliate marketing in India - how it works

Now there will be a time when you will exhaust the sources to gain more traffic or sales on your websites. More often than not, a digital marketer alone cannot drive all the possible sources of traffic to the website.

This could be due to:

  • Running out of marketing campaign ideas.
  • Exhausting different traffic sources to source from.

In this case, what should you do? This is when companies/websites rely on Affiliates to outsource more traffic. You could do revenue sharing with others who have traffic with them and benefit out of that. Now how will you do that?

affiliate marketing in india - how it works

Usually the format for affiliate links looks like this:

http://www.website.com?affiliate=1 (for say Affiliate #1) and http://www.website.com?affiliate=2 (for Affiliate #2).

The part after “?” in the URL is called tagging the URL so that the website owner can understand which Affiliate sends him the traffic/sale. Based on this knowledge, the website owner will give commission to the respective affiliate.

Now lets see an example:

Affiliate Marketing in India - how it works with website

Affiliate 1 and Affiliate 2 both sends traffic to the website http://www.website.com but the sale was made through Affiliate 1.

The website owner comes to know about this through the link with tag http://www.website.com?affiliate=1.

So, the affiliate commission is sent to Affiliate 1 because his traffic converted into a sale. It’s that simple.

Affiliate marketing in india - how it works with commission

Note that in most cases, Affiliate programs are not based on earnings per click. It is based on earnings per Lead or a Sale.

You will get a clearer idea when I show you the affiliate programs.

How to become an Affiliate? (Affiliate Networks and Programs)

There are four different ways to become an affiliate and start earning from them on a regular basis.

1. Look for Affiliate Links in Homepages

In many SaaS company websites or Product company websites, within the homepage (mostly in footer or Top Navigation Bar in some cases), find the link saying affiliate and click on it to learn more about their internal affiliate program. When you know the products you want to promote, this method makes more sense.

2. Join Affiliate Networks (Commission Junction, Impact Radius, etc)

Affiliate Networks are those platforms who have a lot of merchants and affiliates both registered with them. I have personally had better success with Affiliate Networks because their process is better than individual programs. Within Network, it is easy to manage the affiliate program than have individual affiliate accounts because in affiliate networks, all your payments are consolidated according to different commissions from different merchants.

3. Apply to become an affiliate with companies (some have hidden programs)

Some companies have a hidden affiliate program which they do not reveal on their website. But are open to new and qualified affiliates – because who does not want an increased revenue in the end? In this case, just send them an email inquiring about the affiliate program and if not in place, would they be interested to have one in place with you. Opportunities are endless here.

4. Have a well known blog and let people reach out to you (my personal method)

Since DigitalDeepak has become a well known brand among Digital Marketers, a lot of affiliate program owners reach out to me to ask if I can promote their product on my website. This helps me select the right products to promote as an affiliate and saves me time from reaching out to various other websites. Again, this is also what I am planning to use for my SaaS product company OptinChat. I am going to reach out to popular blogs and give them an affiliate link to grow my revenues and share it with them.

TOP Affiliate Networks where you can earn from

top 5 affiliate marketing networks

There are a lot of networks available online these days but I suggest these networks to be the best 5:

  1. Commission junction (CJ)
  2. Amazon Associates
  3. Impact Radius
  4. ClickBank
  5. ShareAsale

If you want an India-specific affiliate network, vCommision is a good affiliate network.

There are a lot of affiliate networks that you can search on google and find. When you have narrowed down your list of affiliate networks, go ahead and sign up and complete the process of on-boarding with them including payment info and basic details. Once you get started, you will start seeing your affiliate commissions grow as your audience starts making sales.

The first time I ever got an affiliate commission was through Commission Junction in 2008 – and it was the first time I ever made money using the internet. It was a cheque worth $25. Now a days, these companies send you money directly to your bank account if it is in India. There are a few technical documentations required to get paid in your bank account.

You have to submit a form called W8 BEN Form (so that you can receive money from US to your Indian bank account and comply with tax regulations. All this you will be able to figure out once you sign up for these affiliate programs.

Some Inspiration

Passive income is the best. Every morning when you wake up, you want to see how much you are making passively with just a little effort online.

I am not boasting but I am going to share my real screenshots with you to actually show you the commissions I made using Affiliate in different affiliate programs so that it inspires you to start earning your own commissions.

How I made $2,128 USD (1.37 Lakhs INR) in April 2017 from Commission Junction (CJ)

I have been advertising a few products on CJ and the results have been really decent. Just to add here, I really love CJ’s dashboard. I can just click on Advertisers in the top navigation and get a list of products I am promoting.

Clicking on Links gives me a list of links I created and I can create more links there. Anyway, this should be a part of another blog post where I tell you how CJ functions for affiliate marketing.

For this post, let me just click on Reports and show you the numbers:

Affiliate marketing in India - examples

As you can see, the payments issued to me for the last month was $2,128 which has come to my bank account. Also, there is $3058.70 more as balance amount which I will get in next settlement.

Here is the screenshot of amount I received from CJ:

Affiliate marketing in India - cash flow

You can see how CJ pays directly to Indian Bank account. This is about it for CJ.

How I made more commissions from Impact Radius and Amazon Associates

Let me show you my Impact Radius Account now:

affiliate marketing in india - impact radius example

I am relatively new to Impact Radius and yet to get my affiliate balances, but you can see I have made Rs. 211,174 from Impact Radius alone by promoting advertisers there.

Let me now take you inside my Amazon associates account:

affiliate marketing in india - amazon associates

I am not really active on Amazon associates but I have definitely put some links in a few blog posts here and there to earn a little amount from Amazon associates (Amazon’s affiliate program).

As you can see in the screenshot, I have earned Rs. 899 last month from Amazon associates India. This is not really good but better than nothing at least. Back in 2010-2011, I was earning close to $12K-13K from Amazon Associates Global as you can see in the screenshot below:

affiliate marketing in india - amazon associates

So, you can see how there lies a huge potential in earning commissions from affiliate programs – not just in India but globally.

Internal Affiliate Program: How a review of Drip led to $400+ in affiliate commissions.

Do one thing: go to google.com and search for “Drip.co review”.

You will see that my article (review of Drip.co) is ranking on top for this keyword. And when you click on this post and read the article, you will notice that I have placed affiliate link of Drip.co all over the blog article.

So, whenever people search for Drip.co review and land on my article, they click on Sign Up link on my blog (which is an affiliate link) and I earn commission for every sign up that goes from my blog to Drip.co. Note that I get 30% commission whenever someone becomes a Paid Customer of Drip.co from my blog post.

Affiliate marketing in india - internal affiliate program of Drip

As you can see in the screenshot, Drip uses an affiliate program management software called Get Ambassador which is helpful to manage internal affiliate programs for the product owners. I am planning to use this for OptinChat as well.

Moving ahead, you can see I have earned $429.60 last month and $110 is yet to be processed.

Last month, I was paid out $319.80 from Drip.co in their internal affiliate program. To do this yourself, you have to reach out to websites as inquire about their internal affiliate programs and then get approved for the same.

Next Action Steps for you:

1. Look for the top affiliate programs and networks and join them

This requires a process of Signing up and adhering to some technical policies by uploading some forms. The approval process might be tricky and will be based on how good your online record is. If you are a well known blogger, this will be a piece of cake. Make sure you are being compliant to all the steps required in the signing up process by the network.

2. Start a niche website to get approvals in place (email a request for approval)

Most of the times affiliate networks do not give approval because of a lot of fraudulent activities happening these days. People try to sign up using their own affiliate links and sometimes send fraudulent orders as well. So, to get approval, you need to have a good reputation and following.

Otherwise you can email them explaining:

  • How are you going to promote their products, and
  • What are the channels you are going to use to promote, etc.

This will make them gain trust in you and your approval will be easy.

It is better to have a niche website (like I have digitaldeepak.com) and show them the funnel for your website to get approval easily.

3. Make your first sale!

After you are approved for a few affiliate programs, go ahead and use all the Digital Marketing efforts to promote your links.

You can learn about Digital Marketing Basics in my free course. 🙂

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Affiliate Marketing

  1. Over Selling: Too much promotion is a bummer, it distracts and irritates your audience. You should rather help people with useful products that is relevant to them and let them buy as per their need.
  2. Sugar Coating: Don’t sugar coat around the product too much – be genuine about the products you are promoting. If your customer do not find the product useful as described by you, you can lose your own audience. So, be aware of the words you use.
  3. Too many Products: Avoid selling too many products – choose only those products that will be relevant to your target audience. It takes time to set up a regularly paying affiliate system for yourself but it is fruitful when started small.
  4. No Product Comparisons and Reviews: Make use of your promotion space by including comparison between 2-3 other similar products also in your reviews/promotions. Coming out with product reviews and comparisons and updating them with time will make sense for your audience and will make them buy more of those products from your affiliate link.
  5. No Testing and Tracking of Links: Not testing the flow of your promotions is a bad idea. You don’t want a broken flow. Also, never miss out on tracking your affiliate links. It is easy to get separate affiliate links for different pages (or different channels), this will help you in knowing which channel is working the best for you.

Source : http://digitaldeepak.com/affiliate-marketing

Do Digital Marketing Jobs Pay More Salary? Data Says Yes

You might have heard that digital marketing jobs pay higher salaries. But is it true? Because it is possible that people who sell digital marketing training programs and courses  are the ones touting that digital marketing is the next big thing.

You might also think that digital marketing is just a hype and it will not last long. Instead of debating this topic with opinions, let’s look at the data and facts. I have collected data from various sources and presenting it to you in this article, so you can see the truth for yourself.

We will also try to understand why digital marketing is in high demand. We will look at the change in consumer behavior, why brands need to change their marketing strategy and finally, how we, the digital marketers can benefit from the changing times.

Why Digital Marketing?

The change in consumer behavior has been very fast in the past 3-5 years. You can see the change all around you. Millions of consumers have started using the internet. There are more than 400 million internet users in India right now. The internet usage has been accelerated by the penetration of smartphones and low-cost computers.

A recent world bank report revealed that 26% of the population in India has access to the internet already (and this is 2015). China has 50.3% and the USA has 74.6%. Many European countries have 90%+ internet penetration. Norway tops the list with around 97% of the population having internet access.

There is no reason why India won’t get to 80% penetration in the next 10-20 years. That would 3X the size of the digital marketing industry in India.

You can see that the blue line in the graph is taking an exponential curve. The next 400 million internet users will come faster than we expect. There is a long way to go and the road looks beautiful. (Now you know why many internet startups in India are being hyper-funded).

When I had access to broadband internet, it was in the 2nd year of college. I had dial-up access to the internet as early as 2004. Today there are 8x more internet users on the web! (I feel old!)

We are mostly talking about the digital marketing job opportunities in this article, but if you are a businessman, you can see that why you cannot ignore India as a market. Many online entrepreneurs have focused on selling products to American and European customers ignoring India as a potential market. I am betting big on my country.

New telecom players in India like Jio have disrupted the market and have made the internet a utility than a luxury. Tough competition has forced other telecom operators to reduce prices as well.

The change was not this fast when TV & Radio came along. It took decades for every home to have a TV. But today, each one of us has multiple internet devices and multiple internet connections.

This pace doesn’t seem to slow down. Elon Musk plans to launch internet satellites into the orbit with the help of SpaceX by 2019. This will enable a low-cost, high-speed broadband access to a huge portion of the unconnected world.

If consumer behavior has changed, businesses have to change. Customers are the ultimate boss for every business. Without being in sync with their needs and behavior, no business can survive.

Why Brands Need to Change their Marketing Strategy

There is a huge need for brands to start advertising on the digital medium. The new generation is watching YouTube and rarely turns on the TV. They read blogs and not newspapers. They use apps like Facebook, Instagram to connect with friends and family. Such two-way communication apps weren’t even possible before the internet.

Brands need to advertise their products at places where consumers hang around. If brands keep spending money on hoardings, TV ads and newspaper ads, they will not be able to survive, let alone grow their business.

This change has forced many CEOs and Co-founders of startup companies to learn and execute digital marketing themselves. Startups cannot afford to be slow and they need to adapt to the change in market conditions. There is already a huge growth in digital marketing spends in India. Here’s a chart from MediaNama & Group M.

You can see that the growth of digital marketing spends resembles the growth of internet users in India. But the spending is lagging behind the actual user growth. And the reason why the digital marketing spends are not as high as it should be is because of the lack of digital marketers.

A large percentage of companies are still stuck with traditional marketing. Unlike startups, founders of large organizations cannot focus on digital marketing themselves because there are so many other things to take care of.

Their only hope is to hire an expert digital marketer who can build a digital marketing team. But the big companies are not finding enough qualified candidates who are experts in digital marketing. Could it be true? Let’s look at the data again…

The Shortage of Digital Marketing Talent

According to a report by Kstart and YourStory, the digital marketing industry is growing at 40% year-on-year as compared to 5-6% growth in many other industries.

Quoting from the report:

For Startups, digital marketing is a more viable option than traditional media because even with a small budget, businesses can test the effectiveness of their marketing strategy, control costs, and reach out to targeted prospects.

It’s why every type of business (big and small, old and new) is recognizing the importance of leveraging digital marketing. Not surprising then, that the digital media industry is growing at 40% y/y growth when other industries are struggling at 5% or 6%. – Kstart Report

According to another survey done by Kstart, 66% of respondents believed that finding good talent was a major bottleneck because a very few people ‘get’ digital marketing. Others felt there wasn’t enough talent in the market. Companies are clearly feeling a shortage when it comes to hiring talented digital marketers.

I have seen it happen within the companies that I’ve worked with and the stats are saying the same. A recent article in Times of India also proved the same fact that digital marketing skills have high demand but low supply.

If you start looking for sources that prove the lack of supply in digital marketing skills, you will find plenty on the web. I have given only two examples above. But you will not find any report with stats that say otherwise.

And you don’t need a report to help you believe that the marketing landscape is changing. You can observe what’s going on around you, and predict what’s coming next.

The Various Digital Marketing Roles

Brands need digital marketers to run their marketing campaigns online. And they are ready to pay a good price for it because the money they invest in efficient digital marketing would be much less than traditional marketing.

If a candidate with 2-3 years experience in digital marketing is earning 5 to 10 lakhs per annum, the company will make more than what they spend on the digital marketing talent. For them its an investment, not an expense. That’s where your value as a digital marketer lies. You are the one who will help companies make more money with efficient digital marketing.

Small companies may need just one or two digital marketers to handle their campaigns. Large companies or well funded early stage startups will need a digital marketing team.

Some of the top roles in digital marketing available today are:

  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Social Media Marketing Manager
  • SEO Expert
  • CRO Expert
  • Content Marketer
  • Email Marketer
  • Copywriter
  • Paid Ads Expert (Facebook & Google Ads)
  • Analytics Expert

If the organization is very big, the digital marketing manager will report to V.P of Marketing (or the Chief Marketing Officer). The titles may differ from place to place, but the nature of work remains the same.

This is how the digital marketing team is structured within the organization. If a company is small, multiple roles are taken up by the one digital marketer.

To learn more about the job specification of each role and how the digital marketing team would be structured, read this article: Digital Marketing Jobs & Career Opportunities in India.

What’s the Average Salary for Digital Marketers?

The salary of these positions differs with years of experience, the kind of company that is hiring and most importantly, the city in which you work. But I can confidently say that the salaries are definitely higher than other fields where the supply is more than the demand!

According to PayScale – an authoritative source of salary data, a digital marketer in Bangalore with a few years of experience will earn around 7.2 lakhs per annum. This is based on data collected from real people with real jobs, not an estimate.

In the past several working as a digital marketing manager in many startups, I’ve always got multiple job offers before joining any company – which is a clear indication that the demand is more than the supply. After I’ve left my last company Razorpay, they haven’t found a digital marketer to replace me yet!

I was being paid around 15-20 Lakhs per annum in the last 3 startups that I’ve worked for. The last offer I got was around 25 Lakhs per annum, which I declined, to work on my own projects.

Ready to Become a Digital Marketing Expert?

So it is time for you to become a digital marketer and become an expert on this subject. If you have digital marketing skills and do a bit of personal branding, there are plenty of awesome companies in India that would be ready to hire you! And you need not subscribe to expensive courses to become a digital marketer. You can become a self-made digital marketing expert.

I became an accidental digital marketing expert because I learned digital marketing to scale up my first motorcycling publication to 1m visitors a month. In the process of growing my blog, I learned social media marketing, SEO, email marketing and everything fell into place with my integrated digital marketing strategy.

Focus on learning and doing things. I’ve always recommended my students to start their own blog and practice digital marketing by running your own website. That’s how I became a digital marketer. That’s the easiest and fastest way to get started with learning digital marketing – and develop a passion for digital marketing.

source:http://digitaldeepak.com

Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

The 14 top rated digital marketing techniques for 2017 according to Smart Insights readers

In this article, I’ll take an in-depth look at what I see as the most significant trends in digital marketing for the year ahead. But, it’s not only my view, since I have ‘crowdsourced’ the importance of the different trends rated by the popularity of each trend.

To get our readers’ views on the most important trends at a top-level, we asked Smart Insights readers to give their opinion on the most important trends. We asked:

“Select one marketing activity that you think will give your business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017 (or your clients if you work for an agency or as a consultant)”.

Thanks if you shared your opinion, we had 2,352 responses from marketers around the world! Here are the results for 2017:

While this doesn’t have a controlled sample of our free research reports like Managing Digital Marketing, it does canvas opinion widely. Note that these trends aren’t necessarily the most important channel by volume of leads or sales, rather it is the tactic which will give the biggest increase in the year ahead, so it shows what is becoming more important. By asking for just one tactic, this helps shows the the top 3, 5 or 10 top-level trends.

To help the decision on which technique to choose, we expanded upon the short labels you see in the graph to help scope the response more carefully. For example, ‘Big Data’ is a nebulous term, but when we expanded the definition to include insight and predictive analytics, it shows the value of the specific marketing techniques for Big Data and this help explains why this is in position number two.  Here is the full listing of digital marketing techniques:

  • Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics)
  • Content marketing Communities (Branded niche or vertical communities)
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) / improving website experiences
  • Display (Banners on publishers, ad networks social media including retargeting and programmatic)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) marketing applications
  • Marketing Automation (incl CRM, behavioural Email marketing and web personalisation)
  • Mobile marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)
  • Paid search marketing, e.g. Google AdWords Pay Per Click
  • Online PR (including influencer outreach)
  • Partnerships including affiliate and co-marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or organic search)
  • Social media marketing including Social CRM and Social Customer Care
  • Wearables (e.g. Apple Watch, activity trackers, augmented reality)

In our Digital Channel Essentials Toolkits within our members’ area and our Digital Marketing Skills report we simplify digital marketing down to just 8 key techniques which are essential for businesses to manage today AND for individual marketers to develop skills. This visual shows the core techniques which will drive more leads and sales for you, but within some sectors, techniques like using AI, IoT, Wearables will be more important. 8 core digital marketing activities

The Top 14 marketing techniques in 2017?

Let’s now drill down into the key tactics and marketing technology within each of these tactics which will be important in 2017.

1. Content marketing trends

Content marketing has been in the top 3 for the last 3 years we have run this post, so we focus a lot on how to create an integrated content marketing strategy through advice in our content marketing toolkit.

Our research with HubSpot, illustrated in the Competing on Content infographic, shows that more businesses are now using a strategic approach (40%), so this is a trend we can expect to see continuing in 2017. We can also expect that there will be more focus on Measuring Content Marketing ROI as the cost and competition within content marketing increases.

At a practical level, Martech Guru Scott Brinker has talked about the 4th Wave of Content Marketing and I’m seeing more and more examples of interactive marketing apps – like our capability graders and also personalisation tools recommending content. Read his article, introducing it, a great read and you can check out the ionInteractive examples of interactive content marketing.

4th_wave_content_marketing_600

2. Big Data

As defined in our question, Big Data marketing applications include market and customer insight and predictive analytics.

The 3Vs of Big Data show why this is a key trend selected by many, who have experienced the increase in volume, real-time data and data formats in their business and want to exploit the value to increase sales through personalisation on websites and through email marketing through predictive analytics – a topic we have covered many times on our blog.  It’s also closely tied into machine learning where Big Data is mined to identify propensity to convert given different customer characteristics and behaviour.

Big Data

Image original source from Diya Soubra in a Data Science blog – The 3Vs that define Big Data

3. Marketing Automation (including CRM, behavioural email marketing and web personalisation)

Like content marketing, marketing automation has been in the top 3 for the last 5 years we have asked this question. Many businesses still have potential for improving their automation as our research on the State of Marketing Automation shows.

To help with this knowledge gap, I think I have given more webinars and talks on Marketing Automation than on any other topic in 2016. The most common questions at the end are ‘where do we start’ and ‘how do we get to the next level’. These questions are answered in our Email marketing and marketing automation toolkit which includes a free interactive capability review to score your use of email marketing automation. As businesses progress up the learning curve I expect more businesses to be putting lead scoring in place, or refining it and learning the best places on the journey to feature content through predictive analytics.

4. Mobile marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)

Mobile was in the top 3 three years ago, but as more companies have adopted mobile responsive web design and email templates they have seen less need to focus on it, or at least there are fewer opportunities for growth.

However, research shows that retail conversion rates are significantly lower on smartphone, so there is work to be done for many businesses to optimise conversion on mobile, although they will likely always stay lower than desktop.

Mobile also has a large impact on search marketing as Google vigorously follows its mobile first mantra. To me, it’s a somewhat misleading mantra, since the reality is that many web users are still using desktop, laptop and tablet devices and there is a danger with mobile responsive designs that conversion on higher resolution screens may fall if mobile optimised. Instead, leading companies are looking at adaptive mobile design approaches which have the benefit of serving more relevant, contextual content and CTAs for users and reducing load times.

‘Mobile first’ is also misleading if we look at the overall customer journey since often different devices may be involved at different points. So a better vision for mobile strategy is treating it as part of a multiplatform or multichannel strategy. As this data from comScore highlighted in our mobile marketing statistics research shows, the multiplatform ribbons for all countries are much broader than users who are mobile only or desktop only.

5. Social media marketing including Social CRM and Social Customer Care

When I meet marketers at events and training I find there is still huge interest in social media, thanks to its reach and options to engage audiences and encourage advocacy or ‘social media amplification’ to give it the full treatment.

Our social media research statistics summary shows continued growth in social media usage overall, but with reduced popularity of some social networks in some countries. For example Twitter and Facebook are in decline or plateauing in many western markets while Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are still growing in usage.

Trends in social media marketing are often controlled by the efforts of the social networks to monetise and this has seen Facebook and Instagram, in particular make changes such that businesses now need to ‘pay to play’ to get the reach needed to have an impact. They have continued to innovate in their targeting and remarketing options. Jason DeMeyers has these interesting views on social media trends for 2017.

6. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) / improving website experiences

This is the technique I selected a year ago as the way Smart Insights would see the most growth from in the year ahead. It’s higher in popularity than previous years, but I still wonder whether many businesses are missing out on a more data-driven approach to increase leads and sales from their websites.

I saw this chart of the volume of structured tests presented by a major multichannel retailer who wanted to scale the number of tests they were running. It a great way to show the need to test extensively since only a third have a positive test. It also shows how competitors may be getting ahead if they are testing more extensively.

7. Internet of Things (IoT) marketing applications

IoT is one of the most important marketing technology applications of the last 2-3 years, but it is of most relevance to devices makers and retailers, so it is relatively high-up in this ranking of priorities.

There are expected to be 75 billion connected devices by 2020, meaning there will be ten times as many devices able to talk to one another as there will be people on the planet! The implications are huge and far ranging. All this sharing of data will transform the way we live our lives.

Our article covering opportunities and examples of marketing applications of the Internet of Things has this useful summary of alternative applications:

Smart Products Road Map

8. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or organic search)

Mobile marketing SEO techniques will be particularly important in 2017 with Google’s recent announcements about the mobile index and AMP. We have seen huge increases in AMP smartphone traffic since September 2016 when Google rolled AMPs out beyond Google News. AMPs are targeted at publishers, but should be considered by businesses with an active blog too in my opinion.

We have been covering these announcements and improvements in our other alert posts:

9. Wearables

Wearables are one of the hottest consumer consumable commodities (e.g. Apple Watch, activity trackers, augmented reality)

10. Paid search marketing

Google AdWords is the most important form of Pay Per Click and here Google has been pursuing their ‘Mobile-first’ strategy by building out these features.

11. Online PR (including influencer outreach)

Online PR today is inextricably linked with Content marketing, SEO and Social media, or it should be. But this doesn’t get a top rating since the others are important.

 12. Communities

These are branded niche or vertical communities.

13. Display advertising

This includes banners on publishers, ad networks social media including retargeting and programmatic.

14. Partnerships including affiliate and co-marketing

A neglected aspect of digital marketing, perhaps unsurprisingly unsexy.

Other trends

This is an interesting category since readers can tell us what we’re missing. Suggestions here include:

  • Account Based Marketing (ABM) – relevant for B2B marketers targeting large accounts we have a new guide in our B2B toolkit on this early in the new year.
  • Digital OOH (Out-of-home) – A surprising one for the number one technique
  • Employee advocacy and feedback – interesting to see the internal marketing perspective – again surprising to see as the main growth point
  • Machine Learning – as mentioned at the top of the article
  • Omnichannel and multichannel attribution – both good for reminding us that it is the way that these channels work together to support each other that is often most important – the reason why many members are looking for advice on an integrated marketing strategy

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.