Last week I had a talk with internet marketing friends about internet milestones. The question, “What is the future of online marketing?” came up. This is how I answered that question.
8 years ago most people didn’t talk about spending a weekend at home watching countless hours of their favorite TV shows on Netflix.
8 years ago the iPhone didn’t even exist.
NBC News, captured two images of the inauguration of Popes—one from 8 years ago when the world last had a new Pope. You can definitely see the difference.
So this brings up an interesting question. What is the future of online marketing?
One thing is certain; the Internet will only play an even larger role in our lives.
Don’t believe me?
Regardless of politics, this country has been arguing over a website for the last couple of weeks. Yes, Healthcare.gov.
Obama says the product is good… the website not so much. Republicans say it’s a complete disaster. But regardless of who’s right, they are talking about a website on national TV!
With that being said, here are my predictions about where I see online marketing going in the future.
What is the future of online marketing? The answer is in website design
Design is essential in online marketing. Before you can even think about SEO or conversion rates, you need to bring in traffic. One of the best ways to do that is through eye catching, attention grabbing designs. We know that Facebook posts with great graphics get more engagement and I don’t see that going away anytime soon. Also, twitter is now starting to show images in the news feed. Already, Instagram and Pinterest are nothing but photos and design.
Great design is also a great way to build trust with your target audience. For example, Mint, a personal finance website, initially didn’t have all the security features in place, but they had a great design and people trusted the website. Think about it, would you enter your info on page that looks like www.savewalterwhite.com? Okay maybe if your a Breaking Bad fan, but you get the point.
Local marketing will become even more important
For those who are curious about “What is the future of online marketing?”, it is important to look into local review websites. I don’t see local review sites going anywhere. They are the “eyes” of the online world. I do however see daily rewards sites going away. But I think local reviews will become even more important and critical to a growing a business. This will be especially critical in the service industry.
This is because a review contains human elements and has the ability to solidify the reputation of a company.
Businesses aren’t the only ones that like local reviews. People like them too! Travelers are always interested in what the locals are doing when they visit a city. People who just moved into a new apartment from a different part of town want to do what everyone else around the area is doing. Without friends around, the next best thing is to scout for reviews.
Mobile is the future
Two-thirds of cell-phone owning Americans use their phones to surf the Web and check e-mail, according to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That’s twice as much from 2009, when only 31% of people said they used their phones to go online.
But people aren’t using phones as a secondary way to check the news or send off a quick e-mail. According to Pew, 21% of phone owners use their devices as their primary way of accessing the Internet, more than PCs and tablets.
I don’t see that number going down anytime soon. On the contrary, I think it’s going to keep growing.
Pay to play
When people ask me, “What is the future of online marketing?” I tell them a bit about social media. Yes, social media is free, well kind of. But at the end of the day Facebook is a business, Twitter is a business, Google is a business and they all need to make some money.
For example, I constantly see Facebook asking me to boost my posts.
In the future, I see it hard to drive free organic traffic. I really think it’s going to be a combination of the two. So if you want to have success online you’re going to have to spend some money.
Questions instead of phrases
I recently, saw this commercial and a light bull went off.
People are really searching for phrases; but they are also searching for questions on Google, yet most spend time trying to drive traffic by using words instead of questions.
People don’t think in phrases, they think in questions. They don’t think in keywords or variations of optimized phrases. Yet that’s how SEO tends to occur. While it is important to keep a website optimized for the sake of relevancy, I think the keywords of the future will look more like questions. rather than phrases.
So think about what questions your customers are asking and create content around it. Just make sure that it’s relevant and actually answers the question.
The future of online marketing has a common theme, practicality and accessibility. People want relevant and fresh content to be readily available anytime, anywhere on any type of device. Getting the results you want from a website still comes down to how well you know your target audience. Let me know what you think in the comments below.