Prediction #1) Search Engine Optimization will continue to provide top ROI for internet marketing.
Image via CrunchBaseSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) and posting service will continue to be the most productive for converting internet prospects into customers. SEO has always been the bread and butter of online marketers and businesses. This is because search engine users place a high value on organic placement. I believe that SEO will continue to be rated as the most cost-effective means of attracting visitors to your website or landing page. For several years now, SEO has shown to be unmovable as the best way to get clicks to your website. This includes search clicks where somebody “actually” purchases something from your website. Several research studies in 2011 reported that more business traffic was generated by organic key word Searches than other types of internet marketing. Of course, you still have to have a compelling landing page and a desirable product, but this has always been the case.
Secondly, the aforementioned studies also listed organic ranking as being the most trusted by consumers with regard to the legitimacy of the ad listing. There is no doubt in my mind that this trend will continue in 2012. My advice to you is this; if you’re selling products on the internet, make SEO the centerpiece of your internet ad budget. If you want to make the phone ring, it starts with organic ranking. I’m not saying all your internet advertising money should be in SEO; that's unwise, but SEO should be part of your mix. Leaving it out would be a tremendous mistake.
Prediction #2) Websites will be upgraded in unheard of numbers!
Image by Sean MacEntee via FlickrIt has been my experience that business owners, (especially small businesses) are usually slow to make website changes. For an internet business to be profitable today, it must embrace change as part of its everyday marketing strategy. Around the middle of 2010, many businesses started to update their websites. This trend started for two extremely important reasons. First, many businesses have ignored their websites for several years, (5+ years in many cases). Many businesses are cyclical, and the website creation industry is one of them. We are entering a time where many websites have been stuck with an early turn of the century look and feel.
Now businesses are moving towards a more current and active content look. A look and feel I call current content centric. Most businesses amortized website expenditures over a five-year period. If they are not amortized, they are still looked at as five-year assets. My company saw a significant increase in the amount of website refresh work during 2005. We started seeing an increase in this type of work again in late 2010. I believe businesses were holding back because of the slow economy but are now faced with websites that are not producing results. Most are moving to either totally recreate their websites look and feel, or they are opting to create multiple landing pages that address individual issues. I look forward to seeing businesses finally making the plunge to refresh, rebuild or create new landing pages that convert prospects into customers. My advice to all businesses is to refresh your website in 2012. Even if it’s just a color and wording refresh. If you choose to do-nothing, beware, your competition will be making these changes, and they will be taking your market share.
Prediction #3) Internet usages will become more mobile than ever before.
You’ve heard people say the phrase, “there’s an App for that." With more than 250,000 smart phone apps out there, smart phones will just continue to get smarter. As smart phones acquire more functions, our dependence on them will grow. In the year 2000, there were only 250 million internet users and about 500 million mobile subscribers. By the end of 2011, there were two billion internet users. It is also estimated that in, 2011, the number of cell phone subscribers reached more than 5 billion. When smart phones become the de-facto type of cell phone, cellular internet users will far exceed the number of stationary internet users by a large margin. My advice should be a no brainier for any business. Make sure your website is mobile enable now and start taking advantage of this enormous untapped market. If you don’t heed this lesson now, you will regret it sooner than later.
Prediction #4) YouTube will become a new power broker for small business marketing in 2012.
Today, the number one visited destination on the internet after Google's search is YouTube, (also owned by Google). Websites that have videos on YouTube receive an additional ranking consideration versus websites that don’t. Many studies have shown that people prefer video’s over text by a large margin. Internet studies have shown that more people will click on a video before text or audio listings for the same information, even when text and audio are ranked higher. Other studies show that seventy percent of our population has a preference for pictures. The remaining 30 percent prefer either audio, touch or the written word. The internet is full of Cinderella stories about startups that have made it big with internet video.
Image via CrunchBaseLarge companies usually don’t use videos to explain their product or service. They devote a full website for that product to explain it instead. The vast majority of YouTube videos are created by amateurs. This hasn’t stopped people from watching them. Again, YouTube garners a billion visits a day. Savvy companies are now running to create YouTube videos that are short, succinct and touting their wares. Small businesses are creating YouTube videos in record numbers. This is helping them garner prospects and customer loyalty. My advice for any business is this; don’t be left behind. Start making useful, informative or funny YouTube videos about your products. Most laptops and cell phones have built in video cameras. Good video cameras are relatively inexpensive! If you feel you’re not up to the video production task, hire a professional. They will be able to help you create your library of YouTube videos that show off your products or services. Not sure what to say or do in your videos? That’s OK. There are numerous internet professionals who can write, create, and produce an outstanding internet video for you. On top of that, video production costs are down by a factor of 10, compared to what it was just ten years ago. Mark my word, video is already a big deal, make it part of your strategy and win big too.
In this article, I have provided four website marketing trends that I believe are unfolding before our eyes. In the past, I have used my predictions as part of my own marketing strategy. My accuracy over the last 30 years has been exceptionally high. I have sometimes missed the mark on the timeline, but I have rarely been wrong at predicting what will eventually take place. These four predictions should make sense to my readers. I have provided my reasoning and my research addressing why I believe these events will take place. I trust my research, and I trust my ability to spot trends. It is my uncanny ability to spot trend's before “they take off " that has undoubtedly paid off for me in the past. By taking advantage of these predictions and by adjusting your strategy, you will win more customers and beat your competition to the punch. Get some help to develop your marketing plan if you feel you need it. Put in place all the necessary elements needed to implement your strategy. If you do all these things, your website will produce profits like never before.
That’s my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.