EFFECTIVE MARKETING

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We’ve been talking about how business is shaping up, both past and future and what trends are taking shape – but what about Internet marketing? How are the trends predicted to develop over the next year or so and how can you ensure that you are keeping up with the latest developments?

Here’s a quick rundown on what’s predicted to be hot in Internet marketing this year and what you should focus your marketing efforts on...

More personalised SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is likely to become even more focused and personalised in the coming year as web content grows in volume. Search engines may demand more detail such as the date of publication of a web site, a more precise geographical location and consumer behaviour trends. They may also use social media to incorporate things like recommendations from friends and so on, as an addition to your searches.

If you want my advice, you should concentrate on creating links and optimising keywords and anything else that will optimise your site with the major search engines. Most people still rely solely on the organic listings when they are searching the Internet and most only view the first page, so it is vital that you concentrate on bumping your site up the listings if you want to enjoy success.

Email marketing trends

Email marketing is set to continue and evolve, since it’s so cheap and easy for business owners to run an email marketing campaign. Not only that, but consumers are accustomed to email marketing and generally expect to be contacted in this way.

If you don’t do so already, you’d be strongly advised to get into providing newsletters and ezines for your subscribers and invest some time into developing your email format and the content of your messages. The standard of email marketing will continue to improve as time goes on so it’s vital that you invest time, money and energy into this activity if you want to compete and communicate on the right level with your customers. Don’t send out shoddy, unprofessional emails.

Pay per click

While we won’t see the end of pay per click, I think we will see more competition away from Google and Yahoo for our advertising money as more search engines provide pay per click search capabilities. We are also more likely to see a trend for businesses to invest more in creating good rankings in the organic listings since this is cheaper and frankly much more effective as a means of marketing a business.

We may see advertising costs going down as competition hots up and this can only be a good thing for individual businesses.

Social networking

Like it or not, social networking is here to stay and we’ve seen a huge trend toward it in the past couple of years. More and more people are turning to sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and make new contacts and business partnerships. It can be a good place to market your business, if only because of the power of word of mouth recommendations when people are talking about your business and your products.

If you haven’t already, I would suggest you at least experiment with social networking, because it is offers such huge potential. It’s not for everyone, admittedly, but you will never know unless you have a go!

Interactive media

Video and audio is increasing dramatically online and it seems to be very successful for a lot of businesses. The great thing is that it can be used alongside other methods of marketing your business and it doesn’t take much effort to incorporate a few video clips onto your web site.

Video, particularly can be very memorable and can be used to start a viral marketing campaign that could put your message in front of thousands of prospective customers. Well worth the effort, I think!

One tip though – make sure it is optional for your visitors. No one wants to be forced to watch or listen to a video clip that starts automatically when you click onto a site. I’ve frequently clicked away from a site, never to return because of this...

Blogging

Blogging is becoming more popular but I’m not sure it has the marketing power that many believe it has. There are so many blogs out there – who has the time to read them all?

You may be better to invest your time into creating more personal and much more powerful and informative newsletters for your current subscribers and innovating ways to get them to recommend you than writing blogs that may or may not bring results.

Blogs are worth a try but don’t invest too much time in them to the detriment of other, more profitable activities.

Building customer relations

Finally, and most importantly, the best way to market your business is to continue to develop your relationship with your customers and create trust. This is the most productive thing you can do to build your business.

If you can get your customers to recommend you to others, you are sure to succeed, so find ways to make your messages viral with freebies, vouchers, rewards and so on.