Times are changing and successful B2B marketers need to stay ahead of the online marketing game.
What’s the latest thinking in SEO and social media marketing? What should your company be focusing on to make sure you are claiming a decent chunk of relevant online traffic?
Here are 6 major trends to keep an eye on!
1. Value Creation
Creating huge amounts of content, using keywords will increase your rank and get you more traffic. At the moment, as a general rule, more blogging = more traffic. But, with Google’s increased focus on personal endorsements and social signals, the sheer amount of content (with keywords) you produce may no longer suffice to secure you your first page placement.
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Successful online marketers will have to shift their focus from ‘content creation’ to ‘value creation’. Meaning, more creative, unique, useful and insightful content will be needed to achieve first page status.
Marketers should consider investing more in finding out exactly what content target buyers really like and consume. Those most in tune with their target audience’s needs will be the ones who get found.
2. The Rise of The Community
With the shift in importance from “mechanical” SEO to social relationships, online relationship building will be a key focus of any successful online marketing strategy.
Already, successful online marketers are spending more time and resources cultivating, participating and engaging in targeted communities (LinkedIn groups, Google Communities and cultivating relevant, interested Twitter followings).
Building and maintaining communities and relationships online will need to be a core skill of the successful B2B marketer. Those using communities purely as a content distribution method rather than creating real value that culivates relationships, will be found out and left behind. This change in approach will bring a whole new level of personalisation to online marketing and a near end to mass marketing in the online space.
A prime B2C example of this in practice is Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm which determines what to serve on your news feed based on your relationships with other people in your network. This aims to deliver a highly valuable and personal experience for the users. Furthermore, the introduction of Facebooks ‘graph search’ application, allows users to search for content within their personal network, another indication of how important relationships will be in online marketing.
Successful businesses already recognise the importance of the ‘social graph’ and tap into the benefits of maximising personal social relationships online. Expect to see similar developments in the B2B social media world.
3. Content Types
As highlighted, key to successful relationship building and first page Google rankings is in creating super-valuable content. Valuable content can be delivered in many ways and different people, situations and devices prefer different formats.
B2B marketers providing a range of content types from infographics, to video, to the good old-fashioned blog to suit the audiences wants; gain a greater share of online traffic and sales and get ahead of their competitors.
For online marketers, this means they will need to develop their skill sets or broaden their providers to include areas like video production, image editing and infographic creation.
4. Stop Gaming Google
SEO will become a consequence of great online marketing rather than a goal. Those who focus on the manipulation of tactics to ‘game’ Google will fall behind and their SEO attempts will not work.
Keywords will still be important, as search engines will still need to decipher what the page/content is about, but keyword density and other such tactics will become less influential as communities begin to come into focus as information platforms, and search engines rely more and more on social signals to determine value.
The online marketer’s focus will therefore need to shift from pleasing Google to pleasing the audience, which, because Google’s algorithms use social cues, will then result in consequently pleasing Google anyway!
5. The Rise of the Individual Expert
The rise in importance in online relationship building will place more emphasis on an individual’s influence in their area of specialty. Experts and thought leaders who produce the most valuable content will emerge and will inevitably be highly ranked by search engines and communities based on their social rank.
These individuals will be highly employable. Smart B2B marketers are already focusing on their Klout scores and Google’s author rank, as they have picked up on the fact that personal online reputation impacts search rank, social reach and online influence.
Building relationships, reputation and leveraging social rank also benefits organisations as it is these relationships that generate the right to have a sales conversation with a prospect.
6. The Expectant Buyer
Buyers will continue to have higher expectations of companies. Instant response times, useful content and non-interruption based personalised marketing will become the norm.
Those marketers that ignore these customer expectations will not only lose out on sales, but will irritate and annoy their potential customers, generating a poor reputation, weaker online relationships and will be shunned not only by the buyers that they attempt to hassle, but by search engines and online communities too.
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What do you think the upcoming trends are for 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts – please comment below.