Q: What are the most significant trends in the online marketing industry in 2012? Are things as easy as they once were to make money… or are there NEW ideas that must be implemented to keep up the same level of success?
A: This is a very common question that comes in through our articles, blog posts and even newsletter subscribers. The truth is, if you are a passion professional or online entrepreneur working in the brand, blog or business building industry, you NEED to know what’s working NOW… and what doesn’t work anymore as well.
I want to share with you 3 key trends that are critically important in my own business, and that I truly believe each and every successful business owner (or online agency) must adopt as soon as possible, or run the risk of being trampled… and left behind by those who are.
1 – Communities are Critical
No longer are static websites, or even simple blogs enough to stand out in your space. You have to think community FIRST and set up the infrastructure for creating an interactive environment where your users can become content creators and evangelists for your blog, your brand and your business. The good news is, the Facebook style marketing model can be EASILY implemented on all blogs running WordPress (the most widely used blogging platform in the world) with free plugins that can transform your blog into an interactive community in just about an hour. (if you’re slow!)
2 – Dynamic Browsing Environments
It used to be that marketers didn’t have to think about design all that much… as the direct response mantra was design didn’t matter. (think back to the long, text heavy sales pages of yesteryear that are still being used by some marketing “gurus” in 2012)
The truth is, in my own business, I’m seeing first hand how much design, and cross device access is transforming my own communities, and conversions as well. According to recent statistics, about HALF of the 900 million Facebook users access the site a significant portion of the time through mobile or an iPad (or similar reader) device. Unless you are creating responsive, or adaptive environments that scale to the screens of your users, you are going to exponentially increase your bounce rates, lose readers and of course, suffer from an SEO standpoint as a result. (as page stickiness is a huge factor in determining how relevant your pages are to the searches that are sending you the traffic)
3 – Control What You Create
Short sited marketing strategists are foregoing traditional blogs and websites for social profiles and social media brand building instead. The truth is, this is a HUGE mistake, as if you don’t control the content you create, you run the risk of losing it all, at the whim of someone else’s agenda or business goals. For example? I’ve seen people who have build a huge presence on Facebook lose it all overnight… when FB decided to take down their page. Or those that built entire business around sites like Squidoo or HubPages or even purely on the article directories… only to find when those sites are slapped or punished, you suffer as well.
When you control what you create, and own the places where you publish, you RARELY run the risk of being put out of business due to factors outside of your control. Using social media as a supplemental strategy is SMART. But using it as a sole strategy is super silly… and very short sited as well.