It’s a brand new year, and you know what that means. In the marketing world, that means we have plenty of new ideas to sift through. It’s the time of the year when goals are set, plans get solidified, and trends are selected.
This comes just in time too, since marketing is always becoming more and more challenging every year. With new advancements in tech all the time, the way we do things has to adapt or die.
Remember when we could market out products on social media for free? Those days are gone. And even if you do pay for the right to post advertisements on their platforms, these days Facebook and Google don’t guarantee success. And Instagram is oversaturated.
What’s a marketing specialist to do? What are entrepreneurs supposed to do?
Well, luckily we have the answers right here, in this highly detailed guide. We’re going to cover several marketing hacks that are sure to still work in this ever-changing 2019 landscape, so you don’t have to fumble around in the dark wondering what to do.
Let’s get started.
Stop Repeating the Same Mistakes
What’s the number one thing you hear when creating marketing funnels? That’s right, remarketing. It’s meant to unstick the people who somehow get stuck on a step within the funnel. People who didn’t convert, for whatever reason, are often directed…
Well, they’re directed right back to the page that didn’t have them convert in the first place. No wonder remarketing doesn’t really work as well as we marketers would like to think. Instead, try something new.
More specifically, try the opposite pitch. If your pitch was all about logic, make it about emotions this time. For example, animal adoption ads are always emotional. They appeal to the loving side in all of us who simply wants to care for these animals and save them from the alternative. But imagine a logical ad for animal adoption. Imagine if it was just a bunch of statistics.
“6.5 million animals wind up in American shelters every year. 1.5 million of them get euthanized annually. Only 3.2 million are actually adopted.”
Does it hit home? Sure. It’s rooted in truth, those numbers are actually real, as revealed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, note, there is no emotional appeal there. There is no correlation between the reader’s actions, and the statistics given.
Now read this:
“Approximately 6.5 million animals wind up in American shelters every year. A whopping 1.5 million are euthanized due to a variety of health complications, old age, mistreatment, or worse still, no interest from adoptees. Help change these numbers by saving an animal today. Visit your local animal shelter to see if you can meet your new best friend.”
Ah-ha, now we’re talking. This is why the animal adoption ads are always emotional. This explains the Sarah McLachlan song.
In other words, if your pitch is falling flat, change it. Change it to appeal to whatever is the opposite before launching your remarketing campaign, and stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Remarket With Video
We touched a little on remarketing, so let’s dive into that. Did you know that video is actually super valuable in terms of remarketing? It’s an amazing way of showing your audience something, rather than just hoping they can tap into their imaginations when you use an analogy, or example, within the copy.
Which means you can show them videos of what it would be like to be your customers…
As on the nose as it is, it’s actually quite useful. No wonder so many companies do it. You’ve probably even seen it recently. Just think of all the PlayStation and Xbox commercials. In every commercial, players are holding their controllers like their lives depend on it. They’re shooting and looting, taking down enemies, sneaking, you name it.
Or Apple commercials, those are great examples. In every commercial, they’re showing you how active you could be with Apple Watch, how everything counts toward those rings closing on the screen, including running after your children.
So, if you take away anything from this section, let it be this: video is a must, but it should be five minutes or less, because people value their time. Show them what you need to show them to prove that your products matter, and always show them what it’s like to be your customer. Well created video pairs well with brilliant copy, so hop to it.
One-Step Checkouts Aren’t the Answer
Okay, for starters let me apologize on behalf of all the well-intended marketing advice articles you’ve ever read. Let it be known now that I, for one, try to steer you in the right direction. Everything I know, everything I’ve struggled with, I’ve been very adamant about teaching.
That being said, sometimes information is contextual. When I say that your checkout process should be streamlined, I mean it should be as hassle-free as humanly possible. It should be easy to buy things from you, because otherwise someone else is going to get your sale.
But see, many resources will claim that to simplify, you need one-step checkout. Sure, it’s nice, it’s certainly helpful. You can do that if you want...
But 2-step allows you to get more information, which psychologically, they’re more inclined to give to you anyway, because they started the process already. And then you can turn right around and email them about their abandoned cart, should it come to that.
It really does come down to context. Simple checkout means easy as pie, but adding a second page to checkout doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no longer easy. It’s just a tiny bit longer, that’s all.
If you’re running a big company, you probably don’t need that second page. Go ahead and stick to one-step. But if you’re running a small mom and pop shop, use the two-step checkout process. It will allow you to get more details on your audience, so you can reach out and remind them you’re around.
Use Those Sidebar Links
I’ve pointed out the use of heat maps before, especially for bloggers. In fact, I did so on my landing page guide, which you should check out should you have a few minutes to spare. They are these tools that allow you to see where your customers tend to linger on your page.
Studies have continuously shown us that people tend to stick to key areas, such as the top right corner of a website. In fact, we love to read sites in an “f” pattern, where we view the top, the left hand side, and then certain areas in the middle of the page.
Now, that tells us two things: 1) putting a sidebar on the right side of your website is not going to be very fruitful, since people don’t tend to focus on that side, but 2) if you have a versatile theme, you can flip your layout and place the sidebar on the left.
And when you do this, make sure that you add links to every single page of your blog. Why? Because otherwise, those pages are tucked away in the dropdown menu, which barely anyone actually uses. If it’s right there, right in front of them on the left-hand side, they will be more inclined to notice and click.
Keep Those Emails Flowing
Email marketing may get overlooked quite a bit these days, you know, because we’re just so advanced technologically, but you’d do your business a great disservice if you didn’t do it. Turns out, email has earned its place since its inception, and it’s kept it, even in this day and age where robots vacuum our floors, and AI give us measurement conversions on the fly while we cook.
See, email has key benefits. It’s direct communication without the need of a phone number or plan. It’s a reliable means of communication, since most people keep their email for years, because it’s such a hassle to change otherwise. And most importantly, it allows you to share relevant information, such as new product launches, event details, coupons and discounts, etc. All of which encourages engagement from your audience.
But perhaps the best thing about email marketing is that you can add certain elements to double the traffic. Many entrepreneurs swear by adding chatbots to it, because if you have 2,000 visitors per month, chatbots could add in another 1,000.
Well, chatbots have higher click-through rates than email does, for starters. By pairing them both, you’re upping your chances of gaining more traffic and engagement. Give it a try, and if you’re really feeling bold, add in push notifications to the mix as well. You may find the additional boost even more rewarding.
As a side note, these tricks are the types of things that digital marketing consultants live for. If you don’t feel confident in your ability or time to figure out these hacks on a regular basis, it may be a wise investment to hire a consultant to steer you in the right direction.
Use Google Suggest Keywords
Then you can take those specific phrases and integrate them in your content, such as blog posts, video descriptions, and landing pages.
This hack should generate more traffic within the first two months, assuming you do it correctly. That is to say, you should be adjusting content to be relevant to the long-tail phrases, you can’t just toss them in there without actually providing that specific information.
Behold the Brand Queries
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Whatever your market or niche, there’s something that holds true across the board: brand queries matter.
The more people type in your brand name into a Google search, the more they click on your website, the faster your ranking scales up.
Makes sense, right? You’re in demand, you’re being searched for, you’re gaining popularity. That’s good for you, and great for Google, because their #1 goal is to give people exactly what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
But in order to get those brand queries, you kind of need to get some PR stunts going. That means pulling off an event that’s really meant to get people’s attention on what you have to offer. There are many PR agencies that provide these are services for their clients.
And if you ever want to know whether or not it’s working, you can Google your own brand. If you see your website climbing and climbing, then you’re on the right track. But if you’re not seeing results after 3 months, you may need to sit down with the PR staff and figure out a new approach.
You Have 24 Hours
Not to sound like a nag or anything, but YouTube gives you 24 hours to make a difference. If you haven’t done it in 24 hours, it stops caring about you.
Harsh, I know, but the honest truth.
Well, not with YouTube. You’re expected to get engagement and views the second you’re done uploading something on the platform. In fact, you get a rank right away, and you continue to scale according to how things go.
That’s why it’s so important to promote things. You should be announcing your video long before publishing it. Once you do, you should be emailing people about it, adding it into your newsletter, even blogging about it. You could even add it to the push notification list.
Whatever you do, make sure you make those first 24 hours count.
Facebook measures your “worthiness” in many terms. It uses your views, your likes, your friend count, sure. But the most important measurement that it has is your comments. The more you have, the more views your videos get, since they go hand-in-hand. So if you have more video views, you’ll likely have more reach with your status updates and posts.
You can see where this is going: everything is connected. It may seem like a small metric, the comments, but Facebook knows that if you have that in check, then everything else is rank worthy too.
That means you should be doing a series of things to get those comments up:
Such as plainly asking people to leave a simple comment responding to your question in the video. Let it be your CTA.
Or hosting a giveaway and having them comment as part of the requirements.
Always posting content that is comment worthy: that means high quality, top notch content that people naturally want to engage with.
It doesn’t matter what their comment is, whether it’s long or short, positive or not. Only the sheer quantity of comments count. The whole point is that they are helping increase your ranking. So, don’t ask anyone to leave a sentence or paragraph. You’ll get fewer comments that way.
Being Tricky With Dates
That’s right, something as simple as a date can make a massive difference in your digital marketing. And your content marketing, for that matter, since it’s connected, especially in this instance.
So bloggers, listen up: you need to aim for a better click-through rate than any other listing. That means you should be constantly competing with other blogs, aiming to get better engagement from people at all times.
Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the name of the game for an entrepreneur in general. You always keep an eye on the competition, and you always aim higher. It’s how you stay sharp, informed, and motivated.
But… how does one get a better click-through rate anyway?
By playing around with dates. Here’s what I mean: adding the year to your title tag lets people know if your content is updates regularly. It instills confidence that if they follow your blog, and keep reading, that they’ll always have new content to read.
“The Ultimate List of Top Digital Marketing Trends” is nice, but it’s never going to outdo “The Ultimate List of The Top Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends In 2019.”
That means that as soon as the new year hits, you should be updating your content to keep it relevant and fresh. Otherwise, it could hurt your conversion rate.
In the same vein of playing with dates, please refrain from putting dates in your URLs. Remove the ones you have in there now, and your traffic will skyrocket by a pretty large margin within the next 30 days.
Because Google looks at your URL and sees the dates before the topics of the blog posts. Then it assumes your post must be related to the date, rather than the topic, as if it’s more important. By removing it altogether, you’re avoiding this confusion, and essentially telling Google what the topic is, so it can better rank you accordingly.
Nothing has changed with SEO in 2019. It’s still very much driven by links, and will continue to as long as possible since it’s becoming harder to build them.
Still, the best way to go about this is by using something called link intersecting. This is essentially the act of finding out who links to your competitors, but not you.
If someone is out there posting 2-3 links of your competitors’, then you’re in good standinding. Clearly, they aren’t there advocating for one brand specifically, they’re just adding in relevant links. Chances are they are simply unaware about your brand.
You could easily drum up conversation and get your link added in. Something along the lines of “I really enjoyed your article, it’s very informative. I wanted to reach out to let you know I may have some relevant content for you to link in here, however. Perhaps your audience could benefit from it?”
It is also customary to exchange the favor, so if you get your link added into their post, expect to name drop them in one of yours eventually. It’s a mutual favor, one that helps with backlinks and SEO, so everyone wins in the end.
If you’re looking for a tool that makes link intersects easier, consider Link Intersect by Ahrefs. It’s a paid service, but it will come in handy, and serve you extremely well. It may be worth the money, if your budget allows.
Subdirectories For the Win
People love subdomains. It’s part of the main website, but it’s considered its own thing by search engines across the internet, making it possible for people to use when for organizations and brands, or even in situations where they don’t want parts of their website being indexed by Google.
However, what you may not know is that Google prioritizes subfolders more. That means changing blog.wintergames.com to wintergames.com/blog is bound to increase your search traffic. In fact, you could see results within the first week or two.
Of course, if you go this route, that means you’ll need to change internal links to the new URL, and 301 redirect the old URLs to the new ones. Don’t miss this step, especially if you have established readers! Otherwise you leave them hanging, and no one likes that.
Build Your Personal Brand
Do you know who is behind Target? How about Walmart, or Starbucks? Chances are high that you don’t, because in the world of big corporate, all anyone sees is the giant company as an entity. If Target announces store remodels, everyone considers the whole company as a living, breathing thing, essentially remodeling itself.
And a lot of people have issues with that.
Big corporate makes it easier to get what we need, sure, whether it’s clothing, food, home cleaning items, or dishwasher packs, but it also makes smaller businesses suffer for it. In fact, it kills them off, more often than not. They’re able to move more product, more variety, for cheaper than their smaller counterparts.
But see, those smaller counterparts? They’re run by people we know. We see their faces, we know their names. We love their products not only because they’re unique, only found in those stores specifically, often handmade, but because we know who’s behind them. They have stories, unlike anything we buy in Walmart.
This is why so many people gravitate toward personal brands. Social media accounts that focus on personal brands get more engagement and follows than their corporate counterparts.
That means if you’re planning a product launch, tell people about it in detail. Tell them how you came up with it and why. Were you at a coffee shop in town, figuring out what to design next? Or were you pacing around your apartment in frustration for weeks, until you came up with a solution to your own problem, that you now want to help others solve?
Just remember two things: 1) Wear your heart on your sleeve. That means be honest, be detailed, and aim to make friends before customers. And 2) a personal brand is harder to sell and grow into a billion dollar company. Small, personal brands often stay small and personal. If this isn’t a dealbreaker for you, move right along.
LinkedIn Loves Video
LinkedIn is more than social media. It’s a tool with many purposes. It’s used for networking within your niche. It’s used for posting articles relating to your market, so fellow entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from you, essentially positioning you as an industry leader. It’s also used as a way to digitally convey what you’re about, in resume form, to the world.
But did you know that LinkedIn can be used as more than a resume, a message sender, and occasional article post tool? In fact, video has been proven to get upwards of 3 times the engagement than text on the platform.
That means if you want more traffic from LinkedIn, you should be using video to your advantage. What type of content is your competition posting?
And what are they not covering?
There’s always some sort of gap in the market. Some content that no one’s thought about yet. And the minute you do, and post it, you’ve set yourself apart from the pack. You have set the new bar, commanded attention. Use it to your advantage.
And when your competition begins to copy you, start the cycle over again. Look for another gap, take a minute to really design up your content, and then go for it.
Courses Over Books
That’s right, courses and things like journeys, convert better than ebooks. But before you go toss your ebook ideas in the trash, know this: ebooks still convert well.
They are valuable leads, and certainly help boost sales, as well as your position as an industry leader. But by comparison, if we’re really splitting hairs here, then courses and journeys are your best bet.
Why is that?
Well, consider the fact that a 30-day course offers more content than your average, short ebook, for one thing. People learn something new, take notes, apply what they’ve learned, and get homework questions that allow them to really reflect on their business decisions. You’re essentially giving out your lessons learned in exchange for email information, which could then turn into sales.
Journeys like “Follow My Journey to 80 lbs Lost,” are interesting, and allow people to see firsthand everything that went into achieving that specific goal. They get the dirty truth, the details, the introspection, the thoughts at every stage. That’s a great way to learn what you could potentially be putting yourself through, before going through with it yourself.
In other words, there’s a lot that goes into digital marketing, much of it which will generate some sort of interest from the public at large. But there are some key decisions that make more of a difference than others. Should you still finish your ebook and use it as a lead magnet? Absolutely. But don’t expect to write 20 ebooks and have them all make a difference. Instead, use whatever gives people more value for the same transaction (email exchange), because that will change your numbers dramatically, at a much faster rate.
Marketing is like a living, breathing microorganism. It changes all the time, adapting to its surroundings. And because our digital landscape changes from day to day, it’s no wonder so many entrepreneurs fail to keep up.
The good news is that no matter the changes, there are still tactics out there that have been in use since the very beginning. And the odds of those going anywhere are slim to none for a variety of reasons.
This is great news for your business.
Just be prepared to try new trends as well. Things that you’ve never even considered possible before. If something is trending, jump on that bandwagon and ride it for views and engagement as long as it’s relevant.
And also, keep in mind that even if you’re still using old tricks, those tricks are likely to adapt as well. We used to spam people with our emails in the 90’s. It wasn’t until the spam folder came into existence that companies adapted accordingly.
Is email still being used?
Absolutely, but in a different way. It’s now the major driver of newsletters and giveaway announcements, as well as blog updates and the like. Sales announcements are also staples. In other words, rather than telling people to buy something, and annoying them, we now entice them with freebies full of value and interest. Relevancy is key to getting people’s attention, and eventually, their loyalty.
So, remember, every year poses new marketing opportunities. You either adapt, or your business begins to pay the price. As long as you keep your eyes open, use what works, and think outside the box from time to time, you’ll be just fine. And if somehow you’re still drowning, remember there’s always outside help. Consultants and freelancers alike are available to help plan out your year, set up marketing campaigns, and create content geared toward your audience.
Which old tactic do you consider a goodie that isn’t going anywhere, and why? How about any new tactics that have shown promising results so far?
Let me know in the comments section below, I love hearing from you all!