Top Digital Trends for 2014Posted by Jason Hawkins / February 2, 2014
2014 is now well underway, so it’s time to consider how your business will tackle the coming twelve months in the virtual world. Where are the smart businesses investing in online and what may give you the edge? With massive leaps in digital over the last 2 years in both physical devices and online technologies, in our opinion, the next twelve months will see a maturing of the existing online channels and technologies, rather than any knockout punch from a single player. So lets take a look at our top 6 trends for 2014.
1. The continued rise of mobile and multi-device
Whilst this is nothing many don’t already know, the use of mobile and tablet devices continue to grow. Research states that upwards of 17% of visitors to a website are now via mobile device, an increase of more than 6% over the previous 12 month period. However, we have many clients who are stating that over 30% of users are visiting their website via a mobile device.
So if you are not converting your website to work well on mobile, or in the process of reinventing your website to adapt to mobile devices, then you are missing at least 20% of your potential customers. There are a few ways to converting an existing site, so don’t hesitate to talk to your digital team to just get it done before the year gets away from you.
2. Social Media & Search Growth
Once again, this is an ongoing opportunity for business owners to engage with existing customers and attract new business through the use of social media channels such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest (to name a few). For many marketers, however, finding the right approach is still challenging. During the past twelve months we have seen clients successfully build their ‘likes’ but not result in intended sales growth. Others have built very successful social apps that have increased public awareness and followers by 1000%.
Moving into 2014, the overarching trend in this space is that businesses that have put off engaging in social are now scrambling to compete with new entrants that are stealing market share using creative social strategies. As a result, many are left with no option but to pay to advertise in these channels. Facebook, Twitter will be the biggest winners, with businesses owners having no choice but to open their cheque books.
Our advice is to focus on creating content that your market will find engaging, get this content flowing through your website, then use a multi-channel strategy to test each opportunity, track the performance and follow success!
3. Automated marketing
Imagine if your sales team could work 24/7 and you didn’t have to pay them overtime! With the rise of impressive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, this is beginning to become a reality. With some clever strategies and a creative approach, many business owners are turning to automated marketing systems to do the initial grunt work, filter out tyre-kickers and work the enquiries that are going to convert into business. Two years ago, this technology approach was extremely costly to implement, but now is very accessible to small business.
Success on the web means responding more quickly than your competitors to enquiry, using automation gives you a boost and increases conversion. We have seen some great results throughout 2013 and anticipate this technology will continue to grow.
4. Use of Cloud Software and Apps
‘Cloud’ is crossing the digital divide and now many businesses are using cloud applications and services in various aspects of their operations or sales and marketing. These services offer a huge opportunity to cut costs, work smarter and grow faster benefiting from the large number of users all tapping into each ‘cloud’ solution from across the globe.
Whether it be accounting software, document storage, backup, sales and project systems, no longer do business have to invest in the purchase and maintenance of large servers. ‘The cloud’ will easily overcome security concerns that have slowed acceptance in recent years and take centre stage. What this space!
5. Content is still the King (again)
With search engines such as Google giving preferential treatment to websites that publish regular ‘fresh’ content that is unique and recommended by ‘real people’, it is critical for businesses to introduce into their marketing mix for 2014 a content publishing strategy. Why? Engaging content forms the backbone for being able to build your market share through your website, blogs, press, search and social. Get it right and the sales will flow!
It’s not easy and takes time, energy and creative approach, but the rewards will be well worth the effort.
6. Success through Strategy
With the digital landscape changing so rapidly, it is very easy for business owners and marketers to be blinded by the hype of the latest app or buzz on the web rather than be methodical about how to achieve real results. Those businesses that do well, monitor their performance statistics closely and plan for the ‘digital year ahead’. In some instances it may mean review and rework of the base first, ie. getting that website shining. Then is becomes a case of mapping out which elements of your marketing strategy will include digital, attaching timeline to get each task done and doing it. If you don’t try, you will never know.
But it always helps to get your plan down on paper first, so you can compare over the course of the year, what worked and what didn’t.
Have a great 2014!