The WordJack Team’s Predictions for Online Marketing in 2014I asked the online marketing experts on the WordJack team what they thought went especially well with our small business clients in 2013 and what their predictions are for online marketing in 2014. We thought you might be interested in some of their answers, and we’re not a company that likes to keep secrets, so here are a few tips from the insiders!

What types of online marketing services became more popular for WordJack clients toward the end of 2013?

  • We started putting a lot of emphasis on Focus Pages (a WordJack technique for creating website pages that are optimized for a specific keyword) in 2013, and we saw lots of SEO improvements across the board as a result. I also saw amazing ranking improvements with video distribution for many of my clients.
    –Cindy M., Marketing Manager
  • We made lots and lots of website updates for our clients last year! The reasons behind the edits are varied; we may have been creating a page to target a specific keyword on search engines or adding a new product the client was starting to offer to their customers. But the bottom line is that businesses need the ability to regularly update their site (either by themselves or by having a partner who can do it for them), and if your site doesn’t allow you to do this, it’s not doing its job!
    -Isaac P., Co-Founder & Production Manager

Types of online marketing campaignsWhat types of online marketing campaigns do you find to be most effective for small businesses?

  • This would totally depend upon what type of business it is. If it’s a company with a storefront where they can get continuous activity and return customers, I believe social media is huge. If it’s the roofer, window replacement, septic tank, or gutter guy, then I believe its SEO.
    –Bonnie M., Media Consultant
  • It’s all about getting found! Building solid organic search rankings and getting to the first page of search engine results is the best bang for the buck. It doesn’t have the instant gratification of PPC advertising, but it’s much more effective in the long run.
    –Shannon M., Marketing Manager
  • This is probably the hardest one for small businesses to stomach, but the answer is that there isn’t a single marketing campaign silver bullet.  The only marketing campaigns that work for small businesses are fully integrated ones that focus on search, social, mobile, email, and (wait for it . . .) even offline activities.
    –Matt J., Co-Founder & Sales Manager

Which new online marketing channel/opportunity has come along slower then you expected?

  • Pinterest. For all the engagement on that site, I have found it especially challenging to make it an effective marketing tool for local businesses.
    -Shannon M., Marketing Manager
  • Mobile marketing & Google +.
    -Cindy Martin, Marketing Manager &
    Sarah P., Production Coordinator
  • I did a quick (unscientific but random) review of 15 small, local businesses to see what percentage of their website traffic is coming from mobile today, and in only one case was the mobile percentage above 50%. The rest averaged out to less than a quarter of all searches, when you include both mobile phones and tablets. Not to say mobile isn’t extremely important for the future–I’m just saying that, for our clients, mobile hasn’t lived up to the hype . . . yet.
    -Matt J., Co-Founder & Sales Manager

Biggest growing area of online marketingWhat do you expect to be the biggest growing area of online marketing in 2014?

  • I won’t tell you everyone’s moving to mobile, and desktop usage is dead. Nor will I tell you that Pinterest and Google+ are so rapidly growing that you can forget about Facebook. “More diversity” is the biggest certainty of 2014, in my view. More people will use mobile and desktop than one or the other. More people will use multiple social/sharing platforms than just one. The impact of all this for online marketing is to ensure you are not focusing all your efforts on a single method for finding new customers. Whether we’re talking email marketing, web videos, SMS, Twitter, or mobile websites, they are all remaining relevant, as usage of all of these grows in aggregate.
    -Isaac P., Co-Founder & Production Manager
  • More and more people are using mobile devices . . . I also think that eventually someone is going to develop a mobile advertising vehicle for local businesses that works for more industries than restaurants, coffee houses, or hotels.  I also think integration of social to all other aspects of marketing will continue to grow. Again, this isn’t a new concept, but something that local businesses have been a bit slower to comprehend and accept. As social signals play more into the world of search optimization (something small businesses care A LOT about), the importance of an integrated social strategy will be too important to ignore.
    –Matt J., Co-Founder & Sales Manager
  • In terms of search engines, I’m watching Yahoo results like a hawk. I see them driving a lot more traffic to my clients’ websites than they did 2 years ago.
    -Shannon M., Marketing Manager

How do you expect local business marketing to differ from larger brand marketing in 2014?

  • I don’t expect this situation to change in 2014. While large brands can afford to throw money at every type of marketing at once (like ridiculously expensive TV commercials), smaller/local brands direct a small amount of money toward 1 or 2 avenues at a time. They assess the value & only keep going with marketing that proves to be a high value for a low cost.
    -Sarah P., Production Coordinator
  • Web marketing can be much cheaper and more effective for small businesses, if it’s done right. The right web marketing will bring in more inbound leads than a larger brand marketing campaign.
    -Dano A., Marketing Manager

Online marketing adviceWhat online marketing advice would you give to local business owners for the coming year?

  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If they might want a specific piece of info, make sure you provide it on your website (example: DIY plumbing tips). Don’t always focus on what will translate to money– focus on relevance and helpful information, and profits /clients will automatically follow.
    –Brandon B., SEO Specialist
  • Invest in ongoing SEO and social media. Search engines are putting ever-increasing emphasis on social media presences and activity. It’s an investment and a long game to get strong results, but there is a payload waiting for you at the end of the rainbow.
    –Shannon M., Marketing Manager
  • 1. Make sure you have an integrated online campaign and spread your budget across all online marketing activities—paid and unpaid.
    2. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile and search engines.
    3. Create and distribute videos to promote your business and get quick SEO gains.
    4. Be social! Today’s ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising is very powerful and now has SEO benefit.
    5. E-mail marketing—make sure you’re collecting customer emails and sending newsletters and promotions to your subscribers.
    -Cindy M., Marketing Manager
  • Write more SEO-rich pages of keyword content for your website, keep building all your social sites, and run additional Pay-Per-Click campaigns to keep leads coming in through all channels.
    -Dano A., Marketing Manager
  • Become a Wordjack Media client, so you don’t have to worry about all the changes that are happening online. We’ll just take care of it for you!
    –Bonnie M., Media Consultant
  • There’s always a temptation to get a little too grand when it comes to predictions about future trends. Looking at the new gadgets and stories coming out of the CES in Las Vegas at the moment, it would be tempting to predict we’ll be wearing augmented reality glasses and getting pizza delivered by drone before 2015 arrives . . . Settle down! My advice is to not get too carried away with what people are “talking up” as the fastest-growing area of the web or technology. The same principles of marketing still apply as they always have — who are my potential customers? How can I communicate with them? You may be asking your customers for their email address and sending them weekly specials to come back and buy from you. Is it sexy and new? No. Is it an effective strategy for a well-targeted group of people? Hell yes!
    -Isaac P., Co-Founder & Production Manager
  • Take a diversified approach to your online marketing.  Everything is intertwined now (search, social, content, etc.), so it isn’t just an issue of missing out on a few leads from an ignored channel . . . that ignored channel actually can negatively impact all the other marketing channels you are using. Also, get some help. Your time is too valuable, and you need to focus on your core business.  You can’t go wrong with Cindy, Dano, or Shannon!
    –Matt J., Co-Founder & Sales Manager
  • Don’t give up or stop! It’s important to have a presence in all the different places your customers are looking, and you need to be updating your social pages and website regularly. Keep adding and working on them a little at a time. Even if your website looks great and is getting a lot of searches, keep making it better and adding new content if you want to keep getting those results.
    -Sarah P., Production Coordinator

WordJack Media provides a wide range of website design and online marketing solutions to clients throughout Canada and the US, including Collingwood ON, Ottawa ON, Barrie ON, Miami FL, Lakeland FL, Orlando FL, Charlotte NC, Hickory NC, Asheville NC and more. Contact WordJack Media today for more information about how we can help your business win on the web!

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