2013 Online Marketing Trends

The online marketing trends for 2013 are already a hot topic of conversation across many blogs and social networks.  Marketing pros and gurus the world over are talking about what will surely make or break your success.

Before I get into the trends, we need to first have an honest discussion.  We need to clear the air.  Get it out in the open, and any other cliche about setting the table with the truth.

See, the thing is that in the SMB market we can often forgot about trends altogether. 

So many small businesses don’t even have basic marketing principles in place.  Talking about how the latest trends can help is a non starter.  There’s a cliche for that too…

Gotta walk before you run.

When NOT to Use a Marketing Trend

Here’s what I mean.  Today I’m examining a website that was submitted through our company’s “Free SEO evaluation.”  Forget about keyword targeted title tags, depth of page content and all the other on-page SEO elements we look for.  This site didn’t even have basic marketing messages in place.

How do you expect to compel someone to call you for services if they can’t find your phone number!?

To be fair, the business owner was reaching out for help, which is the first step in solving a problem.  (I wonder how many cliches I can work into this?)

Still, I am always amazed at how far some businesses can make it with no discernible marketing whatsoever.  My amazement is short lived when I learn how many businesses fail every year, but I digress.

There’s another item we should go over before discussing 2013 marketing trends.  Marketing doesn’t change just because it is done online.  Too many people think that marketing principles change with the marketing vehicle.

They don’t.

Display advertisements are no different online than they are offline.  The considerations are the same.  Context, competition, and the four P’s will play just a large a role in an online ad campaign as in a magazine ad.

It seems that a conversation about marketing best practices is often overlooked just because we’re talking about websites instead of mailers and magazines.

Since we’re talking about 2013 trends here, I won’t belabor the point.  But make sure you have a brand package that marries the look and feel of your company with the core messaging.  Pay attention to where you are marketing your wares and to whom.  Answer these basic questions and then – and only then – start in on the latest and greatest.

2013 Online Marketing Trends To Follow

It’s the content, Stupid – I know, I know…content is king, blah, blah, blah.  But here’s the thing – we’re not just using content because we have to crank out super awesome articles that wow every reader into a buying frenzy.  For 2013, businesses need to understand how to use content strategically, as part of SEO, PPC, and Social Media planning.
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  • Build keyword targeted blog posts for SEO.
  • Syndicate your RSS feed to, well, wherever will accept your RSS feed.
  • Build PPC landing pages that improve Google Quality Scores by targeting the landing page copy to the ad copy and keyword targets.
  • Integrate your blog – There are still companies out there who maintain blogs that are on separate sites from your company website.

[/list]

By the way, a subdomain is a completely separate site to Google!

When you have blog.yourcompany.com for your blog and yourcompany.com for your corporate website, you have two distinct websites.  To build an authority site and to use the content factory that your blog is, they must be one and the same.  Move blog.yourcompany.com to yourcompany.com/blog.

Integrate your blog with SEO – Every single blog post should be targeted to a specific keyword.  There are seven (7) elements on every blog post that should be optimized.
[list type=”check”]

  • Headline
  • Body copy
  • ALT text
  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Tags
  • Category

[/list]

Make sure your target keyword, or a variation of it, is represented in each of these seven areas.  Of course, start with a keyword that has solid traffic, not a ton of competition and has some semblance of market viability.  (If you have no idea what I just said, visit Moz for a primer on keyword research – Oh, then come back here…)

Create a social link footprint – Once you have a new optimized blog post published, push that post out to various social networks to create a social link footprint.  The list is endless, but start with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and Delicious.  That’d be a good start.

Do this over and over with each blog post.  Link relevant blog posts to one another.  Over time this will create a huge social media footprint.  And if your content is any good, it will also generate some interest.

Syndicate video – Videos are too easy to make not to do this.  Using iMovie you can add images, music, text and graphics to produce great looking videos in no time at all.  But even if you don’t do that at all…even if you just whip out the Flip Video and grab a couple minutes of a good video message, do it.

Then get that video out there.  Use a tool like One Load to syndicate your video to all of the major video services including YouTube, Vimeo, and the rest.  Every single video should have a keyword rich title and a description that begins with a fully qualified url.

DON’T use social media – Ha!  Catch you off guard?  Here’s the thing…at the top of this post, I was going on about how many companies don’t even have basic tags on their website.    If your home page is titled “Home,” this means you!

Unless you have each of the following, you shouldn’t even be thinking about social media:

  • Basic SEO done on your website
  • A blog integrated into your site
  • Google Analytics set up
  • A well thought out call-to-action on your site
  • A draft marketing plan
  • A content development plan
  • List of target keywords for static pages and for future blog posts

These things are the basic building blocks of online marketing.  If you’re going to spend time following a 2013 marketing trend, I’d say these pieces are mandatory.  Just don’t worry about creating a great Facebook page and cranking out Tweets unless you take care of these fundamentals first.

USE social media – You knew I’d come around!  If you have the aforementioned fundamentals in place, then proceed with social media.  Build your Facebook page, Twitter page, Google+ page, etc.

The trend for social media is to use it for communications.  Use your website/blog as your information hub and your social media outlets to develop relationships.  Yes, you can think of it like a hub and spoke.  Your website and blog are the hub and your social media outlets are the spokes.

Use news releases – This has been around for years, but is still a great way to get your company out there and build authority back links to your site.  Once a month, write a newsworthy press release about some topic.  Get creative.  You can make anything newsworthy.  Once you have 500 words, post the release to PRWeb.com.  Make sure to use a target keyword in your headline, in your abstract and in the body copy.  Then link back to your site with text links that match your target keyword.

Content Marketing Trends

As I think more about it, the trends for the upcoming year are not really for 2013.  Most of them are timeless.  Well, at least the part about core marketing planning.  Still, how many years have we been talking about content?  My bet is that content will continue to drive our efforts.  What is changing is what we are doing with the content and how it fits into our overall online marketing strategy.

Year 2000 – write an article and make the title your keyword.  Done.

Year 2005 – write an article, post it to a few article repositories with links back to an optimized page.  Done.

Year 2008 – Write an article, post it to a few hundred articles, re-written a few times.  Done.

Year 2010 – Don’t write articles unless they are written by a phd and have been blessed by the Pope himself.  Done.

Year 2012 – Consistently put out new keyword targeted blog posts and syndicate to your social channels.  Done.

See what I mean?  It’s always been about content.  We’re just changing how and to whom.

The trends for 2013 are centered around creating content and then constructing a social footprint to build your online presence and to also help build the authority and credibility of your website.

So what did I miss?