Top Marketing Trends for 2014

It’s time to play the annual guessing game: What will be the marketing trends in the coming year After some internal discussion and external research, four themes really stand out for 2014: providing quality content online, mobile optimization, visual social media sites and video content.

It is vital to generate quality content for marketing materials, social media, blogs and websites. Content marketing helps build awareness, engage customers and improve lead quality and quantity. One of the reasons quality content will be important is because of the release of an updated search algorithm from Google®, called Hummingbird. With more people using voice search on mobile devices, Google found that ranking by links, keywords and the standard search engine optimization, or SEO, protocols didn’t always get the information users needed.

Hummingbird is meant to better understand normal speech and use it in searches. This means that simply pushing out content filled with keywords and links will no longer guarantee you a top spot in search results. The content you provide should be something customers and prospects will value and share, and written the way you and your customers talk.

A key phrase I just used is “mobile devices.” With ever more web traffic and email interaction conducted via smartphones and tablets, online content must be optimized for mobile users. Talk with your webmaster and make sure your sites are mobile-friendly. Then, take a look at the marketing emails you send to ensure they’re mobile-friendly as well. Use a single-column format. Keep your copy short and tight. Make your call to action simple, and make it a button – it’s easier for big fingers to tap a big button than small hyper-linked type.

Now, let’s discuss what you’ll actually be showing customers in 2014. Visually interacting and providing easily shareable visual content is one of the growing trends in marketing. Be sure to think about how you can bring more visual communication into your online marketing plans. Perhaps you can post a picture of every person who you close on a house with, or post photos from one of your open houses.

Of course, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth millions. In the last three years alone, mobile video traffic has increased 5,000%. With the introduction of Vine® from Twitter®, video features from Instagram® and the continued growth of content on YouTube®, video is proving to be the most powerful online tool available for visual sharing. According to the YouOn group, upon first going to a website, the average time spent by a user is 48 seconds – unless there’s video, in which case the average time spent increases to 5 minutes and 50 seconds.

Make sure you focus on quality, not quantity…especially quality content. Don’t post hundreds of videos just for the sake of having them. Customers need to value the content for it to be successful, so center your efforts on posting informative, entertaining and helpful videos that your contacts will want to share.

Now that you’ve learned where marketing is going in the year ahead, what plans do you have to capitalize on these trends? Remember: offer quality content. Consider mobile users. Include great visuals. And get into video. You’ll be on one of the surest pathways to marketing success in 2014.

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