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It seems like just a few days ago that I was accessorized with all the gold and sparkly jewelry that my roommate and I owned and ringing in the New Year. In fact, it was just a few days ago, but 2014 has already taken off running in the online marketing industry.
I assume most of you small to medium business owners are looking ahead at your 2014 marketing game plan. But 12 months of planning can seem extensive. Where do you begin? Will the same tactics used last year be as effective? What’s the “new trend” that you should be jumping in on?
With remnants of glitter on my face and my office’s January Healthy Lunch Challenge fueling me, I am here to help you navigate what is IN and OUT for 2014 in the online marketing world!
IN: Optimizing Ad Extensions
When managing your pay per click (PPC) campaigns, you should know that ad extensions are now a component of Ad Rank. With that, you should take some time this year to optimize your ad extensions.
OUT: Ignoring Mobile Sites
With the recent Hummingbird update, Google is hinting at the important of accessible content across multiple devices (especially mobile). If you don’t have a mobile site already, you should consider it this first month. Optimizing for desktop and mobile searches can increase your rank and conversion rates!
IN: Using Time Sensitive Calls to Action
This can be a tactic for both your organic and paid online marketing efforts. While the big holiday sales and sprees of the holiday season may be over, add a sense of urgency for users to visit and contact your small business. Incorporating a time sensitive component in your ads or calls to action with special New Year offers encourages online users to act fast.
OUT: Accepting Google+ As a Flop
While the search engine giant’s social networking platform may not have attracted the masses that flock to Twitter and Facebook during every sports event, throughout each Bachelor episode, and before high school reunions, Google+ is not something to be ignored by businesses. Posting and creating content for Google+ should be a component of your 2014 plan because Google itself runs it—there is an incentive for the search giant to reward businesses that engage on their own platform (it’s win-win!).
IN: Understanding Semantic & Entity Search
It’s important to be aware of the growing role of semantic and entity search, which will no doubt impact the 2014 strategies you use for your small business. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, here’s a quick de-brief.
Essentially, Google is focusing more on understanding the meaning behind a user’s search in order to connect them with the most appropriate content. Previously, Google put a heavy emphasis on matching keywords within a query to a web page, but the search engine will only be moving more and more away from this in the future.
What does that mean for your company’s web presence? Connect with your customers on social media platforms, create optimized content that proves your brand as an authority, and enrich the mobile experience for users.
OUT: Neglecting to Track Your Visits and Conversions
Whether you closed out 2013 strong or had to pinch some pennies to finish out the quarter, having accountable marketing efforts in 2014 is still important. While it may seem risky at first to pour thousands into a PPC campaign budget or hire an SEO company to write five blog posts per month, the beauty of online marketing efforts is that they can be tracked to measure cost per visit, cost per lead, cost per click, cost per conversion, and so much more with call tracking!
Call tracking allows you to analyze every single advertising strategy by its cost-effectiveness. With dynamic phone numbers on your website, you can find out what’s working and improve your advertising ROI.
IN: Schema.org for HTML5
While HTML5 is no news for 2014, it’s still just as important. With that, schema markup is a growing trend and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using it on your website!
While simply having schema markup on your website doesn’t mean your site will automatically rank better, it makes it easier for search engines to interpret content and, therefore, be more likely to be included in the search results for a related query.
Get a Killer 2014 Online Marketing Plan
Staying on top of these trends can be a full-time job in itself. If you’re having difficulty finding the time to develop an effective online marketing plan on top of running your small to medium sized business, contact the experts at Blue Corona!
We can become your virtual online marketing manager and ensure that your company is taking advantage of the cutting edge SEO, PPC, and website trends (in addition to our long-standing online marketing formula). Ready to increase your online presence, get more leads, and make your phone ring? Call us before your competitors do!
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About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson