All organizations must continue to adapt their marketing strategies to remain current and in front of their audiences. Not adapting your digital marketing strategies will result in missed opportunities online, which is a significant problem considering the majority of people go online for business searches.
“How Digital Marketing integrates with other marketing channels is the biggest challenge of implementing digital marketing I see, more challenging than any other tactics for specific channels,” said Dave Chaffey, a five-time bestselling author on digital marketing. “It requires leaders to define a vision of how channels will integrate and the transformation needed to make the most of digital marketing. In other words, it needs a long-term strategy.”
Mobile websites are no longer optional for 2014. “Half of all people in the U.S. own a smartphone; one third of internet users own a tablet,” wrote DeMers, founder of AudienceBloom, a successful content marketing and social media agency. “More people will routinely access the internet via a mobile device than the number of people who do so via a desktop computer.”
Consumers are using their smartphones and tablets more to research and book travel arrangements, and internet traffic on mobile devices is expected to increase rapidly. Therefore, 2014 is the year to prioritize your mobile marketing strategy. While mobile is not a marketing channel in itself, it should be the backbone behind your digital marketing tactics.
“If content is ‘King,’ then design is ‘Queen,’” a keen observation by Griffiths from DCI and we could not agree more. Progressive organizations are transforming their content-heavy websites to ensure they are easy on the eye and easily searchable, so simplicity of design and homepage layout will matter more than ever. In 2014, websites are expected to adapt to responsive web design and HTML5-friendly codes. Responsive design is the approach that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, orientation and platform.
“Besides mobile-ready design, website speed is becoming more important,” said DeMers in an article from Search Engine Journal. “As the average internet user expects faster speeds, they have less patience.” A poor user experience can be caused by the growing frustration of slow-loading websites, which is why the load speed of websites is one of the growing factors in Google’s ranking algorithm. Great design and site download time are key elements of the user experience and must be made a priority.
“Content is the fire, social media the gasoline!” Creating a social media presence without prior strategic thinking and content creation will counter your digital marketing efforts. Social media has become a required element of an effective digital marketing approach for travel and hospitality brands, but there must be effective and interactive content to begin.
In 2014, social media isn’t going anywhere but up. It is gaining a great deal of traction that is only expected to continue to increase. “With the introduction of Google Plus two years ago, it was easy to see that social signals were becoming more important to search,” said DeMers in the Search Engine Journal article. Human rank is hard to gain, so by increasing the influence of social media interaction, the search engines are essentially outsourcing the evaluation process of content to a large extent. This means they no longer manually control content ranking, but instead allow the organizations on social media to control it.
“Tactics – specific ways to build links or to write code – are becoming less and less valuable” stated DeMers. “It’s fair to say that this has been the direction of SEO for a long time now, but it’s becoming increasingly true.” This doesn’t mean that these strategies don’t matter, but it’s your choice between the different strategies that can make all the difference.
The focus is shifting to the organizational long-term strategies. What is your content, link building, authority and social strategies for 2014? Collectively, these individual answers make up the foundation of a successful site to build upon. If your tactics aren’t driven by an overall strategy, meaning it implements multiple approaches at the same time, then it is less likely to work.
Don’t get left behind! 2014 is the year for digital to shine, so plan ahead with these four digital strategies.