8 Trends That Will Change How You View Web Marketing In 2016

8 Trends That Will Change How You View Web Marketing In 2016

By Alain Parcan

As we celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Website, now's a good of a time as any to reflect how much Website Marketing trends have changed - not just in the last quarter century, but in the last year alone.

Here's a comprehensive list of the 8 Web trends pet care companies need to know about as we head into 2016:

Trending Up

Responsive Website Design

According to Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults own a smartphone of some kind, which doesn’t take into account the amount of tablet users. Point being, the mobile trend has shown no sign of stopping and should continue into 2016. So if you’re ready to upgrade your site, then Responsive Website design is a must-have in order to impress anyone who is scanning Websites from their phones or tablets. Studies show that if a visitor lands on a site that is difficult to navigate and requires zooming in/out, they’ll simply exit out and move on to a new site.

Moreover, Google has firmly hitched their wagon to the mobile trend. Since April 2015, mobile-readiness has been considered a ranking factor when it comes to identifying what companies show up highest in search results. In other words, Google wants user-friendly sites to rank highest in search results. That designation is likely to become even more important in 2016, as more users navigate the Web from smaller screens.

Proper Email Newsletter Marketing

As more businesses invest in digital marketing as a customer acquisition tool, acquisition costs are likely to skyrocket as the marketplace becomes more crowded. Therefore, allocating a portion of your marketing budget to retaining existing customers is more important than ever. Recent estimates suggest the cost to acquire a new customer is 5 times as much as the cost to retain an existing customer – so investing a small amount in customer acquisition will go a long way toward improving your bottom line.

As for the most effective way to retain clients using the Web, email newsletter marketing is becoming increasingly popular. That doesn’t mean you should be sending out “spammy” emails with coupons and offers every week. The right way to run an email newsletter marketing campaign is by sending out educational content that your customers will appreciate. The top businesses utilize a 90/10 rule, where 90% of their email newsletter content is purely informational, and only 10% is self-promotional (usually a paragraph at the end of the email). Customers appreciate receiving valuable content that they can learn from, and it’ll keep them coming back to your business time and time again.

Co-op Advertising Programs

Heading into 2016, more manufacturers now recognize the value of digital advertising, and we anticipate that over the next year, these manufacturers will fully embrace digital advertising as an approved channel for co-op marketing. They believe that digital advertising is an effective marketing channel and can help their dealers move more products. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially the businesses that end up being reimbursed for large portions of their marketing.

Digital Advertising As A Polorizing Topic

The digital advertising market is packed with thousands of freelance Website designers, full-service Web Marketing firms, and a ton of people who claim to be Web Marketing experts but aren’t. With so many options, there are bound to be hundreds of great companies that stand out, as well as thousands of fly-by-night Web firms that are out to make a quick buck from an unsuspecting and trusting client. For that reason, 2016 should continue to polarize consumers’ opinions about digital advertising as a whole. Those who are fortunate enough to find a provider they can really trust will reap the rewards, while unsuspecting victims may swear off digital advertising forever.

There’s a sub-trend worth noting: More pet care businesses will invest extra time and energy to find companies that can deliver quality customer service in addition to strong results. The days of falling for cold-callers and SEO email scammers are numbered. We call it the “fool me once, fool me twice” phenomenon, and expect more businesses to be willing to pay a premium for recommended service providers that they can trust – all so they can avoid some of their previous pitfalls.

Online Video As A Marketing Tool

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking index, video makes up 64 percent of all Internet traffic, and it’s forecasted to grow to 80 percent of all traffic by 2019. Web users today prefer to watch videos rather than read content, so service businesses have begun to react accordingly. Some have chosen to simply provide information videos about their companies or basic DIY repair instructions, while others have moved straight to advertising on other videos. Both of those strategies are likely to become more common in 2016. Some pet care companies market themselves using a video on the Home Page of their Website.

As for how video relates to SEO, Google and the other search engines are surely aware of the fact that Web users like watching videos, and they’re beginning to take that into account when ranking Websites by relevancy (not to mention, Google owns YouTube, so there’s a clear correlation there). Videos as a marketing tool will definitely continue to increase in popularity in 2016, and its impact on your Website’s search rankings are likely to follow suit.

Call Rating / Lead Scoring

In an effort to become smarter marketers, a small percentage of pet care companies began using call recording software over the last few years, and there appears to be a significant uptick on the way. It’s an important tool for marketers who want to make sure they’re getting the most value out of their employees’ inbound calls, measure employee performance, and more.

There is an increasing amount of companies that are providing these services – and at an affordable price. They’ll record your calls, report how many you received and from where, and even rate the calls for you. It used to be a strategy that only the top 1 or 2 percent of pet care companies employed, but moving into 2016, that number is sure to increase significantly.

Trending Down

Consider reducing your focus/marketing in the following:

Social Media As A Lead Generator

Social Media still serves a major purpose in the pet care industry. But, after its growth phase a couple of years ago, businesses quickly learned that Social Media content cannot be relied upon for a steady lead flow. Dollars, time, and energy are all better spent on other marketing strategies (like many of the ones listed above). Note that paid advertising on Social Media is on the rise, and could be huge one day. We expect it to be as large as Google Advertising in the near future.

Here’s a simple Social Media plan that is becoming increasingly popular: Plan out some posting tips/ideas for Facebook and Twitter at the beginning of each month. That way, you can spend no more than a few minutes each day, or even each week, posting interesting, engaging content on the two most popular Social Media platforms, without exhausting too many resources to do so. Post pictures of your facilities/staff often, and include occasional offers. There is certainly value to be had by being active on Social Media and staying in front of your existing customers, but look elsewhere if you’re focused on growing your business.

Yellow Pages / Newspaper Ads Continue To Shrink

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Consumers just aren’t opening up Yellow Page Books or newspapers to find service providers as much as they were 5-10 years ago. They are far more likely to type a search online and scan a company’s Website in order to request a service. Businesses have been picking up on this trend for years and have understandably pulled their marketing dollars out of traditional marketing channels. While there is still a small audience that uses those channels to find local businesses, that audience is dwindling. So there might be some value to investing some marketing dollars to target those smaller audiences, but focus the majority of your dollars in more modern channels.

Bringing It Together

These trends should provide excellent insight into what businesses might be doing a great job of heading into 2016, as well as why they might want to work on a few items a bit more. Ultimately, it’s important to at least be aware of all these trends so you’re prepared to adjust on the fly, should changes be needed at any point in 2016. The more you’re familiar with, the better prepared you’ll be to win more business on the Web.

Alain Parcan is the Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc. Market Hardware helps pet care businesses compete on the Web with professional Website design and strategic Web Marketing programs, and offers special discounts for pet care businesses. You can reach Alain’s team at 888-381-6925.

Next Article