Email message

Everybody talks about the importance of a list. It’s true that an email list is your most valuable business asset. No one can take it away from you, and that you can use that list in just about whatever (legal and ethical) way you want to.

But how do you grow your list, especially if you’re just getting started? The first thing you need to do is do a little setup so you manage your list well. If you don’t have a few important pieces in place, you’re not going to be able to grow and nurture your list to get the results you want.

Google Trends Graphical Result

Statistics, trends, do we really care?  We should, because all that data can help us shape our business strategies.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of businesses that didn’t pay attention to changes in the market (IBM, I’m thinking of you) and were very sorry afterward.

If not bankrupt.

Not too long ago I was amazed by The Financial Brand’s thorough look at recent digital marketing trends, all backed up by solid research.

While the full article listed 54 trends, I picked out 15 that I thought were most relevant to my online business.

And I’ll give you a look at how I dissect these stats and trends to make strategic decisions.

First up:

Trends in Paid Advertising

Paid Advertising

“In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media investments in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending. Nearly .60¢ of every dollar spent in the space goes to these two companies. (Source: eMarketer.)”

The two companies, of course, are Google and Facebook.

And why do I care? It means if Google and Facebook are raking in all this money on advertising, it means the people placing the ads are making money. Lots of it.

Which means it may be worth it for me to get into that game. By staying out, I may be passing up a great way to generate leads and sales.

“The click-through rate (CTR) for native ads is more than double regular display ads — 0.33% for mobile and 0.16% desktop. (Source: Business Insider.)”

Good to know. Given my limited budget, I’ll be staying away from display ads. This also gives a metric to compare results to.

“At least 70% of users ignore the paid ads that appear above Google’s organic search results. (Source: imForza.)”

Another reason to stay away from sinking money into these ads.

Trends in Content Marketing

Content Marketing

“Per dollar spent, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing. (Source: Demand Metric.)”

This one is interesting. On the surface, it seems content marketing is the way to go if you don’t have a lot of money to invest. I’d like to know if they included the cost of the time it took to create the content in their calculations.

While the low cost makes content creation an attractive strategy, it could become a time drain. If it takes away from more productive activities, it might not be that great of a strategy.


“Content marketing is the digital strategy most favored by marketers today. One in five say it is their top method for generating leads. (Source: Smart Insights.)”

So it must be working.

85% of content marketers cited paid distribution, such as social media, PPC, and native ads as the most effective content marketing tactic above organic efforts. (Source: eMarketer.)

Fascinating. I’d always thought of content marketing as a way to get organic traffic. This statistic implies that using carefully placed paid ads is the way to make the content marketing strategy pay off.

“Companies that publish at least 16 blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish four monthly posts or fewer. (Source: HubSpot.)”

Hmm. Right now, I’m only managing to post once a week. This is telling me that posting more frequently could pay off.

I have to balance this, however, with the fact that one superb and helpful post is better than several fluff or bland ones.

“On average, long-form blog posts with over 1,000 words generate 9x more leads than short-form posts. (Source: Curata.)”

Another good fact to know. The same caution holds true. The posts ideally are only as long as the need to be to provide good content.


Trends in Mobile Marketing

“84% of mobile marketers believe they’re providing a positive experience. Less than half of consumers report their experience was positive. (Source: Unlockd.)”

Ha. What do we learn from this?

  1. Don’t assume your customers are enjoying their mobile experience with your website.
  2. Find out some way to find out what your customers do think.
  3. In any case, keep trying to make the mobile experience as good as you can for your customer.

“Emails with a responsive design get 24% more clicks on mobile, but only 17% of marketers are using responsive design in their emails. (Source: YesMail.)”

Which could explain some of the negative feeling on the part of consumers.

“Marketing in the mobile channel now makes up 21% of online spending, up from a mere 4% in 2010. (Source: comScore.)”

All the more reason to pay attention to the mobile user’s experience.

“The average white collar professional sends and receives 121 emails a day. (Source: The Radicati Group.)”

Which is one reason why your email headlines absolutely positively must be attention-seizing and irresistible.

“Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns. (Source: Mailchimp.)”

And we all know, the higher the open rate, the higher the sales.

Social Media

Trends in Social Media

“Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source:HubSpot.)”

Images, infographics, memes, and videos are the way to go.

Yes, we all knew that. But did you know how much of an impact those images have?

As proven by these last two statistics:

“Image posts on Facebook 179% more interaction (likes, comments, shares) than an average post. Posts ending with a question get 162% more interactions. (Source: Facebook.)”

“Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. (Source: Buffer.)”

So What?

So what do we take away from all this when creating or refining our business strategies?

I pulled out seven action items to think about in my own digital marketing:

  1. Think about paid advertising on Google or Facebook, but focus on native ads instead of display ads.
  2. Bolster your content marketing with longer, more frequent posts, as much as you can without sacrificing on quality.
  3. Get better reach with your content marketing with some paid ads or distribution.
  4. Pay close attention to the mobile responsiveness of your website.
  5. Write my ads with the mobile user in mind.
  6. Try some segmented email campaigns to boost your open rates.
  7. Add images to your social media posts and tweets.

Many thanks to Financial Brand for the stats quoted in this post and for many other digital marketing stats.

What about you? Did you pick up anything from these trends that makes you rethink your strategy? Or did they tell you that you really are on the right track? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Plan SEO Campaign

SEO is by far one of the best ways to get free traffic to your website. But just how do you get started? Just think of it the way you would any other strategy. Like a campaign.

You’re just going to make a series of actions for a set purpose. The short-term purpose is to get your page or post ranked high by the search engines. Long term, well, that’s up to you.

Do a quick Google search on SEO strategies, and you’ll instantly be served over 16 million results. With all that information readily available, finding SEO that works is like finding a white glove in a snowstorm.

Part of the problem is that more people are following the beginner strategies. While you should never ignore these, there are ways to improve even more. Most of these won’t involve a major investment of time and money on your part.

Do you know the three most important components of successful SEO campaigns?

I’ve been doing some research into this question. Its amazing how SEO has changed just in the years I’ve been doing internet marketing.

Strategies that worked in past years no longer worked. Others are now considered black hat by Google. Users of these strategies will be punished with lower rankings.

Kind of makes it hard to keep on top of everything. Like trying to walk on quicksand. What looks like a solid strategy could get you into trouble. Or sink your results (not to mention your sales.)

Best SEO Strategy

Everyone wants more traffic, and SEO is one way to get it. Here are nine of the best SEO strategies I’ve come across.

But first, let’s think about why SEO works. This will give you a better idea how to implement whatever SEO strategies you choose to use.

It’s important to remember that the goal of any SEO strategy is not just to make your website search engine friendly. While you want to end up with more organic traffic to your site through search engine results, it’s not the only goal.