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Milestone Internet Top Digital Marketing Trends for Small Businesses
Benu Aggarwal
Founder-Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
The digital marketing landscape is ever evolving with mobile and wearables being the key focus for marketers. With the mobile search rate already surpassing desktop search in 2015, it is more important than ever for businesses-to go-mobile. Marketers must also keep in mind the increasing importance of the millennial generation. The term "Millennials" typically refers to people born between 1977 and 1997, putting them in the age range of 18-37. This group, about 80M+ strong with a discretionary spending of $430B, is about 25 percent of the US population and larger than the Baby Boomers era. Because 90 percent of the millennial generation has a mobile phone, it's no real surprise that your digital marketing be mobile friendly. As marketing channels and devices expand, it's key to understand and correlate the performance data across marketing channels and devices and optimize marketing efforts based on true ROI from each channel. Here are some key digital marketing trends and tips to keep you on top of the ever-changing digital landscape:

1. Importance of Mobile and Wearable Search for Businesses
The universe of mobile users is massive - three in five people use mobile devices to search and 80 Percent of local searches on mobile devices convert to purchase. Google recently rolled out a new ranking factor for mobile-friendly sites. Because of this, it is essential that your business website be optimized for mobile search and that it is responsive on all mobile devices. The target is to enhance mobile traffic and ensure a robust and seamless experience with content that can be shared on social media.

2. Enhancing Your Business's Local Presence
Your website has to tap into the possibilities of enhanced local search. The goal is to create optimized content and local profiles, manage quality citations and directory listings, and deliver a seamless mobile experience across devices. It is critical that you manage your local presence across search engines, IYPs, aggregators, business directories, local citations, and maps. Ensuring that your business's marketing strategy includes optimizing your content with headers, title tags, metadata, footers with location-based schemas, and image alt-tags will help strengthen the business's local presence.

3. Social Media Marketing
In our connected online community, the synergy of social engagement empowers your digital marketing. Most of the world uses social media sites such as: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Social media is a driver of brand awareness, customer relationships and retention. To be in the social conversation and derive traffic from social platforms, your web content must be interesting, build connections, and inspire conversion. Ensure your site is optimized for mobile and sharing across devices, and make sure to add OG tags and Twitter cards. Stand out against the competition with robust business social media outreach, engaging content and visual media.

4. Content Marketing - Engagement and The Customer Journey
Content marketing starts with understanding your audience and the customer journey. Content should engage, inspire, and enhance the user experience. Empower your audience with engaging content, including local attractions and activities, visuals and trending topics. Your content should be optimized for local and conversational search and saturate diversified channels' from your website to blogs to Facebook. Look at KPI indicators time spent on page, bounce and click-through rates and engagement patters. Once you determine top converting pages, enhance the content to encourage the path to purchase and ensure mobile responsiveness.

5. The User Experience
The user experience is the human path to digital marketing. Your audience wants to be engaged, navigate your site, and tap into social influences seamlessly. Conversion optimization starts with usability factors such as speed and performance, information architecture, legibility, colors, and images. With robust architecture, clear design and navigation, and engaging content, your site will increase conversion. A smart way to see how the user experience relates to the conversion funnel is to implement A/B testing. Track which pages perform better based on simple design and content evolution, including floating buttons, drop-downs, marketing messages and banners.

6. Expanding Your Business's Paid Search Presence
The key to a highly successful business paid search campaign is to maximize your outreach and diversify your channels via Facebook, Google, Yelp, and BusinessFinder. Make sure you bid on your brand or business name, leverage social channels, and allocate your budget to tap into mobile conversion which is higher than ever! Customize marketing messages to your specific target audience, and focus on the customer journey.

7. Attribute Business ROI Across All Touch Points
The customer journey is evolving, so businesses need to alter their approach to measure digital marketing ROI. With the dramatic spike in mobile search and social signals, the conversion funnel is not linear and the purchase journey can begin at any point along the decision path. It is important for businesses to tap into this dynamic, target the audience journey, and personalize the content. New innovations in digital tracking software can attribute ROI to every channel. By understanding the conversion path, attributing ROI, and integrating a dashboard to break down the data, we can see the value of each touch point.

8. Using Marketing Performance Data Across Channels and Devices
Marketing automation tools like Unalytix enable marketers to manage all their digital marketing from a single platform. Integrating the marketing tools such as website CMS, Local Search Platform, Paid Search, Social Media, Reviews, and Email marketing Management enables marketers to manage presence across channels and devices seamlessly. Marketers can use the analytics and actionable data associated with the marketing initiative to optimize campaign performance.

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