If you’re a trend watcher in your industry (and you should be), you’ll notice that times are changing for online marketing. Gone are the impersonal days of the past when you could be anonymous and still rake in six figures without stressing. Today, your customers want to know you even more. They want to build a relationship that goes beyond your logo.

1. The Anit-Spam Fight – Most search browsers such as Google, Brave, and Chrome have been rolling out hearty features to include anti-spam and tracker updates that help protect users. Also, email and mailing services are implementing safeguards from marketing spammers from abusing their systems. How does this help you? This minimizes the amount of unwanted junk your subscribers have to surf through and empowers you to create content that passing spam scanners with flying colors!

2. Social Media Marketing Becomes More Thoughtful – Many brands get involved with social media just because someone told them they should; then they do a really bad job of their social media campaigns, seeing little to no effect for their efforts. A good example of this is Copyblogger.com, which recently left Facebook. They left Facebook because even though they had many followers they insisted that most of them were fake, even though they had never run any Facebook promotions. This tells other brands that it’s okay to bail on social media when it’s not producing or to start over when they figure out they are not using social media effectively.

3. LinkedIn Will Continue to Be Vital – Part of the reason is that it’s so buttoned up and less easy to disseminate SPAM, or so they say. With the advent of the ability for brands to publish posts on LinkedIn, you’ll see more content on the social media network, especially because LinkedIn is helping brands promote easier and allows everyone who is connected with you to see your content.

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4.

Brands Will Ramp Up Content Creation – Content is still king and probably always will be. Because of that, and because search marketing and email marketing still reign, brands will produce even more original content than in the past. The article marketing sites are over, as is reusing content on other sites. Original content is where it’s at and brands will take notice and produce more.

5. Visual Content Is Even More Critical To Brands – If you’re not turning your data into infographics yet, and you’re not producing informative video yet, then you will be doing it in 2015 if you want to stay ahead of your market. The technology has advanced to the point where barriers to entry are small, and customers are demanding more interaction.

6. In-Person Events Increase – Gone are the days where a marketer could sit behind their computer screen and not go out and be seen by their public. Sorry, but serious marketers need to get busy getting up close and personal with their audience by hosting and going to in-person events.

7. Metrics Continue to Play a Bigger Role – Business owners are learning that it’s important to study metrics to know where to go from here. They know that they need to know whether or not the content they’re producing is creating engagement on a consistent basis, whether their efforts are producing sales and whether or not their audience is answering their calls to action. You can’t know that without an understanding of the numbers.

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8. Brand Awareness Grabs Attention Differently – Doing tasks such as guest blogging, viral video making, in-person appearances, sponsoring others and so forth will become more important, as making people more aware of your brand takes on new precedent. Business owners will spend more money to make their brand known, through native advertising and other means.

9. Brand Engagement Means More Than You Thought – That Facebook page you leave idle, that Twitter page you barely tweet on, that Pinterest account that hasn’t had a board made in months… it’s all old news and needs to be updated. If you want brand engagement, you’ll have to fight for it on a regular basis to prove that you’re in it for keeps. Especially if you’ve fallen down on the job so far.

10. You'll Be Paying for Facebook Attention – The way Facebook and other social media is going, if you don’t pay for promoted posts, and then parlay the attention you get into more engagement, you’re going to lose out on the good that Facebook and other social media has to offer.

The Rundown

2016 saw the onslaught of most of these trends but there were some businesses who were still hoping that some of these trends were simply fads. The biggest change in how you market to your audience now will be the amount of marketing you do. You'll need to plan and properly budget for your marketing more than ever.

You’re going to have to do it more than ever before to stand out from the crowd and more and more creatively than you thought you could be.

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No need to overspend, but if you are not planning ahead, everything you do will be rushed and cost you more. You may even consider hiring other experts to help you improve how you market your business.

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