It’s no secret that 2014 holds several promising opportunities for inbound marketers. The industry is projected to see a lot of continued growth aided by increased budgets for the year. Earlier this year, Cyrus wrote a post announcing the Moz Industry survey results. According to that survey, there seem to be a few slight shifts in demand for certain marketing activities, which ultimately has an effect on where marketers are allocating most of their time.
Though some of the data in this post includes data from the Industry survey, most of what you will find is a collection of information from 12 other sources. For more granular details, you can dive into the Slideshare embed at the end of the post. Let’s dig in!
Marketers reported that demand for content creation increased by 70.94% in 2013, falling in line with most projections from early 2013. This trend is also expected to continue throughout 2014. Analytics was the second highest in demand, with an increase of 64.46%.
Link Building saw the biggest decrease in demand at 20.2%, followed by Email Marketing at 12.06%, Keyword Research at 11.03% and Link Removal at 10.87%.
When comparing demand vs. the percent of what Marketers are spending their time doing, the matchup is very similar. It makes sense. The biggest demands go hand in hand with where Marketers are allocating their time—Analytics, Content Creation, Social Media Marketing, and Keyword Research.
The Inbound Marketing industry is constantly changing and sees a ton of new, useful information on the regular. Keeping up on the latest industry knowledge is key; but what are the most popular avenues to stay up to date on the latest industry trends?
Surprise! (Not really.) 93.97% of Marketers use blogs as their go-to source to keep up with the latest industry shifts. Not too far behind were Social Media at 74.01% and Online Guides at 73.37%.
Of those surveyed, 45% say they spend more than 2 days per month researching and learning about the latest trends in SEO—more than any other area of digital marketing. I think it’s fair to say SEOs are like a bunch of sponges soaking up water. Except in this case, the water is actually knowledge. SEOs = Content Carnivores!
Key takeaway: Budget increases are helping companies implement more marketing automation.
The results from the Moz Industry Survey reveal that Digital Marketers will have increased budgets in 2014, if projections stand correct. That’s great news for the industry as a whole and shows the SEO industry continues to grow.
According to ExactTarget, 73% of those surveyed are currently using SEO/SEM in their marketing efforts and 71% are using some form of Content Management platform. The current and projected similarities between the two are across the board, due to the fact that both go hand in hand with one another, though Content is projected to grow slightly more than SEO/SEM in 2014.
Marketing Automation tops the list for where most Marketers plan to increase budgets, according to ExactTarget. It is clearly one of the most popular avenues for increase budgets this year, but it is imperative to understand that it helps scale your efforts; not actually do marketing for you. Once you’ve determined that it’s time to invest in marketing automation, consider the platform that best suits your goals. HubSpot has a great learning guide that does a fantastic job explaining everything you need to know before making the financial commitment, and I strongly encourage you to read it; even if you aren’t planning on adding it to your mix of tools this year.
Key takeaway: Create a strategy so you have time for the king.
It is clear that Content is, and will continue to be, king of 2014. A large percentage of B2B Marketers are or plan to spend a decent amount of their budgets on Content this year, but it looks like there is still plenty of room for improvement. Data from CMI indicates 49.5% of Marketers don’t have a documented content strategy and are challenged with producing engaging content.
Not having enough time is also a common thing we hear when it comes to content creation. The first step in the right direction is coming up with a strategy. Once there is a plan in place and you have nailed down your target market, you are one step closer to writing content specifically tailored to the group you want to reach. Creating a list of topics and a schedule for the posts is the next vital step. Believe it or not, schedules do help save time; it’s just a matter of putting in the time to save time.
Key takeaway: Use the network your target demographic is using.
Facebook continues to be the Social network of choice for most internet users, though some suggest it has reached its peak usage from the younger demographic. Despite those claims, Facebook continues to have the highest frequency of Social Media site use with 63% daily visits, according to PEW Research Center. With the highest number AND the most engaged users, Facebook continues to dominate the social landscape.
The key takeaway with Social Networks boils down to what channel your target market happens to be using. For example, if you are primarily targeting a female audience, consider focusing on Pinterest. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, one third of women in the U.S. use Pinterest. If you are able to focus on multiple Social Networks, look at the cross tabulation of Social Platforms for your target demographic to help determine where you should allocate your time and effort.
Key takeaway: Put responsive design in your 2014 roadmap!
More and more people are purchasing smartphones these days, and the trend continues to climb the charts. On top of that, sales of tablets are also taking off—outperforming both PCs and laptops in the last quarter of 2014, according to IDC. Consumers have over 100 tablets to choose from these days, and the number of options continues to increase. Pew Research Center says that 90% of all Americans own a phone; 58% of which are smartphones. Of those, 63% mostly use their phone to access the internet. If your website isn’t responsive, it is highly likely that you are missing out on an ever growing user-base.
With location-based services on mobile devices, we can connect in ways that were unimaginable only four years ago. Most people don’t let their mobile out of their sight— 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night. We have the ability to know where our customers are and what their schedule looks like (through their calendar). Are we far off from walking into a store and automagically receiving special offers on our phone without using foursquare to check-in? The sky is the limit!
Whether you decide to make a mobile app or create a responsive website, 2014 is the year to get mobile on your roadmap.
Key takeaway: Local mobile searches convert, so make sure you’re the one that shows up.
The evolution of local has rapidly improved over the past year and will continue to do so throughout 2014. As mobile usage continues an inevitable upward trend, local searches on mobile devices will also soar. According to LocalVox, 88% of local mobile searches convert to a phone call or visit within 24 hours. It’s clear that not keeping up with your local SEO will only help your competitors.
Key takeaway: Email marketing increasingly provides a great value for a low cost.
Email is one traditional marketing channel that continues to show steady growth. According to ExactTarget, “98% of marketers plan to increase or maintain their spend in 2014. Email Marketing was among the top five at 58%.” Being among the lowest cost per lead, also producing high quality and quantity of leads, it’s no wonder Email Marketing continues to be one of the favorite channels amongst online marketers.
Despite what you may think, email marketing is a channel that continues to grow as marketers fine-tune their message to be more personal and capture the readers’ interest. In the past, it was common for email marketing to be impersonal and somewhat spammy. As time has passed, we have learned how to better reach our audiences through video, high quality photos, responsive newsletter templates, and of course, well written content that all comes together to make readers want more.