Reprinted from Web Digest for Marketers by permission.
As marketing professionals know, part of being successful online is having a good sense of what’s coming next, and what isn’t. I’ve been in this online business for about 12 years now. I’ve seen fads come and go and have had some good success identifying “tipping points” that signal what trends have staying power and affect online business.
Here are my Top 10 Trends for 2005:
- Email marketing still has staying power. One year ago, many were proclaiming the death of email marketing because of too much unsolicited email, reduced click-throughs and so on. But it still is just about unbeatable for return on investment for legitimate true-blue Internet marketers—and will continue to be so.
- Multimedia picks up steam. It’s a long way from enjoying the universality of the email platform, but multimedia has finally got traction. Even I admit it, and I was a naysayer for a very long time. When done right, response rates are increased because of the higher involvement of the user. The trick is to use the magic of sight and sound appropriately and not gratuitously.
- Vertical search finding its niche. People don’t want zillions of relevant search results; they want only a handful of the best. Market-specific directories like my www.SearchEngineForMarketers.com will continue to gain momentum in their respective industries.
- Blogs bloom bigger. Look for ads to start showing up in some types of blogs. Other blogs will be used for branding purposes, or for SEO reasons or simply because you must express yourself and hope there are people out there who will read your stuff. If a blog gets updated, but nobody reads it, did it really happen?
- RSS. Really. What some call “Real Simple Syndication” is being used by many email newsletters as a way of avoiding email filters. For newsletters that cater to early adopter audiences, it’s more apt to pay off first. Figuring out how to monetize RSS—i.e., designing good and useful ad formats that aren’t so intrusive but are effective enough to have advertisers repeat buy—will also need to happen.
- More online media reps. According to eMarketer, online ad spending will overtake radio in the foreseeable future. Follow the money.
- Webinar marketing loses secret status. The sponsored model, when done right, is an exceptionally cost-effective and time-saving way to obtain very qualified leads, especially in the B2B space. You advertise the event (as some do in Web Digest For Marketers); people register to attend; and you have someone in your org get in touch with them thereafter. Compare the costs to that of a trade show.
- Direct marketers take over the Internet. Oops, sorry. It’s already happened. What advertiser in his or her right mind won’t look at response rates to messaging when they’re so easily available? At the very least, it’s market research of the first order. Branding will always have its place, but most media people I know are glued to those response rates. It’s only natural.
- Cost of clicks continues to climb. Because of click-fraud (where your competitors have teeming hordes of people constantly clicking on your pay-per-click listings in search engine results) and because the cost of clicks are getting so high for so many keywords, new models will need to surface. Google’s AdSense might have sprung from such thinking. Anyway, we need more of those venues where sellers can find qualified buyers. This is another argument for vertical search engines. See Trend No. 3.
- Commercial content. Marketers will continue to conjure up offerings to their target audiences that will actually be welcomed by the recipient. I often see well-targeted, well-written ads get more click-throughs than many of the reviews in Web Digest For Marketers. Valuable commercial content is key. It keeps in mind solely the interest of the reader’s needs just then, so how can the reader not like it? People pay lots to wear the Nike logo or shorts with Coke’s logo emblazoned on them. Why shouldn’t people have a similar affinity to your firm’s good services, products and people? Advertising that screams “Me Me Me” is doomed. Messaging that says “You You You” is where it’s at.
© 2005 Chase Online Marketing Strategies