If you ‘re following the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year, you’re probably aware of how much relevance Internet and Mobile Marketing has achieved at the show.  Mobile gadgets and gizmos are all over the place.  If you watched Marissa Mayer’s speech, (highly recommended) one of the sound bites that really caught my attention is when she said “We are amid a massive shift to mobile.”  This comes from Yahoo’s CEO after Yahoo just surpassed 400 million mobile users (800 million total worldwide).  And the “shift to mobile” trend will just continue to grow with Mayer and Yahoo predicting that by 2017, there will be 3.8 billion connected devices worldwide.

The lesson to learn is that if major corporations and Internet players are literally throwing millions of dollars and resources to boost the mobile presence, the only possible outcome is that consumers will just continue to follow the same trend.  What can your business do so that it is not left behind?  Here are Six Internet Marketing Trends that I expect to continue to grow in 2014.

Website Responsive Design

MGR Responsive DesignYou may be losing clients because your traditional website, even if it was created just a couple of years ago, it is not taking advantage of today’s latest Responsive Design features.

You cannot claim that all your customers are just desktop or laptop users. There are many, who surf the web using their smart phones and tablets when they are on the move.  In fact, most of the high level executives and decision making officers are also the ones with the highest percentage of travel time and mobile browsing per year. These marketers learn marketing tips and tricks by watching videos on their phones and tablets. However, with your non-responsive version of the website, they will not be able to fully enjoy or learn about your company’s services on their mobile device.  Non-responsive versions fail to play videos with perfection. They take time to load and frustrate the user. Hence, you are depriving smart phone and tablet users from learning about your fantastic services.

Similarly, your website’s inability to adapt to a smart phone environment is keeping many marketers from joining hands with you. Certainly, you cannot ignore such a vast business opportunity.  MGR Consulting Group has only been developing Responsive Design websites since early in 2013 and we will continue to convert all existing clients’ non-responsive designs throughout 2014.

Responsive Email Design

Just like Responsive Website Design, it’s marketing partner, Responsive Email Design, sometimes referred to as RED, has been growing rapidly in popularity, and several studies show that, on average, up to 50% of emails are opened first on a mobile device.   For some companies, that rate is as high as 70%.  If you’ve ever had the sad experience of trying to read an email on your mobile phone that was only created for a desktop view, you will know what I’m talking about; missing images, tiny fonts, hard to find calls to action and buttons, fruitless scrolling, frustrating navigation, just to name a few of the user frustrations.

For that reason, today’s brands are turning to advanced responsive design techniques that create a better first impression for their subscribers, increase their open and click-through rates and boost their revenues.  If you need assistance converting your current email marketing campaigns to a Responsive Email Design format, you can contact our team and we will do all the work for you.

Your Business in the Cloud

The traditional hard drive has its days numbered and some say that it’s already dead. Just look around you. Everyone is getting their information through their iPhones, Android devices and tablets. From these devices, you connect to the Cloud, read documents, post revisions, share with others, and the cycle start all over again. And where is the PC and the hard drive in this picture? Dead, that’s where it is.

What is a fact is that cloud storage, cloud computing and mobile computing are here to stay and it’s only going to grow from here. It is up to each business owner and entrepreneur to keep up with progress or become annihilated by it, just like the hard drive will. Today’s largest technology companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others, have already made and continue to make huge investments to grow and promote their cloud offerings. The Cloud is a Multi-Product Marketplace.  You can read more about this topic here >

Multi-Channel Marketing – Focus on Your Brand

Anyone who has started a business knows that the key to making sales is marketing. You have to go out and find your customers, rather than just hoping they will find you. In this ever-advancing age of technology, and with today’s Internet users spending more than thirty-two hours a month online, marketing yourself over the internet is essential, however, as tempting as it sounds, you should really create a marketing plan that considers Multi-Channel Marketing.

MGR Multichannel MarketingAs you can see from our infographic above, a true Multi-Channel Marketing Plan goes beyond each individual marketing avenue. The center of your marketing channels should always be your BRAND, and everything should revolve around it. You will always want your customers to remember your brand so that when you promote new products in the future, half of your marketing is already done. Like diversifying a financial portfolio, diversifying your marketing portfolio through a Multi-Channel approach will minimize the effects of any individual channel changing its policy or suddenly no performing as originally expected.  Whether it is Facebook changing its advertising policies or Google applying a new algorithm that cancels out your previously achieved rankings or YouTube not displaying your videos for some unknown reason, or your Email Marketing provider flagging your account for review, with a Multi-Channel Marketing approach centered around your brand, you will be able to enjoy more consistent and long lasting ROI than any company that simply relies on a single source for all of its marketing.

Comprehensive SEO Work

Good content with strong backlinks may no longer be enough.  Google’s latest Hummingbird algorithm update seems to indicate that.  It is not what some webmasters want to hear but it seems clear that Google is anticipating longer search phrases and also starting to answer some questions directly.  That’s right, Google will start displaying its own answers.  What this means is that, even if your website page includes a great answer to that same question and your page containing that answer ranks at position 5 or 6, the viewer may never get to it or click on your link, because Google has already answered the same question for them.

The consensus among Search Engine experts is that Google is more and more looking for ways to keep users on Google.com as much as possible by generating answers from the result page when possible and not necessarily links that will lead the user to your website.  HOWEVER, and this is what your diligent work will pay off, if your website includes a better answer and properly laid information, Google will still consider that your site can provide a better answer and rank you higher. If continue to work diligently on your website, adding frequent and original content to it, relevant to your particular field, chances are you will still earn good ranks with Google.  If anything, your website authority and reputation, as described many times over the past few months, will become more important than ever before.  Hummingbird will not take that away from you.  Google has been telling webmasters for years that “content is king” and they’re not about to change that now.  Our prediction is that well written content, conversational style, long tail phrases and authoritative pages will continue to do well.  Shortcuts, automatic back-linking techniques, or any other technique trying to “overdo” on page optimization, will eventually be penalized.

Mobile Web Apps

MGR Mobile Web AppsWhat are the advantages of a Web app over a native app? Overall, Web apps are less costly to develop than a native app.  The development process from initial design to completion is simpler and therefore, they require fewer overall development hours to create.  In addition to that, since you’re not relying on Apple iTunes or Google Play for distribution, companies creating Web apps can maintain direct control over the application’s distribution.  Once the initial Web app has been developed, updates and maintenance costs are also significantly lower than those of a native app.  See our MGR Web App Simulator to view a sample Mobile Web App at work.

Another great advantage is that Web apps run on common browsers that already available on all web -enabled smartphones, so there’s no need for device-specific customization like you would need if you were creating a native iPhone or Android app.  With a Web app, one single app fits all –for the most part.

For the average user or consumer, the simplicity of use of a Web app is also a potential advantage.  The ability to add a custom icon to the desktop and launch the app right away allows them to have the content they want right at their fingertips.  For all of the above reasons, Web apps will just continue to grow in popularity in 2014.

There you have it!  Remember, more than 50% of today’s online interactions start from some sort of mobile device.  It’s up to all of us, business owners, entrepreneurs, and online marketers to make sure that we adapt our marketing to this “shift to mobile.”  If you don’t do it, someone else will be taking your customers from you…

Happy New Year and lots of Internet Marketing Success in 2014!

Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)