4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse
There will always be companies that are innovators, adapters and sadly those that are incapable of seeing the future of industry. This is the business equivalent to natural selection, unfortunately.
America was once driven by the production of goods and as we transitioned to a more service oriented country, there was an evolution of sorts. There were companies that adapted and some that didn’t do so well. Those companies went the route of the steel mills in Allentown, Pa. The decline of a primarily production oriented world to a more service oriented world took a while to totally decline, but the transition of traditional to digital, that we are living through now is moving at a much faster pace toward its demise.
Two examples of the extreme change and fast transition from a traditional to digital world is the release of the Beyonce album, or I should call it the Beyonce Digital Project because that’s what it was. Some are saying, what’s the big deal and who really cares. WELL, we all must take notice because the release of the Beyonce Digital Project was a game changer in the music industry. This album release will change how marketing is done moving forward and this change will not be limited to just the music industry. At one time artists had to go through a series of procedures and promotions to push a new project. Beyonce’s release flipped the script on the entire industry in a mind-blowing move that totally blind sighted the industry. She used the brand that she built by way of social media, to be her own team of brand ambassadors willing to plop down their hard earned money to grab that digital release. In this bold move, Beyonce went directly to the consumer, cutting out any and everyone in the process by releasing her music directly to iTunes to be downloaded digitally. THIS was HUGE and changed the game more that we could ever imagine.
The second instance that displayed a step in a digital direction was Paramount dealing the deathblow to film, as we once knew it. Paramount will be the first movie studio to go all-digital with the distribution of their films. THIS IS HUGE! At one time, Paramount would release films in 35 mm format, which costs around $2,000. Now, due to going digital with the future releases of film, they can release films in digital format at around the $100.00 price point. The kicker here is that although this format is cheaper for the movie distributor, the smaller movie houses will incur the brunt of this move at least initially. These smaller and probably mostly independent movie houses will have to shell out upwards of $70,000 to become digital ready. This again, is a huge demonstration of the “adapt or die” philosophy, which will impact some business in an adverse way.
Both of above examples are an indication that we are at the beginning of a full blow digital revolution. Organizations should take notice of the changes that are happening before their eyes, some will but many won’t. I’ve actually noticed that some organizations are not embracing digital at all but in fact, they are moving back to their toasty non-digital comfort zone. All indications point toward a mostly digital world so it’s advantageous to embrace the change sooner rather than later. Progress is never comfortable but is inevitable, ready or not.
Although the changes that are happening within organizations are not as extreme as the two examples that I spoke of previously, companies still must adapt to a world that is moving closer to all digital. Below are four relatively simple things that can save your organization from the #DigitalApocalypse.
Concentrating on Content:
There is an ongoing debate about content; it’s effects on SEO, if it should be called Content Marketing and more. Who cares about all of the back and forth and the correct phrasing, WHATEVER! What matters is that without content, moving into 2014, you will most definitely be screwed.
The importance of content is irrefutable, you must have it and it must be GREAT. Content will effect your entire digital marketing plan, your social media strategy, your SEO and more. Content creation has become a $118.4 billion industry. Those numbers alone are an indication of the importance of great content. So prepare to become a publisher, outsource your content marketing or essentially become invisible online.
If you think about the importance of content creation it is very logical, if you produce more quality content it increases the amount of content that is available to be indexed by Google. This is especially important after the Hummingbird changes with Google, which was a game changer for websites, indexing and SEO.
NOW, it is just not enough to grab your local black hat SEO dude that promised to get you to the top of Google and have him buy some back links for you. In fact if you do that, you may not need content for quite a while, because Google may penalize your website or your website could even be banned.
At one time the black hat SEO route, to increase search rank was a method that could get results, if only for a short while. Even if the results were temporary it would allow your neighborhood black hat SEO dude to run out his 3-month contract while looking like the magical SEO guru. NOW that is not enough, so black hat SEO dude may have to step his game up. The folks over at Google are pretty darn smart and are hip to those tactics. The days of black hat SEO are seriously numbered if not extinct.
Leaving black hat SEO methods behind in favor of content creation is a great route to go and it’s an above board method of increasing rank with Google without the risk of being penalized. Content creation will allow companies, small and large to compete on a level playing field, for moving up in search ranking with Google. No matter the size of the company, if they produce great content and if they push that content by way of their social media channels THEY will reign supreme in the relevance game with Google.
Content is truly KING for a variety of reasons:
- Great content allows you to present your company as an authority in your industry, increasing your rank on Google.
- Content will increase the likelihood that people will link to your website, this solves your back link issue. Hence, increasing your rank with Google.
- Great content shared on social media was not thought of as important a few years ago, but those days are over. Social Media is extremely important and sharing great content on social media channels allows you to appear “likeable” and this will increase your rank with Google.
- Great content with effective keywords increases your on page optimization and guess what? It will [let’s say it all together now] increase your rank with Google.
The takeaway about content:
There is NO easy button, no guru to bail you out and no work around. YOU must start to produce great content if you want to become relevant enough with Google to increase your ranking. Google is a business, just in case that has slipped the minds of folks. As a business it is their job to produce the best results for search queries because this allows them to generate ad revenue and to STAY in business. Gaming the system is not the best route to take at this time with Google. So guess what, either make a decision to dedicate yourself to the work needed to create great content that is worthy of being pushed higher in search ranking or your competitors will. It’s very simple.
Focusing on Mobile
Mobile is not going away, primarily because we have evolved beyond talking on the phone that is attached to the wall. Beyond just the telephone aspect of your mobile device, it has essentially become a pocket-sized computer that forward thinking organizations are using for targeting a previously untapped demographic.
At one time it was just enough for organizations to have a website that displayed the brand, company name and address. Then we progressed to having a Facebook page with a company brand and relevant content. NOW it is not optional but imperative that organizations have a mobile presence as well.
With the decline of desktop and laptop sales the increase in buying trends for mobile and tablets are hard to miss. I actually had a conversation with a Director of Marketing at one of the largest organizations in my area that said, “We do not need a mobile presence.” My mind slammed shut with a final, “Conversation Over” as she was obviously living through a #DigitalApocalypse.
The takeaway about mobile:
It doesn’t matter if you decide to go with a responsive design or traditional mobile design. It is, however imperative that your company’s online presence be viewable by mobile and tablet, this is no longer an option.
#DigitalApocalypse is the disastrous phenomenon in which individuals; organizations and entities have selected NOT to embrace our new digital world.
I will be the first person to tell you that I am not really a numbers person, but what I should say is that I am not a numbers person when those numbers have no relevance to my interests.
I took a web Analytics class in grad school, I absolutely loved it and I was immediately HOOKED. This was a tough class for some but for me, the concepts immediately clicked. I think this is because I saw how beneficial these concepts would be moving forward. When I saw the heat maps and demographics I fell in love, in fact it was love at first sight. Oops I’m so sorry, I’ve digressed terribly.
One thing that I immediately loved about analytics then and what I still love about it now is that it shows the data. You know where your visitors are coming from, you know how long they’ve stayed, you know which pages and content they’ve focused upon.
I can never express the importance of analytics enough; because analytics display your success and bring attention to areas that you may need to focus upon more, in graphic details. If your brain rejects the word analytics think of it in terms of measuring your results, because that’s exactly what analytics are. Analytics measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, your efforts, and your time. They allow you to see what’s happening, what you are doing successfully and what you need to improve upon.
The takeaway about analytics:
You can have the most beautiful, fancy website with all of the bell and whistles imaginable, but if you have no data to analyze the successfulness of your web campaigns, your website is essentially worthless. This applies to traditional websites and mobile websites alike.
Increasing Your Google+ Usage
There is so much back and forth about Google+, it always has been and probably always will be. I was a part of the original beta team on Google+, as were most of my digital marketer friends, so of course I have always been a huge advocate of the platform.
Google+ has been improved upon since its original debut! The layout has improved substantially, Google integration has greatly improved and it has grown its user base.
Although the improvements to the look and feel of Google+ have been spectacular what is more impressive is that content posted on Google+ show up in search results. This is why I don’t understand the push back about this platform. Why would we NOT want our content to show up in search results, after all that is WHY we are there right, why we are online, why we work so hard to increase our exposure, right? Increased exposure means more business and more sales, which is after all what most web presences are all about.
The takeaway about Google+
If you want more exposure on Google start using Google+, it’s just that simple.
Digital Marketing is a game changer on a worldwide level but organizations must have the ability to recognize the change and adapt in mid-stride sometimes, due to the quick nature of the changes. We are living through an exciting time for those involved with digital marketing and those that are willing to embrace the change. Lets all embrace the many changes that I anticipate are ahead and enjoy our brave new digital world.