Are you ready for 2011?
As the Internet transforms, so should you. The rate at which technology evolves only means that, no matter how far along you’ve come with your Internet marketing program, there will always be something new to explore. There’ll always be something new to add to the mix.
It is in this light that Lakeshore Branding takes a look at a number of online marketing trends expected to take off next year. We present this hoping that you’ll turn these expectations into opportunities – and the opportunities into tools to drive your business.
HTML5: As the next major revision of the HTML standard, HTML5 is expected to emerge next year – and beyond – as that which will change the chemistry of the World Wide Web. Under development for much of the last few years, HTML5 will nonetheless continue to usher in the next generation of web development and programming. It will be supported by more browsers, it will load faster, it will gain more leverage as designers replace Flash-based content, and it will introduce more functionality to websites of all kinds. Expect HTML5 to also inspire richer video and audio content, simpler but more efficient (and eye-catching) applications, and less dependence on proprietary technologies. So be ready to take advantage as early as now, and find ways to provide support for the next generation of HTML.
Mobile browsing: Mobile devices like smartphones (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android-based phones) and tablet computers (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Dell Stream, etc.) continue to increase in popularity, which is why 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for mobile marketing. Sure, less than 25 percent of consumers today actually have smartphones, but expect that number to jump next year, along with mobile Web browsing and downloading of apps. The power of SMS marketing also hasn’t waned.
Given all these, it would be smart to prepare for the continued growth of mobile. At the very least, you have to leverage today’s tools for building a mobile version of your website. Communications, content, gaming, media, local search, and location-based services (like Foursquare) are also transitioning into platforms that are best described as on-the-go – and so it’s time to shift into higher gear and look for new opportunities in mobile marketing and advertising.
Hyper-local: The Internet has continued to play host to the hottest location-based products and services – FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, Google Places, Twitter geo-location, better GPS, enhanced local search, among many others – and expect no different next year. Well, you can expect it to be bigger. Or should we say “smaller”? From identifying countries and states, these products and services are now identifying cities and neighborhoods.
As you approach 2011, make sure you’re keeping abreast of what’s happening locally – and how it all comes together on the Web. This way, you’ll be in a better position to execute relevant and on-the-spot marketing campaigns, complete with creative, compelling content for audiences that matter to your business.
Still Social: Nine out of ten adults with access to the Internet use social media one way or another: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And you know what? It’s not going to slow down anytime soon. The Web has become a world of social networks, channels, and connections, across all of which we, the users, pull, consume, share, and develop content.
How do you stand out in this world of social? By engaging more energetically – and tailoring your Internet marketing efforts in a way that reaches the audiences that matter. From utilizing tools for social metrics and systematically measuring social sentiment, to creating effective social media policies and developing original, social-ready content with viral potential, making the commitment to social media marketing is more valuable than ever.

New information architecture for your website: A static website won’t cut it for you any longer. You want to be found – not just by Google and Bing, but also by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, local search engines, etc. That’s why, as you develop content for your online presence, you should take into consideration these new trends that affect the information architecture of your website: SEO, social media, blogging, real-time updates, user-generated content, local search, and multimedia marketing. It’s about usability, and an unrelenting focus on the core of your website’s performance.
Being a small business is no excuse to keep a site that has a fixed (and aging) set of information. In 2011 going forward, content creation is expected to become bigger than ever.
Retargeted advertising: Gone are the days when your entire ad budget is allocated to traditional media placements like TV, radio, and print. Thanks to the rapidly evolving online world, new advertising channels have emerged. And we’re not just talking about AdWords and PPC campaigns. You have to take into account things like Google Product Listing ads, Facebook advertising, Twitter Promoted Tweets, affiliate programs, and other advertising platforms. Whether your ad budget is a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars, it should be a priority to find the best ways to spend your money and get the biggest bang for every buck.
Advanced SEO: Remember when Google introduced Instant Search? Well, that’s just one of the many developments that are slowly, but surely, changing the SEO game. Indeed, we have come a long way from stuffing keywords into every web page. Now, we have to take into account site speed, advanced keyword modeling, paid search, link placements, on-page and off-page optimization, local business SEO, online reputation management, and competitive intelligence.
Don’t get left behind. If you’re in the middle of coming up with an Internet marketing plan, make sure you include these trends and identify new opportunities to achieve success online this 2011 and beyond.