This column is the third in an 11-part series on the Top 10 2016 Marketing Trends. Check back for the remainder of the series and a deep dive into each of these trends.
With the holidays approaching at lightening speed, the New Year will be here before we know it. That means your 2016 marketing planning should be well under way.
While some of the tried and true strategies that performed well for you in 2015 should no doubt carry forward, there are also several emerging marketing trends that could benefit your company's growth strategy.
One such trend is the opportunity to optimize your website so that it performs well in searches conducted by digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Google Now. Why will this be important in 2016? As of January of this year, Siri reported processing a billion search queries per week. Just imagine what that number is by now -- nearly a year later.
On the surface, most digital assistants find results in a process similar to traditional search engines. There are, however, a few critical distinctions.
Conversational search is the ultimate priority. The main convenience of digital assistants and what is driving their popularity is that they can be used with simple voice commands. While semantic and voice-based search have been around for years, digital assistants are taking them to the next level by perfecting the process. Queries are more conversational, and results must speak to the intention behind those queries. Your website must, therefore, be written conversationally.
Immediate answers are the goal. Digital assistant users aren't looking for an extended browsing trip. They're looking for fast, immediate answers. As a result, digital assistants prioritize simple, immediate responses -- meaning your website will perform better if it delivers succinct answers to common search queries.
Digital assistants rely heavily on online business listings -- like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places for Business -- for delivery on common search requests. As such, make sure you have claimed all your business listings and that your contact information is accurate.
While both Siri and Google Now use Google for searches, Windows Cortana relies on a Bing-based search. So, if you're website isn't Bing optimized, your brand is missing opportunity.
Optimize your content for mobile. Mobile search terms differ from desktop search terms. For example, someone searching via mobile is more likely to add a city or zip code to their search than their desktop counterparts, which means both should be prominent throughout your website.
Ensure you're not leaving web traffic and new business on the table in 2016 by optimizing your website for digital assistants.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.