Written by: Leigh Perkins // Aug 10, 2021
Last updated: Jan 17, 2023
If only digital marketing could be as simple as collecting “likes.” Year after year, it gets more complicated and more competitive. Even for professional marketers who are paid to deliver digital marketing results every day, keeping up with changes in algorithms, page ranking factors, and everything else search engines expect can be overwhelming. How can you help your content rise to the top and elevate your company’s promotional game? Seek out expert advice and follow the most effective ways to stay up to date with digital marketing trends.
Subscribe to Marketing Blogs and Newsletters
Experts need to keep up with every little nuance of analytics and search engine optimization. You don’t necessarily have to become an expert yourself, but you need to know where the most reliable marketing geniuses share their insights. An incredibly useful source of wisdom can be found in the full-of-tips blogs and graphic step-by-step guides offered on marketing websites. Best of all, they’re usually free, accessed by sharing your email address.
- Digital marketing tip #1: Collect leads by offering useful content in exchange for contact info.
Problem is, roughly a bazillion marketing websites pitch their how-to downloads. Who should you trust? Here are a few suggestions to narrow down the sources worthy of your highly coveted email address.
What element of digital marketing is making your head spin right now? Do a search for that term. Let’s say your company is local, so you want to “make the most of Google My Business listings.” When you scroll through the results for that search, you’ll find a number of articles on sites such as Moz, SEMrush, and HubSpot. Read through a few blog posts. If you find one that is current, fresh, full of ideas, easy for you to understand, and able to answer your search term question with tips to spare, subscribe.
Get a Broad Array of Marketing Tips
Do a search of “top digital marketing tips” or “best digital marketing blog to follow” if you want broad advice that answers questions you don’t even have yet. You may find a favorite niche tip sheet, such as a weekly rundown of what’s working in email campaigns or the rules of social media engagement for nonprofits. Or you may be so into best practices and conversion intelligence that you’ll happily click through every email link in your inbox.
It’s important to note that only 25% of users visit the second page of search results, leaving a whole lot of valuable content in the ether. Feel free to ignore your search engine’s ranking algorithm by checking the listings on page 11 of your results. You may discover your new favorite go-to for digital marketing advice.
- Digital marketing tip #2: It pays to earn a spot on the first page; improving your SEO strategy can help.
Get Your Sources from Traditional Media
Take note of the digital marketing sources cited by writers for publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, HBR, and The Washington Post. If they trust the statistics and industry expertise of sources such as Hootsuite, LinkedIn, Salesforce, or the Content Marketing Institute, it’s a safe bet the blogs and newsletters created by those entities will have solid marketing information for you, too.
Set Google Alerts to Stay in the Know
Digital marketing is not quite synonymous with Google, but it’s hard to think of one without the other. As a first step for staying up to date on digital marketing trends, set some Google alerts so you’re first to know when a trend hits or the rules change. It’s as simple as giving Google some keywords that are important to you (ex. “Facebook ads” or “Instagram updates”). When new content hits, you’ll be alerted via email.
Because every marketer must play nice with Google, it’s important to understand the factors that determine Google’s page rankings. This includes the meaning of the search query, relevance of webpages, quality of content, usability of webpages, and context and setting. So, the second step in using alerts as a trend source is to set an alert for major updates to Google’s search algorithms. In 2018 alone, Google reported 3,000 improvements to search, an average of almost nine changes a day. Not all of them will shift your rankings, but significant updates can affect SEO, so stay, well, alert to them.
See Video as a Source of Marketing Advice
If you’re used to hitting play on YouTube for visual aid and instruction for, say, fixing a drippy faucet or taking a virtual tour of a potential vacation spot, you already know the power of having someone walk you through it. It’s no different for digital marketing trends. Not sure how to deploy augmented reality as part of your marketing plan? There’s a video for that. Want to connect with Snapchat users? There’s a how-to video guide.
It can be tricky to find quality sources rich with the kind of information that will transform your marketing strategy, but you can start with video content from Marketing Land and the Digital Marketing Institute. YouTube’s recommender system will take it from there.
- Digital marketing tip #3: Remember that Google is not the only search engine. It might be more lucrative for you to optimize results on targeted channels like YouTube or Yelp so that you’re reaching the audience best suited to your brand and your content.
You know that social media can grow your business, but you might not have pegged it as an excellent resource for practical tips on your digital marketing initiatives. It’s also a great format to see those initiatives in action in your feed. Need ideas for trends in #ecommerce or #EmailMarketing hacks? Hashtags can lead you to pros producing top content on Twitter or LinkedIn. Once the hashtag lands you on useful material, become a follower to keep the smart advice rolling in.
Spend Time with Marketing Podcasters
Dozens of savvy, successful marketers are producing informative podcast episodes to help you take your digital marketing to the next level. Most aim to give you broad, actionable tips on topics such as tapping into TikTok or using digital to grow your brand holistically, but some get very granular, drilling down to the minutia of paid content or to a CMO’s perspective on automation.
- Digital marketing tip #4: More than half of Americans have listened to a podcast, so consider adding them to your digital marketing toolbox by either advertising on podcasts or creating a podcast for your organization.
Seek Inspiration from Top Brands
Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but it’s also a smart approach to digital marketing. Who knows SEO, SEM, social media, inbound, email, pay per click, and conversion better than the biggest and fastest growing brands in the world? Take advantage of their expertise to evaluate how they do all of it – advertising, chatbots, push notifications, user-generated content, personalized recommendations, email. Who’s killing it today? Airbnb, Slack, Zappos, and Netflix, to name just a few.
- Digital marketing tip #5: List three brands you love, and then perform a full-campaign strategy examination on each. How have their digital efforts made a loyalist of you? Copy those tactics according to your company’s needs and its budget.
Sign Up for Digital Marketing Courses
If you want to master the nuts and bolts of the most cutting-edge marketing practices, register for professional development courses in digital marketing. Learning from experienced instructors who work in the field is particularly effective in helping you understanding the real-world results of SEO, social media, display advertising, content marketing, and an integrated digital marketing strategy.
At USF, the Digital Marketing Certificate program comprises two distinct four-week courses, delivered live online with two sessions per week.
- Course I: Digital Marketing Certificate – Foundations and Search guides you to think of marketing from a strategic point of view and to use search engine marketing to grow your business.
- Course II: Digital Marketing Certificate – Social, Video, Display & Email Marketing teaches you to build a paid social media campaign using all the digital and tactical tools at your disposal.
Offered through USF’s Corporate Training and Professional Education, the Digital Marketing Certificate is a great resource for game-changing skills and next-level techniques to keep your business up to date with the best digital marketing trends.