Top 7 Internet Marketing Trends in 2011

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Top 7 Internet Marketing Trends in 2011

As we bid a fond farewell to 2011, we can sit back and take stock of what has been an incredibly successful year at CastleCS.

Or, to be more precise, it’s been an incredibly successful year to our roster of clients who are now enjoying the benefits of their High Performance Environment (HPE): one where marketing strategy, digital advertising, and staff training all work together to create ongoing, elite-level excellence and profitability.

In addition to celebrating our clients’ successes, we’ll also take a few minutes to reflect on the Internet Marketing trends that helped make 2011 an eventful, interesting and in some ways, unforgettable year. Here’s what we learned:

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #1: Online Reputation Management MATTERS. Countless numbers of customers are demonstrating each day that they not only have faith in what’s said about a business online, but that they trust it immensely. As a result, effectively managing a business’s online reputation and generating authority status — so that good news stories spread far and wide, and not-so-good news stories are contained and mitigated — is now an essential requirement that is no longer filed under M for Marketing. It’s filed under S for survival.

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #2: Branding must be TARGETED. In the old days (i.e. way, way back in 2010), branding was all the rage. Well, in 2011, that rage continued but with an important new twist: targeting! As a result, businesses that developed a strong, consistent and influential brand AND targeted that brand to where their prospective customers hung out – whether that was an online storefront, at an offline public relations event, or anywhere else – surged ahead and reaped the benefits. The way we figure, it’s only a matter of time before branding and targeted become so intertwined that a new word is created to capture both concepts (Bargeted? Tranding? Uh, we’ll keep working on this one…).

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #3: The RISE of Local Search Marketing. In 2011, customers proved that they don’t just want the Internet to help solve their problems, fulfill their desires, and end their pain. They also want it to be convenient. And that’s why local search marketing, and its blend of related online and offline strategies, dominated marketing 2011. Frankly, the Internet is wonderful, but it’s just too darned BIG. Local search makes it smaller, by in effect slicing up the Internet into bite-sized local chunks.

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #4: Social Media Grows UP. Move over 12-year olds: social media isn’t just for debating Justin Bieber’s new haircut. In 2011, social media cemented its role as a credible haven for businesses. So whether we’re talking company profiles on LinkedIn, business pages and profiles on Facebook, tweets that deliver value to business followers, thought leadership pieces for article directories and influential publications, and much more, social media marketing for business is now here to stay – and therefore must be used accordingly by businesses that want to ride atop the successful wave instead of get crushed beneath it. For an entertaining and insightful discussion of this, be sure to read our article Why Your Business Needs Social Media NOW

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #5: Online Rich Media PAYS OFF. In the past – and this time we can go into ancient history, like 2005 – the rich in local rich media was really about the happy marketing consultants who sold pricey bandwidth-gobbling online video and other elaborate things to unsuspecting businesses. No longer! In 2011, online rich media achieved the all-important no-brainer status (it joins online reputation management, a functional and professionally designed website, and a host of other tactics in this coveted category). In other words, having rich online video marketing at both the website and the viral level (e.g. YouTube) is affordable, influential and increasingly expected by customers.

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #6: Integrated Marketing is about ROI, not about getting lots of stuff. In 2011, we saw Integrated Marketing evolve from being about lots of marketing stuff (e.g. a website, a blog, some social media, brochures, and maybe a few other pieces) to being about value and ROI. So in other words, from here on in, Integrated Marketing is defined as investing $1 strategically (online and offline) to get $5 worth of value. Whether that happens through one piece of a marketing pie, 5 pieces, or the whole pie, it doesn’t matter. It’s about ROI and value, and not about stuff. (And since we at CastleCS have been saying this for years, we’re particularly gratified to see that the rest of the marketing world is finally catching up!)

2011 Internet Marketing Trend #7: DIY = $$$. There are some things that are fun and sensible to DIY or Do-it-Yourself. In 2011, marketing and advertising for business was not one of them. Alas, case studies are filled with tragic tales of business leaders who tried their hand at marketing and advertising, and found themselves paying BIG TIME to fix mistakes (to say nothing of the priceless time they wasted, and the customers they gift-wrapped to their competitors). Indeed, 2011 hammered home the message that it’s far cheaper, incomparably more effective, and blissfully less stressful to partner with an Integrated Internet Marketing company that knows what it’s doing – especially when it comes to maximizing tight budgets.

So there you have our look at the Internet Marketing trends that dominated 2011. Indeed, some of these trends, like social media for business, were clearly on the horizon when 2011 rolled around. Other trends, like the rise of local search marketing, were somewhat unexpected – at least as far as intensity and importance goes.

So now that we’re caught up and on the cusp of what will surely be another exciting and eventful year, we ask what Internet Marketing trends will dominate in 2012? What stories will we be reflecting on this time next year? What lessons will we learn and share?

Watch this space as we’ll publish our look ahead at 2012 in early January. Stay tuned!