This month we were delighted to have an article published in the East Anglian Daily Times Business East Monthly supplement.

Here’s a summary of what we were talking about:

As businesses across East Anglia refresh budgets and focus on how to grow their customer base over the next fiscal year, we look at some of the top digital marketing trends for 2013.

With more routes to market available than ever before, we caught up with full-service marketing agency, Mackman, to learn more about this year’s prevalent digital trends that are providing the best return on investment.

“More and more businesses across the region, the country, and the world, are looking at increasing investment in their digital marketing activities,” explains Hannah Marshallsay, client lead at Mackman. “Budgets are under greater strain than ever before, which is why it has become imperative for marketing activities to be measurable, and integrated with other communication activities. 71% of businesses plan to increase digital marketing spends in 2013, and there are good reasons to do this. We explain why by looking at five established trends.”

Be smart

It’s no secret that times are hard, and may well continue to be for the near future. With that in mind, it’s essential that marketing spends be justified by measurable results. 84% of marketers say their marketing will be more measurable in 2013. Setting real objectives that relate to your business goals will give your marketing a sense of purpose. Once a set of tangible aims have been established, businesses are spending more time looking at how they can integrate their digital communication platforms. Websites, mobile sites, email marketing, digital PR, SEO, PPC, Social Media networks, display and banner advertising are all established platforms in their own right. Successful businesses are integrating their communications across all their platforms to optimise reach and messaging capabilities. This smart approach to planning and integration gives businesses a solid platform and qualified direction for their digital activity that can be effectively measured.

Creating, optimising and marketing the digital content associated with your products and services is one of the biggest areas of focus within digital marketing this year.

Be relevant

Creating, optimising and marketing the digital content associated with your products and services is one of the biggest areas of focus within digital marketing this year. There are hardly any barriers to publishing content online. Everyone has a voice and a free platform to share their messages. This has made the internet a noisy place, where you’re competing for attention. As a result companies are investing in content strategy to protect, and guide, the development of their brand online. Quality, well-optimised content is not only what your visitors want, but it also what Google expects. The latest algorithm updates have raised the bar when it comes to judging what a good quality website looks like. Regularly updated, engaging content is what will increase a website’s ranking.

Be found

Producing content isn’t enough, you need the right people to see it. Having identified that the internet continues to be a key growth area for businesses in 2013, companies are looking to direct more traffic to their websites with a view to increase conversions, and sales. However, as with all things in life, quantity doesn’t denote quality. By ensuring that your search marketing activity is centred around directing the ‘right type’ of traffic to your website, you will be better placed to improve your return on investment. In the last five years social media networks have become an important source of website traffic for a range of businesses. Identifying the ‘right type’ of traffic takes research, and testing, but is essential as it will guide the key terms you optimise your content with, and measure success against.

Be targeted

Tailoring marketing activity towards segmented audience groups has always been best practice. However, the rise of digital has given companies a wealth of measurable communication platforms that lend themselves perfectly to targeted marketing campaigns. 52% of marketers say the ability to target and personalise content is fundamental to their online strategy. Email marketing software tools allow businesses to develop and segment organic data sets and design or tweak campaigns to suit each audience group. However, with updates to how iOS 15 handles email tracking, some of these tracking features could become a thing of the past.

Companies like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor give companies a far greater level of control, transparency and measurement when it comes to their email campaigns – making unreliable, unprofessional group emails on Outlook a thing of the past. 66% of marketers say email marketing delivers ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI. By linking these email campaigns to Google Analytics, business can now track those who visit their site through a particular mailshot right through to the basket checkout.

Be mobile

With 64% of British mobile users population now owning a smartphone, businesses cannot deny the impact this change in the way we receive information has altered the way we can reach people online. However, as with the rise in social media, there is an atmosphere of ‘gold rush’ around this platform. Investing in a mobile website, or App, can be a large undertaking, which is why it’s imperative for businesses considering this development to have thoroughly researched their market and monitored a sustained and profitable increase in traffic from mobile devices. By considering the profile and needs of your audience, including how they use devices to search online, you’ll be able to determine the level of mobile-friendly content you need.

Digital marketing activities have shifted their focus this year in response to the British consumers’ overwhelming demand for honesty, engagement and value. These five trends are all centred around providing customers with what they want, simply and effectively which is why they have become the key pillars for 2013.