— WEBINAR TRANSCRIPT–
Hi, everyone, Derek here. I wanted to talk about what I see coming in the year ahead in the world of ecommerce and in the world of Internet marketing. It’s always fun to make some predictions, and then sort of reflect back and say, “Hey, what did I get right?”
What I did this year was, I said, “Hey, let’s make ten formal predictions. Okay, what do I think is going to happen in 2015? What do I see coming?
What are the things that I think as Internet marketers, as online businesses that we need to pay close attention to?”
You know, it’s funny – I sat down in Evernote, where I brainstorm my ideas and write my blog posts and stuff like that; wonderful application. I started brainstorming and writing out ideas and predictions and things that I saw coming.
At first, I’m like, “Oh, man. Am I going to be able to come up with three or four or five?” The next thing you know, I have this massive list, and then, I pared it down to I think the 10 that I felt were the most relevant here to talk about today.
So, what I want to do now, is I want to walk through my 10 predictions – 10 things that I see coming, big shifts in Internet marketing; stuff that we need to pay attention to, so, 10 Internet marketing trends and predictions for 2015.
And you know it’s funny, 2015, it blows my mind that we’re at 2015, because I really started online in 1996. It’s amazing how fast this goes by. I’m a year away from doing this for 20 years – 20 years – unbelievable. Anyway, I digress. Let’s move on. Let’s jump into these predictions.
Prediction #1: Mobile Trumps Desktop
Okay, prediction number one. Now, guys this is a big one. It’s been coming for a long time, but this year is, I guess what you could call, “The Tipping Point.”
And that is, in 2015, mobile is finally going to trump desktop in terms of e-commerce, in terms of purchasing online. Now there are tons of websites that, if you look at their user statistics, primarily media sites like news sites, sites like that – you’re going to see that the large majority of their traffic today is actually mobile.
Mobile being cell phones, smart phones, tablets and the like. So, you know in 2014 in 2013, a lot of big media sites saw mobile usage exceed desktop usage – laptops and standard computers – as far as the majority of their traffic went.
But, ecommerce, actual transactions, in many cases are still, right now today, more people are buying and utilizing laptops, computers, desktops, and stuff like that.
So, in 2014 though, I believe that mobile, based on all the trends I’m looking at, all the shifts that are taking place, that more people, more traffic – in most businesses, not in all businesses – in most businesses, are going to see more people making purchases on mobile devices, versus your standard desktop or laptop computer.
So, as we go through these predictions, I’m going to give you my predictions, and then I want to summarize it with some takeaways, okay? So, what is your takeaway? What does this mean to you?
Your Prediction Number One Takeaways:
Responsive Design from A to Z
Well, first of all, this means responsive design from A to Z. Now, what I mean by that is, first of all, what’s responsive design? Responsive design is making sure that your website is designed in such a way using responsive HTML, so that when your website is viewed on a tablet or a smartphone or a laptop, it will reorganize itself to present itself in the most usable format.
Now, there’s two things I want to highlight here. First of all, historically, many people have taken the approach of developing a websites, and then a separate website for mobile, versus their desktop web site.
Now, the problem with that is effectively, you’ve built two different websites. Google’s made it very clear that they prefer responsive design.
So, rather than maintaining multiple web sites for different platforms, you have one website that is going to reorganize itself effectively for the device that is viewing it.
That may sound really complicated, but the good news is, if you’re using something like WordPress, you just need to make sure you’re using what is called a “responsive theme.”So, when you go out and you purchase your themes, you’ll find that most of these themes, or most of the new themes, are responsive. They’re going to adjust automatically for you.
For our members who are currently working on a new whole website template that we are going to be rolling out over the coming weeks, that is going to be fully responsive, as well, so responsive from A to Z.
Now, I put from A to Z out there, because a mistake I see lots of companies making is their website itself is responsive, so their sales pages and stuff like that are, but then when you step into their e-commerce system to actually place an order, the order pages aren’t responsive, or they don’t play well with mobile devices.
Now, if you’re using a mainstream ecommerce system like PayPal, Magento, Shopafire or something like that, it is going to have responsive friendly or mobile-friendly functionality. So, you should be okay. But, if you’re using something custom and it doesn’t display well in mobile, that is something you’re going to need to address soon, because it’s going to start to hurt your sales, as people on mobile devices want to order, but it’s not convenient.
More Buyers on Mobile
So, what does this mean? It means you’re going to have a lot more buyers on mobile devices. I said it a moment ago and I’ll say it again, this is still dependent on your niche markets.
There are certain markets where you’re never going to have predominantly people buying on mobile devices.
If your market was say, selling software to developers, developers typically do not develop on mobile devices. They develop on laptops and on computers and stuff like that, so chances are your majority of transactions will always be on laptops. But, for general consumers, you’re going to start to see a heck of a lot more of your transactions happening on mobile devices.
Better Organic Rankings
Responsive design is key, because Google has stated it a while ago. But, it’s going to really become even more relevant soon. If your website is not responsive, it’s going to negatively impact your search engine rankings on Google. This is because Google knows that if half the people are searching keywords, half the traffic they’re sending to you is on a mobile device, but your website is not responsive.
They know they’re sending traffic to a website, and that those people can’t really use the website properly anyway. So, they want to display web sites that are going to be easily viewed on a mobile device.
So, responsive design is going to be even become more key and critical. So, what’s easiest way to test this, guys? Real simple. Go break out your smart phone and go surf your website. If you don’t have an iPhone, grab your friend’s iPhone.
And, if you don’t have an Android device, check it out on an Android device. Check it out – make sure it works properly. Look at usability of it. Does it display well? Can you can you use the website? Pretty easy to test.
And you know, one more little shift in the industry that is also going to drive mobile usage and more people buying on smartphones specifically, is over the last year, there has been a surge in the amount of large format, large screened smart phones.
So historically if we go back to our initial iPhone, let’s take that for an example. That screen by today’s standards was really small, but now the smallest iPhone of the new generation, the iPhone 6, is a much larger screen, and now we have the 6 plus.
If you look at so many of the different Samsung devices and a lot of the different Android devices, they are all a much larger screen – okay, so that, too, is driving people to be able to purchase from their mobile devices. So, that was prediction number one, and now moving on to prediction number two.
You Don’t Need an App for That
There’s one more thing on here that I want to highlight. I almost missed that. That is, you probably don’t need an app. I want to answer that question in advance because as people see mobile is growing, many businesses think, “Hey, I need an app.”
And I say, “Well, what’s your app going to do?” And they’re going to say, “Well, it allows people to shop and view my products, and get updates.”
Really, if you have a good responsive website, that’s what your website is going to do. The fact is, most people’s mobile devices now are getting cluttered with apps. What’s happening is people are starting to remove apps that are not apps they need.
So, if you are selling widgets on your website, I don’t need app. I need a browser to be able to view your responsive website – I don’t need an app. So, unless you have an app that delivers some kind of specific functionality that you couldn’t deliver through a responsive website, you probably don’t need an app.
Prediction #2: Content Marketing Stands on Its Own
So, prediction number two. Now 2014 saw a big rise in content marketing. In 2015, content marketing is going to become a stand-alone marketing strategy.
What I mean by that is, you’re going to start to see companies that don’t just use content as a subset of their other initiatives and campaigns – not social or SEO, but as its own marketing channel. That’s meaningful to us as small businesses, as well, because that’s the kind of thing that indicates that we need to be paying attention to it.
Now, historically we created content to rank in Google and to give Google what Google wanted, which was lots of good content.
Lots of people always looked at the content they created as really a subset of their search engine optimization, their search engine marketing.
So, what you had in search engine marketing is, you had your onsite optimization, which meant optimizing your website and dripping new content to it, which was the content component and link building. So, those are your three pillars of search engine optimization.
Content marketing was always kind of a subset of that. And then to an extent, social came along and now you’re creating content to push out there over the social channels. But, content is really starting to stand out there on its own. And people are realizing that it’s more than about just creating search engine optimizing content. Rather, it’s creating content that your industry wants.
Your Prediction Number Two Takeaways:
Write Unique and Engaging Content for Readers
So, the takeaway here is you need to write, but not just for Google. You need to create content for your market, for your visitors first. Engaging content. Relevant content. Not regurgitated content, but content that offers value that people want to read.
We’re going to talk about that in one of my future predictions here momentarily, because it is going to have a real impact on your SEO, and I’ll explain why.
Content Will Drive Relationships and Your Website’s Authority
But the fact is, is your content is what is going to drive relationships with people. It’s going to build your website’s authority.
When somebody goes to a website that’s just selling, selling, selling, selling, and then they go to the competitor’s website that is not only selling, but is educating – that is, building relationships, that has a personality, that has a voice through the content that they’re producing – there’s a much better connection there.
And you’re going to see a lot better conversion from that relationship, from the relationship of the content created. It’s going to drive your relationships. I mean, content is the foundation of your relationships, your authority in the industry, your social campaigns. Social campaigns are driven by the content you’re producing.
People want to share content. People want to share articles, images, videos, and stuff like that. That content is what’s driving your social. Also, it’s still the foundation of your SEO. If you don’t have good content on your website, it doesn’t matter if you have great links, you’re not going to rank. So, you need to have good content.
Maximize Your Content with Multiple Forms of Media
One of the big mistakes that I constantly see people making with their content, is not maximizing the value of every piece of content that they create. So, what I mean by that, if somebody has a great idea, they sit down, and they write a blog post.And, then they post that up to their blog and they leave it alone. But, the fact is, the written text that you put onto your blog is just one form of media. If you have a great blog post, you need to turn it into a podcast.
Sit down and read your blog post, record it, create a podcast out of it and create a video out of it. Put it into a PowerPoint.
Sit down and read it, and turn it into a video. Now you can push that video out over YouTube. You can post the video on your website.
You can then transcribe it and use that as text on your website. You push the podcast out to iTunes, so that people can subscribe to it there. It’s the same content, but it’s in multiple different formats being pushed out over these different platforms.
So, you’re not having to come up with all these new ideas. You’re taking one idea and utilizing it across video, audio and text. So, make sure that you are really maximizing the value of your content.
Prediction number two, content marketing, is going to take a front-and-center role. It’s going to stand on its own. It’s no longer going to be a subset of many of the other marketing campaigns. Like I said before, you’re going to start to see bigger companies that have an SEO team, that have an e-mail marketing team – they’re now allocating budgets to a content marketing team to develop that content.
Prediction #3: Facebook Will Become 100 Percent Pay-to-Market
All right, prediction number three, and this is a prediction that some people are going to groan about. I mean it was inevitable; it is inevitable I believe, and to an extent right now, I’m actually kind of happy about it.
That is, Facebook is going to become 100 percent pay to market. Now, what I mean by that is, historically, Facebook, from a marketing standpoint, has had two different approaches.
There’s their advertising platform where you can go out there, create ads, target people, push your ads out, and spend money to advertise on Facebook.
It’s a very powerful platform, but the other side of it was that you could build an audience on Facebook.
People who like your page – people who follow you – people who are your friends. And then, when you posted something to your page, if somebody liked your page, they would then see whatever you posted in their news feed.
It was effectively, a free way to advertise to people who liked you on Facebook, which was very powerful. But over the last year, well, the last couple of years, but really in 2014, we saw that ability to reach the people who like you on Facebook diminish. What I mean by that is, Facebook has obviously grown tremendously huge.
The average person on Facebook – and I’m pulling these numbers out of my memory bank, so they may be a little bit wrong, but they’re probably pretty darn close – is the average person on Facebook has 200 friends. And, so, that means, if someone on average saw everything posted by all of their friends in their news feed on a given day, the average person would see something like 1,600 different items pass through their news feed, which would be information overload.
Which would be far too much, and people would quit using Facebook, because it just wouldn’t be relevant. There would be too much stuff to ever try and consume. So, over the last few years, Google has been tweaking their algorithm to actually filter out, and only display what they feel is relevant or what you really want to see in your news feed.
So, if you have 100 friends, and they all post two things in a day, you’re going to have 200 potential posts that are going to come through your news feed. Facebook is going to go through their algorithm, filter all that through their algorithm, and say, “Okay.
Based on your behaviors, based on stuff that you’ve been doing on Facebook, people you’re conversing with, pages you visit – out of these 200, here’s say the 10 most likely things you want to see.”
So, what that means as a marketer, even though somebody liked your page, unless they’re actively engaged with it on a regular basis, the likelihood of them actually seeing your posts is slim to none.
Unless you’re willing to pay to boost your post, so that your followers actually see it. So, over the last, seven, eight, nine years, we’ve been able to really leverage the free side of Facebook, but that’s kind of going away now.
Your Prediction Number Three Takeaways:
Budget to Boost Your Posts
For the take away from this is Facebook is a massive source of traffic. The people who like your page are people you want to continue to engage with. You want to be able to push your content out to them, but you want to make share that they’re seeing it.
Now, for example, if you create a great piece of content you want to distribute out there, that you want to create social signals with, so that it ranks better in Google – so that you get people to come and read it, to get them to engage, to get them to buy your product – you now need to be budgeting to boost your post.
So that, at least the people who already like you are going to see the post you’ve posted on your page in their news feed. The good news is, it’s not expensive. Over the last few months, I’ve been testing.
If I post something to my Facebook page and I have over 10,000 people – I think 10,100 people that like my Facebook page – if I post something to that page and I don’t boost it, I will see maybe five, 10 likes on that, max.
But if I take and I put $10 down and say, “I want to boost this for the next say, three to five days, to my followers and I’m willing to spend say $10.” I’m going to see multiple shares. I’m going to see hundreds of likes. More people engage with it. I’m going to immediately see my optimum rates going up.
The moral of the story is, although it’s not free anymore, boosting your post today because not a lot of people are, to your followers, gets really good results.
Patience Will Be Key as Facebook Works Out the Kinks
One of the things I need to caution people against as you move forward with Facebook right now, is that Facebook’s advertising platform is in its infancy still. But, it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.
Their controls, as far as screening ads, is absolutely terrible and you may face some frustrating moments. I was actually just having this conversation with one of our mastermind members just the other day.
As she was posting an ad to Facebook, it was getting rejected, because they said it violated their policies, although there were tons of ads running that were far more in violation of any of those policies.
So, right now with Facebook as you start to advertise using their platform, boost your posts, stuff like that, there is an element of patience that is going to come into play while you’re working with them as they’re growing. And, you know, it’s something that we went through with AdWords years ago with Google as they were going through a massive growth, as well.
Prediction #4: Pinterest Will Surpass Twitter
All right. Prediction number four. So, Facebook is the biggest, hands down, but Pinterest is going to be, I guess what you can say, “the darling of e-commerce,” in 2015. It’s going to surpass Twitter as far as users go. Twitter has been second to Facebook for a very long time. Pinterest is currently on a growth trajectory that has them on pace to surpass Twitter, as far as users go in 2015.
Your Prediction Number Four Takeaways:
Create Images People Want to Pin
First of all, when you are creating content for your website or your blog posts, it’s critical that you start creating images that, when people come to those posts, they can also pin the images.
I don’t mean just putting up a picture of a stock image that you can find on any website, but creating images that have clever captions, stuff like that.
Nowadays, that’s really easy to do. You don’t need to be a graphic designer. What I use for my blog posts is Canva.com. For a buck, I can create a really good image that I can stick on my website. I can customize it and add all sorts of cool stuff to it. So, also utilizing it for product images, and stuff like that, very, very important. And also, using it to drive real sales.
Test Promoted Pins on Pinterest
So, they have what are called promoted pins. So, if your market is on Pinterest, you can take and promote pins. So, taking images, promoting those images to drive traffic back to your website.
Over the last year something that I think surprised a lot of people, including myself, is the traffic that you can get from Pinterest is some of the highest converting traffic from the different traffic sources out there right now.
In fact, Pinterest traffic converts on average higher than any other social media traffic.
So in 2015, Facebook is obviously the big guy. You want to continue to pay attention to Facebook. But as a secondary social channel to start leveraging, to start working with, Pinterest is definitely one to want to pay attention to. Now that being said, it’s not right for every market.
Make Sure Pinterest Applies to Your Business
So, as I go through and I talk about these things, not everything may apply to your business. What I know about Pinterest is, it’s primarily women that use Pinterest.
Now, there’s definitely going to be more men that using Pinterest as it grows and it becomes more popular, but its primary market is women. There are certain products on it that are going to do better than other products.
For example, Etsy and Pinterest have a great alignment, because typically stuff you’re selling on Pinterest is handmade goods. It’s stuff you’re going to want to take pictures of, to share – stuff like that. So, that being said, pay close attention to Pinterest, because it is going to grow.
It’s got a huge user base. But beyond that, the reason it’s going to continue to grow is because the people that are on Pinterest convert well. They buy stuff.
That means Pinterest can sell advertising. That means Pinterest can make money. More money Pinterest makes, the more they market it, the bigger they get.
Prediction #5: Social Drives Content Marketing
All right, here’s prediction number five. Now, I’ve talked about content marketing. Historically, we would create content on our websites, and then the number one source of traffic to that content was typically organic search.
So, we would optimize it, it would rank in Google, and it would start to draw traffic.
What I’ve been seeing in the trends over the last year and is continuing to change, is as your blog grows, as your content grows, social now is driving more traffic to the content on your website, in many cases more than SEO is.
Your Prediction Number Five Takeaways:
Social, Not Search, is Now a Bigger Source of Traffic for Content
One of the take aways is, is we’re not just creating content for search.
As you’re creating your content, you need to be leveraging social platforms like Facebook, like Twitter, like Pinterest where appropriate, or LinkedIn where appropriate, to drive people to those articles.
Because, when people engage, when they like, when they share, other people see that.
What I am starting to see now is, where Google was a bigger source of traffic in many cases, when I post something new, immediately social, Facebook, is a far bigger source of traffic. Now, that may balance out over time, but in the short term, social gives you a bigger source of traffic.
Use Social Channels to Promote Content
So, as you’re creating content, make sure that the content you’re creating is being pushed out over these different channels, over Facebook, over Twitter.
When you create a blog post, you should have a checklist of things you do after that post comes up, which is go to your Facebook page.
Post it on your Facebook page. Post it on your Facebook profile. Get people to like it. Get people to share it. Boost that post. Send out a tweet. If you have Twitter followers, if you have Pinterest, grab an image from your post that you’ve created in Canva.com, and pin it. Start driving traffic to those. Use the social channels to promote that content.
Prediction #6: Usage Metrics Play a Much Bigger Role in SEO
This brings us to prediction number six. And that is – now this one’s an SEO one, so, here we go: Usage metrics. Usage metrics are going to start playing a much, much bigger role in SEO.
Historically, it was backlinks. The primary, the big influencers were backlinks, new content, onsite optimization, and to an extent, social signals.
But now, Google is really starting to look a lot harder, and finding ways to look a lot harder at usage metrics.
Your Prediction Number Six Takeaways:
Develop Landing Pages That Engage
That means they’re looking at how people engaged with your content. If you think about it, this is very meaningful.
It’s a really good way to determine how good, or where they should rank a website.
If you take two web pages that are optimized for similar keywords, website A has way more backlinks. It’s on a way more of an authority website, but that specific webpage has a really high bounce rate, meaning, people go to it and may leave right away because the content’s not very good.
Whereas, website B has a web page that’s optimized for the same keyword, and it has way less backlinks. It has a lot less authority, but when people go there, they stay. They read the page. They engage with the page. They click to other pages. Why would they do that? Well because the content is much better.
So, what Google has figured out now, is that how people interact with the page is a good gauge of how good the content is, and Google wants to display good content. So, they’re now finding ways to look at usage metrics. Those usage metrics are going to play a much bigger role in SEO.
Now, the term, usage metrics kind of sounds complicated, but really there’s two things that you need to focus on. First of all, keeping people on your web page, okay. So, not having them bounce off right away. So getting people to visit your web page and to read it.
Encourage People to Click to Multiple Pages
Most importantly, encouraging people to click to other pages on your website. So that when somebody comes to your web page, they don’t just leave on the page that they came in on.
They click around to other pages. When Google sees somebody goes to a page and comes back from that page – that looks like a bounce – somebody just saw something and they left.
But if they see somebody clicks to a page and then visits other pages – that would indicate to them that this is a good website – it engaged the person. It got them to look around. So now, because technology is advancing, they’re finding new ways to measure that. That is playing a much, much bigger role in your search engine rankings.
So, what does this mean?
What this means is you need to start looking at ways to not just get people to read a page, but to click to multiple pages. Now, one of the ways you see a lot of big media web sites do this, is they’ll take one article and they’ll split it up over multiple pages. So if you wrote a blog post that was 1,000 words, you could say take the first 300 words on one page, and then have “next,” as a link.
So they click next to move to the next page, and to the next page. To consume that entire article, they’ve now had to click on multiple pages. In Google’s eyes, that’s going to increase your engagement. So, that’s just one strategy there.
But, as you create content for your websites in 2015, one of the things you need to be aware of is Google’s looking at these metrics. You want to keep people on your website. You want them to be consuming multiple pages.
If you do that well, you’re going to see that have a big impact on your search engine rankings. Which brings us to protection number seven. Social signals.
Prediction #7: Social Signals Play an Increasing Role in SEO
Social signals are going to continue to play an increasing role in SEO. Now, over the last couple of years, they have played a role in your search engine rankings.
Your Prediction Number Seven Takeaways:
Google is Indexing More Social Content
Google is looking at how many people are liking, tweeting, and stuff like that. But with the sheer volume of content going through social, Google kind of took a step back over the last couple of years and realized, “Hey, we can’t index “follow this” content. So, we can’t really leverage the true power of the social signals to help determine rankings.”
Encouraging social sharing whenever possible
But in 2015, Google is focusing on increasing the amount of social content that they’re able to index.
Obviously, it makes sense for them, because so much of the content on the Internet today is created through these social platforms. As a business, they need to continue to index that.
So, now their technology is evolving to the point where they’re able to index that, and they’re now starting to index all the tweets going through Twitter – more of what’s happening on Facebook.
So now, they’re able to use those social signals, or this is my prediction, that they’re going to be able to use those social signals to help determine where you rank.
Effectively, this is giving us another tool in our SEO arsenal to help position our website. So, what do you do? Well, you need to encourage sharing.
This goes back to having the ability to boost our posts on Facebook, because when you boost a post on Facebook, that immediately increases you’re sharing, your likes of your content, which is going to help your rankings. Which brings us to prediction number 8.
Prediction #8: Bing continues to gain market share
You know, maybe this is a prediction or maybe this is me just hoping, but I do believe that in 2015, we’re going to see Bing continue to take on a much larger chunk of the search market. They’re going to take market share away from Google. There’s a couple of reasons this is going to happen.
Your Prediction Number Eight Takeaways:
Firefox Dropped Google in Favor of Bing
Now one reason, I actually wrote a blog post about just recently, and that was a new version of Firefox that was just released. Now historically, Firefox is a big browser. It owns about twenty-plus percent of the browser market share.
Historically, the default search engine in Firefox was set to Google. Now, Firefox recently released a new version of the browser, which was rolled out in the North American market with the default search engine set to Bing.
This immediately took a big chunk of the market share away from Google and gave it to Bing. You saw that reflected in the search stats almost immediately. Now, Firefox is going to continue to roll that browser out over 2015, so that’s going to have an impact.
But there’s something else that’s happening, and I’m kind of a betting man here. I think that this is going to have a real impact as well on Google’s market share.
Windows 10 launching New Browser to Replace Internet Explorer
That is Microsoft. Microsoft is going to be launching Windows 10 to replace Windows 8.1.
Now, Windows 10 on its own, isn’t going to have influence over this, but part of Windows 10 being rolled out is a brand new browser is being released, and it’s going to not be a new version of Internet Explorer, rather, what it’s going to be is a whole new browser altogether.
Looking behind the scenes, it looks like Microsoft has done two things well. Windows 8 was a bit of a train wreck and it didn’t go well.
Windows 10, and I’ve installed the preview. I’ve looked at it, for all intents and purposes, and it is a very good operating system.
What I think we’re going to see is a lot of companies that were hesitant to upgrade to Windows 8, are going to move to Windows 10. With Windows 10, everybody’s going to get this new browser. From what I can see, this new browser offers a lot of very cool features.
And if there’s a good adoption of this browser, it’s going to drive market share to Bing, because Microsoft owns Bing. So obviously, Bing is going to be the default search engine in this new browser. So, what we’re seeing is the market share being chipped away from Google. Frankly, that’s a good thing, because they do need more competition. So, that’s something that I see happening.
Start Paying Attention to Bing
The takeaway here, guys, is we really need to start paying attention to Bing, as far as where we rank in it. The potential traffic it sends to us, because as it becomes a better search engine, which it is, it has the potential to send a lot of traffic, which brings us to prediction number nine.
Prediction #9: Amazon Will Be a Key Player for Retail Ecommerce Businesses
There’s no denying how powerful Amazon has become. Amazon has revolutionized online retailing.
But, something that they’ve done over the last couple years that has now positioned them to become part of almost everybody’s business is they’ve opened up their retailing platform, so that anybody with a product can effectively open an Amazon store, tap into Amazon’s traffic and start selling their products on Amazon. Amazon is enormous.
Your Prediction Number Nine Takeaways:
Amazon Store Critical for Selling Physical Products in Western Countries
The takeaway here is, if you’re selling physical products in any Western market today, along with your website, you should also have an Amazon storefront to be tapping into Amazon, and selling your products there.
Use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to Increase Conversions
Amazon has done something else that is absolutely amazing, and that is they have opened up their fulfillment services, their logistics services, to basically every business in the world. If you have products now, you can ship them in bulk to Amazon’s warehouses, and Amazon will now take care of all of your fulfillment for you, in most Western markets.
They’re expanding into European markets, and in 2015, I predict we’re going to see them going into Australian and Asian markets.
The tests have already shown that if you’re retailing using Amazon, and your products are being fulfilled by Amazon, your conversion rates shoot through the roof, because you are now effectively almost like an Amazon partner. People feel like they’re buying from Amazon, which gives them a sense of security.
This means that if you are selling physical products online, you need to be paying close attention in 2015 to what Amazon is doing, and utilizing their platform to sell your products. I know we have lots of members in Australia and in Asia. This is primarily in North America right now, and they’re expanding in the European markets. I’m saying my prediction is in 2015 we’re going to see their fulfillment service being opened up in Asia, in Australia and more around Europe, so that everybody can take advantages of the logistics that they have there.
Amazon is one to pay attention to, but beyond that, there’s a lot of different retail platforms out there now. E-commerce platforms, like eBay’s, like Etsy’s, that are local to specific markets. So if you’re in Singapore, Qoo10 is a big one. If you have products, you can start selling them on Qoo10. So, paying attention to these different retail platforms is very important.
Having your own e-commerce presence is important. Having your own website will continue to be important, but also leveraging these other channels will become a bigger part, I believe, of most retail type businesses online and Amazon is by far leading the charge.
In 2015, we need to keep a close eye on that, because they’re going to start expanding globally. Their fulfillment and logistics services that you can now tap into for very low cost allows virtually anybody effectively to sell physical product without actually even needing your own fulfillment services, which is absolutely phenomenal, which brings us to our last prediction.
Prediction #10: Email Makes a Big Comeback
Email is making a big comeback. What I mean by that – and there’s a couple things here – first of all, in the early days of Internet marketing, we would drive traffic to our websites, but the only way to really reach out and target and market to people was via e-mail.
So, people would opt in. We would send emails to our email lists. People would come back and buy.
But over the last seven, eight years, as social media has grown and grown and grown, there’s been a lot of distraction from email marketing as people put all of their focus into social channels like Facebook, like Twitter, like LinkedIn.
There were lots of businesses effectively ignoring email marketing. But, something that I’ve known, and most good direct response marketers online have known, is email converts far better than any other form of advertising that you can push out to people.
So, if I could send a promoted post out to everybody who likes my page, or I could send an email to those same people for a promoting a product, I would choose email, because email will always out convert and outperform, from a sales and conversions standpoint, over social every time.
Now, as the social channels, Facebook in particular, become more difficult to advertise on, as there’s more competition, there’s now a big swing back to email as people realize that email is such a powerful tool to target people, to communicate with people, to get them to come back and buy, but also to build relationships with people.
Your Prediction Number 10 Takeaways:
The Money is in the List
The term, “the money is in the list,” is near and dear to my heart, because at the end of the day, when you’re in a marketplace where there’s lots of competition, in many cases you’re far better to focus on not getting the sale right away, but capturing leads, building a database, building a relationship with that database, and then selling to those.
So in 2015, you’re going to see a lot bigger emphasis on email marketing again. As people realize that, although social plays a huge role in all of the marketing that we do, from a one to one marketing channel that allows you to reach out, target, bring people in without distraction – nothing matches e-mail.
So, the takeaway there is, guys, build your database. When you have new visitors coming to your website, don’t primarily focus right away on making the sale. Build the list. Once you have somebody in your database, now you have the luxury of communicating with them, building a relationship, and then getting them to buy.
Email Conversion Trumps All Others
The fact is e-mail conversion trumps all other communication channels. Whether it be social, Twitter, Facebook, whatever it is. So, e-mail is going to make a big comeback.
The tools are there. We know how to use them. We just need to start.