Marketing trends are always changing. Some take flight, some evolve and some die.
But, with each new marketing trend comes new important insights and tips.
If you love self-improvement (like we do), and enjoy keeping on top of trends, it’s likely that you’ve bookmarked hundreds of blog post and articles in the past year. Maybe you’ve opened up multiple tabs on your computer in hopes that one day you’ll get some time to read them — posts that you’ve maybe completely forgotten about. Let’s be honest, you may never read these marketing blog posts.
The Unbounce marketing team has both written and read tons of actionable, thought-provoking marketing blog posts this year. We’ve selected the crème de la crème — posts that are the exact remedy to get your brain stimulated and on track to produce smart marketing ideas for 2016.
Here are 10 of our favorites posts that will help you step up your marketing game in the new year.
1. Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate by Ginny Soskey for Hubspot
This post by HubSpot’s blog editor, Ginny Soskey, discusses the age-old debate: quality versus quantity of content. If you’ve been thinking about revamping your editorial strategy or even running some experiments with your content, this post delivers all the nitty-gritty details you could have ever wanted.
“But that’s not how blogging works in real life. To grow a blog, you need to consistently publish content that your readers enjoy reading. Yet exactly how often to publish and what those posts should look like can vary tremendously […].”
Why did we love this post? Ginny’s post takes no prisoners. No details are left behind in Hubspot’s ambitious blog publishing experiment. Every detail is laid out and provides a roadmap for how other marketing teams can plan and execute a full-funnel, data-driven content strategy.
2. Are Podcasts the Next Big Thing for Sponsored Content? by Celine Roque for Contently
In this post, Celine Roque lays out how marketers can leverage this medium in order to produce sponsored content. As it turns out, podcast listeners are among the most highly engaged of any medium.
As Celine puts it:
“Podcast listeners are actually “super listeners,” consuming more than one hour and 45 minutes of audio per day than the average American, and they spend more than 25 percent of their total audio time listening to podcasts.”
With shows like Serial and This American Life gaining mainstream popularity, podcasting has moved beyond the niche and hobbyist world into something we should be taking notice of and experimenting with.
3. Growth Is Not A Hack by Phin Barnes for First Round Capital
The struggle (for growth) is real.
Sometimes, growth hacking is considered a “throw spaghetti on the wall” solution for attracting users, yet growth is a strategy based on observation of markets and understanding the consumer — it’s anything but a hack.
Phil Barnes has insider insight from First Round Capital’s portfolio of companies — companies that they fund at the seed level and that are dependent on growth to survive. Phil shares his expert advice and gives us an in-depth understanding into what growth actually means for a company.
“As you scale, you need to think about quality of users, not just quantity. Critically, growth is not just about adding net new users, but about developing a deep understanding of how to make your business grow.”
His advice is valuable, but his insights on how to shape your growth efforts into a full-blown strategy are essential for any startup, marketing team or entrepreneur looking to move beyond top-of-the-funnel acquisition.
4. 3 Google Analytics Reports to Help You Find Blog Post Ideas Your Readers Will Love by Andy Crestodina for Unbounce
Content marketers often rely on their creativity and writing chops to create content that resonates with their audience. In other cases, content marketers may have a love of data and strategy. Andy Crestodina is the whole package.
His post runs through how to use Google Analytics to find blog post ideas when your creative well may have run dry. He also highlights that it’s important to use data alongside empathy to guide us:
“As a content marketer, you can take the guesswork out of the process by using data-driven empathy: using analytics to get into the heads of your visitors and find topics they care about most (and the topics that will convert).”
If you’re a content marketer working for yourself, a company or an agency, this post breaks down each step you’ll need to make data part of your content creation process. Take a walk on the wild side and make room for some Google Analytics data that will help your marketing ideas in 2016.
5. 7 Strategies to Make Your Lifecycle Emails Work Smarter For You by Janet Choi for Customer.io
Chances are that you’re currently using email marketing in one way or another. But if you’re sending out lifecycle emails and are considering revamping them to better suit your goals in 2016 — this post is for you.
Janet Choi’s post is a tactical yet fun approach to email marketing:
“Welcome emails are your chance to create a positive first impression and secure the trust that will fuel a long-term customer relationship. All you have to do is follow the lead of that fictionally famous swashbuckling swordsman Inigo Montoya.”
She breaks down what a healthy lifecycle email marketing strategy should look like and gives helpful tips on customer retention, conversion and engagement. If you’re in the market to improve your current lifecycle email strategy, this post has your name all over it.
6. The Superhuman Guide to Twitter Advanced Search by Ash Read for Buffer
If you’re past the “just trying this Twitter thing out” phase and you happen to be a marketer, this post is going to knock your socks off. Social platforms like Twitter have a ton of useful information, but it’s all in how you mine for it.
This is where Ash Read’s post comes to the rescue. Ash dives deep into Twitter’s Advanced Search and gives detailed, step-by-step instructions that will show you technical know-how as well as how to leverage Advanced Search for marketing hacks and experiments.
The post reads almost like a manual and it’s sure to take your social media sleuth skills to a new level by arming you with all the necessary data you need to monitor tweets more in-depth, come up with content ideas or even find new sales leads.
If you’re currently using Twitter every day, then taking advantage of the Advanced Search function should be a no brainer in 2016.
7. We Analyzed 37,259 Facebook Ads and Here’s What We Learned by Andrew Tate for AdEspresso
What elements make a Facebook Ad convert? Does the text really matter? Is choosing eye-catching images really all you need?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions then this post by Andrew Tate has the answers. Andrew and the AdEspresso team have likely created the most comprehensive roundup of Facebook ads out there.
Whether you’re a performance marketer or interested in social ads and A/B testing, this post is full of information that gives you insight into what the big players are doing, what trends or words are most effective or even what tone works best.
This post goes beyond common best practices and dissects currents ads. The result is a post that is full of actionable information from top to bottom. Don’t make any more ads without reading this post.
8.Our 8 Biggest Conversion Optimization Wins of 2015 (So Far) by Alex Turnbull for Groove
Sometimes it’s hard to think of creative ways to increase conversions, places where some tweaking could lead to magical things. If you aren’t lucky enough to work with a CRO expert, there are many experiments you can run to help increase and optimize conversions in your business.
“No matter how high your conversion rates are, or your customer base, or your revenue… there’s room to grow. And holding steady is not an option. If you’re not doing more every single day to grow faster and stronger than the day before, then the hungrier company right behind you will. Conversion optimization is no different.”
Alex Turnbull’s post breaks down eight conversion experiments that Groove attempted this past year. Alex gives a step-by-step for each of these conversions experiments so that you, too, can run these experiments with your campaigns. From giveaways to autoresponders, this post will inspire you and your team to get testing in 2016.
9.The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching a Top-Ranking Podcast in iTunes by Stephanie Saretsky for Unbounce
If you’ve caught the podcasting bug, this post by Stephanie Saretsky is one of the few comprehensive how-to podcast blog posts out there. In fact, we dare you to find another one like it.
“No one is teaching how to actually podcast effectively – in a way that engages prospects and actually gets them to convert.”
With many marketing brands jumping on the podcasting bandwagon, why not take a stab at reaching customers or potential leads in a more direct way by using Unbounce’s personal experience as a starting point?
This post goes beyond just editing your podcast and uploading it to iTunes. Stephanie guides you from the ideation phase all the way to dissemination via social platforms to even setting up possible partnerships.
With such a detailed step-by-step guide, it’s hard to miss a beat.
10.Why an Instagram Tweak Spells the Beginning of a Multibillion-Dollar Industry by Ryan Holmes for Recode
Instagram’s previous ad offerings used to set you back a whopping $200,000! Luckily, Instagram’s API has now opened up a new world for marketers in the mobile advertising space. With this new access comes endless possibilities for advertisers like us to experiment. Let the race begin!
Ryan Holmes rounds out the importance of Instagram’s API offering and encourages digital marketers to jump to it. Like Ryan says:
“With Instagram’s new API offering, ads can now be purchased by just about anyone, using online ad-buying tools offered by official Instagram partners. The move has been called “one of the most anticipated moments in the evolution of advertising.”
Gaining access to a new ad platform is great news for performance marketers and content marketers, and surely something fun to test drive and generate new marketing ideas in 2016.
Make 2016 a year full of testing, experimentation and growth
We’ve specifically chosen blog posts with actionable marketing tips, interesting case studies and important trends. Each post touches on different aspects of digital marketing, including conversion optimization, growth marketing and even social media strategy in order to give the best tips out there.
With these posts covering the full spectrum of marketing, we hope you’ve got some new tools in your toolbox to help you become a better marketer in 2016.
Did we miss any key posts from 2015? Share some of the posts that inspired you this past year in the comments below.