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Inbound marketing trends for 2016

Inbound marketing is about being found, not forcing yourself on people. Some effective inbound marketing methods include content marketing, search engine optimization, social media and mobile marketing. Times-Standard News also cited podcasts, videos, newsletters, white papers and e-newsletters as inbound marketing methods to aid digital marketing (1).

With the new year well under way, here are five of the top inbound marketing trends predicted for 2016:

1. User-generated content 
Also known as UGC, this method is a cost-effective way for businesses to maximize their integrated marketing campaigns. For example, a B2B company may promote their video platform as a way for users to show their engagement with the brand. By asking viewers to upload their personal stories and testimonials, it creates a network of user-generated content that can be leveraged by the business.

2. Wearable technology
As wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch, grows more popular, marketers must take their efforts to another digital space. For instance, the Apple Watch lets users check emails via the device. Email headlines must be very short in order to fit on the small screen. Because of this, campaigns that involve email marketing should use two-word headlines to appeal to wearable technology users.

3. Episodic marketing
B2B marketing should always tell a story. However, episodic marketing that tells a story over a period of time is expected to expand in 2016, according to Hubspot (3). This method helps showcase a product during the duration of a TV program by telling a story over the course of two or three different advertisements for the same brand. This trend is expected to expand for B2B brands because it can be utilized efficiently through social media marketing and video campaigning, leading to effective use of online advertising.

4. Higher degrees of fact-checking
Many companies employ writers or content development teams for their blogs and marketing services. These writers use links to other websites and statistics to convince readers the information they are receiving is factually sound. The shift towards hyper-specific content is causing many B2B organizations to consistently update and delete old information or links on their own blogs or websites. These deletions lead to digital dead ends. In 2016, marketers will focus on making sure all written materials include only live links and relevant information.

5. Microtargeting
Personalized marketing and content development is growing more popular. One way to create ultra-personalized campaigns for your audience is to target where they reside. Using analytic tools on landing pages can turn vague knowledge of your audience into detailed information. With microtargeting, a company can develop campaigns set for specific amounts of time in a region. For example, a B2B company that offers printing services may promote deals during the holidays when its local partners are most likely to ramp up printed marketing efforts.

Inbound marketing efforts can help businesses small and large create powerful marketing initiatives and draw in new consumers.

(1). Business Sense: Inbound marketing
(2). 5 surprising stats about user-generated content
(3). The Top Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2016 [Infographic]

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.