Predictions for 2016’s digital marketing landscape

2016 is going to be massive for marketing automation and digital marketing.  I promise that these 6 predictions for the 2016 marketing landscape is going to put you ahead of your competition.

Closed social media groups are going to be the next big thing that digital marketing businesses promote.

The biggest pile of bullshit from 2013ish onwards was that businesses need likes, followers and members on social groups.  Businesses were spending thousands on getting as many fans as they could for their various pages and groups.  Now tell me how many pages and groups with thousands of followers made money?

I’m not saying “no one did”, I’m saying that there is absolutely no co-relation between a Facebook like and a sale.  We just don’t have the data.  And having no data usually means that there isn’t a strong enough relationship to measure.  Eventually, businesses felt that social media was a waste of time and resources.

But here’s where digital marketing strategy is going in 2016.  Private groups and pages are going to be offered to people who have already made a small commitment.

I guarantee that at some point in 2016, marketers are going to start consulting with customers and saying “ah we got it wrong before, we were supposed to be offering social groups and acquiringfans AFTER they’ve made a purchase”.

The private social group funnel rs

Here’s how social media groups will work in 2016

Back in the bad old days (2012), we told our customers that they needed a platform like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  If they posted content and talked to people, also that they got their friends and family to like and follow them, eventually they’d build up a social following.

Then towards that group of followers we post products and our core offer and we were told that they’d buy.  How wrong we were.

In 2016, socoal media experts are going to be all about ‘private social group funnels’.  We’re seeing it already, small clusters of customers (clustomers?) are being offered access to private groups when they buy a product.

It works like this.  We have an audience of potential customers and we’ll attract them to our site via paid traffic.  The platfroms, Facebook, Twitter etc, those haven’t changed.  However, we’re not after likes or follows, we’re after email subscribers.  So we direct them to a landing page, then through email marketing offer them a small product.  Then after they buy, we offer them access to a private social media group where they can ask questions, get support and see content specific to their purchase.

It’s way more targeted and increases conversion rates because every time you market content or a product to that group, you know they’re already customers.

Facebook and LinkedIn will create a landing page product

Facebook, LinkedIn (and all social platforms for that matter) have been great sources of traffic for years now.  Typically, we’d drag traffic back to a landing page or squeeze page to capture some details.  Maybe an email address and a name, in exchange for a cool download or something.

However one of the points of friction and something that decreases conversion rates, was having to go to the landing page itself.  The page speed could be low, the click itself can put people off (they don’t like being redirected from looking at pictures of cats and memes).  So Facebook started providing forms directly in the newsfeed.

Similar to promoted content, the forms appear when someone is interested in a lead magnet or light bulb moment.  It collects the data (often pre populated with Facebook’s own data) and provides that to you and your list.  Cool right?

Yes Mike it is cool. So were those Matrix sunglasses that you wore when you were 17.

Well I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that LinkedIn will start providing the same feature.

But that’s not my prediction – my prediction is that LinkedIn and Facebook will provide more in-depth and conversion-focused landing pages.

If I had to put money on it – or more doughnuts, I’d say that pages and groups will have a SumoMe style welcome mat asking for emails addresses.  This way, we can start directing traffic to Facebook pages and groups and INCREASE the number of email leads THEN direct them to the group or page.


Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace and The Grid are going to become more and more similar

WordPress, The Grid and Squarespace are examples of CMS platforms that allow you to create websites easily, fast blah blah blah.

They’re already being pushed to their limit and with some of the plugins available, it’s becoming more and more complicated to manage everything.

The nature of small business websites, powered by CMS’s like WordPress and Squarespace are going to change over the next 18 months.  Subscriber and landing page focused platforms with specific marketing funnels, sales pages and email triggers will be so popular and in demand (just look how many plugins are available that do that already), that most CMS platforms will make sure that their offering will be able to do all those things.

As a result, the ease of use and function of most of the CMS players will probably become more and more similar.

There will be an explosion of marketplace based businesses, all selling ‘add-ons’ to other products.

Visual compowser, Woo Commerce and Optimizepress are examples of products that are sold, but then there are 3rd party add-ons.  3rd party sales are nothing new, but lets look at the marketplace.

Aside from theme’s being sold for WordPress.  We now have entire marketplaces dedicated to selling add-ons for plugins.  In fact, you could even go Inception style and use  Woo-Commerce to sell plugin addons for Woo-Commerce.

Envato, Creative Marketplace, Gravity Forms and many more are places where you can buy add-ons for plugins.  Creating small add-ons of code to further enhance the functionality of plugins and themes is going to become extremely popular.

The reason for this is two fold.  First, creating add-on products provides you with a specific and established user base.  Which is a very enticing market proposition.  Secondly, it’s relativly cheap to create those kinds of add-ons and there are PLENTY of places to sell them.

With the rise of Eastern European and Asian developers and designers, you can expect a torrent of product add-ons being sold.

Which leads to a SECOND reaction.  The rise of marketplace businesses selling these add-on products.

If you’ve got a pool of designers and developers looking to sell add-on products, smart business-starters will create marketplaces for people to sell those add-ons.

“Deliver to home” and “community workforce” businesses are going to become more frequent

For $20 a month you’ll get brand new, exclusive movie/comic book/running/cooking/seasonal stuff delivered straight to your door.

Subscription business models are experiencing a massive resurgence.  There are a 101 reasons why they work but it boils down to profit.

Your subscription base grows but you deliver the same product to each customer every month/quarter/solar rotation.

On the other hand, similar to add-on marketplaces, community based businesses such as People Per Hour and EnvatoStudio are going to become more and more popular.

The ability to hire and use a workforce as elastic as your needs is extremely appealing.  You can use labour when you need it, but during quiet periods you can lower your costs.

WordPress will release a  CRM system on par with Salesforce/Infusionsoft AND it’ll be a plugin as big as Woo-Commerce

Finally, and this is a big punt here.  I reckon that there will be a solid, high performance CRM system released JUST for WordPress.  It’ll be just like Woo-Commerce, in terms of size, availability and potential.

A marketing team will promote the shit out of it and get thousands of users and early adopters.  Then, just like Woo-Commerce, the add-ons and plugin extras are where they’ll make their money.

Lets take a few basic features:

  • Email capture
  • Lead database
  • Sales cycle position
  • E-commerce/payment platform
  • Customer history

Then, users will want more integrations to push the limits of their WordPress CRM.

  • Email marketing and mass database emailing
  • Email atuomation and funnels
  • Social marketing automation
  • Marketing funnel architecture

Features like this can be sold at a premium.  Imagine all your content, landing pages, database, leads and porducts on one screen.

With a drag and drop function to design funnels and email/marketing automation.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.


Have I gone mental?  Do you agree with my predictions? What are your thoughts for 2016?  Have I mentioned something that is already old news?  Let me know in the comments below.


Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.