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5 Digital Marketing Trends Your Business Should Follow In 2017

What are you going to do differently this year to attract more opportunities for your business?

Of course, you can continue marketing the way you did last year, but market and buying habits are constantly changing behind the scenes. There are no guarantees that last year’s marketing solutions will work in 2017. If they do, perhaps they won’t work as well, so you need to be ready to adapt.

The key marketing word for 2017 remains unchanged…ENGAGEMENT. Your prospects and clients/customers are looking for more from you. So, the more you engage with them in ways that retain their interest, the more successful you will be. With this key message in mind, how do you successfully engage with your audience?

1)      Be Mobile Friendly

This was a big topic in 2016. If you haven’t reviewed and adapted your website to be mobile friendly / responsive, then you really need to make it a priority this year.

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Google started rolling out its Mobile Index at the back end of 2016 (you can find out more about it in this article on the Google Webmasters Central Blog, entitled ‘Mobile-first Indexing‘). Why is this important? According to an *independent web analytics company who track internet use across 2.5m websites worldwide, for the first time, the percentage of pages loaded on mobile devices during October 2016, surpassed desktops and laptop computers, reaching 51.3%. Are you therefore missing out on a big opportunity by not reaching your full audience?

Whilst looking into this, it’s also important to review conversion data. This means you need to look at the analytics on your website e.g.

  • What percentage or your current visitors are using a mobile device?
  • How long to people stay on your website?
  • Where do you lose visitors?
  • Which pages retain attention?
  • Which offers receive the best click throughs?

If you don’t know this, then you need to find somebody who can show you the behind-the-scenes statistics. Knowing where your audience is travelling and what interests them is so important and provides interesting insights into their current behaviour. You can then make changes (one at a time!) and track the data to understand whether the changes have positive or negative impact on the behaviour of your visitors.

2)      Go Live!

There’s no escaping the fact that video as a marketing medium is essential tool for 2017. Live events on social media can significantly increase your likes, followers, prospects and most importantly… SALES. Create a live event, record it, then re-purpose the content by releasing the video on YouTube, an article on your website with the video embedded, as a podcast etc.

Set yourself a ‘live’ schedule. Start by testing different days / times with your audiences on different platforms. Once you find the right timing for your business, you then need to be consistent and give your followers notice so that they can prepare, especially if you are going to run a ‘Q & A’ style event.

A ‘show not tell’ session can work well for many businesses e.g.

  • Cake Maker – showing the decorating of a fabulous wedding cake
  • Fitness Instructor – a fitness tip
  • Real Estate Seller – a tour of a new property
  • and so on…

3)       YouTube

Google’s ownership of YouTube makes video a key part of your marketing media and search engine optimisation strategy.

If you haven’t done so already, 2017 is the year you need to establish your YouTube channel and begin to create videos that provide good content in a manner that keeps your target market interested.

Make use of YouTube’s predictive text function to get help with video subjects and content.  The results will give you a feel for the phrases people are commonly typing into YouTube’s search engine. Simply start typing some words associated with your business type into the YouTube search box and see what pops up!  For example, here are the results I got when I typed in ‘Search Engin’:

youtube-predictive-text

4)      Automation

The more value you provide to your website readers or social media followers, the more you will build trust with them, which ultimately should lead to an increase in sales. However, the key is to provide the information in a way that enables you to capture their contact details and trigger an automated follow up process.

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For example, you can create a ‘how to guide’, ‘tips booklet’, basically an information product that your prospects will want. However, to get it, they need to provide their email address and/or mobile number. You then have an automated system to deliver the product followed by a series of pre-written marketing emails/or text messages, providing more information whilst engaging with your prospect. (Note: being ‘Mobile Friendly’ also applies to here too. How do your newsletters, emails and broadcasts look on a mobile phone or other smart device?)

To a point, you can automate your social media calendar by pre-writing and storing posts for delivery at specific times and dates across a period of time. Some prefer to write a weeks worth of posts at a time which means that only daily monitoring is required e,g, liking and answering questions/comments, whilst others are happy to treat this as a weekly or daily task.  The most important thing is consistency along with fast responses to any engagement.

5)     Personalisation

Savvy companies are combining ‘big data’ with analytics to provide important business insights which can help with:

  • cost reductions
  • time reductions
  • new product development and optimized offerings
  • smart decision making.

From a sales perspective, the decision making element can significantly enhance your website readers experience by helping you to create key areas of your website that change depending on the behaviour of the reader. This is very clever and almost predicts what the reader wants before presenting it through the website. So, instead of a reader using traditional navigation options, the choices they make lead to an automatic selection of pages or display of options that are more likely to be of specific personal interest to them.

Another personalisation tool is re-targeting. By using tracking software you can send tailored marketing messages just to the people you know have previously visited your website. For more information on re-targeting,  please check out ‘What Is Retargeting And How Does It Work?

Summary

In 2017, it’s imperative that your marketing plan includes these top five marketing tools. There is huge correlation between each tool, and therefore planning and strategizing your marketing campaigns is essential. Social media is the glue that holds these tools together. You must therefore ensure each element is in place before releasing on the various social media platforms.

As social media is becoming more important as a marketing tool, garnering likes, shares, comments is becoming increasingly important. Without these social media markers, your crowd isn’t building. Buying likes should be avoided as you need to build an audience who will ENGAGE with you. You may need to use both online and offline marketing to drive prospects to your social media platforms. This in turn provides the front line information to prospects and customers to (re-)visit your website for the latest information, articles, videos, offers.

Online digital marketing is here to stay. Whilst you may still use other marketing tools or media such as direct mail, remember that your target market requires the most up-to-date information, images, explanations, insights. Digital marketing is the ideal platform to deliver this to your prospects and customers when they require it…i.e. today. You must stay ahead of the information curve if you are to continue to provide great information and advice to your audience which in turn helps you convert more sales.

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