2016 is finally over. It’s time to brush off the dust of last year and step forward into 2017. A lot changed in the digital marketing landscape over the last 12 months. Here are the top digital marketing trends in 2017 that you need to know to keep your business competitive.
Digital Marketing – You Have to Be There
It may seem obvious, but digital marketing has moved beyond the trendy new technology to a powerful tool that rivals print advertising. If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, you should in 2017. Technology is changing the behavior of consumers, and digital marketing is the answer for small businesses trying to reach those consumers where they are. Consumers have the control…they make their choices based on which website and social channels they visit and through which devices – on smart TVs, desktop or laptop computers, mobile phones or even through wearable technology. This makes it more important than ever for small businesses to understand where their audiences are and what they’re doing in those places.
The benefits to businesses and consumers is that a lot of these activities are helping to create more personal and authentic relationships between brands and organizations and the customers or members that support them. Brands are able to build trust and credibility, and consumers feel better about the relationships that develop…which leads to increased loyalty and ultimately drives towards the goals of the business.
Content Marketing – More Important than Ever
If 2016 proved anything, it’s that content is key. Facebook is still scrambling to control the tide of fake news that swept over the site at the end of 2016. Content (what you write, say or communicate) is more important than ever. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Technology is enabling more and more efficiencies in business operations, from sales to support. This means that those customers and members you do have will increasingly be able to manage that relationship without a person in the mix. Once again, what they read, what they hear or view…it all becomes so much more important.
Crafting great content isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but you can create compelling stories that capture your audience’s attention. If you’re not sure where to get started, try out some prompts to get your creative juices flowing. Then check out our How to Write Epic Content post for ideas on how to make memorable content.
Personalization – Targeting + Segmentation
One of the things that comes up a lot when considering content marketing is your audience…which makes it sounds like one big entity. But your audience is made up of individuals, and you have to consider the differences in your audience as you build you strategies around content and other marketing efforts. What you want to do is target your efforts at those customers or prospects most likely to benefit from or respond to them. The result will be that you deliver a measure of personalization to the people that make up your audience. One way to look at this equation is to realize that targeting and segmentation are what you as the business can do, while personalization is what your reader or audience perceives.
Taking the time to break up your audience and deliver personalized content seems like a chore, but in the long run you’ll see a much greater return on your money. 40% of customers will buy more from a business that seeks to personalize their experience, and over half are more likely to shop at a store when the experience is more personalized. In fact, 3 out of 4 customers are willing to share their information if they believe they’ll have a better experience. Your customers want a targeted experience in 2017, so give it to them.
Mobile – Experience and Advertising
One of the key drivers of digital marketing trends is around the devices on which people consume their content. Nothing has changed that landscape more than mobile phones and tablets. 68% of American adults own a smartphone and the average person checks that smartphone 150 times a day. Customers are using their mobile phones to access search engines, mapping services, yellow pages, directories, social media listings, and apps to find businesses, products and services they’re interested in. This will only continue in 2017.
You can also leverage the intersection of mobile devices and social media to encourage your audiences to engage with your brand. You can use mobile as a way for customers to opt-in on your social profiles, to like and follow you while they’re in the store. Encourage customers to share photos from your business or of your products and ask them to post them through social media and tag your business. You should also encourage them to post reviews of their experience, their purchase, the event, or any part of their interaction with you that makes sense. (Of course, make sure you’re providing the best possible experience…give them something good to write about.)
The other aspect of mobile that is maturing before our eyes is the ability to consider the mobile experience in advertising. Google and many of the popular social media channels have created opportunities for brands to advertise through their channels. Yes, you have to pay, but as we’ve seen the organic reach of social media decreasing over time, it’s becoming more important to consider spending money to get in front of those prospects you want to reach.
Dive further into 2017 predictions with our Digital Trends for 2017 BizzyWebinar.
* * *
Start 2017 Off Right
Ready to embrace the digital marketing trends in 2017, but not sure where to start? Our Buzz Builders online marketing programs keep your advertising on top of the trends.