This week and next week will be two weeks of predictions from industry leaders and those in the digital marketing field. For some these will be guesses while others are more educated guesses with some hard research behind them. For the past three years, we have predicted trends in the digital marketing space. This year is more exciting than the past as we have a large variety of sources we tapped into, cancelled many of our old marketing methods that produced no results, as well as tests we did internally to make this year's set of predictions. We are going to only write about what we see as the top 5 items.
Search Engine Optimization is back to being a big player
Search Engine Optimization or SEO has always been important to businesses. With mobile devices doing more than 1/2 of all internet searches key ranking factors can no longer be ignored. Hopefully you haven't been ignoring them but if you have they will be more critical for your business in 2017. The key factors to look at are:
- Mobile responsive website for all types of devices
- Great content (see below on this one)
- Security (see below on this one as well)
- The basics are back. Don't ignore your site maps, robots.txt, page descriptions, titles, structured meta data, performance, and more
Part of SEO is also lead generation. Many will think of the two as separate. We believe they are truly equal. The first step in the sales funnel is driving visitors to your site. The next step is converting browsers into leads and ultimately customers. To do this companies must stop the parts of marketing that users are finding annoying. These being popups, pop under, and a constant barrage for your information. Having proper Call-to-Action or CTA will bring in more positive results. Lead your visitors down multiple paths as every customer is unique and has different objectives.
Social Media needs to be part of your marketing
We see people posting once or twice a month. This is no longer enough to keep your audience engaged. You need to post multiple times per week, be engaging (it is social media after all), and respond quickly to those questions your customers or future customers are asking for.
Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook (and Instagram). They are a marketing force but not necessarily your only source. You need to focus your marketing efforts on the outlets your customers are on. You need to engage them and bring them into your brand. Your message needs to be clear and concise. As you start off it may not be. The key is working toward a conclusion that works best for your company and your customers.
Video & Photography as part of your marketing story
We knew video was going to be big. Two years ago, we started a quest to start buying the necessary equipment needed to handle video. Now we include it for no additional charge as we see the benefits of it regarding spreading your brand message but also increasing engagement. We have done actual tests where engagement is double (or more) when video is used over pictures and/or text. The use of images is still going to play a major factor but video has surpassed it when bringing in engagement.
When it comes to video you also have to think of one of the hottest selling items this past Christmas holiday. Those being drones. The high-end drones have 4k video and high-resolution images that used to only be available to pilots. Expect to see a lot more drone video and photography this year. We have several clients already lined up for video and drone video/photography once we get past the winter weather.
Speaking of photography don't discount it because video is so important today. Video may create more views and engagement you cannot discount the importance of quality, non-stock, images to help tell your story. Images have the ability to add value and not add words to your written content.
Security continues to earn more respect with business owners
Whether you call it HTTPS, SSL, or TLS (the right name) the green pad lock is needed for more than just eCommerce. Every page of your website should be encrypted by a secure and trusted encryption method. By encrypting and establishing trust your audience will trust your brand more. Google Chrome and other web browsers will continue to show the green padlock but will now start flagging sites as "insecure" which will ultimately remove trust in your company brand.
Content writing and storytelling is an art
We have seen two different types of sites. One with great content and the other without. Both sites looked great, were mobile, and were secure. The great content site always won out. Having a consistent voice will make your brand stand out. With quality content, you can get your message out, have personality, and engage your audience to stay around and want to learn more. Part of this process is incorporating video into the storytelling process to get your good positive word out to the masses.
You will see many of what we are predicting as big for 2017 are all linked together. The reason is the market is maturing each day and the technologies all converge. Seeing how 2017 pans out, how companies modify their marketing budgets, whether they start to embrace content calendars, and more will be an exciting time to see.