2017 Digital Marketing Strategies You Should Be Aware Of

04.01.2017

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There are some massive changes to Digital Marketing this year and you don’t want to fall behind.

So, I’ve done the hard work for you.

I’ve listened to the full almost 4 hours long! Digital Marketing Radio podcast episode where 110 experts give their top digital marketing strategies for 2017 and I’ve extracted the 5 key themes you need to know. (*Hint, hint, mobile is going to be big in a way we’ve never seen before.)

1. Focus on Mobile First
2. How Voice Search is Changing SEO
3. Create 'Content Waterfalls'
4. The Importance of Video
5. Using Your Data More Effectively

Focus on Mobile First

The big thing everybody’s talking about is Google prioritising mobile experiences. Google is splitting its index into separate mobile and desktop versions and this is happening soon - within the first few months of 2017.

Not only that, but the mobile index will be their primary index meaning it will be updated more regularly and will be prioritised over desktop. Expert Tony Passey says mobile has taken over the plant and its not stopping. The mobile experience continues to get better.

Tips from the experts
Stewart Rogers – “Consumers are relying on smartphones 70% of the time to do research before they will go do a store visit.” Overall consumers will spend more in 2017 on mobile than they did in 2016. The issue is that marketers are placing important on mobile but that it is still in a separate silo just tacked on the end. Please break down the silo and make mobile part of a fully considered strategy.

Ryan Buchanan – From an e-commerce point of view, streamline and simplify the mobile purchase process to remove any barriers along the checkout process.

Michael Stricker – “Mobile captures 2 out of 3 minutes that Americans spend on digital media.” Along with the significant increase in mobile usage you need to ensure you speed up your website to be able to compete.

Tony Passey – It’s time to change our paradigm and start thinking about mobile first so it doesn’t feel like an afterthought to desktop. His focus in the new year will be to encourage his designers to design for mobile first. He also discusses AMPs (accelerated mobile pages) and progressive web apps. He says mobile has taken over the planet and it’s not stopping. Mobile continues to get richer and the experience gets better.

What this means for you
Your website MUST be mobile responsive, with good design and provide a good user experience if you don’t want to get penalised. Many marketers are looking to Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which offers a stripped down version of your website for better mobile user experience.

If your Google Analytics shows heavy mobile device usage, you may want to consider a mobile-first marketing strategy. Many social platforms are already prioritising mobile in their advertising products.

How Voice Search is Changing SEO

With the increase in sales of smart devices such as the Amazon Echo Dot that rely on voice interfaces (such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google, etc) and voice search commands, marketers are considering what this means for SEO.

Whereas SEO has been heavily keyword based, experts are now having to consider what a user might say when speaking naturally and matching their content to that conversational tone.

Tips from the experts
Dan Taylor – Focus on the growth in mobile search and voice search. Focus on going mobile first with your website and optimise content for semantic strings.

Jono Alderson – Get the first mover advantage in the emerging world of personal assistants such as Alexa, Google Home, etc. which will become serious as consumer behaviour changes.

What this means for you
Consult with your SEO expert to create and implement a strategy where your website content considers both keywords and conversational language.

Create ‘Content Waterfalls’

Marketers spend a significant amount of time producing content, but as expert Cosmin Negrescu pointed out, sometimes we forget the distribution of the content itself.

Many marketers echoed the sentiment of creating ‘content waterfalls’ as a way to utilise your content in more places. Anybody can develop their own content waterfall. For specific examples, see the following experts’ tips.

Tips from the experts
Ilise Benun – For those people who can’t do video do audio instead, whether it’s an interview or reading something aloud. Then post it on YouTube as a video with an image. Then use the automatic transcription to turn the text into a blog post or post series. She calls this creating a “mini content waterfall”.

John Lee Dumas – If I get a quote or something that inspires me, I write an email and send it out to my list. Then I publish it on LinkedIn and put it on Medium. Then I go onto Snapchat and do a little ‘JLD’ rant on that same quote. Then copy those snaps onto Instagram stories. Then post on Instagram. Then post to Facebook as well. I use the content I wrote in the email to put below the Instagram and Facebook posts. This content waterfall allows me to every single morning before 9am to do more content marketing than most entrepreneurs.

Cosmin Negrescu – We forget that distribution is far more important than producing the content itself. Try to estimate the reach and impact before actually putting the time and money into creating the content. This may allow you to find new ways to reach more people with your content.

Heather Porter – Wants you to do less automation on social media so that allows you to do more cross channel promotion. You might put up a video and a longer written post, grab the permalink from that post and go tweet it on Twitter. Then go to Instagram and do a story or post. Instead of having one post that goes across all your channels you’re speaking the way that suits each social platform.

What this means for you
Steal the experts’ examples and try creating your own content waterfall across platforms for your business. Do you already have a good piece of content that you can reuse again and try promoting in this way?

The Importance of Video

Many are calling 2017 ‘The Year of Video” as they did in 2016 but the difference this year is a big push towards live video.

Facebook live has given businesses a way to connect with their audience in an authentic way to personalise the brand. Plus the Facebook algorithm favours video content so they get great organic reach. In addition, advertising with video is affordable.  

Tips from the experts
Ian Anderson Gray – Live video has already been a big thing this year but it’s going to be even bigger in 2017 particularly as Facebook pushes Facebook Live. My particular focus is going to be doing video regularly and looking at how to make live video evergreen to make sure that the content is going to last for a long time.

Amy Schmittauer – It’s the ‘Year of Video’ again. Remember the opportunity we’re being given with things like Facebook Live and take advantage of that reach to send people where you want them to go (i.e. your website or YouTube channel). In the first few moments of a video or anything you want to promote, on Facebook live and talk to your audience to offer them more value there.

Justin Deaville – The amount of people watching television versus watching online is about the same, but the advertising dollars haven’t followed so it’s actually quite cost-effective to advertise online with video. Google wants to get more people to advertise on YouTube so they’re trying to make it easier for people to create quality videos for their business. One such initiative is the introduction of the YouTube Director for Business App available on iTunes.

Nadya Khoja – Nadya is confident that visual content is going to increase in 2017 with businesses offering more variety such as moving graphics, videos, gifs, data representations, and infographics. She believes beautifully designed moving graphics (as opposed to static images) will boost engagement.

What this means for you
If you haven’t looked to video content yet to promote your business, start seriously considering it. Maybe you’re not yet comfortable with filming yourself live but to start you could get something professionally made and use shorter clips from it to promote your business in a number of ways across multiple platforms.

Using Your Data More Effectively

We collect so much data and information but how effectively do we use it? There are a number of tools readily accessible and fairly cheap, now it’s up to us to use them to make sense of our data.

Tips from the experts
Glenn Schmelzle – We’ve seen an explosion the number of ways we can measure our websites and marketing efforts and use this data. But now it has become so accessible and cheap to do cross device and cross-channel tracking. I would encourage everyone to use the latest Google Analytics tools and conversion optimisation tools to gain insights. It’s up to us better measure it.

Matt Forman – It’s about using the data that you have in your business already more effectively. An example is by joining up information from your CRM or point of sale system into your Google Analytics account to give you greater insight into customer behaviour.

James Bavington – Getting the website right. Using conversion rate optimisation tools like Hotjar to use the data to improve your website and the engagement of your website users.

Tim Matthews – The biggest challenge I see in 2017 and beyond is integration. We have so many new technologies and there is still so much bad data. So for 2017 I’m going to clean up my data and understand where my leads are coming from and where my influence is coming from.

What this means for you
At a minimum, you at least need a clean set of data in your Google Analytics account. Surprisingly many businesses still do not have this. Then from there you can identify goals and use the tools and perform analysis to understand what you want to know. One of the tools the experts mentioned was Hotjar which allows you to conduct heatmaps and visitor recordings to better optimise your website. If you need some help getting the most out of your analytics, get in touch with our team.

So there you have it – 4 hours worth of fantastic content condensed so you can get the juicy parts in just a few minutes. Some of these technologies and tactics might take a little longer to come full circle but some of them are here (i.e. Mobile-first marketing and Video) and they’re in full force meaning savvy marketers and businesses are already adopting them and seeing great results.

It’s important to note these 5 themes are the key takeaways from my point of view but there were many experts and great points that I was unable to include. For the full podcast content, you can order the book Digital Marketing in 2017 by David Bain.

What discussion points did you find most surprising? What strategy were you already planning on attacking? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

Experts mentioned and links to where you can find them:
Stewart Rogers – from Venture Beat
Ryan Buchanan – from eROI
Michael Stricker – from Michael Stricker’s LinkedIn
Tony Passey – from Fire Toss
Dan Taylor – from Salt
Jono Alderson – from JonoAlderson.com
Ilise Benun – from Marketing Mentor
John Lee Dumas  – from EOFire.com
Cosmin Negrescu – from SEO Monitor
Heather Porter – from HeatherPorter.com
Ian Anderson Gray – from IAG.me
Amy Schmittauer – from Savvy Sexy Social
Justin Deaville – from Receptional
Nadya Khoja –  from Venngage
Glenn Schmelzle – from MarketingWhatsNew
Matt Forman – from Traffika
James Bavington – from StrategIQ
Tim Matthews – from MatthewsonMarketing.com

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